Residential Price, Consumer Confidence

Recent data points to a continued deceleration in home price appreciation. The Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in November, improved in December.

According to S&P on Tuesday, the Case Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index recorded a 4.6 percent gain in October 2014 compared with a year earlier. That finding, along with other recent data from other sources, points to a continued deceleration in home price appreciation. The year-over-year increase for the index was 4.8 percent in September.

Also, both the 10- and 20-City Composite indexes saw declines in October compared to September. The 10-City Composite gained 4.4 percent year over year in October, down from 4.7 percent year over year in September. The 20-City Composite gained 4.5 percent in October, compared to 4.8 percent in September.

Month over month, the National and Composite Indices were both slightly negative in October, according to S&P. Both the 10- and 20-City Composites experienced a monthly downtick  of 0.1 percent, while the National Index was down 0.2 percent for the month. San Francisco and Tampa led all cities in October, with increases of 0.8 percent; by contrast, Chicago and Cleveland reported decreases of 1 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

Consumer Confidence Rises in December 

The Conference Board reported on Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined in November, improved in December. The Index now stands at 92.6 (1985 = 100), up from 91.0 in November. The rise was due to the Present Situation Index, which rose from 93.7 in November to 98.6 in December, to its highest level since February 2008, while the Expectations Index decreased from 89.3 to 88.5.

Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions was considerably more favorable in December. Those saying business conditions are “good” was unchanged at 24.8 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” decreased from 21.8 percent to 19.6 percent. Consumers were also more positive in their assessment of the job market, with the number who say that jobs are “plentiful” increasing from 16.2 percent to 17.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreasing from 28.7 percent to 27.7 percent.

“Consumer confidence rebounded modestly in December, propelled by a considerably more favorable assessment of current economic and labor market conditions,” noted the Conference Board’s Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators, in a statement. The monthly survey is based on a random sample and conducted for the Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was Dec. 16.

Wall Street edged down on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average off 55.16 points, or 0.31 percent (and dropping below 18,000). The S&P 500 declined 0.49 percent and the Nasdaq fell 0.61 percent.