Home Prices continue to rise | Confirmation hearing incoming Fed Chair Jerome Powell | Consumer Optimism surged

November 28, 2017

Home prices continued to rise in September buoyed by low mortgage rates, an improving economy and a strong labor market. The September S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index rose 6.2% year over year, above the 5.8% registered in August. It was the biggest increase in more than three years. “Most economic indicators suggest that home prices can see further gains,” David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, said in a statement. “One dark cloud for housing is affordability — rising prices mean that some people will be squeezed out of the market.”

A confirmation hearing for incoming Fed Chair nominee Jerome Powell will take place at 9:45 a.m. ET today but there should be no surprises. Mr. Powell says he expects interest rates to rise somewhat further and the size of the balance sheet to shrink gradually. Mr. Powell is expected to pursue a similar course to outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Mr. Powell will be the 16th chairman, which dates back to 1914.

Consumer optimism surged in November fueled by a strong labor market. The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index hit 129.5 this month, a 17-year high, above the 124.0 expected and up from the 126.2 recorded in October. Those Americans stating jobs are “plentiful” increased from 36.7% to 37.1%, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” decreased slightly from 17.1% to 16.9%. Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board said, “Consumers are entering the holiday season in very high spirits and foresee the economy expanding at a healthy pace into the early months of 2018.”

Consumers shopping for clothes