Housing Market Index Is Up, Should Help Buoy CPIDecember 17, 2013
The NAHB Housing Market Index increased to 58 to post the highest number since August, which is also the highest level of the recovery. The HMI correlates pretty well with house prices. And house prices, in turn, tend to lead CPI Owner’s Equivalent Rent. Thus, this is an important release today because housing makes up nearly 1/3 of the CPI index for United States. So even though inflation may be looking dangerously low from a headline level (as it printed a low 1.2% year-over-year gain today), stronger housing prices and rent should help keep the US out of outright deflation.