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Retail sales rose 1.1% to $412.9 billion in September. This follows an upwardly revised 1.2% increase in August. Compared to September 2011, retail sales have increased 5.4%.

Consumer prices rose 0.6% in September, following an identical 0.6% increase in August. Compared to September 2011, consumer prices have risen 2%. Consumer prices at the core rate — excluding volatile food and energy prices — were up 0.1% in September.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo monthly housing market index rose one point in October to 41, the highest level since June 2006. This marks the sixth consecutive monthly gain. An index reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending October 12 fell 4.2%. Refinancing applications decreased 5%. Purchase volume rose 1%.

The combined construction of new single-family homes and apartments in September rose 15% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 units. Single-family starts increased 11%. Volatile multifamily starts rose 25.1%. Compared to a year ago, housing starts were up 34.8% in September. Applications for new building permits, seen as an indicator of future activity, rose 11.6% to an annual rate of 894,000 units.

Existing home sales fell 1.7% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million units from 4.83 million units in August. Compared to a year ago, existing home sales were up 11% in September. The inventory of unsold homes on the market fell 3.3% to 2.32 million in September, a 5.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 6.1-month supply in August.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending October 13 rose by 46,000 to 388,000. Continuing claims for the week ending October 6 fell by 29,000 to 3.25 million.

from Prospect Mortgage Economic Update

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