Triangle Construction’s Good News

Housing ConstructionHousing and construction has been in the news a lot over the past few days.  And this news has been positive.

The news substantiates discussions I have been having with those I know in the construction industry, both residential and commercial, that construction is on the upswing.  Now, I am not saying it is on the late 1990’s, early 2000’s upswing.  But then again, look at what ended up happening.

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Bring Your Ideas to Life, with IdeaMensch

Idea Mensch Road TripFor the regular readers of this blog, you know that I am a huge proponent on start-ups and entrepreneurship. In the past, I have blogged about various events that promoted start-ups and entrepreneurship. This blog is not different. Last night was IdeaMensch, Raleigh edition. IdeaMensch is a community of people who inspire others to act on ideas and the Road Trip is a traveling idea generation platform that covers 48 states, with 50 events over 4 months.

Along with Mario Schulzke, who started IdeaMensch, there were 5 great entrepreneurial speakers about their ventures, opportunities, and things they learned. Here are some quick highlights of all the speakers:

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Economic, Construction, and Real Estate News

We have had a lot of economic, construction and real estate related news in the past few days.  Instead of looking at just one of them in a vacuum, I am going to highlight many of them.

    • Nationally, consumer sentiment rose to 70.8 in February from 61.5 in January, achieving a sizable improvement. Consumers’ expectations rose to 88.0 from 76.7, while their views on current conditions increased to 45.0 from 38.8.  See the full story here.
    • Whouse constructionarren Buffett says along with equities, single-family homes are a very attractive investment right now, based on a CNBC interview.  He believes that the market is getting back into a situation that if the homes are held for a long period of time and purchased at low rates, the houses are even better than stocks.
    • An article in the Triangle Business Journal states that economic activity appears to be picking up across North Carolina, with fewer people filing first-time claims for state jobless benefits and forecasters predicting a bounce in new housing starts by 2013.

There have been a number of stories in the past several days about the local construction and real estate industries.  Some of it was good and some of it was not.

  • One of the negative stories was the report on the change of the Triangle’s construction industry employment figures.  I feel like we all logically knew this.  However, the numbers show that the Triangle peaked in December 2007 when payrolls were hitting 40,400. Then came the contraction.  By December 2011, according to Virginia-based Associated General Contractors of America, Triangle payrolls had dropped 30 percent to 35,300.  (Check out the full article here).
  • California-based commercial real estate firm Grubb & Ellis filed for bankruptcy.  Grubb & Ellis does have an affiliate in the Triangle.  It appears that Grubb & Ellis will be bought by New York-based BCG Partners Inc. as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.  There is no news of how this will affect the local affiliate.
  • The residential market update for 2011 from Birch Appraisal Group was released showing 2011 average prices and percent to assessed value by jurisdiction for Wake County.  Cary had the highest average price and Apex had the highest percentage.  Garner came in with the lowest in both categories.
  • Preston Development looking at 7,108 acres for Chatham Park, a masterplanned community that mixes the golf course and executive homes of Prestonwood and business hubs of Research Triangle Park.  The idea is to essentially develop a RTP 2.0.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Residential Construction In The News

All week long, there has been a number of stories on the evening news and in various newspapers about residential construction and real estate in the Triangle region. I feel like last weeks article from Inman News was a catalyst for all of this. But since the beginning of the month, there have been several other newsworthy events about real estate in the nation and the Triangle. Here is a list of them.House Under Construction

  • Associated Press article stating that the CEOs of some of the biggest homebuilders feel the housing market has stabilized.
  • Discussion and stories at this week’s International Builders’ Show in Orlando about most local markets improving in 2012.
  • NBC-17 story about buyers flocking to buy homes in areas with retail nearby.
  • Triangle Business Journal article about Mountain Real Estate Capital of Charlotte buying ownership of Brightleaf in Durham.

Although not directly housing related, you need to include in the mix these stories.Employment Board

  • Raleigh added 8,700 new jobs last year (TBJ article)
  • National jobless claims drop
  • January’s national unemployment rate of 8.3%(left up to interpretation, see this article).

So what does all this mean? Well, by crystal ball was recently cracked and the store I bought my last one is out of business (Shouldn’t they have seen that coming?). The real answer is “who knows” There seems to be a lot of optimism for 2012; not that there isn’t at the beginning of every other year. But the people I talk to have a good gut feel about the next 11 months. Obviously, we will not know until then, but the positive attitude certainly cannot hurt.

So…What do you think this all means?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

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