U.S. House Prices In September

S&P Case-Shiller Home Prices were unchanged in September, with the 10-City composite and 20-city composite indices both decreasing by less than 0.1% (not seasonally adjusted).

Year over year, the 20-City Composite is up 4.9%. This is a slower annual rate of growth than the 5.6% in August and the 13.6% rate in October 2013.

Case-Shiller National Change

The national house price level is now roughly equal to where it stood in November 2004.

Case-Shiller House Price Levels

Of the 20 cities tracked in the index, Los Angeles has had the greatest increase in home prices since 2000, while Detroit has been the only city where prices have declined over the past 14 years.

Case-Shiller Cities Price

From a year ago, house prices have increased the most in Las Vegas, where they rose 9.1%. Cleveland has had the slowest rate of annual increase, rising only 0.8%.

Case-Shiller Cities Price Change

Dallas and Denver are the only cities whose prices have increased beyond their pre-recession peak. Las Vegas remains the furthest below its peak.

Case-Shiller Table

The U.S.Federal Housing Finance Agency saw its national house prices also unchanged in September (not seasonally adjusted), but increasing 4.3% from a year ago.

The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages either sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

FHFA House Price Change

The U.S. index is 5.8% below its April 2007 peak and is roughly the same as its August 2005 index level.

FHFA House Prices

Of the 9 different geographic census divisions that FHFA tracks, house prices have increased the most year over year in the Pacific and increased the least in the Middle Atlantic and New England regions.

FHFA House Price Regions

In both the Case-Shiller index and the FHFA index house prices continue to increase, but the pace is slowing.

November Consumer Confidence

U.S. consumer confidence decreased to a reading of 88.7 (1985=100) in November, as published this morning by The Conference Board. This compares to a revised reading of 94.1 in October.

The Present Situation Index component decreased to 91.3 from 94.4, while the Expectations Index component decreased to 87.0 from 93.8.

Says Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board: “Consumer confidence retreated in November, primarily due to reduced optimism in the short-term outlook. Consumers were somewhat less positive about current business conditions and the present state of the job market; moreover, their optimism in the short-term outlook in both areas has waned. However, income expectations were virtually unchanged and gas prices remain low, which should help boost holiday sales.”

Consumer Confidence

The U.S. consumer sentiment index, reported by the University of Michigan, increased slightly to 86.9 in November from 86.4 in October.

Consumer Sentiment

The recent trend:

Both Consumer COnfidence

U.S. Q3 GDP Growth Revised To 3.9%

Real gross domestic product increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.9% in the third quarter, the BEA published this morning. This was the second estimate for Q3, and is an upward revision from the initial estimate of a 3.5% growth rate. GDP grew at a rate of 4.6% in Q2.

Components of GDP by their contributions to GDP growth in Q3:

  • Personal consumption expenditures: +1.51%
  • Private investment: +0.85%
  • Net Exports: +0.78%
  • Government Consumption: +0.76%

GDP Contributions

Nominal GDP was at an annualized $17,555.2 trillion in Q3, while real (inflation adjusted, 2009 chained) GDP was $16,164.1 trillion.


Real GDP is up 2.4% from Q3 2013.

GDP Annual

Everyone’s A Guru

Bloggers become noisier and more outrageous in efforts to gain audience. Guru Dreams and Competition: An Anatomy of the Economics of Blogs:

The rise of social media has encouraged guru dreams because of the low entry barrier and highly skewed distribution of public attention that characterize social media. The pursuit of guru status, however, may be achieved through information provision or cheap talk, and competition inherent to social media may incentivize participants to either process better information or express more extreme options. Using a unique dataset of blogs covering S&P 1500 stocks over the 2006-2011 period, we find evidence that social media can be informative about future stock returns but that competition distorts opinions rather than encouraging participants to process better information. In particular, competition induces exaggerated negative tones in blogs, which is unrelated to information. Our results suggest that social media may provide mixed incentives for its participants in terms of information efficiency.

CFNAI Decreases To +0.14 In October

The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index (CFNAI) was a reading of +0.14 in October, down from September’s revised reading of +0.29. The positive figure indicates that the index is above its historical trend. The index’s 3-month moving average is at -0.01.

49 of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in September, while 36 made negative contributions. 36 indicators improved from September to October, while 49 indicators deteriorated. Of the indicators that improved, 7 made negative contributions.

The Production and Income index component registered -0.01 from +0.18 last month. Employment and Hours was +0.16 from +0.22, Personal Consumption and Housing was -0.12 from -0.17, and Sales, Orders, and Inventories was +0.11 from +0.06.

CFNAI Components


Production and Income

Employment and Hours

Consumption and Housing

Sales and Inventories

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data: 1) production and income; 2) employment, unemployment, and hours; 3) personal consumption and housing; and 4) sales, orders, and inventories. Each of these data series measures some aspect of overall macroeconomic activity. 

It is constructed to have an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one. Since economic activity tends toward trend growth rate over time, a positive index reading corresponds to growth above trend and a negative index reading corresponds to growth below trend.

Vehicle Miles Driven Jump In September

Total distance traveled by vehicles on all U.S. roads and streets were an estimated 246.6 billion miles in September, the Department of Transportation reports. This is a 2.3% increase from the 241.0 billion miles traveled in September of 2013.

Miles Driven Change

The rolling 12 month total of vehicle miles driven is 2.982 trillion miles. That is 1.9% below the high of 3.039 trillion miles in November of 2007.

Miles Driven Peak

Miles Driven

The rolling 12 month total of vehicle miles driven per capita was 12.00 thousand. That is down 9.2% from the June 2005 high of 13.22 thousand miles per capita.

Miles per Capita

The map from the release shows that, year over year, travel increased in all 5 U.S. regions in September, rising the most in the west.

Miles Map