Pending home sales, a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts, rose 5.1% in March after a 2.1% increase in February. On a year-over-year basis, pending sales are down 11.4%.
Orders for durable goods — items expected to last three or more years — rose 2.5% in March after a revised 0.7% increase in February. Excluding volatile transportation-related goods, orders posted a monthly increase of 1.3%.
Retail sales rose 0.4% for the week ending April 23, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 3.2%.
New home sales fell 11.1% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 300,000 units from an upwardly revised rate of 270,000 units in February. Economists had expected a pace of 280,000 units in March.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing price index fell 1.1% in February after a 1.1% decrease in January. On a year-over-year basis, prices fell 3.3% compared with February 2010.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending April 22 fell 5.6%. Refinancing applications decreased 0.6%. Purchase volume fell 13.6%.
The Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product — the total output of goods and services produced in the U.S. — increased at an annual rate of 1.8% in the first quarter of 2011, compared to 3.1% in the fourth quarter of 2010.