Consumers in the state and in the nation are feeling more confident about the economy, according to separate surveys released Tuesday.
A University of Florida survey showed consumer confidence in the state rose three points in July compared with June, and is nine points higher than a year ago.
People think they are better off financially today than a year ago, expect their personal finances will improve by this time next year and think now is a good time to buy big-ticket items, the UF monthly report stated.
"Some of this can be attributed to a more positive housing picture in some areas of the state where prices are actually rising rather than falling," said Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
The median price of a single-family home in Florida rose to $151,000 in June, an increase over May's figure of $147,000, largely because of home sales spurred by short sales on foreclosed properties and record-low mortgage rates.
The Conference Board, an independent research group based in New York, reported its Consumer Confidence Index was up slightly in July to 65.9 from 62.7 in June, the first increase in five months. Consumers were more optimistic about their short-term economic prospects despite increasing signs that the recovery has slowed to a crawl.
"Despite this month's improvement in confidence, the overall index remains at historically low levels," Conference Board official Lynn Franco said in a statement on the group's website.
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