MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
Consumer sentiment index falls 4.9 percent in March and 29.7 percent year-on-year
Consumer Sentiment continued to decline in March (down 4.9% from February and 29.7% year-on-year) due to falling inflation-adjusted incomes, recently accelerated by rising fuel prices as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Personal finances were expected to worsen in the year ahead by the largest proportion since the surveys started in the mid-1940s.
Consumers held very negative prospects for the economy, with the sole exception of the job market.
Value of owner-occupied real estate surges by record amount
From $36.8 trillion in the third quarter of 2021, the value of owner-occupied real estate increased by $1.3 trillion (3.5%) to $38.1 trillion in the fourth quarter. Households’ real estate’s year-over-year gain in the fourth quarter was 15.5%, the largest post-Great Recession increase of its kind.
Number of U.S. homeowners with negative equity drops to lowest level in over 12 years
U.S. homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 63% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by 29.3% year over year, representing a collective equity gain of over $3.2 trillion, and an average gain of $55,300 per borrower, since the fourth quarter of 2020. The appreciation helped push the national negative equity figure to the lowest in over a dozen years, with just 1.1 million homeowners underwater on their mortgages.