The preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for August was at 90.4, up from 90.0 in July.
Confidence inched upward in early August due to more favorable prospects for the overall economy offsetting a small pullback in personal finances. Most of the weakness in personal finances was among younger households who cited higher expenses than anticipated as well as somewhat smaller expected income gains. Concerns about Brexit have faded amid rising references to the outcome of the presidential election as a source of uncertainty about future economic prospects. Home buying has become particularly dependent on low interest rates, with net references to low interest rates spontaneously mentioned by 48%-this figure has been exceeded in only two months in the past ten years. In contrast, low housing prices were cited by just 25%, the lowest figure in ten years. Overall, the data remains consistent with real personal consumption expenditures improving at an annual rate of 2.6% through mid 2017, with new and existing home sales also benefitting from low mortgage rates.