Home building steady, Consumer Price Index, Thanksgiving Travel

November 17, 2015

Tuesday – November 17

After hovering near 10-year highs, home builder sentiment slipped in November. The National Association of Home Builders reported that its Housing Market Index fell three points in November from October to 62. Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good rather than poor. “The November report is a pullback from an unusually high October and is more in line with the consistent, modest growth that we have seen throughout the year,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “A firming economy, continued job creation and affordable mortgage rates should keep housing on an upward trajectory as we approach 2016.”

Consumer prices edged higher in October, fueled by increases in rents and energy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.2% last month, in line with estimates, after two straight monthly declines. When stripping out volatile food and energy, the so-called Core CPI also rose by 0.2%, which matched expectations. The year-over-year Core CPI rose by 1.9%, just near the Fed’s target rate of 2%, which is considered hot given that Gross Domestic Product is now around 2%.

Thanksgiving travel could be a bit more congested this year due to a firming economy, lower gas prices and a stronger job market. The four-day holiday weekend should see 46.9 million Americans traveling 50 or more miles from home, which would be the highest number since 2007, according to auto club AAA. Most of the traveling, or 90%, will be driving. AAA reported that the average price for a regular gallon of gasoline is $2.14, 75 cents cheaper than last year this time. AAA went on to say that the average price for a regular gallon of gas could drop below $2 by Christmas.