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January retail sales in the U.S. dropped despite cheaper gas because consumers are spending their new-found money elsewhere, Peter Boockvar said Thursday.
The Lindsey Group's managing director told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" that, while gas prices have reached multiyear lows, the cost of living keeps rising. "People have other costs of living," he said. "Gasoline isn't the only thing we have to pay for. We have to pay for health care, food ... and rent." Boockvar added that rent prices will go up 3 to 4 percent this year.
U.S. gas prices averaged $2.23 per gallon on Thursday, down from $3.32 per gallon the previous year, according to GasBuddy.com. Overall retail sales dropped 0.8 percent in the last month, marking the second-straight monthly decline. "We have to take the cost of living in the aggregate, and that's got to be part of the equation when determining where retail sales go," Boockvar added. Overall consumer spending in the U.S. rose little in January.
Boockvar also said consumers are probably saving more money, rather than spending it. "I think consumers are more willing to save that money."
—Reuters contributed to this report.