Week Ahead: Housing and Consumer Sentiment Data

Housing and consumer sentiment will take center stage on the economic calendar next week.

A report on existing home sales for May is due Monday. Home resales rose in April and that trend is expected to continue into May. Analysts are predicting an increase of 2.2% to 4.75 million sales in May, lifted higher by a significant increase in inventory in April and reduced mortgage rates.

Tuesday will bring the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which measures the price of homes in 20 metropolitan U.S. areas, as well as data on new home sales.

Home prices surged in many areas of the U.S. in the second half of 2013 as mortgage rates tumbled and the housing market recovered from the deep hole following the 2008 financial crisis. Prices are now leveling off a bit from last year’s surge and next week’s S&P Case-Shiller Index is expected to reflect that moderation.

New home sales are also expected to tick higher based on an increase in inventory.

Investors will also get a good look at consumer data next week: a report on consumer confidence is out Tuesday, data on personal income and outlays is due Thursday and on Friday the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey is out.

Consumer sentiment is expected to have declined somewhat last month with the drop blamed on mixed data from labor markets. While the number of jobs created each month has increased to an average of about 200,000 over the past year, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in five years, hourly wages and hours worked per week have been nearly stagnant. Which means that people who are working aren’t making more money and don’t have more money to spend. That proves a drag on consumer sentiment and spending.

Also being closely watched next week is the final estimate for first quarter GDP, due out Wednesday, and it’s expected to be worse than earlier estimates, showing that the economy contracted 2% during the first three months of 2014 rather than an earlier reading of a 1% contraction.