Florida is standing apart from the nationwide decline in consumer confidence for the month of March. The decline has been fueled by uncertainty with regards to the economic outlook, appraisals of current conditions declining and the assessment of the labor market being mixed. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index is now at 59.7 down from 61.4 in February.
However, Florida’s consumer confidence has risen three points since February according to a University of Florida monthly survey. This rise was not expected, but can be attributed to factors such as Floridians having an overall increased perception of being financially better off than they were a year ago, increased expectations that the US economy will improve over the next year, and feeling that now is a time to buy big-ticket items. The only sign of decline in the survey was that Floridians were uncertain about whether or not they will be better off financially a year from now.
The big news and a great reason for this increased confidence in Floridians could be due to the fact that the state’s unemployment rate is now one-tenth of a percent lower than the national average of 7.8 percent. This is the first time this has happened since the recession.
Another great reason is that Florida is experiencing a strong housing market, with the median price of single-family homes at $150,000 in February. This is up almost 3.5 percent from January and 12.8 percent from a year ago. Some areas, including Tampa Bay, are experiencing housing shortages, which is then driving up prices. This is why so many buyers are checking out the Purtee Team VIP Buyer Program! It really works to get their buyers matched up to the right property as soon as it hits the market.
Finally, gas prices in the state have decreased by 15 cents a gallon in the past three weeks.
For more information on the trends, go to http://www.bebr.ufl.edu/cci