Tag Archive: Meyers Research Blog

  1. Here Are The Hottest Markets In The Country

    The buyer urgency created by constant housing news coverage and ever-changing housing payments from rising rates is unmistakable. Last week, the Federal Reserve raised short-term rates for the second time in 2018. And, while we’ve mentioned time and time again that it is important to pay attention to Fed policy, it is also critical to remember the relationship between mortgage rates and 10-year Treasury yields. Luckily, after crossing the feared 3% threshold at the end of April, yields continue to be range-bound between 2.8% and 3.0%. This has helped stabilize mortgage rates, which currently sit around 4.6%. Our Director of Economic Research, Ali Wolf, wanted to understand how sales activity across the country has responded to higher rates and dug into Zonda to find the answer.

    We pulled contract sales data to see the biggest year-to-date winners of 2018, which include Denver, San Diego, and Phoenix.

    DENVER’S MOMENTUM PERSISTS

    Coming in at number one for the greatest growth in sales is Denver. This market has dominated news cycles for its rapidly changing fundamentals. When looking at affordability, we like to break markets into different categories. In 2010, Denver was bucketed with the moderately affordable markets like Raleigh and Atlanta. Today, the metro now falls under the least affordable category, playing in the same league as Seattle, Miami, and Los Angeles. Denver new home closing prices grew 42% from 2012 to 2017, reaching just under $500,000. This is all while the median household income is just over $75,000 and the current unemployment rate is 2.8%.

    “In metro Denver/Boulder, April year-to-date sales over $400K were up 13%, while contracts for homes priced under $400K grew 41%. We will watch to see if rising rates shift demand more towards lower priced homes,” explains our Senior Vice President of Advisory and Denver expert, Mike Rinner.

    Jeff Whiton, the CEO of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver, notes that builders are scrambling for higher density product. He explains, “Single-family attached starts are up 35% in the first third of the year, and I expect that trend to continue.”

    Even as fundamentals change, sales in Denver are strong. Like most markets, sales historically pick up during the spring selling season, but in Denver, the spike was nearly 30% this year. The top builders in Denver are currently Richmond American Homes, Lennar, and Clayton Properties Group, who collectively make up roughly 35% of the market. Don’t be surprised to see the seasonal slowdown in the May and June data. In 2016, the average sales pace slipped 13% from April to June and dropped 27% during the same months in 2017.

    Our latest feature in Zonda lets you instantly visualize a heat map of the average new home sales rate by market. We pulled Denver to understand submarket strength, and found that Adams County has the best sales rate in the metro area. The aforementioned top builders for the metro are also quite active in Adams County. The best-selling project is Carriage House at Riverdale by Oakwood Homes, where clustered single-family detached homes start at $340,000.

    OPPORTUNISTIC DEVELOPMENT IN DOWNTOWN

    The Coloradan condominium development is the best-selling active new home project in the Denver CBSA. Standing at 19 stories tall, the building includes ground-floor retail, 294 market rate homes, 33 affordable homes, and seven penthouses. Opened less than a year ago, the community is over 80% sold out. Furthermore, their best-selling residence type is the studio unit. The 49 studios are now sold out, but ranged from 485-534 square feet and sold primarily to Millennials (mostly mid- to late-20s) for under $300,000 (some units went for more). Just two of the 113 one-bedrooms remain unsold.

    • Best location in town. The Coloradan benefits from its location in downtown Denver practically adjacent to Union Station. The area is walkable to main employment hubs, and once development is complete, ground-floor retail will include a boutique fitness center, a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, dry bar, and more. There’s already a Whole Foods across the street. The Whole Foods was added because of the scale created by the abundance of for-rent communities in the area.
    • Limited competition. Condo development has been nearly non-existent for the past 10 years in Colorado. The Coloradan stands as just one of four actively selling communities in the Downtown Denver submarket. Roughly 95% of their traffic comes from online appointments.
    • All-encompassing. The Coloradan attracts a broad range of buyers with the exception of most families. Given the price point, location, and lifestyle, the luxury high-rise product appeals to empty nesters, singles, dual income no kids, existing condo owners, transplants, and investors.

