first_img Share in Daily Dose, Headlines, Market Studies, News FHFA House Price Index Shows 1.4 Percent Increase U.S. home prices rose for the 14th consecutive quarter by 1.4 percent, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s House Price Index released Thursday. The price increase was seen in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index in the fourth quarter of 2014.Home prices rose 4.9 percent from the fourth quarter in 2013 and the adjusted monthly index for December was up 0.8 percent from November.”Contrary to prior indications of a possible slowdown, home price appreciation in the fourth quarter was relatively strong,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis.  “The key drivers of appreciation over the last few years—low inventories of homes available for sa​le and improvement in labor markets—likely played a role in driving up prices during the quarter.”The HPI is calculated by using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.FHFA’s expanded HPI is up 1.3 percent prior to last quarter. That index is up 6 percent from last year. The seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose 4.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2014.The seasonally adjusted, purchase HPI rose in 48 states and Washington D.C. The top five areas in annual appreciation were: Washington D.C., 12.5 percent; Nevada, 9 percent; North Dakota, 8.4 percent; Colorado 7.9 percent; Michigan, 7.8 percent.Fourth quarter increases for the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S. was greatest in San Francisco-Redwood City in  the South San Francisco, California area, where prices increased by 6.0 percent. Prices were weakest in El Paso, Texas falling 6.6 percent.Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest growth with a 1.8 percent quarterly increase and a 5.5 percent increase since last year.  House price appreciation was weakest in the New England division, where prices fell .03 percent.The monthly seasonally adjusted, purchase-only index for the U.S. has increased for 23 of the last 24 months. November was the month which showed a decrease in 2013.last_img read more

Read More

first_imgIn the three years since winning “Jeopardy,” Watson hasn’t made many headlines, but the ever-evolving supercomputer has gotten smarter, faster and smaller while dipping its toes into a lot more than trivia.On Valentine’s Day 2011, Watson took on Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in a three-game tournament of “Jeopardy,” beating two of the most successful contestants in the game show’s history. Badly. Watson ended the game with a score of US$77,147, more than triple Jennings’ $24,000 and Rutter’s $21,600.“Since ‘Jeopardy,’ there’s been a lot of application development that’s gone on top of Watson, and a lot of base improvements,” said Jerry Cuomo, IBM fellow and CTO of IBM WebSphere. “We’ve focused on bringing Watson to healthcare, financial markets, retail, really expanding it beyond the game-show model.”In January, IBM gave Watson a billion-dollar vote of confidence, investing that amount in the new Watson Group focusing on research and development of cloud-based cognitive applications and services. Only a month and a half later, at Mobile World Congress, the Watson Group launched the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge, a global competition giving developers a chance to leverage the supercomputer’s APIs into a new generation of mobile apps. (Related: What Watson was up to since “Jeopardy”)At the time of Watson’s “Jeopardy” appearance, it was the size of a master bedroom. It’s now been reduced to the size of three stacked pizza boxes, and uses hypothesis generation techniques such as data mining, optimized algorithms and text analytics to answer questions. According to IBM, Watson’s engineers have also reduced its codebase by 30%, improved response speed by 240%, and increased question length from two sentences to 14 pages.Healthcare, retail and food trucksUsing a new natural language processing feature, Watson can now decipher industry-specific data such as doctor’s notes and medical jargon, bringing its superhuman intelligence to the healthcare field.“Think about an oncologist giving a diagnosis to their cancer patient,” Cuomo said. “The doctor checks their Watson mobile app, and it gives them a different diagnosis than they expected. Maybe the reasoning is because they’re a mere mortal and couldn’t have read all the reference material to make the correct diagnosis. In this context, Watson helps not only the quality of the results but the reasoning behind the results.”last_img read more

Read More

first_imgApple is looking to make it easier for Android users to jump ship. As reported by IT World, Apple is planning to release a new app later this year that will make it easier for Android users to transition to iOS. The app, called Move to iOS, will move contacts, messages, photos, e-mail, calendars and Web history from a user’s Android device onto their new iOS device.More information is available here.last_img

Read More