Posts Tagged ‘inflation’

Sales to First-Time Home Buyers Fell 34% in 2017

Posted on November 16, 2017 by Laura Lam

First time homebuyers continue to struggle to enter the housing market amidst limited housing inventory, falling to the fourth lowest level since 1981, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report.  The share of first time homebuyers in the housing market decreased from 35% in 2016 to 34% in 2017. In the 36-year history of NAR’s report, the long-term average of first-time homebuyers rests at 39%. “The dreams of many aspiring first-time buyers were unfortunately dimmed over the past year by persistent inventory shortages, which undercut their ability to become homeowners,” stated NAR…

No Housing Bubble … Just Yet

Posted on August 17, 2017 by Laura Lam

As home prices continue to rise across the U.S., the dreaded b-word is beginning to be heard in some overheated markets.  However, many companies insist that despite the 8.3 million low-income residents who can’t afford their local rent, according to a new study from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the housing market is still not in a bubble. The most recent Case-Shiller results pointed out the housing market is growing more expensive, however it is not about to repeat the bubble years.  Ten-X, an online real estate company, became the latest company to explain the housing market is not at risk of…

Beige Book: Slower Growth, Less Optimism

Posted on June 09, 2017 by Laura Lam

Economic growth slowed across parts of the U.S. in recent weeks, and some firms have become a bit less optimistic about the future, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve.  “A majority of districts reported that firms expressed positive near-term outlooks; however, optimism waned somewhat in a few districts,” the Fed said in its latest Beige Book report. Broadly, the Fed said economic growth was modest in 7 districts, moderate in 4 districts and “flattened out” in the New York Fed district. The prior beige book said activity expanded in all 12 regions with the pace equally split…

Home Prices Not Back To Pre-Crisis Levels

Posted on June 05, 2017 by Laura Lam

Home prices increase a little more each month, even hitting new peaks in many markets, yet experts insist they are not back at bubble-era levels.  The most recent Case-Shiller results show home prices rose 5.8% from last year to the highest pace in 33 months.  Black Knight also released its Home Price Index Report, showing home prices rose to a median $272,000 in March. This represents a new peak in home prices, and a rise of 2.3% from the start of the year. In fact, the chart from Calculated Risks shows home prices are nearing, if not level with, pre-crisis peaks, according to different measures of home…

Consumer Optimism Surges in March

Posted on April 13, 2017 by Laura Lam

Consumers continued growing more optimistic in March, however much of the increasing sentiment is due to changed evaluative criteria, according to the Survey of Consumers conducted by the University of Michigan.  The Index of Consumer Sentiment came in at 96.9 in March, an increase of 0.6% from February’s 96.3 and 6.5% from 91 in March 2016, according to the survey. This is slightly lower than the beginning of the month, when the index increased to 97.6. “The continued strength in consumer sentiment has been due to optimistic views on three critical components: higher incomes and wealth, more favorable job prospects, and low inflation…

8 Years and Counting: No Recession in Sight

Posted on February 08, 2017 by Laura Lam

It’s been almost 8 years since the last recession ended in June 2009.  With economists predicting the next 2 years won’t bring a recession, that could put the economy on track for its longest period without a recession in modern history. “The longest was back in the 1990s under Bill Clinton and we went 10 years without having a recession,” explained Steve Rick, chief economist for CUNA Mutual Group.  “We’ll hit 8 years, which is long-that’s a good stretch with no recession. We don’t expect another recession for another two years, so we could break the record of 10 years.” In…

The Cost of the ’12 Days of Christmas’ in 2016

Posted on December 13, 2016 by Laura Lam

Have you ever wondered how much each of those gifts mentioned in tune would cost your true love?  PNC released its annual Christmas Price Index and it showed that prices for items from the Christmas carol “The 12 Days of Christmas” rose by 0.7% from last year. That’s slightly up from the 0.6% pace in 2015. The cost of everything on the list, from the partridge to the drummers, totaled $34,363.49, an increase of a few hundred dollars from last year. But as the carol goes, all of the gifts except the drummers are counted multiple times, bringing the cost up to…

A “New Normal” of Slow Growth Coming in 2017

Posted on December 05, 2016 by Laura Lam

The median estimate from economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics calls for the American economy to grow 2.2% in 2017, up from a forecast 1.6% this year and unchanged from the previous survey in September. The improved number is still lackluster by historical standards. U.S. economic growth averaged 3.1% a year from 1948 to 2015, according to the Congressional Research Service. But the business economists say Americans need to get used to slow growth: 80% of those surveyed believe the potential growth rate of the American economy will remain at 2.5% or lower over the next 5…

Household Income Grew 5.2% in 2015

Posted on October 06, 2016 by Laura Lam

Americans last year reaped the largest economic gains in nearly a generation as poverty fell, health insurance coverage spread and incomes rose sharply for households on every rung of the economic ladder, ending years of stagnation.  The median household’s income in 2015 was $56,500, up 5.2% from the previous year – the largest single-year increase since record-keeping began in 1967, according to the Census Bureau.   The share of Americans living in poverty also posted the sharpest decline in decades. The gains were an important milestone for the economic expansion that began in 2009. For the first time in recent years, the…

Why are Cities and States Reluctant to Borrow?

Posted on August 26, 2016 by Laura Lam

Wall Street is urging governments to invest in big-ticket infrastructure projects. Voters and public officials have a different message: not so fast.  Plunging global interest rates have made borrowing cheaper than ever. But instead of spending on aging roads, bridges and buildings, many state and local governments are scaling back. New government-bond issues have dropped to levels not seen in the past 20 years. Municipal borrowers issued about $140 billion in bonds for new projects last year. Adjusted for inflation, that is 53% lower than in 2006 and 21% lower than in 1996. So far this year, municipalities have borrowed…