Real Estate Curve

Everything To Know About Real Estate


US Economy

The U.S. housing sector is struggling to gain upward momentum. As has been the case since the homebuyer housing tax credit was removed last June, monthly gains in home sales are followed by monthly drops in home sales; a step forward followed by a step backward.

All three major housing measures-existing home sales, new home sales and housing starts– are exhibiting growing pains. Existing home sales fell by 9.6 percent in February, wiping out half of the slight gains that home sales made in the previous few months. The annualized pace for existing home sales in February stood at an anemic 4.88 million units.
Similarly, the demand for new homes remains alarmingly weak. New home sales fell in February to 250,000 annualized units, a decline of 16.9 percent from January. A meaningful part of this drop is likely due to harsh winter weather conditions throughout a large part of the country which discouraged home shopping. Nevertheless, new home sales averaged a depressing 286,000 annualized units over the last six months.

To make matters worse, new residential construction activity is not faring well. Housing starts plummeted 22.5 percent in February to an annualized pace of 479,000. A large chunk of this drop is attributed to multifamily starts, but single-family starts also fell by a solid 11.8 percent.

June 12,2011

Recession-Proof Jobs in 2008

A steady stream of discouraging economic news is bringing with it talk of the dreaded “R” word. Economists at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley say the U.S. is heading for its first-blown recession in 16 years, and a recent CNN poll found that 57 percent of the public believe the U.S. is in a recession already, with the economy topping the list of voter’s worries.

A recession could hit some job-seekers hard. “A lot of people won’t have the luxury of going for their first choice in a down economy,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, an economist at Moody’s

However, many employment sectors are expected to remain strong despite a possible recession, and job-seekers may have more success if they focus on recession-proof professions.

The Bright Spots

John Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, told Yahoo! HotJobs that careers in the following fields may offer a good chance of weathering a storm this year.

* Education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has historically shown teaching to be relatively recession-proof. But demographics are important: High-growth areas like the Sun Belt offer much better prospects than the Rust Belt. 

* Energy. “This is a major issue for the global economy, and jobs related to oil and gas, alternative energy and even nuclear are likely to see strong growth,” Challenger said.

* Health care. Almost half the 30 fastest growing occupations are concentrated in health services — including medical assistants, physical therapists, physician assistants, home health aides, and medical records and health information technicians — according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

* International business. “If you have a strong knowledge of other cultures, and an ability to work in another country, you’ll find plenty of opportunities,” according to John Challenger. “If you’re first generation Chinese, with business skills and Chinese language skills, you’re in good shape.

* Environmental sector. There is a huge and growing industry geared to combat global warming. “Not only will professionals with skills in sustainability issues be in demand through the end of the decade, we are likely to shortages of professionals with ‘green’ skills,” said Rona Fried, president of, a networking service for sustainable businesses.

* Security. “Crime doesn’t stop during a recession, and police officers, port security specialists and international security experts will continue to be in demand,” Challenger emphasized.

Other Sectors Feel the Slump

Koropeckyj and other economists agree that many troubled industries will feel the pain from the deflating housing bubble. 

“The housing slump will touch anything related to housing, from real estate to investment banks, to engineering and architecture,” Koropeckyj said. Though public sector jobs grew at a fast clip in the last five years, state and local government jobs are likely to slow as home values, and, consequently, tax revenues, sink. 

The housing slump could even extend to industries dependent on discretionary spending, like restaurants and retail, she indicated. Manufacturing, too, long in dire need of an upswing, is likely to keep waiting for one through 2008, Koropeckyj said. 

CHICAGO, Nov. 25 

The drop in U.S. housing prices accelerated in the third quarter as the country’s economy contracted at a faster pace than previously estimated, according to data released Tuesday.

The decline in the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index remained in double digits, posting a record 16.6 percent fall in the third quarter of 2008 compared with the same period of2007.

This marks an increase from the annual declines of 15.1 percent and 14.0 percent for the second and first quarters of this year respectively.

The deepening financial crisis, which tightened credit conditions for home buyers, has weighed on housing prices. Rising unemployment rates, which hit 6.5 percent in October, made it hard for some homeowners to stay in their houses.

Distress sales foreclosures and short sales accounted for 35 to 40 percent of transactions in the third quarter, pulling down existing single-family prices, the National Association of Realtors said.

The weak economy and the depressing housing sector interlink in a vicious cycle. Lower property values are eroding household wealth, reducing consumer spending and increasing the likelihood of an economic recession.

In October, housing construction also fell to its lowest since 1959, the Commerce Department said, as building permits, a sign of future residential projects, dropped 12 percent.

Meanwhile, home builder confidence dropped in October to its lowest since 1985, with declines in construction spending continuing to be a drag on economic growth.

Posted under