The Associated Press
The average American household is earning less than when the Great Recession ended four years ago, according to a report released Wednesday.
U.S. median household income, once adjusted for inflation, has fallen 4.4 percent in that time, according to the report from Sentier Research. The report is based on an analysis of Census Bureau data.
The median, or midpoint, income in June 2013 was $52,098. That’s down from $54,478 in June 2009, when the recession officially ended. And it’s below the $55,480 that the median household took in when the recession began in December 2007.
The report says nearly every group is worse off than four years ago, except for those 65 to 74. Some groups have experienced larger-than-average declines, including blacks, young and upper-middle-aged people and the unemployed.
Previously owned home sales fell unexpectedly in June as tight supply and increasing rates for mortgages imperiled the real-estate market recovery in the U.S.
Purchases (ETSLTOTL) fell 1.2 percent to a 5.08 million annualized rate, the National Association of Realtors reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 5.26 million pace. Demand was the second-strongest since November 2009 following May’s downwardly revised 5.14 million rate.
First-time buyers are having difficulty finding properties for less than $100,000 as a lack of inventory pushes up property values, and higher mortgage rates are also starting to cool demand for more expensive houses in the West and Northeast, the real-estate agents group said. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke last week said housing was one of the bright spots for growth and added policy makers will monitor the recent jump in borrowing costs to ensure it won’t derail the nascent recovery.
“Demand is still fairly strong, but this is where the inventory constraints come into play,” said Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corp. in Birmingham, Alabama, who predicted sales would decline to a 4.99 million pace. “Inventories still remain fairly tight, particularly on the low end of the price scale.”
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.2 percent to 1,695.53 at the close in New York as investors analyzed corporate earnings and home sales to gauge the prospects for continued central bank stimulus. The S&P Supercomposite Homebuilding Index dropped 1.8 percent.