U.S. Outlook: The consumer is solid; what about housing?
The incoming economic data continues to justify our sanguine outlook for the U.S. economy in 2014.
- December retail sales were up 3.8% over last year, setting the stage for consumers as economic linchpin of 2014.
- While mortgage refi applications are down well below last year levels, new mortgages are only 9% below year-ago levels.
- Homebuilder confidence remains very high in the West, hitting a new cyclical high in January.
- Bad weather may be a culprit in the December dip in housing starts, partially offsetting the strong gains of November.
- Our outlook for solid U.S. housing market gains in 2014 remains intact.