In January, consumers feel more confident about the U.S. economy, and more plan to buy a home in the next 6 months, according to a Conference Board report released Tuesday morning.
A share of 6.6% of consumers had plans to buy a home (new or existing) in the months ahead, compared to 6.2% in December, and 5.4% a year ago. However, more people express uncertainty of which type--new or existing--to buy in the future. About 2.4% of consumers say they are still not decided, more than three times larger than 0.7% a month earlier. In January, only 0.7% of consumers have made up their minds to buy new homes, compared to 1.6% from December. Those who choose to go with existing homes decreased to 3.5% from last month’s 3.9%.
The Consumer Confidence Index continued to go up to 98.1 in January, after a revised reading of 96.3 in December, but is still lower than last year’s score of 103.8.
“Consumer confidence improved slightly in January, following an increase in December,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, in a statement. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions held steady, while their expectations for the next six months improved moderately. For now, consumers do not foresee the volatility in financial markets as having a negative impact on the economy.”
Consumer confidence in business conditions also moderately improved in January---27.2% of respondents believe business conditions will improve over the next six months, a 0.1% increase from December.
The monthly survey, based on a random sample, is conducted by Nielsen for the Conference Board.