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C. Alan Joyce

Explore Economic News with Wolfram|Alpha

April 5, 2011 —
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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.

Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Miami Case–Shiller index

Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Miami Case–Shiller index

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.

Home prices in the US

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:

Have you found any interesting results while exploring economic data in Wolfram|Alpha? Share them below.


I’m looking forward to this expanding to contain some Canadian and European country economic data as well. Exciting stuff!

Posted by Peter April 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Agreed, exciting stuff, especially when you take into consideration that tons of tagged financial information is coming on stream in the XBRL format, which readily lends itself to cloud-based semantic analysis. When will WolframAlpha come on board?

Posted by Chris Dreyer April 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Looking forward to scatter plot functionality built into WA!

Posted by Samuel Chen April 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I have requested two times already, to post the properties of structural steel shapes, as published by the AISC. This is important stuff for civil and structural engineers. A must for W|A
Please HELP!

Posted by Roberto Roy April 5, 2011 at 10:43 pm