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Measuring Economic Stress on Housing

Consumer confidence appears to be easing, according to a new report from LegalShield. LegalShield’s Consumer Confidence Index fell nearly 10 points to 121.5 in June and is down 2.7 points compared to last quarter. While consumer optimism remains elevated, confidence in the U.S. economy has declined over the last six to nine months. Consumer spending grew in Q1 at its second weakest pace since Q2 2013. However, the combination of historically low unemployment, rising household net worth, and record-high stock prices should keep consumers on good footing as the economic expansion enters its 11th year.

“Though the LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index increased in the second quarter, consumers remain on good footing despite some recent dips in confidence,” said Scott Grissom, SVPt and Chief Product Officer, LegalShield. “With this being said, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a slow build in consumer financial stress in the coming months, reflecting weak growth in real disposable income, falling demand for credit card loans, and a softening global outlook.”

LegalShield’s Foreclosure Index increased by 2.1 points in Q2 2019, and despite headwinds, consumer financial stress is low as foreclosure activity remains muted. Additionally, the share of all delinquent mortgages at least one payment past due is down 21 basis points year over year.

According to CoreLogic’s July Loan Performance Insight Report, 3.8% of home mortgages were in some stage of delinquencies—down from 4.1% last July and the lowest July figure in more than 20 years.

Housing starts improved in Q2, but LegalShield notes that the data does not point to a resurgence in building starts. LegalShield’s housing index increased 2.4 points year over year, to the highest point in three years. Homebuyers are weighed down mostly by affordability issues, as the National Association of Realtor’s Housing Affordability Index recorded its lowest level of the year in May.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing. He is a contributing writer for MReport. An East Texas Native, he has studied abroad in Athens, Greece and works part-time as a photographer.

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