What Consumer Sentiment Surveys Mean To Housing Markets

Americans are feeling better about their budgets right now, raising the possibility of a full economic recovery.

According to a University of Michigan and Reuters, Consumer Sentiment rose for the fifth straight month in June.

Consumer Sentiment is now at its highest levels since September 2008, the month in which Lehman Brothers failed, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were nationalized, and the global financial crisis is believed to have peaked.

Rising confidence levels are important to the economy — and to housing –because a confident consumer is more likely to make the big-ticket purchases that propel the economy forward. 

This includes buying new homes.

That said, the Consumer Sentiment Survey has its flaws. 

For one, the survey’s sample set includes just 500 families.  This is hardly a cross-section of America.  Secondly, when people feel better about their finances, it doesn’t always lead to additional consumer spending — it could lead to more saving.

What people say they’ll do and what they actually do can be two very different things, but if consumer spending does increase in the months ahead, expect home sales to benefit on the willingness of families to “take more chances” and expect mortgage rates to suffer on concerns for inflation.