Wednesday, October 29, 2008

100-City Rental vs. Ownership Study

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) has come out with it October 2008 report titled "Ownership, Rental Costs and the Prospects of Building Home Equity: An Analysis of 100 Metropolitan Areas," which compared the ownership and rental costs in 100 major U.S. metropolitan areas and projected the potential for a first-time homebuyer in those cities to accumulate home equity.  Since the publication of that paper, housing prices have continued their steep descent in much of the country and rents have risen modestly.  The study shows that recent price declines indicate many communities are moving back toward the historical track of modest equity increases for homebuyers. The findings point out that is still unwise for policy makers to attempt to directly intervene in housing markets to maintain what are historically unprecedented high home prices.  

Monday, October 27, 2008

CFNAI down to -2.57

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index was −2.57 in September, down from −1.61 in August. Most of the index's decline in September was driven by the steep drop in industrial production, as reflected in the contribution of the production and income category of indicators. However, all four broad categories of indicators made negative contributions to the index in September

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 existing monthly indicators of national economic activity. It is constructed to have an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one. Since economic activity tends toward trend growth rate over time, a positive index reading corresponds to growth above trend and a negative index reading corresponds to growth below trend.