The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reports that a combination of high home prices and eroding affordability is expected to cut into housing demand and contribute to a weaker housing market in 2019.
C.A.R. is projecting a 3.3 percent decline in existing single-family home sales in 2019, down from a projected 410,460 in 2018 to 396,800 in 2019. The 2018 figure is 3.2 percent lower compared to the 424,100 homes sold in 2017.
“While home prices are predicted to temper next year, interest rates will likely rise and compound housing affordability issues,” said C.A.R. 2018 president Steve White. “Would-be buyers who are concerned that home prices may have peaked will wait on the sidelines until they have more clarity on where the housing market is headed. This could hold back housing demand and hamper home sales in 2019.”
C.A.R. also is forecasting growth in the U.S. gross domestic product of 2.4 percent in 2019, after a projected gain of 3.0 percent in 2018. With California’s nonfarm job growth at 1.4 percent, down from a projected 2.0 percent in 2018, the state’s unemployment rate will remain at 4.3 percent in 2019, unchanged from 2018’s figure but down from and 4.8 percent in 2017.
C.A.R. also predicts the average for 30-year, fixed mortgage interest rates will rise to 5.2 percent in 2019, up from 4.7 percent in 2018 and 4.0 percent in 2017, but will still remain low by historical standards.
Rising mortgage interest rates coupled with higher home prices in California is expected to mean that only 25 percent of households statewide will be able to afford a median-priced home in 2019, said C.A.R. If the past is any indication, the percentage of households that will be able to afford a single-family home in San Diego County next year will be even fewer.
The median home price statewide is forecast to increase 3.1 percent to $593,450 in 2019, following a projected 7.0 percent increase in 2018 to $575,800, according to C.A.R.
“The surge in home prices over the past few years due to the housing supply shortage has finally taken a toll on the market,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Despite an improvement in supply conditions, there is a high level of uncertainty about the direction of the market that is affecting homebuying decisions. This psychological effect is creating a mismatch in price expectations between buyers and sellers and will limit price growth in the upcoming year.”
Outmigration, resulting from the state’s housing affordability issue, will also be a primary concern for the California housing market in 2019 as interest rates are expected to rise further next year. The high housing cost is driving Californians to leave their current county or even the state.
According to C.A.R.’s 2018 State of the Housing Market/Study of Housing: Insight, Forecast, Trends (SHIFT) report, 28 percent of homebuyers moved out of the county in which they previously resided in 2018, up from 21 percent in 2017.
The outmigration trend was even worse in the Bay Area, where housing was the least affordable, with 35 percent of homebuyers moving out because of affordability constraints. Southern California did not fare any better as 35 percent of homebuyers moved out of their county for the same reason, a significant jump from 21 percent in 2017. The substantial surge in homebuyers fleeing the state is reflected by the home sales decline in Southern California, which was down on a year-over-year basis for the first eight months of 2018.
Outmigration will not abate as long as home prices are out of reach and interest rates rise in the upcoming year, said C.A.R.
November’s sales figure was down 3.9 percent from October and 13.4 percent from November 2017. Homes were selling at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 381,400 units in November, compared to 440,340 a year ago. November marked the fourth month in a row that sales were below 400,000.
Sales in San Diego were down 8.4 percent in November 2018 from October 2018 and 11.0 percent compared to November 2017.
“While many home buyers continue to sit on the sidelines, serious buyers who are in a position to purchase should take advantage of this window of opportunity,” said C.A.R. President Jared Martin. “Now that interest rates have pulled back, home prices have tapered, and inventory has improved, home buyers’ prospects of getting into a home are more positive.”
C.A.R. said November’s statewide median home price declined to $554,760, down 3.0 percent from $572,000 in October but up 1.5 percent from a revised $546,820 in November 2017.
Prices are falling in San Diego as well. The median price in November 2018 was $626,000, down 1.5 percent from $635,500 in October 2018, but still 1.0 percent above last November’s $619,900.
