Archive for the ‘housing’ tag
Good news today from the big boxes. Home Depot reported fourth-quarter sales up 32% thanks to a revival in the nation’s housing market:
Home Depot, like its peers, has been benefiting from recent improvements in the housing market. The broad revival has made the retailer a popular choice with investors, pushing the stock up 36% in the past 12 months.
“We ended the year with a strong performance as our business benefited from a continued recovery in the housing market coupled with sales related to repairs in the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” Chief Executive Frank Blake said on Tuesday.
The boys in blue are up, too:
Lowe’s chief executive, Robert A. Niblock, said the company was seeing a pickup in spending even in areas of the country hit hardest by the housing slump, like Florida, Arizona and California.
“Rising home values have given homeowners additional confidence in spending on their homes,” Mr. Niblock said in an interview.
I’m not an economist, but these numbers are consistent with what I’ve been hearing from landscape contractors around the country: Business is picking up again, if slowly, and consumers are starting to spend again.
Vacant properties have increased by 43.8 percent nationwide since 2000, according to the Census Bureau. Homes can be vacant for many reasons, but are defined by the bureau as both unoccupied rental inventory as well as homes that are unoccupied and “for sale.” As of 2011, there were about 14.3 million year-round vacant housing units in the country, with a 10.6 percent gross vacancy rate that excludes seasonal vacancies such as vacation homes.
Earlier this year, the Cleveland Federal Reserve analyzed the impact of foreclosed and vacant homes on the surrounding communities. The study found that a vacant or tax-delinquent house decreases the value of nearby homes by at least 1.3 percent, thanks to poor maintenance, and making the neighborhood appear less desirable.
This effect is amplified in higher-income neighborhoods where a vacancy or foreclosure has a negative price impact of 4.6 percent.
CNBC compiled a slideshow of the 10 emptiest U.S. cities, which you can find here. Some of these will surprise you.
Here’s our weekly digest of cool stuff we found online. Enjoy!
- New invasive plant database for the Midwest.
- Get a taste of Giverny in NYC.
- A new perspective on worker injuries. (via @ValleyCrest)
- Plants that smell you.
- Phoenix housing market rises like a … well.
- Above: Denver-based Swingle Lawn & Tree Care does a great job of producing how-to videos for its customers.
Here’s our weekly collection of stuff you should know about. Enjoy, and have a great three-day weekend.