After seven long years of sharp recession and tepid recovery, the CNBC All-America Economic Survey found some key measures of U.S. public opinion finally regained their precrisis levels.
Ninety-one percent of Americans now believe their home prices will either be stable or rise over the next year, the highest since March 2007. And for the first time in three years, Americans picked real estate ahead of gold as the best investment.
Respondents also said they will spend about as much on a summer vacation as they did before the recession, following a sharp drop during the financial crisis.
That optimism comes with greater hopes among respondents for their paychecks: Thirty-eight percent believe their wages will rise in the next year, the highest percentage since December 2008.
Meanwhile, pessimism declined. Only 33 percent of those polled judge the current state of the economy as poor, equaling the December 2007 low and a five-point decrease from the March study’s results.
The survey wasn’t all good news, though. It also showed that some critical measures of optimism continue to lag. Just 18 percent say the economy is good or excellent, virtually unchanged from March and eight points below the prerecession level.
Americans expect home price gains of just 2.2 percent over the next year, a little more than half of the expectation from the more optimistic days in 2007. The outlook for wage gains is a healthy 3.5 percent for the postrecession period. But before 2008, Americans regularly expected wage gains between 5 percent and 7 percent annually.