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FHFA Analyzes Impact Of Distressed Sales On Pricing

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WASHINGTON (8/14/13)--The Federal Housing Finance Agency Tuesday released a paper that evaluates the impact of distressed sales--sales of bank-owned properties and short sales--on the FHFA house price index.
 
The study details recent and historical price discounts associated with distressed sales and provides statistical evidence supporting the validity of the approach FHFA has used to form its "distress-free" house price indexes, said FHFA. Such indexes, which were first released in the summer of 2012, show price trends free of the direct effects of distressed sales.
 
"Working Paper 13-01: Distressed Sales and the FHFA House Price Index" was authored by FHFA's Principal Economist Andrew Leventis and Economist Will Doerner in the agency's department of Housing Finance Research and Analysis.
 
FHFA working papers are preliminary products circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment. The analysis and conclusions are those of the authors and do not imply concurrence by other staff at FHFA or its director, the agency said.
 
To access the paper, use the link.

July Retail Sales' Gains Most Since December

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WASHINGTON (8/14/13)--U.S. consumer spending in the retail sector during July increased at its fastest pace in seven months, indicating quicker economic growth and that the U.S economy is surmounting the effects of federal budget cuts and higher taxes (The New York Times and Bloomberg.com Aug. 13).
 
Retail sales rose 0.02%--the fourth consecutive monthly gain--following a 0.6% gain in June, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Excluding building materials, cars and gasoline, retail sales climbed 0.5% in July.
 
Recent employment gains may be prompting households to spend somewhat more freely, Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics in London, told the Times.
 
Retail sales are a crucial component of the department's gauge of consumer spending--which contributes 70% of the output of the U.S. economy and is the economy's biggest driver, the Times said.