Consumer confidence has waned in recent months, and that's hurting home sales. That latest confidence reading, reported for July, shows some improvement. Unfortunately, it also shows a drop in home-buying plans. Before we get too down, though, it's worth mentioning confidence is fickle: it can change quickly and with significant magnitude. No other variable is more impacting on confidence than job growth.

When people are working, uncertainty withers and confidence grows. Confidence, in turn, emboldens more people to pursue big-dollar purchases, such as a home.

When job growth begins to adhere to an observable upward trend, you can be sure confidence will begin to adhere to a similar trend. When that occurs, home-price gains will accelerate and mortgage lending rates will rise. Admittedly, that scenario doesn't appear to be in our immediate future; then again, markets can and do change much faster than most market watchers anticipate. (Phoenix home prices are a good example.) That's something we should all keep in mind.

Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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