If you’re concerned about the US economy, you probably caught last week’s news that Standard & Poor’s Case–Shiller home price index for 20 large cities continued to decline in January. If you’re curious to know more about recent housing trends in the US, you can not only ask Wolfram|Alpha about the 20-city index, but also for details on any of the major metropolitan areas included in that composite. For example, query “Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Miami Case–Shiller index”, and you can see just how big the housing “bubble” was in each of these four cities.
Wolfram|Alpha’s outputs for queries about Case–Shiller also include the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) home price index for comparison. The two indices utilize quite different methodologies: for example, Case–Shiller looks only at homes that have sold at least twice, and thus excludes all new construction; FHFA is based only on home sales with conforming home mortgages (loans less than $417,000). General queries about “home prices in the US”, or in a specific city, also include data about single-family home sale prices, the distribution of home values, and the number of owner-occupied housing units in the selected region.
And of course, Wolfram|Alpha makes it easy to explore trends and potential correlations between any two types of data. We whipped up this simple Wolfram|Alpha Widget to allow you to quickly see how closely the home price index tracks indicators like unemployment, housing starts, and vehicle sales:
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