Home Price Appreciation, Trade Deficit, Oil & Gas Prices

Home prices nationwide increased 5.6 percent in September compared to the same month last year. Total September exports resulted in a goods and services deficit of $43 billion, up from $40 billion in August. The price of oil dropped briefly to its lowest level in four years.

CoreLogic reported that home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 5.6 percent in September compared to the same month last year. The change represents 31 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally, but also a slowing down of the rate of increase—as virtually every other measurement of the market has been showing in recent months.

Excluding distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), home prices nationwide increased 5.2 percent in September compared to last year. Also excluding distressed sales, 49 states and the District of Columbia experienced year-over-year home price appreciation in August, with Mississippi being the only state to suffer a year-over-year decline (down 0.9 percent).

On a month-over-month basis, CoreLogic reported, home prices nationwide — including distressed sales — dropped by 0.1 percent in September compared to August. Exclude distressed sales, and the drop was the same. “Home prices continue to rise compared with this time last year, but the rate of growth is clearly slowing as we exit 2014,” Anand Nallathambi, president & CEO of CoreLogic, said in a statement.

Trade Deficit Edges Up

Total September exports of $195.6 billion and imports of $238.6 billion resulted in a U.S. goods and services deficit of $43 billion, up from $40 billion in August, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce on Monday. September exports were $3 billion less than August exports, and September imports were $0.1 billion more than August imports.

Exports are 18 percent above the pre-recession peak, Commerce reports, and up 3 percent compared to September 2013. Imports are 3 percent above the pre-recession peak, and also 3 percent higher than last September.

Despite the monthly uptick, the trade deficit has generally been shrinking in the years after the recession, as U.S. manufacturing revived and — especially — oil imports declined. The recent drop in oil prices, and the anticipated further drop through the winter, will likely drive the trade deficit down even further.

Oil, Gas Prices Continue Their Slide

The price of oil, at least for the international benchmark Brent, dropped briefly to its lowest level in four years, about $82 a barrel on Monday, and the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate was likewise down. The latest drop was spurred by Saudi Arabian price cuts (as opposed to production cuts, which the kingdom isn’t pursuing). AAA pegged the average price for a gallon of regular nationwide at $2.973 on Monday, down from $3.034 a week ago.

Wall Street had another mixed day on Election Day, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 17.6 points, or 0.1 percent. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, however, were down 0.28 percent and 0.33 percent, respectively.