Residential Prices, Industrial Production Continue Climbing

FNC's Residential Price Index was up 0.07 percent in July compared with June. And industrial production was up 0.4 percent in August compared with July.

Another indication that the housing recovery still has some legs: FNC reported on Monday that its Residential Price Index, which tracks the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, was up 0.7 percent in July compared with June. Compared with a year ago, the increase was a relatively modest 3.7 percent, however.

Still, the index has reached a three-year high, with declines in foreclosure sales and new foreclosure filings now having a diminished impact on home prices. As of July, foreclosure sales nationwide were approaching the pre-crisis levels, according to FNC. Foreclosure sales accounted for 12.2 percent of total home sales, down from 17.3 percent a year ago.

FNC’s index is based on a database that blends public records of residential sales prices with appraisals of property and neighborhood attributes. As a gauge of underlying home values, the index excludes sales of foreclosed homes, which tend to trade at large discounts.

Industrial Production Edges Up 

The Federal Reserve reported on Monday that U.S. industrial production was up 0.4 percent in August, compared with July. Manufacturing drove most of the increase, with production in that sector up 0.7 percent for the month. By contrast, production by utilities was down 1.5 percent compared with July.

At 99.4 percent of its 2007 average, total industrial production in August was 2.7 percent above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.2 percentage points in August to 77.8 percent, which is 0.6 percentage point above its level of a year earlier, but 2.4 percentage points below its long-run (1972-2012) average. So by that metric, the industrial sector hasn’t quite recovered from the recession.

Separately, the September 2013 Empire State Manufacturing Survey reported on Monday that conditions for New York manufacturers improved modestly for the fourth straight month. The general business conditions index edged down two points but remained in positive territory, at 6.3. Labor market conditions were mostly steady, with the index for number of employees retreating three points to 7.5 and the average workweek index edging down to a neutral reading of 1.1.

Wall Street had another mostly up day on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average advancing 118.72 points, or 0.77 percent. The S&P 500 gained 0.57 percent, but the Nasdaq lost 0.12 percent.