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 381,400 units in November, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2018 if sales maintained the November pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
“The slowdown in price growth is occurring throughout the state, including regions that have strong economic fundamentals such as the San Francisco Bay Area,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The deceleration in home price appreciation should be a welcome sign for potential buyers who have struggled in recent years against low inventory and rapidly rising home prices.”
Other key points from C.A.R.’s November 2018 resale housing report included:
- Statewide active listings rose for the eighth consecutive month after nearly three straight years of declines, increasing 31 percent from the previous year. November’s listings increase was the largest since April 2014.
- The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home edged up from 22 days in November 2017 to 28 days in November 2018. Meanwhile, in San Diego County, the median number of days a home remained unsold on the market was 22 days in November 2018, compared to 24 days in October 2018 and 17 days in November 2017.
- The unsold inventory index, which is a ratio of inventory over sales, increased year-to-year from 2.9 months in November 2017 to 3.7 months in November 2018. The index measures the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
- On a region-wide, non-seasonally adjusted basis, sales dropped double-digits on a year-over-year basis in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Coast, and the Southern California regions, while the Central Valley region experienced a relatively small sales dip of 3.9 percent.
- Forty-one of the 51 counties reported by C.A.R. posted a sales decline in November with an average year-over-year sales decline of 16.8 percent. Twenty-six counties recorded double-digit sales drops on an annual basis.
- The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 4.87 percent in November, up from 3.92 percent in November 2017, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate also increased in November to an average of 4.11 percent from 3.24 from November 2017.
- San Diego leads the nation with the most home price reductions this year. The share of home listings with a price cut grew to its highest level in at least eight years, says a recent analysis from Trulia. San Diego had the most reductions, 20.5 percent, of the 100 biggest metro areas in the United States so far this year. San Diego was tied with Tampa, which also saw 20.5 percent of homes with a price cut.
- The San Diego metropolitan area has been ranked as the fifth least popular home buying market for millennials in the United States, according to the latest LendingTree report. The company found that San Diego-area millennials only accounted for about 35 percent of the home loan purchase requests for the first 11 months of the year. Tampa was ranked as the least popular market for millennial homebuyer loan requests, followed by Las Vegas, Miami and Orlando. Salt Lake City topped the list for the most millennial home loan requests at 51 percent. It was followed by Minneapolis and Pittsburgh, where nearly half of the requested loans were from millennials.
- Few millennial renters can afford down payment on a home. According to Apartment List’s 2018 Millennial Homeownership Report, 88 percent of millennial renters in San Diego say that they plan to purchase a home at some point in the future, but just 3 percent expect to do so within the next year, while 37 percent say that they won't buy for at least five years. The survey of 6,400 millennial renters found that while the overwhelming majority of those surveyed would like to purchase a home at some point in the future, far fewer are financially prepared to do so in the near term. Of the millennial renters in San Diego who plan to purchase a home, 59 percent have zero down payment savings, while just 14 percent have saved $10,000 or more, according to the survey.
- With average rents nearing $2,000 a month, San Diego may be one of the pricier places for millennial renters in the U.S. Despite the cost, however, a survey by the rental platform company Zumper said that only 2 percent of millennials are getting help from their parents for rent. San Diego appears to be the most independent city with only 2 percent of respondents who had their parents help with rent, compared to 24 percent in Detroit. Austin had the second largest proportion of millennials in need at 23 percent.
- San Diego had the second lowest unemployment rate among California’s most populous metro areas this year between July and September, according to a report released Wednesday by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. San Diego’s third-quarter unemployment rate sat at 3.2 percent, bested only by San Francisco at 2.5 percent. The rates in both cities fell 0.5 percent between the second and third quarters. Compared to the other most populous metro areas in the country, San Diego ranked 10th in the third-quarter unemployment rate.
During this holiday time of year, I would like to take a moment to share with you some reflections about the importance of our Association and our real estate profession, as well as your role as a REALTOR® or affiliate member assisting people with their housing needs.
I am so proud to be part of an industry that is making such a difference in the lives of people. Our jobs in real estate play a vital part in improving our culture and society. Our efforts are commendable for a variety of reasons.
