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Daily Economic Update: Consumer Sentiment

Each day the Research staff takes a look at recently released economic indicators, addressing what these indicators mean for REALTORS® and their clients. Today’s update highlights consumer sentiment.

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  • Preliminary consumer sentiment data out today edged up from the August reading.  The improvement was due solely to improving assessment of current conditions.  The reading of consumer expectations edged slightly lower to a new all-time low.
  • It’s possible that relatively low expectations could eventually help the economy get moving again.  As consumers find that their economic situations are better than expected, they may gain the confidence needed to bring about a recovery.  The index of consumer expectations tends to fall to its lowest levels in the middle or latter half of a recession before improving as the recession ends and recovery begins.
  • One reason that incoming data may exceed consumer expectations is low rates for borrowing which create a huge opportunity for those seeking to invest in their futures.  Freddie Mac yesterday reported that 30-year fixed rate mortgages continue to hover around 4.1 percent (and actually declined slightly from 4.12 to 4.09).  However, if tight credit conditions continue to prevent buyers from taking advantage of these opportunities, consumers’ low expectations may pan out, and the economy will continue to muddle through.

Weekly Forecast

At a glance, this table shows the forecast for some of the most pertinent weekly data for REALTORS® to keep in mind. This changes from week to week as new data becomes available. For the full forecast from the latest Pending Home Sales release, click here (PDF).

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Danielle Hale, Director of Housing Statistics

As a Research Economist at NAR, Danielle studies tax issues, the wealth impact of home ownership, and different measures of home prices.

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