    Fun facts about The Coloradan:
    1. Besides studios, the penthouses are the only other residence type to sell out
    2. The sales center is located in a WeWork space to create a more experience-driven relationship with the buyers
    3. There’s a fifth-floor community garden. The community will offer free classes to advise residents on the best plants and garden tactics give the cardinal direction of their respective units (HOA approved, of course)
    4. The mezzanine floor will include an “owners’ library” that will host 1-2 favorite books from each household, funded by the owner


    Rendering of the studio floorplan. Source: thecoloradan.com

    We analyzed contract sales by market in absolute terms and found that Dallas leads the nation with the most year-to-date contracts, followed by Houston and Phoenix. Please let us know if you’d like to see the full list.
    Contact us to discuss how we can help you stay competitive in today’s evolving housing market.
  2. Homeownership Rates, Economic Recovery, and Rental Market Clarity At IMN Miami 2018

    The hot and humid Miami weather didn’t stop a lively mix of homebuilders, land developers, and capital sources from being fully engaged with the all of the topics covered at IMN Miami. The key reoccurring theme throughout the day was the remaining runway in the current recovery—when does the market weaken? Our team critiqued this topic, and also dove into desirable geographies, construction costs, interest rates, the rental industry, and more.

    Macro Overview

    Ali Wolf, Director, Economic Research

    We are now in the second longest economic recovery on record and inflation is on the rise. The good news is that disposable income is at an all-time high and the 10-year bond is still below 3%. The not-so-good news is that rents and mortgage rates are inching up. Debt is also up, and while this is not not necessarily bad, the higher interest rates are a warning sign. Tracking mortgage, auto loans, and consumer debt delinquencies also give early warning signs, but there’s nothing to be worried about yet.

    Public and Private Homebuilder Panel

    Steve LaTerra, Managing Director

    Steve asked the room, “How do private builders compete against public builders?” Builders such as Van Metre Homes have created panelization plants to reduce cycle times, and McGuinn Homes has created deeper capital relationships.

    The second major question was, “Which geographies are desirable?” Since the answer depends on both job growth and limited entitlement difficulties, California does not make the cut. Instead, Steve said to look to the area that falls between urban and suburban zones and stay away from nationals.

    Building Single Family for Rent (SFR) and Building to Sell:  Homebuilder and Financier Perspectives 

    Moderated by Tim Sullivan, Managing Principal

    The origins of the Single Family Rental (SFR) industry came from investors’ desire to buy assets at a deep discount. Nobody was sure the space would work, and the fallback strategy was to sell the rental homes to the renters or other buyers, but now institutional capital accepts SFR. The “older” age of many of the SFR homes (1960 to 1990) requires more maintenance and capex reserves which is costlier to own, driving down yields.  This was the “miss” when many investors got into the space in 2008-2010. Yields are now at 5.6 to 5.9% (they were 50% plus higher in the early days) and price appreciation has been solid. The “fix-and-flip” concept still  works in lower priced markets (where homes are priced under $200k). Lenders in the space may loan from $20k to $40k per month to fix-and-flip operators (per Matt Neisser of Lending One). Some investment groups are buying new homes from homebuilders, which can help the homebuilder move inventory faster.

    The most solid markets for SFRs include: Jacksonville, Raleigh Durham, Orlando, Tampa, and Atlanta.

    Our top tips and tricks for SFRs:

    • Strong property managers are a must
    • Love your banker and tell your story clearly
    • Understand your local market
    • Be careful of expecting a lot more HPA
    General Market Outlook Panel

    Moderated by Jeff Meyers, President

    Homeownership

    Homeownership rates have not yet hit their peak and will remain fairly flat. Prices are now back to the previous peak in other markets, which makes things challenging as rates go up. In terms of starts compared to peaks, we should be at 800K new home sales. The rise of the outer suburbs is key to this growth: Suburbs are growing faster than cities and this will drive our opportunities over the next 10 years.