The importance of a home can never be underestimated. It’s the place where you hang your hat, is a link to the past and through its doors one walks into the future. Home is where the heart is, but it goes much deeper than that. No matter what place you call home, the very word strikes a chord deep inside each of us.
A home can be a gathering place, shelter and sanctuary, providing escape from the busyness and intrusiveness of the world. A comfortable home can be a tremendous source of strength and reassurance. A healthy home is a vital ingredient in the pursuit of a meaningful life. In seasons of war or peace, poverty or plenty, even social, geopolitical and economic upheaval, our homes remain central to the ties of family and community. Our homes are primary when we reflect on the past and create future memories that will last a lifetime. A home can mean sanctuary, a place where we can rest, relax, enjoy time with friends, learn, grown and just be. Our homes can say a lot about who we are and what we think is important in life. As we define home, we also define ourselves in relation to it.
Let me remind you that the real estate industry is closely tied to the civil and religious liberty our nation offers to all. Like the cornucopia on a kitchen table, the diversity seen in our homes and lifestyles are reflective of previous generations who came from many countries, cultures and creeds. Whenever our ancestors joined in fellowship in a celebration of expectation, it foreshadowed the dreams that we still share today of living together in our own homes in peace with respect and love for our neighbors and communities, and with heartfelt gratitude for the blessings of life. Humans have clearly evolved to be homebuilders, homemakers and home-nesters. Our homes are at the tip of the countless blessings we all enjoy in this great land.
Each of us, starting at our front porch, can be an instrument of goodwill to those we touch as we clasp the hand of friendship with our brothers and sisters in the larger family of humankind. This is why REALTORS® participating in the American dream of homeownership is so important to our nation. Home ownership is as vital as the guiding light of freedom.
Granted, the transaction process, with affordability and financing challenges, can be one of the most grueling experiences for ourselves and our clients. Struggles in life certainly shape us, building character. And, I admire every one of our PSAR members who work long hours, facing stress, exhaustion and strained relations on behalf of their clients. I admire your creativity, intuitive guidance, imagination, inspiration and perspiration.
But, after all the papers are signed and the escrow closes, when another happy family is handed the front-door keys, there’s an exhilarating rush of satisfaction and a “job-well-done” that we feel inside. There’s nothing quite like helping a family with their real estate transaction. They may see their home as their place to feel safe and invest their hopes, dreams and wishes as a foundation for their future. So, as we close out one year and begin a New Year, thanks for your support to PSAR and for your efforts in our industry. The past is a resource, but the future is where hope lives. Happy Holidays!
The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) recently conducted a consumer survey of California homebuyers. The survey examined the attitudes and behaviors of real estate consumers. According to its 2018 State of the California Consumer Survey, California’s competitive housing market and low housing affordability are forcing homebuyers to make compromises in their home purchases including price, size, location, and school quality.
The survey revealed that 44 percent of buyers bought a more expensive home than they wanted, 33 percent purchased a smaller home than desired, 36 percent purchased a home further from school or work than wished, and 30 percent purchased in an area where schools were of lesser quality.
“Well-qualified homebuyers understand that buying a home can be challenging in a competitive housing market environment and they may not be able to buy the ideal home they want,” said 2019 C.A.R. President Jared Martin. “Instead of finding a home that’s a perfect fit, they are finding a home that’s a good enough fit.”
Buyers were not deterred by higher home prices and tight housing supply conditions but waited until their financial situations improved or to save for a down payment. Buyers typically saved for five years, and nearly a quarter of those who purchased a home priced $1 million or higher saved more than 10 years.
The source of down payment for the majority of home buyers was their personal savings. Boomers were more likely to use the proceeds from the sale of a previous home since many were repeat buyers. Millennials were significantly more likely than Gen Xers or boomers to use funds received from parents or family or a gift.
California’s costly home prices gave nearly one in three home buyers cause to consider purchasing in another state, but buyers ultimately stayed because they liked the city or state they currently lived in or because of their job, family, or friends. Younger buyers and first-time buyers were more likely to consider leaving the state. With the state’s housing prices at 161 percent above the national average, California’s high housing costs are the biggest factor hurting young, middle-class, often minority families.
