Housing, confidence gain as economy improves

By Qiong (June) Zhang674 Comments


Home prices in most U.S. cities are increasing more slowly than earlier in the year, and consumer confidence is rising, in dual signs that expectations of a stronger economy in 2014 are taking root.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose 6.1 points in December, to 78,1, recouping almost all of the drop it sustained during the October government shutdown, the board reported on Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.2% from September to October. Prices have risen 13.6% over the past 12 months, the fastest since Feb. 2006.

Price increases are moderating because the wave of foreclosed properties that sold cheaply in 2010 through early 2012 has largely crested, Sterne Agee economist Lindsey Piegza said. Conditions now may lead to a stronger push in new home construction next year, Barclays economist Cooper Hawes said.

Investors are getting more confident as well. A new survey by State Street Global Exchange said its investor confidence index rose to 95.9 in December, up 4.7 points from November’s revised reading of 91.2.


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