NEW YORK – The Bank of America Institute published a new article today which shows consumer spending continues to increase in July but some consumers are feeling the effects of rising rents. Bank of America’s internal data suggests median rent payments increased by 7.4% year-over-year in July. That said, there are many reasons to remain positive about the steady resilience of US consumers: lower gas prices provided some relief to consumers in July, and promotional events from retailers boosted spending on goods. Additionally, households’ deposit and savings balances remain elevated and consumers have not yet shown signs of increased borrowing.
Highlights of the publication:
- Bank of America’s total payments increased 7% year over year in July, roughly in line with June’s data; this figure offers a holistic view of money flow and includes credit card, debit card, Automated Clearing House, wires, bill pay, person-to-person, cash, and checks.
- Card spending per household increased by 5.3% year over year, down from 5.7% in June. With US Consumer Price Index inflation at 9.1% in June and Personal Consumer Expenditure (PCE) inflation at 6.8%, it appears “real (inflation-adjusted) spending” continues to be under pressure.
- According to internal Bank of America data, all income groups are feeling the impact of higher rents, with the biggest rent increase seen by those households with income between $51,000-150,000.
- Younger consumers are getting squeezed the most by higher rent inflation with median payment up 16% year over year in July for Gen Z, compared to just 3% for Baby Boomers.
- As oil prices fell throughout July, average gas spending as a share of total card spending per household fell to 9.3% in June for lower-income households (<$50k per year), down from a peak of nearly 10% in June.
“Our internal spending and payments data suggests consumers are not wilting in this summer heat,” said Anna Zhou, economist for the Bank of America Institute. “While wallets are getting squeezed for the 34% of US households who are renters, relief from lower gas prices and retail promotions encouraged consumers to continue to spend throughout July.”