Buyers typically spent eight weeks on their home search, and nearly one in three spent 13 weeks or more. Reflecting the extremely tight housing market in the San Francisco Bay area, buyers in the Bay Area spent a median of 10 weeks in their home search. Buyers who bought homes $1 million or higher spent a median of seven weeks searching for a home, while those whose homes cost less than a $1 million spent a median of eight weeks. Generally, the more competitive the housing market is, the longer it takes to find a home.
Buyers made a median of three offers on other homes before having an offer accepted, but nearly one-fourth made more than 10 offers. Those who purchased a home for more than $1 million made five offers on other homes. The hyper-competitive, supply-constrained Bay Area had the highest incidence of multiple offers.
Homebuyers’ preferences varied by age/generation, income, and home buyer status (first-time, repeat, investment buyer, etc.).
The typical first-time buyer purchased a three-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot, single-family home. Nearly half purchased a home in the suburbs, and two-thirds purchased a one-story home. Buying a home within their price range and with the desired number of bedrooms were the top requirements for first-time buyers. They selected their neighborhood primarily based on their budget (53 percent), safety (51 percent), and proximity to jobs/school (38 percent). First-time buyers were likely to purchase a home close to where they previously lived, with only 20 percent choosing to leave the county or state.
Being in a better financial situation, repeat buyers typically purchased a larger home with three bedrooms and a median square footage of 1,700. Three in four purchased a single-family home, and more than half purchased a one-story home. Nearly half bought a home in the suburbs, 26 percent bought a home in the city outside of downtown, 18 percent bought homes downtown, and 11 percent bought in a rural area.
With lower income and less equity under their belts, millennials tended to buy smaller, more affordable homes than older generations with a median of 1,500 square feet and a median price of $350,000. Millennials were more likely to purchase a condominium or townhome in a suburb (43 percent), followed by a home in the city outside of downtown (26 percent). They selected the neighborhood they wanted to live in based on their budget (52 percent), safety (49 percent), proximity to jobs/schools (40 percent) and family/friends (33 percent).
Similar to millennials, the Gen X group most commonly selected a home in the suburbs, trading up to a home a median of 300 square feet greater than that of their previous home. More than half of them selected a home with at least one bedroom larger than their previous residence. Most purchased a single-family home, and townhouses/condos accounted for nearly 20 percent of those purchased. The majority of Gen Xers chose to buy within the same county as they previously lived, presumably to minimize disruption from the relocation and maintain the same lifestyle.
Boomers were most likely to have purchased a single-family home in the suburbs without stairs and were also the most likely to buy a home in a rural area since many of them are approaching retirement age and planning to age in their home and seek a quieter lifestyle. They were less likely to purchase in the same county they previously resided in with 24 percent buying in another county perhaps to be closer to children/grandchildren or healthcare facilities.
C.A.R.’s 2018 State of the California Consumer Survey , conducted online between May 9 and July 9, 2018, was designed to understand the process of home buying and selling, as well as the motivation behind renting and owning from the perspective of the California consumer. Surveys were sent to 470,803 consumers ages 18 and older in the state of California, resulting in 6,144 participants, a 1.3 percent response rate. The margin of error was plus-or-minus 1.2 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval. For the buyers section, 1,441 buyers purchased a home in California within 18 months preceding survey participation.
This article is the latest in a series highlighting former PSAR presidents.
It was 1973. As a teenager growing up in Chula Vista, Wayne Ansley had long hair, a ponytail and played guitar and keyboard in a rock band. But, then, he realized he had to get a real job. His father Bill, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, was a real estate broker at the time and encouraged his son to get his real estate sales license.
“After I graduated from Anthony’s Real Estate School and received my sales license, my dad gave me $500 to go buy some business suits,” said Wayne. “Then, I joined what was then called the South San Diego Bay Cities Association of Realtors, which later became PSAR (in 1992). I was 19 years old, and I think I was the youngest member ever to have joined the Association, until someone who was 18 years old joined later.
