Saturday, May 14, 2011

Real estate prices, gasoline prices and stranded motorists.

From Pittsburgh came a report last month on one way in which rising gasoline prices have already begun to affect consumer behavior:
With gas prices pushing $4 a gallon, a lot of people are trying to stretch their dollar at the gas pump, but some of them are trying to stretch it a little too far.

Since the beginning of March, AAA has seen an 18 percent increase in the number of roadside calls for people running out of gas.

I have speculated previously on the relation between gasoline (and other commodity) prices and real estate sales. With this report, it becomes apparant that consumer behavior is already starting to change. While it may appear to be a small matter that more consumers are being left stranded on the roads, this trend is an indicator of larger behavioral trends, including major purchases such as real estate.

Even though commodity prices have stabilised (and even dropped slightly) over the past two weeks, it is highly likely that the recent commodity price run-up will trigger another round of real estate price decline and/or sales stagnation.

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