    Relentless Rise In Costs & Home Prices

    Costs have been rising across the board for development loans, concrete, and other materials. Home prices have also been rising but have been shielded by low mortgage rates. It’s important to point out that the process to get a mortgage is more difficult now. Millennials are unable to come up with enough down payment and have been relying on assistance from friends and family. We all know that building more housing will help drive down costs, but we still need to know where new starts will come from. Currently, there isn’t any developable land, and we likely won’t get back to the level we had before.

    Join Us At The Next IMN

    The next IMN will be in Las Vegas on September 24-25, where we will continue the conversation around private equity, debt, and joint venture financing. Register before August 17th to catch the homebuilder early bird registration discount. We hope to see you there!

  3. Detroit: Where Dilapidation Meets Redevelopment

    The streets of Detroit mimic those of Bucharest combining the preserved architecture of the late-19th century with contemporary redevelopment and pockets of dilapidation. Driving down Detroit’s 21-mile Woodward Ave, it is almost difficult to register everything you are taking in. You see the historic (and unused) home of the Model T on one side, crumbling buildings on the other, and magnificent places of worship along the way. Once America’s great city, Detroit has struggled with poverty, corruption, cronyism, and bad politics. It even filed for bankruptcy back in 2013. But, times are changing for Detroit. Developers and visionaries are working to revitalize the market and attract interest from across the country and beyond. Our Director of Economic Research, Ali Wolf, along with Vice President of Advisory, Adam McAbee, went on the “Building Density In Detroit’s Suburbs” tour provided by ULI during the Spring Meeting and outlined their findings below.

    Detroit CBSA stats at a glance, powered by Zonda:

    • 43 active builders working on 214 active projects; 43% of the activity is concentrated in Oakland County
    • 2,675 contract sales over the last twelve months
    • New home closing prices average $240,000, which means 71% of households can afford the median priced new home

    Creative use of space. While the leaders in Detroit’s suburb of Birmingham (a community located north of downtown with a population of 20,000) understand the needs of their residents to have a sense of belonging in the community, they also know the city has basic land restrictions. One way they’ve combated this is to allow restaurants to rent parking spaces from April to November to create outdoor eating spaces. If you look closely at the bottom left of the below picture, you’ll see the parking lines.

    Creating soul in the new. Throughout the tour, outsiders reflected on how charming the city feels given its history. While many of the buildings are historic, some just have the appearance of being old. In some cases, developers bucked the contemporary trend and intentionally designed the exterior elevations of the new buildings to look Parisian or industrial.

    Planning for the future. Detroit is, without question, an auto-dependent city. After all, it’s home to the Big Three automakers. With technology advancing rapidly, however, local developers don’t want to get in trouble down the line. We learned about a proposed mixed-use building with ground-floor retail, micro units (yes, even in Detroit!), and parking that the architect designed so it could easily be converted if/when self-driving cars take off.

    Give them something to talk about. Just like the ULI Fall Meeting in Los Angeles last October, the consumer experience kept creeping into the conversation. The developer and mall owner of the luxury retail center, The Somerset Collection, acknowledged that there’s undoubtedly competition from online retail, but it can never take away from good experiences and great customer service on-the-ground. The shopping mall partnered with Happy Returns to fix the pain points of online shopping. Shoppers unsatisfied with their online purchase can head to the “return bar” at the mall where the employee will box up and return the item for you to participating stores. Beyond the ease of return, you’ll receive a $25 gift card to your favorite (partnered) store to help you find something you do like.

    We work with specialists across the country to address the changing needs of both cities and consumers. Please contact us to discuss how we can help with your next development.

    Ali WolfDirector of Economic Research
    EMAIL ALI  |  ALI’S PROFILE 

  4. Meyers Research Raises over $45,000 for HomeAid America

    Our 2018 Housing Market Outlook in Newport Beach was a huge success, with our strongest turnout ever!  Thank you to all attendees and sponsors who helped us raise $45,000. To date, we’ve raised a grand total of $572,000 in net proceeds for HomeAid America.

