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What will the housing market do in 2014?:
Bottom Line: Continue to recover. That’s the word from real-estate research firm Core Logic. According to their research…
This after they rather accurately predicted that 2013 would have price recovery of 10-12% (they actually slightly under predicted the recovery). Anyway Core Logic’s data jives with my forecast as well. I’ve had real-estate recovery prices slowly declining to low double digit year over year increases into the high single digits by the 2nd half of 2014. So their forecast nearly mirrors my research. So expect the recovery to remain above average and intact for 2014.
Meanwhile… Mortgage rates reach three month highs on the anniversary of the all-time low:
Bottom Line: If you’ve been considering buy a home using financing you’ll want to pay attention to what’s going on right now. Many would be early 2014 buyers may be well served (or would have been well served) by trying to lock mortgages rates (which can be locked in for up to 90 days with some lenders).
The average 30 year fixed rate mortgage is now topping 4.5% for the first time since September (up about .3% in the last few weeks). In other related news… It was a year a ago that we hit the all time low on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage at 3.3%. What’s happened over the last year should serve as a reminder of what may happen next year. Higher mortgage rates. Put simply a year from now you’ll likely have higher mortgage rates and higher home prices (just as has been the case this year)… So for those who have been on the fence renting I’ll reiterate that we shouldn’t take these rates for granted.
It’s also worth noting that every one-tenth of one percent equals more than $5000 worth of cost on the average property in our area if you pay the mortgage off over 30 years. If we talked about the dollar impact rather than the seemingly small interest rate changes, it’s likely many would react much differently.
Stunning Cyber Monday final sales numbers:
Bottom Line: When the dust settled not only did we have an all time record day for online sales topping last year’s Cyber Monday mark of $1.47 billion in sales… It was crushed. By the numbers:
It’s also worth noting that Amazon.com had a tactic that will likely be replicated by others in the future. They had a new item every ten minutes for sale at the best price. So many felt the need to check back constantly throughout the day and clearly many made the impulse buy. It’s also worth nothing that 40% of all purchases were made on mobile devices.
Its official – the tablet is the new PC:
Bottom Line: Speaking of mobile devices… It’s now official that tablets are overtaking PC’s for computing. For the first time more tablets will be purchased in a calendar year than PC’s. According to Strategy Analytics
Additionally they show the trend continuing and growing in favor of tablets through at least 2017. So… Remember than if you update your website, handle social media for business, blogs, etc. Are you only updating digital material on a computer for computers? Remember to view your material on mobile devices and ensure that it’s as easy and relevant on tablets and smart phones as it is on a computer.
Thank you for a record Small Business Saturday:
Bottom Line: It turned out to be a record Small Business Saturday according to research from the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) and American Express. While overall weekend sales (Thursday thru Sunday) were actually down across all businesses by 3%, Small Business Saturday bucked the trend by posting a nice gain. By the numbers:
With awareness up, the end result was increased spending at small businesses. This year, consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reported spending $5.7 billion with independent merchants on the day, an increase of 3.6% from a strong $5.5 billion in 2012.
“In an uncertain economy, America’s small businesses have remained a beacon — creating good jobs and supporting the families they employ and the communities around them,” said NFIB
“In just four years, the nation has adopted Small Business Saturday and made it part of the holiday shopping tradition,” said Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN. “On November 30, we saw a continuation of this growing trend as communities around the country came together to celebrate local businesses and helped drive consumers to Shop Small on the day.”
So thanks again for another success and keep it going throughout the year.
And it was a record Cyber Monday as well!:
Bottom Line: As I record this entry the final numbers are still being calculated but when all of the sales have been accounted for here’s what we’re likely to see:
The deals really were that good yesterday. That appears to have resulted in many onlookers pulling the trigger on buying yesterday. Because some retailers really do hold their best deals for Cyber Monday it’s possible that some shoppers held back over the weekend so they could spend on Cyber Monday.
Apple was the biggest Black Friday winner:
Bottom Line: Target and Wal-Mart have announced what their biggest selling Black Friday items were… They were the same item. The 16GB iPad Air. Additionally Target reported their 2nd & 3rd best sellers… They were also iPads (other models). So it appears as though many tablets will be under Christmas trees this year and Apple will be having a very Merry Christmas.
No online sales tax for at least the near future:
Bottom Line: Yesterday the US Supreme Court punted on the idea of ruling on
For now there will be no changes for Floridians. That means that if a business has a physical presence in
So how many people signed up for healthcare policies via the exchanges in November?:
Bottom Line: So we’re getting a first look at the November signups on the exchanges & the survey says…:
Those numbers don’t seem to compute do they?... So what’s next when we have fewer than a 7th of the polices needed to sustain the exchange?
Etsy - where small business has created a billion dollar a year marketplace:
Bottom Line: The website Etsy has become the marketplace for arts, crafts and other often unique items are sold from individuals and/or very small businesses. It’s now adding up to a lot of money. Sales projections have Etsy topping $1 billion in sales for the first time this year. That’s a lot of small business adding up to big bucks!
