Good Housing News Predicted

All the leading indicators say housing is definitely on the mend, economists reported in advance of the official release of several pieces of good news expected this week.

Bloomberg News surveyed 53 economists and asked them where they expected the numbers to fall. Here are their predictions:

  • Construction starts in September are expected to hit a 610,000 annual rate, the most since last November.
  • Sales of existing homes likely rose to a two-year high.
  • Because of fear of a relapse, the Federal Reserve is predicted to leave interest rates low for a few more months.
  • Building permits, a sign of future growth, probably rose to a 590,000 annual pace, also the highest level since November, the Commerce Department is likely to announce.
  • The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index is expected to rise to 20 from 19, the economists say.

Google Inc. plans to resume hiring and acquisitions after its third-quarter sales beat analysts’ estimates. CFO Patrick Pichette says: “We weathered what is an incredible recession. If you have all this behind you, the only outcome you should have as management is: ‘OK, let’s build now.’”

Source: Bloomberg, Courtney Schlisserman (10/18/2009)

Tax Credits Give Solar Power a Boost

A series of tax credits for wind, solar, geothermal, tidal energy and others was among the tenets of the October congressional financial rescue legislation.

The law increased the investment credit for solar from $2,000 to $7,500 for a buyer who spends $25,000 to install solar panels on his roof.

In states like California, Connecticut, and New Jersey, where the cost of power is considerable, the pretax compound rate of return on a typical home solar system will be greater than 15 percent per year, says Andy Black, CEO of OnGrid Solar, an industry research firm.

Home builders, including some of the biggest, such as Centex, Lennar, Pulte Homes, and Woodside Homes, are seeing advantages to including solar. All are developing successful communities where all of the homes have solar panels capable of making most if not all power.

Source: BusinessWeek, Adam Aston