Economic Notes for the Week of February 6th

Personal income was up +0.5% for December, a bit more than expected, while spending was flat.  The consumer savings rate increased from a fairly steady 3.5% to 4.0% for December.  Core PCE inflation was a bit higher than forecast, resulting in a +1.8% year-over-year rate.

The Case-Shiller home price index declined a seasonally-adjusted -0.7% in November, which was a bit more than expected and translated to a year-over-year decline of -3.7%.  While several Midwest/west cities like Phoenix and Denver saw gains, Chicago and Detroit continued to see weaker housing conditions.  In reviewing a recent piece on housing prices across the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia (among a few others), it was interesting to see that the American average ratio of median home price to median household income across 200 major markets stood at 3.0, which is just at the high side of the long-term average and the cheapest of the group of nations surveyed.  Of course, the U.S. is an extremely bifurcated market, with continued extremely expensive conditions in coastal areas like California and New York, and less expensive conditions in the Midwest and South, based on these metrics.  Read more