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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Internet Summit 12 Is Here

Internet Summit 12For regular readers of this blog, not reading something market research related on a Monday morning may seem like you have entered into the Twilight Zone.  Well, don’t fret.  Because of major conferences in the Raleigh-Durham area over the next two weeks, the blogs will be shorter and related to what I hear about the conferences.  My traditional postings will resume the week of November 19.

This week, the fifth year of Internet Summit will be held and, in my opinion, the best of the the two that I have been aware of.  Although the conference, as a whole, does not start until it Tuesday, I am already excited about it just on what I am seeing as the setup and who is talking.  You can see all the details and the agenda here, but the typically two day conference is now a full three days with the addition of Startup Summit and Preconference Intensive Workshops. Read more of this post

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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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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A Big Week for (Current & Wannabe) Entrepreneurs And Startups In The Triangle

Downtown RaleighIt has been a big week in the Triangle area for those in and around startups, or those thinking about a new entrepreneurial venture.

In any given week, there are always good events to network and get re-acquainted with those you may not have seen around. This is true for the Triangle area too. However, this week we saw three different great events to not only network, but learn and understand hoe innovative and entrepreneurial the area really is. Read more of this post

Hey Raleigh, It’s Time To Startup and Play!

Startup And PlayOn Wednesday evening, The Flying Saucer in Raleigh was packed full of entrepreneurs, startups and throngs of people who want to be near them.

This is just another example of how dynamic Raleigh (and the Triangle) truly is.  And based on discussions and interviews with Aaron Gerry and Patrick Shampine, who organized the event, they think so too.

Aaron told WRAL “The big idea is to create a groundswell of support for consumer-facing Triangle startups by connecting the companies with the community at large,” He continues to stay that both he and Patrick “strongly that the Triangle community is stronger if we all work together. We want to help bridge the Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh ecoystems through a collective celebration of entrepreneurship.”

“My focus is to foster relationship building and continue to put momentum behind our ever growing startup community in the Triangle,” Shampine told WRAL.

The whole idea of Startup and Play was not only to get people together that had an interest in startups and the entrepreneurial community, but to introduce many of them to the public.  People were able to learn about Matt Senter and his new privacy oriented photo sharing, play the newest game “Plight of the Zombie” by Sparkplug Games, or sign up with LiPi’s to be beta testers for their new platform.

The list of Raleigh-based startups include:

Be sure to check out all of the great companies.  Although these are not all inclusive, these companies are just an example of the entrepreneurial community in Raleigh and the Triangle.

Let me know what local startups are your favorite.

–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.

Oops, we did it again!

No, I am not a Brittany Spears fan, but I think Raleigh is trying to emulate her chart topping song.

Downtown RaleighThe Raleigh-Cary area is consistently getting top rankings in it seems every ranking by every newspaper, magazine, or study. This week is no different. In an ABC news story, the Raleigh-Cary area ranked #3 for the Most Optimistic US Metro Area.

For the past 20 months, the Raleigh area has been at or near the top of 114 list, including 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.

I moved here in August 2003 from southern California. I had the same reaction that most people do when they move here, “Look at all the trees!”. But after that I got to experience the Triangle and all the great things about it. This is more so now. With such things going on, such as the great entrepreneurial and start-up cultures in both downtown Raleigh and downtown Durham, the increase attention from national studies and publications, and continuous strong presence of NC State, Duke, and UNC academically and athletically, the Triangle will continue to become a major player for new businesses and growth that would make larger cities jealous.

What is your favorite thing about living and working in the Triangle?

–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.

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.

Interstates Help Spur Housing Growth

Interstate spurs housing growth

iStockphoto's collection of royalty-free images

Last week the News & Observer had an article that discussed the increase in residential construction permits in the local municipalities of Apex and Holly Springs due to the I-540 extension that is currently nearing completion.  You can read the full article here.

Although this may be news to the general public, construction and development companies (both residential and commercial) have been looking at new and growing traffic corridors as they continue to explore areas for development.  New  interstates and highways are a critical component in this.  Study after study has shown that people want easy accessibility as a determination to where they decide to live. 

Typically, housing developments, due to their shorter development timeframe, can be completed before the corridors are opened up.  Because of this, the housing that is developed and sold before the corridor opens up is less expensive than a similar community opened up afterwards.  To do this, modern technologies like GIS (Geographic Information System) programs has helped find key areas of development that get ahead of the interstate and thoroughfare growths to make their communities attractive to perspective buyers.  Some larger developers and builders already use this technology.  However, smaller ones can to by finding local sources that are already using GIS for other purposes and use them to leverage their knowledge and abilities.

–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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