Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter and Passover from Housing Chronicles

The Housing Chronicles Blog and MetroIntelligence Real Estate & Economic Advisors would like to wish our readers, clients and colleagues a very Happy Easter! For our Jewish friends, colleagues and clients, we’d also like to wish you a very Happy Passover. So what exactly are the histories of these two holiday periods? Read on for more details…

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/29/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/29/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Pending home sales dip slightly in February
  • Third estimate of 4Q 2012 rises to 0.4% from 0.1% percent
  • Initial unemployment claims rise by 16,000 in latest report
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Scott McCourtney at smccourtney@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/27/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/27/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • New home sales in February dip by 4.6% from January but up by 12.3% from February 2012
  • Case-Shiller Home Price Indices continued to rise for 12 months ending in January
  • Consumer confidence dips in March following rise in February
  • Durable goods orders rose by 5.7% in February, mostly due to commercial aircraft
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Monday, March 25, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/25/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/25/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicator:
  • Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low and continue purchasing mortgage-backed bonds
  • Philadelphia Fed survey reports slight increases in business activity for March
  • Mortgage applications fall by 7.1% in latest survey, mostly due to dip in refinancing
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Friday, March 22, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/22/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/22/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • February existing home sales and prices continue to rise as inventory increases by nearly 10% from January
  • FHFA House Price Index rose by 0.6% in January and by 6.5% for previous 12 months
  • Leading Economic Index rose in February for third consecutive month
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/20/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/20/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicator:
  • Builder confidence dips as companies struggle to adjust to increased demand
  • Housing starts in February rise by 0.8% from January and by 27.7% from the same month of 2012
  • Building permits in February rise by 4.6% from January and by 33.8% from the same month of 2012
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Monday, March 18, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/18/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/18/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicator:
  • CPI rises by 0.7% in February; up 2.0% over last 12 months
  • Consumer confidence unexpectedly slumps in March
  • Empire State Manufacturing Survey continued to improve modestly in March
  • Industrial production increased by 0.7% in February as capacity utilization rises to 79.6%
  • Mortgage applications dip by 4.7% in latest survey as rates rise
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Friday, March 15, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/15/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/15/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Retail sales in February rise by 1.1% from January and by 4.6% from February 2012
  • Initial unemployment claims fall by 10,000 in latest report; 4-week moving average dips by 2,750
  • Producer Price Index rose by 0.7% in February
  • Business inventories rise in January by the most since May 2011
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/13/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/13/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicator:
  • U.S. trade gap widened in January
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Monday, March 11, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/11/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/11/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicator:
  • Non-farm employment rose by 236,000 in February as unemployment rate dipped to 7.1%
  • Beige Book shows stronger real estate market as economy expanded in almost all Fed Districts
  • Labor productivity fell by 1.9% during 4Q 2012 as unit labor costs rose by 4.6%
  • Consumer credit in January rose by highest level in five months
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Friday, March 8, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/8/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/8/13 on the Web.


In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Initial unemployment claims fall by 7,000 in latest report; four-week moving average also down by 7,000
  • Private sector jobs rose by 198,000 jobs in February; January rise revised upwards to 215,000 jobs
  • February planned job cuts rise for second straight month but two-month total still 9% lower than in same period of 2012
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In Search of a Great Market Study

With the positive news regarding the housing market continuing to pile up over the past year, we’re also starting to see a rebound in the demand for more traditional market studies for new or re-energized projects by builders, developers and investors.

Yet because almost anyone can call themselves a new home market research consultant – requiring little more than business cards, a decent Web site and attending various networking events – like with any other product or service, the term ‘buyer beware’ is certainly relevant.  Following is a list of three questions I made sure to ask when working for a home builder and in the position to hire such firms:

1. Why you and not the other companies?  This is where you make sure that your “gibberish meter” (polite term) is set to the highest level.  Talking points including company size, aggregate years of experience in the triple digits, public speaking engagements and press citations simply aren’t relevant if they can’t convince you, your company executives and your lenders that a proposed project is ready for prime time.

Once you determine whether the answer given to this question is convincing, then you can drill down to the others.  What you want to hear about is experience walking projects to analyze architecture, merchandising, marketing and sales while also using appropriate data sources to put your findings in context with the overall market and general economic conditions including job growth, commuting patterns and demographics.  Ideally, your consultant should walk these competitive projects with you in tow.

If there’s a meeting to present the findings – a formality which has largely disappeared in tandem with improving communication technologies – that’s your chance to ask specific questions and figure out who actually did the work.  Which are the most important comps, and why?  Who’s selling the best in my submarket and why?  Are there any proposed projects which should concern me, and why?  How does the existing home market compare, and how will I be able to justify the premium for my new homes?  If your consulting contact can’t address those questions without leafing through the report, then they sent the wrong person.  This is not a good sign.

2. Where do you get your data, and what is your methodology?  Since nearly anyone can go visit new home projects or rental leasing offices and conduct their own primary research, what consultants are really selling is the value of their clients’ time.  Even in those cases when a company has its own proprietary database – which is a great time-saver and should mean lower prices to the client versus the competition --  the consultant should really view it only as a starting place from which to update or confirm this data with field visits and interviews.

Since agents can be treasure troves of qualitative data on their market and customers, knowing how to chat them up without wasting their time can mean the difference between a good study and a great one.  And, during those times when an agent is either unavailable or uncooperative, knowing how to convincingly ‘play buyer’ to get the data you need is essential.

Moreover, walking the competition is the best part of the job – no matter the size of the home or the sales price, I ask the same questions:  Am I impressed?  Do the rooms flow well?  How does the inside relate to outdoor living spaces, if any?  Is it decorated to scale?  Does it seem solidly built?  How does this compare to other homes I’ve seen?

3. Who will actually be doing the work?  This is a key question, because with the larger firms it’s unlikely that the principals with years of experience will be actually doing the heavy lifting.  These places are like factories, and must constantly churn out work product to justify their overhead, which may or may not coincide with your own best interests. 

More likely, they’ll promise to supervise analysts whom they’ve hired directly out of college or with a few years of experience in another field.   While it’s certainly understandable that everyone has to start somewhere to gain experience, do you really want your pet project -- or your future career -- in the hands of a relative neophyte?

Moreover, when business is ramping up with multiple deadlines at once, it’s more likely that these studies get at most a cursory glance from those with the most experience, and this is why so many studies get re-done by their competition.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/6/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/6/13 on the Web.

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

  • Service economy continued to grow faster than the manufacturing sector in February
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Monday, March 4, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/4/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/4/13 on the Web.

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

  • January construction spending dips from December; residential construction flat
  • Consumer confidence improves slightly, but mostly for households with incomes over $75,000
  • Personal income and savings rates drop sharply in January following payroll tax hikes; inflation remains low
  • Manufacturing activity continued to improve in January
  • Mortgage applications fall by 3.8% in latest survey as both purchase loans and refinances decrease
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.

Friday, March 1, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 3/1/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 3/1/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • January pending home sales rose to highest level since April 2010 across all regions
  • Fourth quarter GDP growth rose to +0.1% from -0.1% in second estimate
  • Orders for durable goods less aircraft jumps by the most in more than a year
  • Chicago PMI rises for second straight month in February
  • Initial unemployment claims fall by 22,000 in latest report; 4-week average moving average down by 6,750
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 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 Evan Lancaster at elancaster@penpubinc.com.