The State of the Economy: Positive Signs, But Challenges Remain

It’s certainly been a tumultuous couple of years for the economy. Between the financial crash of 2007-2008, the recession, continued volatility, a crash in real estate value, and the current government debt crisis, economists have been anything but bored recently. Of course, investors are paying close attention as well. While few people are happy about the idea of tying their financial future to politicians in Washington DC and bankers on Wall Street, the reality is that the state of the economy goes a long way towards determining sound investment strategy. Bloomberg recently published an update on the state of the real estate market, consumer confidence, and the economy as a whole. Below is a brief excerpt:

Americans signed more contracts in October to purchase previously owned homes, another sign the recovery in the housing market is being sustained.

The index of pending home resales climbed 5.2 percent, exceeding the highest estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists, to 104.8 after a revised 0.4 percent gain in September, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast in the Bloomberg survey called for a 1 percent gain.

The lowest mortgage rates on record, stable prices and waning foreclosures are helping underpin sales three years after the last recession ended. Federal Reserve policy makers have targeted the industry with purchases of mortgage-backed securities as they seek to bolster the labor market and the expansion.

“As folks start to feel a little more comfortable about their home price, they’re going to put it on the market and you’re going to start to see this trend continue” of higher sales, Anika Khan, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based senior economist at Wells Fargo & Co., said before the report. “We still see the overall residential market continuing to add to growth in the coming quarters.”

Consumer Confidence

“We’ve had very good housing affordability conditions for quite some time, but we’re seeing more impact now from steady job creation, and rising consumer confidence about home buying now that home prices have clearly turned positive,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the Realtors’ group, said in a statement.

As you can see, there are reasons for optimism. But there is also a long way to go before the economy regains full strength. In the meantime, it’s important to pay attention so that you’re not caught off guard—like so many have been in recent years. If you’d like to learn more, or if you’d like help navigating these turbulent economic waters, please get in touch with me today!

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