Gary's Blog

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Maui Good News

Hot Pick of the DAY- Wailea Town Center #D-201

Unobstructed front row top-floor Ocean, Makena, Molokini, Kahoolawe & Outer Island Views. Spacious end-unit, 1616 s.f. 2 bd./ 2 ensuite baths. Fine interior details include Honduras Mahogany wood & travertine floors, cherry shaker-style soft-close cabinets,stainless Kitchen-Aide appliances & 5 burner gas cook-top. Plus, 9 ft ceilings, crown moldings, solid wood doors, Grohe fixtures & rain shower heads, eco-sensitive Rinaii on-demand hot water heater, inspiring granite & marble, built-in wine cooler, multi-zoned air conditioning, double-glazed low-e windows, elegant window treatments, & large walk-in closets & custom built-ins. Share the private pool & spa with just 6 other exclusive units. Enjoy your own private single car enclosed garage & an additional deeded parking space. Private elevator shared with only two other units. Walk to The World Class Shops at Wailea,Golf,Tennis, Fine Dining & Beaches. Great Value for an Equity View & Qualitative Interior.

Beautiful Marbau Floors

Unemployment Drops to 6.5%

Hawaii's unemployment rate declined again, to 6.5% in January from 6.6% in December. That good news happened the same day we saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit it's highest level since 2007.

Nationwide, U.S. employers added 227,000 jobs in February, the third straight month of 200,000-plus job growth. The national unemployment rate remained 8.3%, but down substantially from the 9% just last September.

Foreclosure Filings Down 50%

Foreclosure filings in Hawaii last month were half compared to a year ago, according to real estate research firm RealtyTrac. February had 473 foreclosures, the lowest level in four months.

Home Sales See Best Winter in Years

The past two months made up the best winter for sales of previously occupied homes in five years, when the housing crisis began.

February sales were at a 4.59 million annual pace, according to the National Association of Realtors. That 13% higher than the sales pace last July, and up 2% from the previous month.

Why This Recovery Is For Real

  • Besides the lower unemployment claims and booming stock market, consumers are sturdier. Consumer finances are fundamentally healthier than they were four years ago, with less debt burden. Debt payments as a percentage of after-tax income is now at its lowest point since 1994, according to the Federal Reserve.
  • After an average 30% plunge in house prices since 2006, signs of recovery are showing up in several sectors. Apartment construction is growing. Construction jobs are slowly returning. Home builders are seeing more foot traffic. And now that consumers are less worried about a loss of home equity, they are spending more.
  • U.S. Banks are lending more to businesses. Banks are healthier now, as are the prospects for their business customers. Bank lending to businesses rose nearly 14% last year to $1.35 trillion, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
  • State and Local Government Cuts are Slowing. Since 12/2008, state and local governments have slashed 613,000 jobs. But the cuts appear to be easing. State governments have added 10,000 jobs so far this year. Local governments last month added 2000.
  • Companies cannot squeeze more output from workers. During and right after the Great Recession, companies shrank their workforces because demand plunged and fewer workers were needed. Once demand started growing again, companies were reluctant to hire immediately. They managed to produce more with the employees they had, and we saw productivity numbers improve significantly. But now many companies are finding that they can't continue to do more with less. As demand grows, they're finding they have to hire.

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