Wednesday, October 30, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/30/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/30/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Case-Shiller Home Price Indices leap by 12.8 percent year-over-year in August
  • Pending home sales fall four fourth straight month in September
  • Consumer confidence decreased sharply in October due to government shutdown
  • Most retail sales outside of auto dealers rose in September
  • Industrial production continued to rise by 0.6 percent in September
  • Producer Price Index dipped slightly in September but mostly flat over last 12 months
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Monday, October 28, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/28/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/28/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Consumer confidence dips in October as faith in government falls
  • Durable goods orders fall 1.1 percent in September due to political stalemate
  • Wholesale inventories rose in August by highest level in seven months on stronger demand 
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Friday, October 25, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/25/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/25/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • FHFA House Price Index increase dips to 0.3 percent in August
  • Initial unemployment claims fall by 12,000 in latest report
  • Level of job openings little changed from July to August
  • Mortgage applications dip by 0.6 percent in latest survey
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/23/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/23/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicator:
  • Existing home sales declined in September but prices still rose
  • Employment rose by 148,000 in September as unemployment rate was little changed at 7.2 percent
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Is the GOP-Centered Building Industry Stuck in the Past?

As I write this column today without loyalty to any political party, the federal government has finally began creaking back to life after being held hostage for 16 days by a Congress seemingly out of touch with the country’s unique role in the global economy.  Not surprisingly, this same Congress earned an approval rating of 11 percent from a poll taken immediately after the shutdown during the early days of October.

While the same poll showed Republicans with an approval rating of 28 percent (down 10 percentage points from the previous month), Democrats also took a four-point hit, with their approval rating edging down to 43 percent.  Poll respondents also showed 62 percent of them disapproving of Republicans, while Democrats split the country more evenly at 49 percent.  Recent figures on the economic damage from the temporary closure have been estimated at $24 billion, and fourth quarter GDP growth estimates have been cut from 3.0 to 2.4 percent.

I only mention these figures because I’ve always been interested in the long-standing connection between the building industry and GOP even when their policies – especially at the national level -- didn’t necessarily coincide with the best interests of the housing market. To be sure, at the local level it certainly makes sense for builders to support politicians who share their goal of making it easier to develop new communities for growing populations, but on the national political stage it’s a far different story.

In the 2012 campaigns, just over three-quarters of the NAHB’s BuildPac funds went to the GOP – far higher than the 55 percent from the National Association of Realtors or the 57 percent from the Mortgage Bankers Association.  Looking ahead to the 2014 elections, while the GOP money lead from BuildPac has shrunk to 67 percent, it’s still far higher than the 48 percent planned by the NAR.

So just what is our industry getting for all of this money?  It’s a fair question:  Remember the $787 billion stimulus package that President Obama wanted to pass shortly after his inauguration?  It passed without a single Republican vote in the House, and just three in the Senate.   Soon thereafter, a separate law to allow judges the freedom to modify mortgages on primary residences to prevent a cascade of foreclosures was also rejected by most Republican legislators.  Meanwhile, GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s plan for the housing market was both clear and simple:  let an unfettered free market sort everything out on its own, even though 83 percent of the sub-prime loans which tanked the housing market were made by mostly unscrupulous private firms.

But this concern isn’t just about money:  it’s just as much about demographics.  While the country continues to become increasingly diverse along racial, ethnic and religious lines, the management of building companies looks much like it has in the past:  white, middle-aged (with a median age of 54 in 2011 according to a NAHB membership survey), 93 percent male and, given the historic connection with the GOP, with what I assume are traditional values handed down from previous generations.

For the overall construction and extraction industries, however, it’s a different story: while over 97 percent of these jobs were still held by men, less than 10 percent of them were Caucasian alone, while nearly 16 percent were Hispanic, 5.7 percent were African American and 2.6 percent were Asian.  It’s an even larger contrast with the general U.S. population, which as of July 2012 was 77 percent Caucasian, 17 percent Hispanic, 13 percent African American, 5.1 percent Asian and 2.3 percent two or more races.

By 2043, the Census Bureau estimates that the country will no longer be a white-majority country, fueled today by significantly higher birth rates among multi-racial couples, Asians and Hispanic immigrants.  About 11 percent of the country’s counties are currently “majority-minority” across the southwest, southeast and northeast.  As soon as next year, a majority of children nationally under age five will be of non-Caucasian descent.

So why is this important?  Because the GOP has a substantial image problem among minority voters, with just 11 percent of non-white voters declaring allegiance to the Republican party as of mid-2012.  And when the NAHB’s primary PAC is still targeting two-thirds of its funds towards Republican candidates, it’s hard to ignore this huge political disconnect between supplier and buyer.

Sure, you could always hire consultants to tell you how to market to specific minority groups, but wouldn’t it be more practical for this industry to better mirror the general population?

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/18/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/18/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Builder confidence dips two points in October due to higher rates and government shutdown
  • Initial unemployment claims fall by 15,000 in latest report
  • Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook Survey shows continued growth in October
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/16/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/16/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicator:
  • Empire State Manufacturing Survey holds steady in October among mixed signals
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Monday, October 14, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/14/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/14/13 on the Web.

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

  • Consumer confidence drops to nine-month low due to federal government shutdown
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Friday, October 11, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/11/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/11/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • 52 housing markets have now returned to or exceeded pre-recessionary levels
  • Consumer credit rose in August but credit card use declining
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/9/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/9/13 on the Web.
In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

  • 52 housing markets have now returned to or exceeded pre-recessionary levels
  • Consumer credit rose in August but credit card use declining
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Monday, October 7, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/7/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/7/13 on the Web.

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

  • Mortgage loan applications dip by 0.4 percent but refinances rise by 3 percent 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.

Friday, October 4, 2013

No federal government data until further notice!

Due to the ongoing federal government shutdown, all data releases related to the national labor market, unemployment claims, new home sales, building permits, housing starts, etc. will be unavailable in the MetroIntelligence Economic Update portion of BuilderBytes.

When the government resumes its normal activities, all retroactive reports will be reported on this blog and in BuilderBytes.

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/4/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/4/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Private sector jobs rose by 166,000 in September; August gains revised downwards
  • Planned job cuts dip to lowest level in three months on September
  • Initial unemployment claims rose by 1,000 in latest report
  • Service sector economy continued to grow in September but at a slower rate
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 10/2/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 10/2/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Construction spending rose to four-year high in July
  • Manufacturing sector expanded for fourth straight month in September
  • Chicago PMI rose by 2.7 points in September even as employment declined
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.