Per Bloomberg’s Consumer Comfort Index, released This Week in Real Estate, American consumers were more upbeat in 2017 than at any other time since 2001. Below are a few highlights from the first week of 2018 that influence our business:
* Experts: 2018 Set To Be Best Economic Year Since Housing Crisis.Although December’s job report numbers disappointed experts’ expectations, many explained that the end-of-year increase in construction jobs is just what the housing market needed. “Overall, the job market performed well in 2017 and is a key reason why the economy is poised for its best year since the crisis in 2018,” said Curt Long, National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions chief economist. “One bright spot we saw in the report is the biggest monthly rise in residential construction employment in 2017, raising hopes for some supply relief for housing this year,” Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said. “Residential construction jobs rose to the highest since 2008 as builders work to add supply given the tight inventory and rising home prices,” LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze said. “Construction employment increased by 210,000 in 2017, compared with a gain of 155,000 in 2016.”
* Consumer Comfort in U.S. Advanced in 2017 to a 16-Year High.American consumers last year were more upbeat on average than at any time since 2001, reflecting more favorable views of the economy, personal finances and the buying climate, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index released Thursday. Sentiment in 2017 got a boost from the combination of a solid labor market that’s pushed unemployment to an almost 17-year low, limited inflation and record stock prices. Such optimism should help keep consumers spending after a bright holiday-shopping season. Retail sales during the year-end holidays may have been the strongest in more than a decade, according to calculations from research firm Customer Growth Partners. Optimism about the economy increased as the jobless rate declined and economic growth exceeded 3 percent annualized rates in the second and third quarters of 2017.
* Private Residential Spending Is On The Rise.NAHB analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending rose 1% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $530.8 billion. It was the highest level since February 2007. Total private residential construction spending was 7.9% higher than a year ago. The monthly gains are largely attributed to the strong growth of spending on single-family. Single-family construction spending rose to a $270.1 billion annual pace in November, up by 1.9%. It was the highest monthly annual rate since November 2007. This is in line with the strong readings of single-family housing starts and solid builder confidence.