The United States Commerce Department released the gross domestic product number for the first quarter of this year and it came in lower than many economists expected. The Commerce Department stated the GDP expanded at a 0.1 percent annual rate. The 0.1 percent figure matches the gdp low“growth” number back in Q4 and also.

While a positive number is certainly better than a negative one, the final accounting was still well below the 1.2 percent rise anticipated. Why did the GDP number surprise so many and what does the news mean for real estate investors?

Our economy has added jobs to the tune of somewhere around 190,000 for several months now while the unemployment rate had also been on the decline. That should be a sign of more consumer spending which leads to more production and higher inventories. However, it still looks as if Old Man Winter is still shouldering much of the blame as record cold temperatures and wicked snow and ice storms throughout the Midwest and the East kept consumers at home and economic activity chilled. Yet now that we’re approaching warmer weather we’ll see how the next GDP number looks when released late July. That’s a rather long wait, but if there is an economic thaw we’ll see it soon in upcoming unemployment and payroll number reports. If business activity does increase, then more people will go back to work, spurring spending as pay checks arrive.

For real estate investors who are financing their projects, it means that interest rates should remain low despite the Fed’s continued tapering of the now famous quantitative easing program. That is if further signs of a stagnant economy become apparent and consumers are keeping a tight fist around their purse strings. Heading into the home buying season is another bellwether, and we’ll soon find out how new and existing homes are faring later on in April.