National and Macroeconomic Overview

Natural catastrophes, including a devastating series of hurricanes and an intense wildfire season in the Western United States, have stressed many regions of the country during the third quarter of 2017. Nevertheless, the economy has thus far held steady within the moderate bounds of growth that have typified the recovery from the Global Financial Crisis of a decade ago. Although short-term impacts of the storms and fires will make headlines, the economy is large and resilient. It should sustain momentum with year-over-year GDP growth of 2.0% – 2.5% for both the remainder of 2017 and through 2018.

Mixed signals typify the reports from key economic sectors. Consumption, which represents about 70 percent of the U.S. economy, had a second quarter uptick as it did a year ago. In 2016, second quarter personal consumption grew at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent (up from 1.8 percent in the first quarter). This year, second quarter spending hit 3.3 percent (up from first quarter’s 1.9 percent). This pattern of a weak first quarter has frequently been seen since 2010. Existing home sales are running at 5.35 million, up just 0.2% year over year, the median home price is up 5.6 percent from a year ago. An increasing trade deficit acts as a depressant on GDP growth, and while real exports have been up 1.9% (as of August), real imports expanded more quickly at 2.8 percent.

Read more: Central_2017_Q3_State_of_Market_web

Economist Hugh F. Kelly PhD, CRE, who leads TCN’s Real Estate Economic Committee, is Clinical Professor at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate where he has taught for 30 years. He is widely cited in the real estate industry and is a frequent speaker around the world.