Housing Affordability Remains a Persistent Challenge

Fannie Mae released its Home Purchase Sentiment Index which fell 2 points in December to 85.8, reversing last month’s rise. The net share of respondents who said now is a good time to buy a home declined while the net share who reported that now is a good time to sell a home remained flat. “Entering 2018, housing affordability remains a persistent challenge, particularly in rental markets, where consumer expectations for price increases over the next 12 months reached a new survey high,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

The holiday shopping season paid off well for retailer Kohl’s as comparable sales grew by nearly 7% during November and December. That is well above the 4.9% gain on overall sales estimated by MasterCard for the holiday shopping season. The uptick in sales was accomplished by handling returns for Amazon, shrinking hundreds of stores instead of closing them while bringing in new brands, such as Under Armour.

The New Year has ushered in the highest gas prices at the pumps since 2014 due in part to higher travel volumes over the holidays coupled with rising oil prices. The national average price for a regular gallon of gasoline is at $2.49, with motorists in the Northeast, South and upper Midwest seeing pump prices rise as much as $0.13 from more than a week or two ago. However, now that holiday traveling season is over, motorists can expect gas prices to trend cheaper this month as gasoline demand eases.