If the Fed is waiting to see if the economy is ever going to catch fire, the wait will be a bit longer. Two economic reports released today indicate nothing more than tepid growth. The retail sales number was released by the Commerce Department real estate investingand while growth was evident, it was barely so.

Retail sales were up 0.2 percent compared to the previous month as economists expected twice that rate. Retail sales count for about 30 percent of all consumer spending and if the economy is going to get in stride, consumers are going to have to reach into their pockets and spend more. The report showed that while consumers bought more long term purchases such as automobiles and appliances apparently they pulled back on consumer items such as clothing and sporting goods.

At the same time, it appears those same consumers aren’t all that excited about the forthcoming economy. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment report showed that consumer’s expectations of the economy fell to its lowest level since last April.

Again, while the report didn’t show signs of downright depression about the economy, consumers are still apprehensive and could curtail future spending even further. Both reports aren’t necessarily bad news but it’s not tremendous news either and along with previously released economic data the economy is simply trudging along.

That will keep the Fed on the sideline with regard to any rate moves or slowing down its monthly $85 billion bond buy that suppresses rates. The Fed is expected to keep its current position until the economy is showing continued signs of growth, the unemployment rate continues to fall and there is no threat of inflation.

Real estate investors can still enjoy the prospect of low interest rates when financing property while we wait for any Fed action and if the pundits are right, this low rate environment will be with us at least until the end of the year.