Home Price Increases Slowing Down; New Car Sales Robust in November; Restaurants Did Better in October

The increase in home prices nationally slowed down in October, rising only 0.2 percent compared with September. New light vehicle sales increased by 8.3 percent in November, compared to the previous month. And the Restaurant Performance Index rose to a four-month high in October.

CoreLogic reported that the increase in home prices nationally – including distressed sales — slowed down in October, rising only 0.2 percent compared with September. Even so, according to the company, the year-over-year increase was still a respectable 12.5 percent in October 2013, which represents the 20th consecutive monthly year-over-year rise in prices nationally.

Excluding distressed sales, U.S. home prices increased 0.4 percent month over month in October 2013. Year over year, the increase was 11 percent not counting distressed sales, which includes both short sales and REOs by CoreLogic’s reckoning.

The CoreLogic Pending Home Price Index predicts that November 2013 home prices, including distressed sales, will remain at the same level as during the previous month. The projected annual increase for November 2013, also including distressed sales, is 12.2 percent.

New Car Sales Robust in November

AutoData reported on Tuesday that U.S. new light vehicle sales came in at an annualized rate of 16.41 million units in November, an increase of 8.3 percent from the sales rate in October, a spike that might reflect some bounceback from buyer skittishness because of the fracas on Capitol Hill. The most recent figure is also 7.6 percent higher than the rate in November 2012.

November 2013 turned in the highest sales rate since February 2007, well before the onset of the recession. The current rate is roughly on par with sales seen during most of the 2000s, when automakers sold 16 million to 18 million units in most years. If sales continue at about the current pace during December, 2013 will be a better year for auto sales than 2012 by roughly 9 percent.

U.S. automakers in particular had a fine month, with GM and Chrysler sales up 13.7 percent and 16.1 percent, respectively. Ford gained a smaller but still healthy 7.1 percent for the month. Some foreign automakers did well, too, such as Toyota, which saw sales up 10.1 percent in November, while Nissan gained 10.7 percent.

Restaurants Did Better in October 

The National Restaurant Association reported on Tuesday that its Restaurant Performance Index rose to a four-month high in October. The index – a monthly composite that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 100.9 in October, up 0.7 percent from September and the strongest level since June. Also, the index stood above 100 for the eighth consecutive month, which indicates the expansion of key industry indicators.

“The October gain was driven by broad-based gains in the index components, most notably solid improvements in same-store sales and customer traffic,” Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the research and knowledge group for the association, noted in a statement. A majority of restaurant operators reported higher same-store sales in October, and also reported stronger customer traffic levels.

Wall Street turned in another down day on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 94.15 points, or 0.59 percent. The S&P 500 lost 0.32 percent and the Nasdaq was off 0.2 percent.