Which Is America’s Best City? Raleigh (Again)

Downtown RaleighThe Raleigh-Cary area is consistently getting top rankings in it seems every ranking by every newspaper, magazine, or study. Again, this week is no different. In a Bloomberg-BusinessWeek article, the Raleigh area ranked #1 for the Best City In America. The article goes into detail in why Raleigh got the top ranking.

For the past 20 months, the Raleigh area has been at or near the top of over 114 list, including more than 10 so far this year. The types of lists ranges from quality of life to residential market quality to various employment clusters to being one of the top funniest cities.

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Raleigh’s Future Looks Bright

Downtown RaleighYou would think we would get used to it.  “Get used to what?” you may ask.  Well I am not referring to the 100+ degree heat that the city will be experiencing for the five days.  It is to another Top 10 or Top 15 ranking by some outside organization looking in.  This time AOL Real Estate included Raleigh in its listing of 15 Cities Where The Future Looks Bright.  Why?  Jobs, jobs, and more jobs.

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The State of Downtown Raleigh

Downtown RaleighWant to get nearly 300 business people, executives, and politicians in one place on a Wednesday morning?  Do an official “State of the Union” type forum and invite a Senior Director from a tech savvy company,an Executive VP, for a large hospitality group, and a newly appointed Economic Development Manager.

Well, that is exactly what happened yesterday at Downtown Raleigh 2012: An Economic Forum held by Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Read more of this post

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.

Is Housing Optimism Growing?

Sold Home For Sale Sign in Front of New HouseThe beginning of the year tends to bring a lot of article about the upcoming year.  As I posted last week, the articles are especially true for the housing market.  Well, the USA Today did not want to be left out and included thoughts by  JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon in this article.

The article points to a number of good economic indicators including expected improvements in new and resales home sales and single family construction starts.

–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.

Will N.C. see growth in 2012?

Gross Domestic ProductAccording to UNC Charlotte economist John Connaughton, he thinks so.

Connaughton believes North Carolina’s economy will grow 1.7% in 2012.  This is up 1.3% percent from this year.  The Article from the Charlotte Business Journal mentions the 11 of North Carolina’s 15 economic sectors are set for growth during 2012.  Business and professional services are projected to increase 5.4% and the finance, insurance and real estate is projected to increase 3.8%.  Connaughton also expects a job increase of 38,000 in 2012.  You can read the full article here.

The reference to growth in the upcoming year is a welcome one and one I hope is a true understatement for the upcoming year. 

As you finish up 2011 and put it behind us, I am sure you are making your 2012 plans and projections.  How is 2012 looking for you?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their 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 customers, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

October Consumer Confidence Index® Drops

Consumer SpendingOn Tuesday, the Conference Board reported Consumer Confidence Index® dropped from 46.4 in September to 39.8.  It was broken down by the Present Situation Index decreased to 26.3 from 33.3 and the Expectations Index declined to 48.7 from 55.1 last month.

The September figures was a rise over the August figures and September was a hope that consumers felt the economy was beginning to improve.  October’s figure begins to put that into question from the business perspective.

 The Board stated that those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 9.1% from 11.8%, while those expecting business conditions to worsen edged down to 21.5% from 21.9%.

Consumers’ outlook for the job market was mirroring the business conditions results. Those who stated that more jobs would be expected in the months decreased slightly to 11.3 % from 11.9%, while those expecting fewer jobs decreased to 27.4% from 28.6%. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes declined to 10.3% from 13.5%.

For all of this, business owners need to understand what their customers see the economy is, regardless of its reality.  How are you working within your businesses to make sure customers are spending money? 

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their 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 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 customers, email him at jnolfo@ymail.com.

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