Monday, January 30, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/30/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/30/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

  • GDP rose by 2.8% in fourth quarter of 2011
  • University of Michigan Sentiment Index continued to improve in January

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Friday, January 27, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/27/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/27/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

  • New home sales fall slightly from November to end worst year on record; inventory just 6.1 months at current sales rates
  • Pending home sales ease in December but still above year-ago levels
  • Federal Reserve Open Market Committee opts to keep rates low through at least late 2014
  • FHFA house price index rose by 1% in November but still down 18.8% from its April 2007 peak
  • Durable goods orders surge for second consecutive month in December
  • Economy continuing to improve according to Leading Indicator Index
  • Mortgage applications fall by 5% in latest survey
  • Initial unemployment claims rise by 21,000 in most recent survey

Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 100,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/25/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/25/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicator:

  • IMF predicts mild European recession, lower global growth for 2012

Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 100,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

Monday, January 23, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/23/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/23/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

  • Existing home sales in December show uptrend
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Friday, January 20, 2012

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/20/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/20/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

  • NAHB Housing Market Index rises to highest levels since June of 2007
  • Housing starts fall more than expected in December to cap worst year on record; building permits remain flat
  • Philadelphia Fed survey shows continued moderate growth in January
  • Initial unemployment claims drop by 50,000 from previous week
  • CPI unchanged in December but up by 3.0% for 2011
  • Industrial production rose by 0.4% in December and by 3.1% in 4Q 2011
  • Wholesale prices fall in December but still up by 4.8% for all of 2011
  • Mortgage applications rise sharply in second week of new year
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Quoted in L.A. times story on new home sales

The L.A. Times' Alejandro Lazo called me yesterday to talk about the latest statistics from Dataquick for Southern California, and, more specifically, what to expect for new home sales in 2012. In brief: a slight improvement which will be more pronounced in urban infill areas than in outlying suburbs unless builders have a compelling proposition to make versus cheaper existing homes (such as Lennar's inter-generational NextGen homes or KBHome's energy-efficient models):

Sales of newly built homes suffered the most, falling 12% in December from the previous month to hit their lowest level on record for that month. Patrick Duffy, principal of MetroIntelligence Real Estate Advisors, said 2012 was not likely to be much better for home builders.

"We can expect a slight improvement," he said. "It depends on the area. Builders will compete in infill areas, in urban markets, because people like new."

"Where it's going to be hard is out in the suburbs," he said...

Click here to read the entire article.

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/18/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/18/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicator:

  • Empire State Manufacturing Index rises to highest level since April 2011
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January column for Builder & Developer magazine now online

My column for the January 2012 issue of Builder & Developer magazine is now posted online.

For this issue, entitled "Households Re-Think the Meaning of Home" I reviewed the major trends discussed at the 2011 ULI Fall Meeting here in Los Angeles as well as at the Building Industry Show in Long Beach.

An excerpt:

...In the short term, one thing is becoming clear: the smorgasbord of low-hanging fruit which largely powered the home building industry’s success since the end of World War II is now gone. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In its place is emerging a collection of specific opportunities targeting value-conscious Baby Boomers, hyper-connected Gen Y members, immigrants often in need of multi-generational housing and lifelong renters -- some of whom need affordable housing and others who still crave those services and amenities commonly found in luxury condominium buildings...

To read the entire column, click here.

To read the entire January 2012 issue in digital format, click here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Smart Growth Meets Green Building

For the last two decades, we’ve continued to hear about the advantages of “smart growth,” and in most cases that means new developments which promote efficient land use, urban redevelopment, neighborhood revitalization and economic opportunity. Over the past few years, that definition has also expanded to include green building techniques, especially those related to energy efficiency and sustainability. Once relegated to certain project types, today smart, green building encompasses everything from high-rise office buildings to low-rise affordable housing options.

For California’s AMCAL Multi-Housing, smart/green building has meant cost savings not only internally, but in a recent case allowed it to refund over $500,000 to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes when it came in substantially under budget. So what’s their secret? According to AMCAL President Arjun Nagarkatti, being a vertically integrated company with experience in market-rate housing has proven to be a huge benefit because they can go through any single line item of a budget to wring out costs savings.

For example, to save on interest reserves, on-site expenses and overhead, the company pursues six-day work weeks when it’s appropriate. In order to build podium-style multi-family housing projects at a discount, AMCAL orders prefabricated wall systems shipped in from either California or Arizona. And in order to find the best bid, Nagarkatti says they don’t just stop at two or three vendors – they compare those from three to five separate companies. For green building, all of the company’s projects are now built to LEED standards, and its leaders believe that the higher up-front costs associated with energy efficiency and better-quality flooring and hardware pays dividends down the road – an important consideration for a company which continues to own and manage its own properties.