“My first real estate deal in 1973 was selling a home on Agua Tibia Street in Chula Vista for $22,000. The sellers, an elderly couple, the Papes, took pity on me and trusted a young, new agent. On those days, the sales contract was a one-page, legal-size form and copies were made with carbon paper. Cell phones weren’t invented yet. If you had a pager, you were a hot-shot like a doctor.”
After his father Bill passed away at age 61 in 1983, and Wayne got his broker’s license and took over the family business. In 1991, he joined the PSAR board of directors. He also became a California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Director in 1992, and attended many C.A.R. state conventions on behalf of PSAR. In the 1990s, Wayne served on many PSAR committees, including Community Relations, Grievance, Professional Standards, Government and Political Affairs and Building Operations. For two years, in 1994 and 1995, Wayne served as board VP. In 1996, he was elected as president-elect. In 1997, he served as president of PSAR.
As a member of the PSAR Building Committee in 1992, Wayne played a role in the relocation of the PSAR offices in Chula Vista from “L” Street to PSAR’s current headquarters, a 16,467-square-foot building at 880 Canarios Court.
Wayne estimates he has sold more than $100 million of property over his 45-year career. He remains today an active full-time broker. His diversified background in real estate has included residential sales, investment properties (including commercial, apartment and industrial sales and leasing), foreclosure short sales and full-service property management. He also has developed and built several apartment buildings, houses and a condo project.
“While previewing or showing properties, I have set-off alarms, broken keys in locksets, accidentally let out dogs and cats and, one time, walked into a master bedroom where a naked lady was in the shower. She screamed at the top of her lungs,” said Wayne.
“As a young agent, I had a string of bad luck with several unreliable cars. I had a Mercury Capri sports car with a broken passenger seat that was propped up with a piece of wood. I picked up a buyer from Japan who had a camera hung around his neck. I hit a bump in the road and the piece of wood came loose and the buyer went flat on his back and got hit in the head by his camera.
“Then, I bought a Ford Pinto for $300. I was showing property to a Naval officer wearing his dress whites uniform. On the freeway, the front end started shaking at 40 miles per hour and then rusty water from the heater leaked on his white pants. He actually bought the house I showed him and later he told me, `Wayne, the first thing I want you to do with your commission check is to go buy a new car.’”
Over the years, Wayne said his other cars have included an Oldsmobile Delta 88 and a Cadillac Sedan Deville. He then purchased his dream car, a BMW 740 I-L.
Wayne is especially proud of his contributions as a member of the Pilgrim Lutheran Church. As a volunteer, he donated more than 3,000 hours over the past year-and-a-half and helped the church sell its previous three-acre property at 497 “E” St. for $5.5 million (escrow closed in August). The church has since merged with their sister church located on a larger 8.5-acre site at 810 Buena Vista Way to become the Victory Lutheran Church and Christian Academy. “It was the most difficult transaction I ever had, but also the most gratifying because I was able to give back to the Lord in gratitude of 45 years of success,” he said. Construction recently began on their new church project.
California’s housing market declined for the sixth straight month in October, according to the latest housing market report from the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R). C.A.R. also found that existing home sales in the state dropped below the 400,000 level for a third consecutive month. The last time there were three straight months when the sales dipped below 400,000 was February 2015.
Summarizing the overall housing market, mortgage rates remain affordable while demand for existing homes is slowing, home prices are falling slightly, price growth is moderating, price reductions are becoming more common and a tight supply of available homes, still low, is increasing, while many potential buyers are putting their homeownership plans on hold.
In October, C.A.R. said the month’s sales figures was up 3.8 percent from the revised 382,550 level in September and down 7.9 percent compared with home sales in October 2017 of 431,070.
C.A.R. said October’s statewide median home price was $572,000, down 1.2 percent from September ($578,850) and up 4.7 percent from October 2017 ($546,430).
