Sizing Up the U.S. Housing Market Heading into 2014
By: John McMalcolm
Just one year ago, Americans were worried that the weak housing market would hinder economic recovery. One year later, it is a whole different story.
The housing market in the U.S. has grown stronger than expected, and it is one of the key factors that is paving the way toward economic stability. While this is a great cause for optimism, some home buyers and sellers, investors and industry experts are becoming concerned about the sustainability of the revival.
Here is a look at how the U.S. housing market is forecasted to fare over the rest of the year as the clock ticks toward 2014.
Current Status of the U.S. Housing Market
The prices of homes in the U.S. have risen sharply, and they are between 7 and 12 percent higher than they were 12 months ago.
Over the same period, home sales increased by over 15 percent and the number of foreclosures fell about 32 percent. One of the main factors driving the housing recovery is a more accommodative monetary policy, which includes the purchasing of mortgage-backed securities by the Federal Reserve.
Lower mortgage rates and returns on financial assets, as well as mortgage programs such as HARP and HAMP, are also contributing significantly to the rise in home sales.
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Is the Housing Recovery Sustainable?
According to experts, it is likely that the nationwide housing market will continue to recover throughout the rest of the year, but it is hard to predict the speed of its growth.
Danielle Hale from the National Association of Realtors predicted that home sales will reach 5.1 million at the end of 2013, and home prices will keep increasing this year, but should stop going up next year.
Mortgage rates have increased substantially since May, but they are still considered low by historical standards.
As a result, many Americans are rushing to purchase homes, so that they can take advantage of the low mortgage rates before they rise further.
One factor that may slow down the increase in home sales is the dwindling supply of homes for sale. The number of existing homes for sale decreased from 2.4 million a year ago to 2.28 million in July.
With demand outstripping supply, home sellers are finding themselves in the driver's seat. Many of them are getting multiple offers for their homes, allowing them to push their prices higher.
Best and Worst Housing Markets
The housing market is generally picking up across the country, but some cities are doing better than others.
Presently, the best housing markets are Oakland, California; Orange County, California; Santa Barbara-Santa Maria, California; San Jose, California; Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington; Los Angeles-Long Beach, California; Detroit, Michigan; Portland-Vancouver, Oregon; San Diego, California; and Reno, Nevada. Some of the markets that are lagging behind include New York City, New York; Cincinnati, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Chicago, Illinois.
As the housing recovery continues to spur economic growth, Americans can expect to see brighter days ahead.
About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from housing news to online reputation management.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.