GAINESVILLE (by Alan McBride/FLA. NEWS NETWORK) -- Consumer sentiment among Floridians was unchanged in December at 77, the same as the revised November reading, according to a new University of Florida survey.
According to the December survey, respondents' overall view that they are better off financially than a year ago fell two points to 67, but their expectations for their financial situations a year from now rose six points, to 80.
Confidence in the nation's economy over the coming year dropped two points to 74, while trust in its performance over the next five years was unchanged, at 76.
Finally, respondents' feelings over whether now is a good time to buy a big-ticket item, such as a washing machine, fell four points, to 88.
Improving economic conditions may be contributing to Florida's sustained consumer confidence, according to economists who track these numbers.
The economy is adding jobs, for example, as the unemployment rate slowly comes back under control.
The Florida unemployment rate declined again in November, down .3 percent to 6.4 percent.
The housing market is also improving with the median price of a single-family home in Florida increasing $900 from October to November to $169,900 - the first monthly increase since July.
Prices are up 13.3 percent from the previous year.
The index used by UF researchers is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year.
The lowest index possible is a 2; the highest is 150.