    We have spent the past 4 years partnering with HomeAid because we firmly stand behind their mission to provide housing for those that need it the most — homeless families. The organization builds and renovates multi-unit shelters for America’s homeless families and individuals (more than one million of whom are children) while the residents rebuild their lives. For over HomeAid’s 29 years in operation, they’ve built over 500 projects. This is a cause we are happy to support.

     

     

    SESSION HIGHLIGHTS

    Economic Overview
    Presented by Robert Kleinhenz, Economist and Executive Director of Research at Beacon Economics

    Everyone in the room was relieved to hear Robert’s bullish take on the national economy, supported by tax cuts and full employment. He urged the audience to make good use of these circumstances and look for ways to address the housing shortage to serve the robust demand. The highlights from the economic session are below:

    The Economic Landscape Is Positive

    • Consumer growth is steady due to gradually rising wages and constrained debt levels. It appears the Great Recession created a more cautious consumer
    • We’ve reached the theoretical point of “full employment” with an unemployment rate of 4.3%. The unemployment rate would be lower if companies could find qualified workers
    • The tax cuts will likely spur additional economic activity throughout 2018 and 2019 from both consumers and businesses. In particular, the favorable tax treatment will lead to more business investments
    • As we work through trade talks, we need to maintain stability with Canada and Mexico, two of our strongest trade partners
    • Tariffs on aluminum and steel will raise costs, but the impact will be minor for consumers

    Positive Housing Demographics With Major Affordability Headwinds

    • Home prices in California have come back nicely, steadily increasing since the trough. Apartment rents are also on the rise. While both of these are generally good for a market, home prices and rents are far outpacing income growth
    • The housing shortage is a real problem in California. We need to build 200,000 homes in California annually to address the demand, but we’ve only hit 100,000. The dearth of housing inventory is a major factor contributing to the aforementioned price appreciation and subsequent affordability challenges
    • We are waiting for a big boost in home sales; the sales trajectory hasn’t broken out of the narrow range since the start of the recovery. While demographics are in the housing market’s favor and Millennials are in a good shape to become homeowners, first-time homebuyers are struggling to both come up with the down payment and qualify for a loan.
    Builder Panel Session

    Moderated by Jeff Meyers, President at Meyers Research

    Panelists:

    Bert Selva, President and CEO at Shea Homes
    Jeff RoosRegional President at Lennar Corporation
    Jim BoydRegional President at Toll Brothers
    Emile HaddadChairman and CEO at FivePoint Communities

     

    The major theme of the builder panel was adapting to change by addressing uncomfortable challenges. Adaptability and continuous reinvention were unanimously agreed upon as the key to staying relevant in the industry.

    Lennar & CalAtlantic Merger Challenges

    • Lennar is now in 38 markets, with top market share in many
    • The merger came with some growing pains. Lennar is working to integrate the information technology of both operating platforms by summer
    • There is a changing focus on Lennar’s digital marketing platform; they want to get to people before they buy a home

    Upping The Game At Toll Brothers

    • Toll Brothers thinks about their homes from a homebuyers’ perspective and considers objections before they even receive them. Hidden Canyon, a community in Irvine, is a great example of this. They spent roughly $1 million on landscaping to demonstrate what you can achieve with limited yard space
    • Toll Brothers is also focusing dollars on merchandising their communities. One of their goals is to include 20+ flat screen televisions in each model home

    Shea Homes Creates A Balance

    • Shea doesn’t shoot from the hip. The company aims to create balance by creating a strategy. They spend the extra time to define the areas they want to be and reflect on their core markets
    • Shea learned through consumer research that technology matters to some of their home buyers. As a result, they’ve invested in Ring as a new home technology

    If you were unable to attend our Outlook, there are still plenty of ways to contribute to HomeAid America. Connect with your local HomeAid chapter to see how you and your colleagues can help with activities such as diaper drives or booking a shelter tour. There are currently 17 chapters in 12 states, with a continued effort to expand further. You can also donate to HomeAid directly to enable them to continue to build new facilities where America’s homeless can rebuild their lives.

