A new survey finds Floridians aren’t all that confident about the state’s economy. The University of Florida monthly consumer confidence report fell in August to its lowest level in more than 13 years. U-F Economist and Survey Research Director Chris McCarty cites soaring energy costs, stock market swings and most notably: a housing slowdown.
“A lot of people like with the dot-coms really did not believe that there could be a downturn in housing and I think what we’re now seeing is obviously that does happen and has happened before. I think there’s cause for concern in some markets that are overvalued.”
McCarty singles out Naples, specifically. He says real estate investors bid up that housing market to unsustainable levels. When consumer confidence is low, people don’t spend as much money. McCarty has also predicted this sagging of consumer confidence for several months and was surprised it didn’t show up sooner.
University of Florida economists say consumer confidence in the state has dipped to its lowest level in more than a dozen years. The August survey found the decline was broad-based. People cited concerns over high energy costs, uncertainty over the national economy and a housing slowdown. U-F Survey Research Director Chris McCarty says the decline in consumer confidence was most pronounced in people younger than 60. He says that’s not surprising because those are the people who had been using their homes as cash machines.
“They would be more in the market to be selling their homes. And that’s where we’re really seeing an impact. There’s been an incredible increase in the inventory of homes. They’re just not moving nearly as fast as they have been over the last several years.”
McCarty expects Florida’s housing market to remain unsettled for the rest of this year and into the early part of 2007. And he expects coastal communities will continue to see further housing slowdowns beyond that.
Friday, 01 September 2006 01:00
Consumer Confidence DownWritten by WGCU Newsroom