Consumers Anticipate Slightly Higher Spending, Lower Income Growth

Americans’ expectations for how much more they will spend in the next year landed at 3.29 percent in March, a slight nudge from February’s 3.19 percent reading, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s monthly Survey of Consumer Expectations. The outlook for household income growth declined, landing at 2.52 percent from 2.8 percent in February. The decrease was mainly attributed to middle-income consumers younger than 40. Credit availability expectations in March were more positive than February’s responses, with the number of households expecting a much easier time obtaining credit climbing by a much greater margin than the number of households expecting a much harder time obtaining credit.

Consumers’ expectations for price inflation over the next year declined to 2.74 percent, and the three-year outlook also fell. Home price growth expectations in March rose to 3.33 percent from 3.05 percent the month prior, a 12-month high. Additional record highs were reached in March, including expectations about increases in interest rates on savings accounts and U.S. stock prices, and the expected probability of finding a job.