Gary's Blog

Monday, March 22, 2010

Economic Recovery Data Keeps Rolling In!

The number of first-time claims for unemployment fell last week for the third time in a row, a sign the job market is healing.
Luxury clothing stores rose quite nicely last month. Nordstrom for example, saw sales surge 10.4% from the previous year same-store sales. Lower end stores such as Target and J.C. Penney saw smaller gains, but still, gains.
Business at high-end hotels is coming back. Revenue at luxury hotels was up 7.7% last week from a year ago.
Overall U.S. auto sales were up 13% for February, and luxury brands did even better. Revenue rose 32% for GM's Cadillac brand, nearly 14% for BMW and 17% for Honda's Acura. Lexus was up 5% while Toyota fell due to widespread recalls.

Confidence in the economy has risen most amount wealthier Americans. The S & P 500 index has surged more than 70% since its bottom last spring.

Inflation, meanwhile, has all but vanished. Consumer prices were flat in February. That absence of inflation allows the Federal Reserve to keep the Federal Funds rate at a record low of 0 to .25%.

Interestingly, Maui real estate is seeing a rebound, all across the board. For example, a listing for $27.5 million in Makena is in escrow. Four listings in Wailea Kialoa are in escrow.

And at the lower end, units like Kihei Villages, that had 30-35 listings active at any one time one year ago, is down to only six active listings, with eight in escrow! 26 of those units have closed escrow in the past 12 months, which brings us to less than three months' inventory.

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