In San Diego County, the median price of a single-family home was $635,500 in October 2018, a slight decrease from the $640,000 price reported for September 2018 and a 13.2 percent decline from October 2017 when the median price was $603,000. San Diego’s year-over-year comparison between October 2018 and October 2017 was the largest decrease among any Southern California market, said C.A.R. Orange, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties all experienced year-over-year, double-digit declines of 11.3 percent, 11.4 percent, and 13.2 percent, respectively. Sales in Los Angeles County declined 5.9 percent and were down 2.9 percent in Riverside County.
Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 397,060 units in October, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2018 if sales maintained the October pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.
“Homebuyers continued to put their homeownership plans on hold in October and wait out the market,” said 2019 C.A.R. President Jared Martin. “With mortgage rates at seven-year highs making homeownership more expensive and home prices beginning to flatten, this phenomenon will likely continue for the near term as buyers wait for further price adjustments and for interest rates to stabilize.”
“October’s sales decline was not as severe as the double-digit drop experienced in September, but the continued pullback in sales suggests the market will continue to slow and likely soften further into 2019,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “Likewise, as home sales continue to soften, the median price, which was the lowest since March 2018, will also ease up,” said Appleton-Young.
Other key points from C.A.R.’s October 2018 resale housing report included:
- Homes are taking longer to sell than they did just a few months ago. The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home rose from 21 days in October 2017 to 26 days in October 2018.
- Meanwhile, in San Diego County, the median number of days a home remained unsold on the market was 24 days in October 2018, compared to 19 days in both September 2018 and October 2017.
- Statewide active listings rose for the seventh consecutive month after nearly three straight years of declines, increasing 28 percent from the previous year. October’s listings increase was the largest in four years.
- Active listings in the $500,000-$750,000 price range experienced the largest year-over-year gain (43.9 percent), followed by homes priced $750,000-$999,999 (40.1 percent). The sub-$200,000 market was the only price segment with a decline of 6.2 percent from last year.
The unsold inventory index, which is a ratio of inventory over sales, increased year-to-year for the seventh consecutive month in October from 3.0 months in October 2017 to 3.6 months in October 2018. The index measures the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.
- The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 4.83 percent in October, up from 3.90 percent in October 2017, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate also increased in October to an average of 4.08 percent from 3.18 from October 2017.
- According to real estate tracker CoreLogic, a chill is settling over the once white-hot Southern California housing market. San Diego home sales decreased 17.5 percent in September 2018. A total of 2,942 homes were sold in the county, down 17.5 percent from 3,568 during the same month the previous year. It was the lowest number of sales for a September in 11 years, compared to September 2007 just before the Great Recession when 2,152 units were sold.
- CoreLogic also said in September 2018, the median price of a San Diego County home was $575,000, up 7.5 percent from $535,000 in September 2017, but it was the first decrease since January 2018 after hitting an all-time high of $583,000 in August. Most experts are attributing the slowdown to a rise in mortgage interest rates as potential buyers balk at higher monthly payments.
- The number of seriously underwater homes in San Diego County continued to decline in the third quarter as home equity maintained an upward trajectory, according to Attom Data Solutions. The real estate analytics company’s latest report found that only 6.5 percent of San Diego homes surveyed had mortgages that were at least 25 percent higher than the property's estimated market value.
- Discounts, gift cards, and free streaming services for new renters are on the rise across the nation, but San Diego County seems to be bucking that trend, according to a HotPads report. The online real estate company found that rental listings advertising a concession have increased by 15.8 percent since the fall of last year, but San Diego County has seen a 27.1 percent decrease in rental concessions year-over year. HotPads pegged the median San Diego County rent at $2,680 a month, representing a 4.8 percent year-over-year increase.
- San Diego County’s unemployment rate rose slightly in October, although total nonfarm employment increased by more than 10,000 jobs, according to the California Employment Development Dept. The county unemployment rate ticked up from an adjusted 3.2 percent in September to 3.3 percent in October, but is down from 3.6 percent in October 2017. A year ago, the rate stood at 3.6 percent.
- Wages and salaries jumped by 3.1 percent in October, the highest level in a decade. Also in October, U.S. consumer confidence rose to an 18-year high amid optimism about jobs and the economy, according to the Conference Board.