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Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

A small, highly personalized real estate firm specializing in mountain homes and land in greater Asheville.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Things We Read: Economic Snapshots

No deep analysis here, just a somewhat free form roundup of recent articles from online newspapers and blogs we read in a typical week.

Real Estate Week In Review
From The Wall Street Journal's Real Estate Blog: Personal items of note would include, a 3 month high for mortgage rates, though mostly fueled by refinancing applications, and some not so good news on the future of foreclosures.

Future Foreclosures
A NY Times editorial on the matter.

US Housing Prices
Nice graph of housing prices from 1975 to the present, and from 1890 to the present, kind of puts the bubble in perspective.

PHSI
The Pending Home Sales Index rose over one year ago, however the unhealthy influence of distressed properties in the mix, (45% of total sales), cannot be overlooked. More from Interest Rate Roundup, and The Wall Street Journal.

May Economic Summary
Calculated Risk has to be one of the best sites on the web to demonstrate information graphically. This is the month of May, with almost any index imaginable, from home sales and inventories, to the Architectural Billings Index and unemployment.

PCE
Personal Consumption Expenditures, a traditional leading index of economic direction, went against history and declined in April. The savings rate however was at its highest level in 14 years.

Many articles have been written in recent months speculating whether this might be a permanent shift in consumer behavior, and what that might mean for a recovery. On a global basis, Americans have been notoriously poor savers for decades until the recent downturn.

More PCE
The retail sector, and a nice graphic as to how some typical chain stores are doing. More from The Wall Street Journal on the health of the US mall.

GDP
The contraction of GDP is graphically compared here to 5 other recessions/depressions. We are in the ballpark with all of them except 1929-1933, which despite the rhetoric is still several times worse than our current conditions.

Banks & Banking
Interesting graph and short commentary on the shrinking number of banks in the US from 1984 to the present. It's probably safe to say in this case that our policies did not bring about the increased competition that was intended.


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Filed Under: National Economic Statistics and Data

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