The Consumer Attitude Index in Utah is at its highest point since Zions Bank created the tracking system three years ago. Randy Shumway of the Cicero Group says the CAI increased 4.3 points from August to September to 92.6. He says that’s a marked improvement over the decrease this month in the national Consumer Confidence Index of 2.1 points to 79.7. Shumway says the percentage of Utahns who think business conditions are normal or good jumped 5 percentage points to 91 percent on the diversity of the state’s economy.
“So it’s not just that Utah’s economy is growing at a faster pace than any other state," he says. "It’s that it has one of the most stable foundations because it’s so well diversified,” says Shumway.
Kim Casaday is the residential mortgage president at Zions Bank. She says despite the jump in lending rates in recent weeks, banks are leaning toward loosening their grip on money for homes.
“Is there room for softening? Can we lower our FICA score requirements? Some of them are taking a look at what those requirements are," says Casaday. "So you’re starting to see some relaxed lending standards also to help those who are looking to purchase or refinance their home,” Casaday says.
She says new home construction in Utah is up 15 percent year over year and has really increased in St. George and the Southwest Corridor of the Salt Lake Valley.