Consumers Regaining Confidence to Borrow and Spend

Despite a short decrease in consumer spending in July, data indicates that consumer spending and confidence are increasing overall. This is largely due to an improving labor market as well as an increase in availability of factors that help consumers live beyond their means.

One factor is the willingness of consumers to borrow, allowing the stock and housing markets to do their savings for them. This is a particularly positive indicator, as it not only shows the confidence of consumers but also the confidence of lenders.

Asset prices are near their highest level, and the link between their value and consumer spending (the “wealth effect”) predicts that these stronger prices will give consumers the confidence to add more leverage. On top of this, credit is rising in economically sensitive sectors, such as car-loans, while total household debit service is at an all-time low. Eventually households will feel the burn of economically harsh times again, but it appears that consumers have a lot of spending to do before then.


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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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