Real estate confidence weakens as tight supply weighs

by Steve Randall10 Oct 2017
The struggle to find homes is weighing on the confidence of American consumers and needs a resurgence of housing starts.

That’s one of the findings of September data from LegalShield which reveals that the real estate component of its index weakened by 2.5 points to 101.8 as low supply of homes drained market momentum despite strong demand.

The effects of recent hurricanes are expected to impact home sales for the rest of the year but elevated prices should provide impetus for the construction sector to increase housing starts. That should mean a boost for home sales in 2018.

The LegalShield data also warns of a higher rate of bankruptcies in the next 1-2 years due to a “substantial worsening” of student, auto and credit card debt – although there is “little concern” in the immediate future.

Foreclosures should not see a sharp rise in the near future, the report says.

Overall consumer confidence is forecast to soften over the remainder of 2017 and this data suggests that consumers’ financial stress is increasing.

The weakened confidence could see consumers tightening their belts during the key retail season, adding pressure to retailers and that component of the commercial real estate market.

“Consumer spending accounts for a huge portion—more than two-thirds—of the US economy,” explained James Rosseau, LegalShield’s chief commercial officer. “Although we’re not expecting a poor retail season ahead, decision makers who are counting on a banner year for retail spending might be disappointed.”

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