  5. Redevelopment Efforts Aim To Change Tampa

    Tampa, Florida flew under the radar for years, but is now intentionally trying to reconstruct its image and expand their downtown. With a strong labor market, well-connected group of entrepreneurs (Tampapreneurs, as they are called), and increasing interest from developers and capital providers, the market appears well-positioned for future growth. Our Director of Economic Research, Ali Wolf, recently spent time in Tampa and left impressed by the redevelopment efforts.

    The Tampa metro is currently the 18th largest in the US, behind markets like Detroit and Minneapolis. However, the tide may be turning for the market. The newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Tampa as the third best metro in the nation for net migration from 2016-2017. Within Tampa, Hillsborough County was the 11th best spot in the country for population growth from 2010-2016 for those aged 25-44 (Millennials + some Generation X).

    Select counties in the Midwest saw the most out-migration, which coincidentally benefits Florida. According to research from The Ohio State University, Florida, Texas, and Kentucky are the top three outbound states for Ohio residents. In fact, Tampa plays up the lifestyle as it would appeal to some of their new residents – “We have all the amenities of major cities, with the community feel of smaller towns.”

     

    WHY TAMPA?

    Tampa is one of the markets that has something for everyone:

    Relative affordability. On average, owning a home is cheaper than renting in the metro. The market average for a detached single-family new home is $270,000 and $185,000 for existing. If one is looking in the popular Hyde Park/Davis Island ZIP code, though, the price point approaches $800,000 for a new detached home and $700,000 for a resale.

    Manageable traffic. Locals will still complain about the traffic, but compared to other metropolitan areas, Tampa has it easy. Tampa ranks 33rd for the worst traffic in the US; Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta are the top markets for traffic. According to Redfin, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco all fall within the top 10 cities house hunting in Tampa.

    Excellent weather 60% of the year. Tampa has seven months of beautiful weather and five months of hot temperatures. For comparison, Cleveland, one of the aforementioned markets contributing to Tampa’s growth, has four months of nice weather and four with the average temperature 45 degrees or lower.

    Close to the water. Tampa residents have easy access to a slew of beaches either nearby in the Bay or along the Clearwater-St. Petersburg coast, setting it apart from nearby Orlando.

    Professional sports teams. Tampa has as many professional sports teams as Orlando and Jacksonville combined, which is great for the nearly 60% of Americans that are sports fans. Locals can cheer on the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Ability to serve the country. The MacDill Air Force Base, located just south of downtown Tampa on the peninsula, has been a critical component of the market since the 1940s.

    Culture and history. Tampa’s Latin American influence permeates throughout Ybor City (great for cigar aficionados) and the food scene, adding authentic elements to parts of downtown.

    Shops with soul. The Tampa Heights area is transforming thanks to two new food halls. The Hall On Franklin, provides a unique experience in the form of an upscale food court with sit-down service. A seven-minute walk away is the other, Heights Public Market (HPM). The 22,000-square-foot industrial market provides bars, restaurants, collaborative work space, a grocery store, a butcher, and more. HPM (photo from our visit below) serves as a base to further development in the area north of downtown.

     

     

    THE GAME CHANGER? 

    Strategic Property Partners, the developer of the Water Street Tampa downtown redevelopment plan, is controlled by Jeff Vinik, the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment Fund. Water Street Tampa is expected to breathe new life into the Channelside District. The revitalization project will include 53-acres of live-work-play space near the Lightning’s existing stadium. Upon completion, the walkable development will act as an anchor to the city. It is projected to include two new hotels, retail, public space, office space, bike paths, cultural amenities, entertainment venues, and housing (both for-sale and for-rent). The College of Medicine for the University of South Florida is also scheduled to open in 2019 at Water Street Tampa, further backing the region’s health care industry.

