1. There’s a pretty strong consensus among economists and analysts that U.S. home prices bottomed in 2011 and have been gradually rising in 2012 as the housing market entered a new period of recovery this year. The chart above summarizes eight key home price indicators, which are all showing strong, positive increases in home prices (or asking prices) through either September or October on a year-over-year basis.
2. Lumber prices (spot prices for framing lumber and CME lumber futures) continue on an upward trend since reaching a cyclical low in early 2009, and are now at their highest levels since 2006 (except for a brief spike in spot prices in early 2010, see chart above). The rising prices for lumber could be related to the rebound in home building – housing starts reached a four-year high in October.
3. For the second month in a row, Texas oil output surpassed 2 million barrels per day in September surging to the highest level of production since March 1988, more than 23 years ago (see chart above). September’s output of Texas oil was 34% above a year ago, and oil output in the Lone Star State has almost doubled in just the last three years.
4. Texas oil output for the month of September, at 2.05 million barrels per day, was just slightly lower than all of the oil imports from the Persian Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar) at 2.07 million. The last time Texas oil output matched Persian Gulf oil imports was back in 1996 (see chart).