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September 16, 2018 | Consumer Expectations: Home Prices, Spending, Household Income, Inflation

Mike 'Mish' Shedlock

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.
Every month, the NY Fed conducts a survey of consumer expectations. The lead chart is from the Fed, I created the others

The New York Fed Survey of Consumer Expectations shows “Consumers’ Expectations Largely Stable; while Home Price Growth Expectations Continue to Retreat”.

Year-ahead inflation expectations remained steady at 3.0 percent over the month while three-year-ahead expectations ticked up by 0.1 point to 3.0 percent. Expectations about household income and spending growth were stable at 2.8 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. Home price growth expectations retreated by 0.1 point to 3.6 percent since July, while expectations about the growth in government debt rose sharply to 7.9 percent, up from 6.9 percent in the prior month, marking the highest such reading since November 2015.

One can download the survey data and create better-looking charts. Here are a few charts I created.

One Year Ahead Household Income Projections

One Year Ahead Household Inflation Projections

One Year Ahead Household Spending Projections

Income Synopsis

25 Percent Level: 0.92% Income Increase

Median: 2.81% Income Increase

75 Percent Level: 5.88% Income Increase

Inflation Synopsis

  • 25 Percent Level: 1.28% Inflation Increase
  • Median: 3.00% Spending Inflation Increase
  • 75 Percent Level: 5.08% Inflation Increase

Spending Synopsis

25 Percent Level: 0.69% Spending Increase

Median: 3.15% Spending Increase

75 Percent Level: 8.28% Spending Increase

Assumptions

  1. The 25% level on inflation expectations may not be the same set of people as the 25% level on spending and income.
  2. The spending and income levels are highly likely to be better correlated.

Conclusions

Assuming assumption number two is correct, low end seems desperate to hold the line on spending while expecting low income growth.

The median household expects to spend a little more than they take in, and very near the median inflation exception as well.

Those at the high end expect to spend much more than they make, despite expecting a hefty 5.88% income jump. This group is likely counting on continued asset price gains.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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September 16th, 2018

Posted In: Mish Talk

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