The Gazette’s quarterly economic dashboard for the third quarter of 2019 shows another march upward in home sale prices and a modest increase in consumer spending in a local market with relatively low unemployment.
State data for July, August and September shows a 1% uptick in consumer spending as retail spending here reached $780 million, a new high-water mark for the decade. However, the uptick represents the smallest third-quarter increase in retail spending in three years. Meanwhile, new vehicle sales fell 6.4% compared to the third quarter of 2018.
The local unemployment rate in the third quarter remained below 4% for the sixth straight quarter, with September’s jobless rate dipping to 3.5% from an August rate of 3.9%.
Housing prices continued to climb.
The median home sale price in late summer and early fall was $169,400—a 5% increase over the same period last year. That is about on pace with year-over increases in home sale prices over the last two years.
It comes as the inventory of available homes remains the tightest in decades and relatively few new homes are being built compared to the years before the Great Recession.