The last time Americans were this unhappy about prices of big-ticket purchases was 1982, when the Federal Reserve was fighting a war against double-digit inflation.
The University of Michigan’s survey of consumer sentiment showed U.S. consumers more concerned with higher prices of appliances, houses, and cars than anytime in 39 years, according to the survey’s chief economist Richard Curtin.
The survey records spontaneous mentions of prices of these major purchases and subtracts comments about higher prices from comments about lower prices. The difference has plummeted this year, indicating a huge imbalance in the comments due to a much larger volume of comments on higher prices.
“Spontaneous references to market prices for homes, vehicles, and household durables fell to their worst level since the all-time record in November 1974,” Curtin said. “These unfavorable perceptions of market prices reduced overall buying attitudes for vehicles and homes to their lowest point