     

    Source: Waterstreettampa.com

     

    MIX OF URBAN LIFESTYLE AND BEDROOM COMMUNITIES 

    Lennar’s acquisition of both CalAtlantic and WCI Communities helped it secure a solid foothold in Tampa.

    • Of the active builders in Hillsborough County, Lennar makes up over 30% market share.
    • Lennar contributes to the myriad of housing options in the market, ranging from townhome communities in the up-and-coming South Tampa area to single-family detached homes in the bedroom community of Lutz (pictures below).
    • Lennar has two of the top ten selling new home communities in Hillsborough County, both south of Brandon and with prices in the $200,000s.

    D.R. Horton, who comprises 12% of Tampa’s market share, is successful in Tampa under their Express Homes line. The affordable homes are largely sprinkled along the Riverview to Sun City Center corridor and are priced between $166,000 to $226,000. The average monthly sales rate per community is 4.2.

     

     

    West End II townhomes by Lennar starting at $390,000 for 2,100 square feet

     

    The Promenade At Lake Park 50s by Lennar starting at $352,000 for 1,900 square feet

    “Of the large metropolitan areas in the state of Florida, Tampa is one that is poised for significant growth due to its expansive waterfront amenities, exciting downtown redevelopment, excellent employment opportunities, and its housing affordability. Transportation infrastructure, including interstate and regional roadways, the international airport, and the Port of Tampa all contribute to Tampa’s bright future for economic development opportunities,” concludes Mike Timmerman, our Florida expert and Senior Vice President of Advisory.

    Contact us to discuss how we can help you with your next project in Tampa.

    Ali WolfDirector of Economic Research
    EMAIL ALI  |  ALI’S PROFILE 

  6. Why HomeAid Matters

    There’s a reason why we’ve spent the past four years partnering with HomeAid America. As part of the building and housing industry, we never want to lose sight of building housing for those that need it the most — homeless families.

    We caught up with Peter Simons, the CEO of HomeAid, to bring awareness about what your donation goes toward when you attend our Housing Market Outlook, why he thinks you should attend, and how else you can help. Our next one is April 18, 2018 and we hope to see you there!

     

     

    When someone attends a Housing Market Outlook, what does their donation go toward?

    100% of the proceeds support our programs to build housing for charities helping the homeless, giving them shelter, and a place to rebuild their lives. HomeAid is one of largest builders of housing for the homeless in the country, and the building industry should be very proud of the work they are doing through HomeAid to solve this problem.

    Why should industry professionals attend this event?

    The content of this event speaks for itself, even without the charitable component related to HomeAid. The speakers are high profile homebuilding leaders and economic experts that are more than worth the price of admission. We have done 12 of these events around the country now, and have never failed to deliver valuable takeaways in an entertaining format.

    Besides attending events like this, how else can people help your organization?
    HomeAid has chapters in 18 markets across the country. If you are in one of those markets, there are a number of ways to help out the local chapter. It will be a rewarding experience you will never forget!

     

    Feel free to share this infographic on your blog or social media by clicking on the share button at the top right corner. 

  7. 3 Major Takeaways From 13 Frame Events


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  8. Tariffs: Bark Or Bite?

    Last week, we found out that a new round of tariffs could change global trade dynamics. The administration is planning to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% on aluminum. This is not the first protectionist action; it comes after the US exited the Trans-Pacific Partnership and put tariffs on lumber, washing machines, and solar panels. We find out this afternoon if this is more bark than bite, but in the meantime, our Director of Economic Research, Ali Wolf, will tell you what you should know ahead of the announcement.

    GOOD FOR THE FEW, BAD FOR THE MANY?

    Downstream industries, higher prices, and inflation 

    Most economists would tell you tariffs are bad, regardless of their political affiliation. Consensus is that levying tariffs will only benefit a select few (in this case, the suppliers of the raw materials), to the detriment of many. For example, the companies that buy domestic steel and aluminum would face higher costs when trying to manufacture secondary products like bikes or trucks.