At CityView, the institutional investor founded by former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros in 2000, smart growth means balancing the tension between social responsibility against a maximum return for their investors (which include pension funds for the City and County of Los Angeles as well as the State of California.) Explains Cisneros, “The trick here is to select wisely so you never have to compromise on financial return by doing the right thing in an urban environment.” Two of its most recent green building initiatives include the Tennessee Lofts in West Los Angeles as well as the country’s first LEED-certified student housing project near USC.

Having invested more than $2 billion in 45 communities across the country, CityView seems to have found a formula which works, which is to partner with local builders which offer expertise on specific submarkets. Such partnerships are critical to successful smart growth, argues Cisneros. “Without the built-in environment making some progress, there’s no way we can achieve (larger) societal issues,” he says. “The world is at a point of inflection in terms of infrastructure, making it more responsive.” Given that the U.S. population is expected to grow by 90 million more people between now and 2050, builders and investors such as CityView have to keep producing.

At the same time, that doesn’t mean only urban infill areas will benefit: another beneficiary of CityView's dollars are “edge cities” such as Bristol, Connecticut, the O’Hare Airport area of Chicago or even the San Fernando Valley portion of Los Angeles which offer access to mass transit, their own local employment base and underdeveloped land. Such investments can also mean buying existing Class B apartments and not only making them more energy efficient, but giving them design upgrades which allow them to compete with Class A product at a more affordable price point.

Of course like with all things, the evolution of smart/green building comes with a price: according to AMCAL’s Nargarkatti, in several master-planned communities in which they’ve worked, their affordable housing product actually looks better than market-rate apartments and condominiums. Concludes Nargarkatti, “People are focused on the affordable side to look better, and public/private partnerships have a lot to do with it. It provides pride of ownership.”

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/16/12

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/16/12 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

  • Consumer confidence rises to highest level in eight months
  • Trade deficit rose in November as imports increased more than exports
    Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 100,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

    Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    BuilderBytes' Weekend Edition MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/13/12

    Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes Weekend Edition for 1/13/12 on the Web.

    In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

    • Federal Reserve's Beige Book shows improving economy at end of 2011
    • Retail sales rose just 0.1% in December
    • Business inventories rose less than forecast in November
    • Initial unemployment claims rose by 24,000 in first week of January
      Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 100,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

      Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

      Wednesday, January 11, 2012

      BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/11/12

      Please click here to see the editionLink of BuilderBytes for 1/11/12 on the Web.

      In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

      • Index of improving housing markets nearly doubles in January
      • Consumer credit in November surges most since 2011
      • Wholesale inventories barely rise in November
      Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 100,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

      Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

      Monday, January 9, 2012

      BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/9/12

      Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/9/12 on the Web.

      In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

      • Beacon Economics' latest forecast calls for an improved 2012
      • Non-farm employment rises by 200,000 in December as unemployment rate falls to 8.5%.
      Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 100,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

      Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

      Friday, January 6, 2012

      BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/6/12

      Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/6/12 on the Web.

      In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

      • Private sector employment rises by 325,000 jobs in December
      • December job cuts lowest since June
      • Initial unemployment claims fall in final week of 2011
      • Non-manufacturing employment rises for 25th consecutive month in December
      • Factory orders rise by 1.8% in November
      • Although holiday mortgage applications dip from previous week, overall volume was up by 39% versus 2010.
      Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 100,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

      Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

      Wednesday, January 4, 2012

      BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/4/12

      Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/4/12 on the Web.

      In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

      • Construction spending rises by 1.2% in November but still down in 2.5% YTD for 2011 vs. 2010
      • Federal Reserve FOMC minutes promise greater transparency starting with January meeting
      • Manufacturing sector expands in December 2011 for 29th consecutive month
        Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 100,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

        Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

        Tuesday, January 3, 2012

        BuilderBytes & MetroIntelligence Economic Update Expanding to 3 Times Per Week

        Starting this week, the formerly twice-weekly BuilderBytes email newsletter -- and the MetroIntelligence Economic Update -- will expand to three times per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

        Friday's edition will be named "The Weekend Edition" with more stories included during the week so subscribers can peruse the stories over the weekend at their leisure.

        So just what is the MetroIntelligence Economic Update?

        It's a regular link to the economic news which drives the economy, the stock market, and the decisions which real estate business leaders make every day. Instead of searching for various news articles on multiple Web sites or leafing through a printed publication, simply by subscribing to BuilderBytes and the Economic Update you'll get links to the actual press releases and reports which most newspaper articles don't ever include!

        It's one-stop shopping for the economic news which should matter to you -- provided as a free service to the building industry by the staff at MetroIntelligence Real Estate & Economics Advisors.

        Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 100,000 readers (and growing)? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

        Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.

        Monday, January 2, 2012

        BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/2/12

        Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/2/12 on the Web.

        In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

        • Pending home sales in November rose to highest level in 19 months
        • Initial unemployment claims rise by 15,000
        • Chicago PMI stabilizes in December
          Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 100,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

          Want to make sure your company or event is included in the events calendar? Contact editor Dani Smith at dsmith@penpubinc.com.