Local Market Monitor, a National REIA preferred vendor, recently released their National Economic Outlook for December, 2018 where they share their thoughts on developments taking place in the U.S. economy.

National Economic Outlook – December 2018

December 21, 2018
By Ingo Winzer

Because homes are so expensive, income is an important way to look at real estate markets. The disturbing fact is that average income – adjusted for inflation – has remained almost the same for the past 15 years, cycling between $29,000 and $31,000. This is the median income, half of workers make more, half make less. If that’s how much money you make, you can’t buy a home (unless, of course, there are two of you).

Another way to see income is through IRS data. 80 million tax payers make less than $50,000 a year. 25 million make more than $100,000. And 30 million are in the middle. The 80 million mostly rent, the 25 million already own a home. The 30 million are the swing vote – they may rent, they may be first-time home buyers. Their economic future will have a lot to say about real estate.

In November, total jobs were up 1.6 percent from last year. Jobs were up 2.7 percent in business services, 2.2 percent in manufacturing, 2 percent in healthcare, 1.8 percent at restaurants, and 1.4 percent in finance. Jobs in retail and government were essentially flat.

While the job situation remains adequate, home prices in some large markets are leaping higher – so much higher that the danger of local real estate bubbles is again with us. Who would have thought so just five years ago? I don’t think either a recession or a real estate bust is at hand – yet. But a soft landing for either the economy or real estate markets is always wishful thinking. And bad news for one always makes the other worse.

Don’t miss what else Ingo has to say about the economy this month.
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2019 Real Estate Investment Preview
Written By Ingo Winzer


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About the Author: Ingo Winzer is President of Local Market Monitor, and has analyzed real estate markets for more than 20 years. His views on real estate markets are often quoted in the national press and in 2005, he warned that many housing markets were dangerously over-priced. Previously, Ingo was a founder and Executive Vice President of First Research, an industry research company that was acquired by Dun and Bradstreet in March 2007. He is a graduate of MIT and holds an MBA in Finance from Boston University. He resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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