    Higher material costs will likely be passed on to consumers, which could drive US inflation, something economists are already worried about. In some cases, the costs could be absorbed by manufacturers, which could ultimately lead to employment challenges in the future if companies make smaller profits.

    Sample of industries that would feel the repercussions:

    • Oil and gas (Texas, North Dakota, Alaska)
    • Car makers (Midwest and Southeast)
    • Beer distributors (New York, Midwest)
    • Aerospace (Washington, East Coast)

    In the housing industry, this could impact the cost of windows, faucets, gates, fences, stoves, refrigerators, and more, in a time when rising costs are already a hindrance.

    Retaliation and trade wars

    The most common fear about tariffs is the potential for retaliation. The world has become interwoven and globalization has lifted the broader economic climate. Disrupting integrated markets could have wide-reaching ramifications, including lower international trade, which typically leads to higher prices for consumers as well as the aforementioned inflation. The European Union has already threatened to retaliate by targeting quintessential American-made products like Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bourbon. The Foreign Minister and Prime Minister of Canada were also unhappy, but new developments suggest they, and Mexico, are likely temporarily exempt. This is a relief as Canada is the largest supplier of steel and aluminum for the US. With this development, there’s hope that the announcement will relax the possibility of trade wars.

    KEEP YOUR EYES ON

    • Negotiations around the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Peter Navarro, a White House trade adviser, said a permanent exclusion for Canada and Mexico is on the table if the countries come to an agreement on reworking NAFTA to best suit America’s needs.
    • How politicians react. Tariffs aren’t a Democrat/Republican thing. In fact, there are a lot of Democratic senators in the Rust Belt that are applauding the efforts of President Trump, and many Republicans that aren’t keen on the idea. In fact, 107 Republican members of the House of Representatives asked the president to only focus on countries that conduct unfair trading practices. Since it appears many Republicans are reluctant to switch from free trade, can they influence the president?
    • Stock market fluctuations. After the initial announcement of the proposed tariffs, the stock market took a hit. Since then, we’ve seen some resilience as investors try to determine the likelihood of trade wars. When you see the gyrations in the stock market, just remember that the fundamentals of the economy have not changed, it’s just the future uncertainty.

    SMOOT WHAT?

    A look back in history provides context around tariff trepidation. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act was signed into law in June 1930 (less than a year after the Great Depression started) that taxed over 20,000 imports. Some argue that this widespread tariff policy added considerable strain to the economic climate and exacerbated the Great Depression. Others would argue that the discussion leading up to the actual passage of the act was one of the big reasons the economy slumped. While the handful of tariffs passed and proposed by the current administration are minor compared to Smoot-Hawley, it speaks to the potential risk in such policies.

    Contact us to discuss how we can help you plan for the future in today’s economic climate.

    Ali WolfDirector of Economic Research
    EMAIL ALI  |  ALI’S PROFILE 

  9. Client-Only Brief: Amazon HQ2 Finalists

    Briefs are a client-only publication series showcasing the most buzzworthy topics in the housing market.

    In this inaugural brief, we handpicked a few of the final cities in the running for Amazon’s HQ2 and put them into five different categories (Midwest Charm, Standouts, Lifestyle, Metropolitan, and Techie). For each category, we explore what the major benefits could be for the region if they win Amazon.

    Amazon HQ2 Finalists

    Amazon narrowed down their prospective list of cities for their second headquarters (HQ2) to 20, and after analyzing the data, we believe the Midwest could receive the biggest benefit if chosen. The winning city will receive up to a $5 billion investment from Amazon, as well as 50,000 high-paying jobs.

    Top 20 Cities At A Glance

    • 80% fall on the eastern side of the US and Canada
    • Five of the top 10 cities for year-to-date permit issuance (Jan-Nov 2017) made the list: Dallas, Atlanta, Austin, Washington, DC, and Nashville
    • Notable snubs include Portland, Charlotte, and Salt Lake City

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