Should we take Amazon's drones seriously?
Bottom Line: In short yes. But not right now. Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s founder &
Bezos is a visionary, which is to say he doesn’t have any intention of using the drone delivery service next year or even in the next 5 years. He is laying the ground work for next decade though. The FAA actually has designs on starting a commercial drone program in the year 2020. Amazon realizes that if they get the consumer used to the concept and allow their ideas to be vetted by the FAA. This could make the difference in the process just starting in 2020 and Amazon being ready to launch their vision in 2020.
If you shopped Black Friday - you did well but retailers generally didn’t:
Bottom Line: Good news for you not so good news for most retailers. The overall discounting on Black Friday was the heaviest we’ve seen since 2008 (in the mist of the economic crisis). The average item purchased on Black Friday was purchased at 50% off! Not bad… Unless you were a retailer…
While two million more people participated in shopping over the holiday weekend sales decreased by about 3%... Back to 2006 levels – not good. It’s also worth noting that we have 6 fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Coming into the holiday shopping season we had data that suggested that the average budget for those shopping would drop by about 4%. Still many projections – including the perpetually overly optimistic National Retail Federation are projecting 4%+ gains this year. That’s certainly not going to happen. At this point we just need to hope we don’t see a 4th quarter recession as consumer spending accounts for about 70% of the
While the news wasn’t great in stores it was sensational for online retailers as…
Online sales stole the show on Thanksgiving Day and through the weekend:
Bottom Line: While overall sales for the weekend were 3% lower, those with great digital strategies raked by the numbers:
This should mean that we will have a huge Cyber Monday today. It also demonstrates why it’s critically important for every business to have an effective digital strategy that includes mobile. The bottom line is that the average physical retailer had their worst sales performance in seven years while the average online retailer had a record weekend posting 20% more business than just a year ago.
New app that helps you move or just take your next vacation:
Bottom Line: While there are plenty of online resources that can provide demographic and related info to you, based on Census and other public data aggregation (City Data is the best of this kind, how do you know what you don’t know?
A new app Dwellr can help you: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dwellr/id744395884?mt=8
It’s free and available right now for iOS and Android devices. You can put in the info that you’re interested in and it will provide cities that are the best matches. This can be a great way for you to find the ideal getaway location or even a place you might want to call home but never would have known about. It uses Census Data as it’s updated to provide the best matches to what you input. Pretty cool & free.
Social media's role in hiring:
Bottom Line: I’ve covered plenty of info as it’s available that suggests that social media plays a large role in workplace hiring and firing decisions. The latest research suggests it’s reached a whole new threshold of importance.
This comes from the
The biggest objections:
So here’s the good news. If you make effective use of social media you could reflect well to more than 9 in 10 employers (in this survey). The opposite is clearly true as well. It’s worth noting that the most common sites being searched are:
Twitter is where many are tripping up. Many will post in the moment material on Twitter that can be tracked by would be employers. Proceed accordingly to maximize your job prospects.
Small businesses can't access the exchange for another year:
Bottom Line: Nothing surprises me with regard to the ACA rollout anymore. This was weak even for this botched rollout and crappy law though…
In the afternoon last Wednesday, when the administration thought few were paying attention, they dropped another bomb regarding ACA that impacts small businesses. The
Why does this matter? Small businesses (those under 50 full time employees) were told that they could benefit from competitive and numerous insurance products that’d be available through a program called
Now that’s not available and small businesses will have to quickly scramble to contact a traditional broker or rep to begin the process of attempting to obtain health insurance at a time in which enrollment has ended for most plans. What a mess and another stick in the eye to businesses courtesy of this administration and the ACA.
Most common trait of highly successful people:
Bottom Line: When asked most people respond that high intelligence is required to be among the most successful. You might be surprised that according to business psychologist Angela Duckworth everyone has the trait (potentially). In her analysis, determination is the most common trait of the most successful. Sure being smart helps but the willingness to not give up trumps all else.
When you think about some of the most notable American entrepreneurs it rings true. From Henry Ford to the bankruptcies of Walt Disney and Colonel Sanders they all tried and tried again. Even Steve Jobs came back to Apple to overcome the failures of the company to lead it to being the largest company in the world.
There is a lot that is out of our control in this world. Determination is something we do have control over… So what will you do with it?
People are playing with fire using margin:
Bottom Line: While many people are pointing to the Federal Reserve creating a stock market bubble, there is one metric that has me more concerned about than the potential for a Fed stock bubble. It’s the record amount of margin debt that’s being used to buy stocks. By the numbers:
The previous margin debt record was in the $370 billion range in the summer of 2007. That’s a bit ominous as well because the peak of the stock market was just a couple of months later in October with the recession starting in November.
In any event I don’t advise that you use margin and if the market does begin to turn south margin calls would likely exacerbate the selling.