According to University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumer, just 29% said in September that it was a good time to buy compared with 62% at the beginning of the year. Americans aren't just balking at home prices. Their outlook toward the entire economy is abysmal.
The University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 71 from 70.3 in an early September reading, bringing it just above decade-lows. And while the university's measure of future economic expectations improved, Americans' assessments of the current situation slid to the worst since April 2020.
Within the broad slump is a dismal outlook toward spending. Attitudes for buying durable goods — think appliances, electronics, and furniture — reached the most negative level since 1980, according to the university. Feelings toward buying vehicles also closed in on record lows.
Taken together, the gloomy attitudes show the American dream in tatters. Homes aren't affordable. Inflation continues to outpace wage growth, leaving Americans with eroded buying power after living through a historic pandemic. Settling down and building a life is costlier than ever, especially for millennials looking to replicate the cycle Gen X enjoyed before them.
Instead of cheering on the recovery, Americans are fearing another 2020-style COVID recession.