Increases in personal incomes, low interest rates, and record numbers of home sales will accompany the stronger economy and spur the industry. Census data estimates show that expenditures for residential remodeling and repairs will total approximately $191.3 billion in 2004, up from $182.6 in 2003.
The National Association of Realtors' Housing Affordability Index rose dramatically in the fall. The Consumer Confidence Index dropped sharply in December. The current level of 80.3 is perilously close to October's 79.6, when the index dropped precipitously to its lowest level since November 1993.
At 49.3 in the third quarter, the RMI for current conditions is down from 52.7 in the second quarter; the Future Expectations Index dropped to 48.0 from 52.2 a quarter earlier. Consumer confidence Consumer confidence fell for the fifth straight month in October. Second mortgage interest rates were about 5.13% in October vs. the record low of 5.11% in September.
Consumer confidence fell for the fourth straight month in September, according to The Conference Board. Sales of existing homes declined by 1.7% in August, even as already very low mortgage rates continued to drop. Another sign that the economic recovery is threatened comes from a third straight drop in The Conference Board's Index of Economic Indicators in August.