This Week: Home prices, pending home sales, jobless claims

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week:

TRACKING HOME PRICES

A healthy demand for homes and a shrinking supply of available properties has helped keep home prices climbing.

S&P’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, which tracks the value of homes in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas, rose 6.6% in September from a year earlier, much higher than its 5.3% increase in August. Economists expect that October’s reading, which is due out Tuesday, will show a 7% increase in home prices versus the same month last year.

S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, annual percent change, by month:

May 3.6

June 3.5

July 4.2

Aug. 5.3

Sept. 6.6

Oct. (est.) 7.0

Source: FactSet

HOME SALES BELLWETHER

A measure of contracts signed to buy homes is expected to point to a slowing U.S. housing market.

Economists forecast that the National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales index fell 1% last month. That would follow a decline of 1.1% in October and 2% in September as lack of available homes stifled house hunters. Pending sales are a barometer of future home purchases. A lag of a month or two usually exists between a contract and a completed sale. November’s pending home sales index is due out Wednesday.

Pending home sales index, monthly percent change:

June 15.8

July 5.9

Aug. 8.9

Sept. -2.0

Oct. -1.1

Nov. (est.) -1.0

Source: FactSet

EYE ON UNEMPLOYMENT

The Labor Department issues its weekly tally of U.S. unemployment aid applications Thursday.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid remains sharply higher, evidence that the job market is still under stress nine months after the coronavirus outbreak knocked the U.S. economy into recession and caused millions of layoffs. Before the virus, jobless claims typically numbered around 225,000 a week. They’ve been running above 800,000 a week for much of December.

Initial jobless benefit claims, weekly, seasonally adjusted:

Nov. 13: 748,000

Nov. 20: 787,000

Nov. 27: 716,000

Dec. 4: 862,000

Dec. 11: 892,000

Dec. 18: 803,000

Source: FactSet

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