Home Prices

A sign rests in front of a newly constructed home, in Westwood, Massachusetts. 

U.S. home prices rise 10.1% in December, fastest since 2014

WASHINGTON | U.S. home prices surged at the fastest pace in nearly seven years in December, fueled by low mortgage rates and Americans moving from crowded urban areas to houses in the suburbs.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, climbed 10.1% in December from a year earlier. The year-end jump was the biggest since April 2014 and follows a strong 9.2% year-over-year gain in November.

Home prices climbed 14.4% in Phoenix , 13.6% in Seattle and 13% in Seattle in December. But prices rose all over. Chicago, which recorded the slowest price gain, saw a 7.7% uptick. Detroit was not included in the year-over-year figures because of record-keeping delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Consumer confidence rises for second straight month

SILVER SPRING, Md. | U.S. consumer confidence rose again in February as an accelerating COVID-19 vaccine push provides hope for Americans who have lived through a year of unprecedented restrictions.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 91.3, up from 88.9 in January.

However, despite the improved vaccination rollout, consumers are more optimistic about current conditions than they are about the near future. The present situation index, which is based on consumers' assessment of current business and labor market conditions, rose to 92 from 85.5 last month.

BLM in Italian Fashion campaign shows early tangible results

MILAN | A digital runway show by five Italian fashion designers of African origin opens Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday, one tangible result of a campaign launched last summer by the only Black Italian designer belonging to the Milan fashion chamber.

After some initial resistance and a slow start, designer Stella Jean credits the Italian National Fashion Chamber with "a lot of goodwill" in pushing through an enhanced collaboration with five young designers, including financing and partnerships with Italian suppliers.

She launched the campaign with designer Edward Buchanan and Afro Fashion Week Milano founder Michelle Ngomo after fashion houses expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matters Movement on Instagram, demanding that they put action behind their social media pledges. 

Puerto Rico rejects key deal with creditors to reduce debt

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico | Puerto Rico's governor announced Tuesday that a federal control board reached a key deal that would reduce the U.S. territory's overall debt by nearly 80%, but that his administration is rejecting it amid concerns about cuts to the island's crumbling public pension system.

The impasse between the governor and a board that oversees Puerto Rico's finances threatens to throw into limbo attempts to end a bankruptcy-like process for a government that six years ago declared unpayable its more than $70 billion public debt load.

The deal was reached with creditors who hold general obligation bonds and Public Building Authority bonds sold by Puerto Rico's government and would resolve $35 billion worth of debt and non-debt claims, according to the board. It also would reduce debt held by those creditors from $18.8 billion to $7.4 billion, a 61% reduction, and would provide them with $7.4 billion in bonds and $7 billion in cash, among other things.