Will housing drive economic growth in 2012?

The housing slump has been a killer for economic growth since the great crash of 2008. Many people think we won’t be able to get the economy going until the housing market recovers. We’ve heard some good news lately, with an unexpected jump in housing sales at the end of 2011. Some bankers like Jamie Diamond are calling the bottom in real estate.

It will be interesting to see what happens. As we work through the housing inventory, consumers are finally feeling better about the economy. This could spark another home improvement boom. One thing to look for in 2012 is the health of retailers like Home Depot. If more Americans are feeling better about the economy and more homes start selling, then we could see this drive economic growth.

There are so many resources out there for consumers to do work on their homes. In-store shopping at places like home depot are very popular, as are online options. You can do research on price and design options very easily online. You can shop for furniture and other needs, like buying picture frames here, and you can save so much time and money while making your home look beautiful.

We’ve seen the auto industry recover. Now if we can see housing and home improvement make gains as well, then we might finally be on our way to a real recovery.


Housing starts surge

There’s a ton of demand out there for apartments as many Americans turn to renting as opposed to buying homes. With this demand, more apartments will be built and that’s having an effect on housing starts.

U.S. housing starts surged to a 1-1/2 year high in November and permits for future construction were the highest since March 2010 as demand for rental apartments rose, offering hope for the weak housing market.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday housing starts jumped 9.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 units, the highest since April last year.

October’s starts were revised down to a 627,000-unit pace from a previously reported 628,000 unit rate.
Building permits, a gauge of future construction, rose by 5.7 percent. The increase was spurred by more apartment permits.

New homes have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates three jobs for a year and $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Although the overall housing market remains weak, rising demand for rental apartments is boosting the construction of multifamily homes.

Falling house values and stringent lending practises by banks are pushing Americans away from homeownership.

The rate is still below the rate needed for a healthy economy, but the trend is in the right direction.

It will be interesting to see how this trend plays out, and it offer business opportunities for people who can exploit these trends. The buying vs renting debate on real estate is definitely tilted now towards renting with the tight bank lending practices.


Has Donald Trump destroyed his brand?

Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart and co-owner of the Miss Universe Pageant Donald Trump (R) meet with the Miss Universe 2010 contestants at the Events Center in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 22, 2010. The Miss Universe 2010 competition will air live on the NBC Television Network at 9 PM ET. UPI/Patrick Prather/HO

Donald Trump has put his brand on all sorts of products as he leverages his success over the years in real estate along with the his status as a reality TV celebrity. Yet he turned many people off with his bizarre and mean-spirited attacks on President Obama. He questioned Obama’s birth certificate, and then moved on to questioning Obama’s qualifications to get into Harvard Law School.

Basically, he came across as a jerk. Then, Obama smacked him down by releasing his birth certificate, mocking Trump in front of the Washington press corps and then interrupting “Celebrity Apprentice” with the news that Navy SEALS had killed Osama bin Laden.

Meanwhile, the press has started to dig into Trump’s business dealings, shining a light on some of Trump’s less impressive ventures. Trump is getting sued by some who purchased condos thinking they were Trump projects, only to find later when the project folded that Trump was just licensing his name.

These stories are now all over the media. So it begs the question – did Trump screw up with his high-profile, mean-spirited attacks on the President? Is this going to hurt his brand? I always thought he was a clown, but he didn’t bother me. Now, I have no interest in supporting anything he’s associated with. Others I’ve spoken to feel the same way.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out . . .


A double-dip recession in the housing market?

Things keep getting worse in the housing market as foreclosures glut the market and depress prices. It’s so bad that some are calling it a double-dip recession in the housing market.

If the numbers showing housing prices slumming it around their spring 2009 lows aren’t troubling enough, then the surrounding context certainly is. The federal government spent trillions of dollars lifting housing — the recession’s great instigator — out of its trough. And now that home prices have collapsed again, the feds have far fewer tools available to prop them up again.

This does not bode well for the entire economy, but it just shows how long it’s going to take to work through all the excesses of the mortgage bubble. In Las Vegas, the foreclosures are now spreading to upscale homes as well, giving high rollers the opportunity to come in and scoop up real estate gems on the cheap.

Fortunately, there is one silver lining, as young people now actually have hope of getting an affordable home if they have decent income. With all the bad news out there for young people in the job market, at least there’s some good news. Unfortunately, many people are paying the price for the excesses of the past decade.


Dealing with the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland

This video describes how the city of Cleveland, and one housing court judge, are dealing with the massive foreclosure crisis. In particular, the city is tearing down condemned homes and making the owners and the banks cover the cost.


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