QWAK,J4D you may want to hear this, the man knows his stuff and he sees it OUR WAY perhaps even WORSE and he is one of the smartist guys around!
It's an unhappy trend for Castriota, who's trying to move Chevy's new Silverado pickup. Even the car company with the hottest hand, Toyota, isn't moving as many Tundra pickups as it would like. High gas prices don't help, either.
"What I've heard industry-wise is that Florida and California are taking the hit," Castriota said.
Even national companies with a regional presence are blaming the housing downturn for much of what ails them.
Sears and Home Depot reported lower earnings when the spring home improvement season didn't materialize as anticipated. Home Depot named Florida as a sore spot. Sears cited a dip in demand for appliances.
Wal-Mart delayed construction of a supercenter in Dade City, citing lack of "maturation" in a housing market turned south.
CSX, the railroad based in Jacksonville that has tracks crisscrossing Florida, said slowing demand for lumber helped drive down profits the past year.
But CSX, Home Depot and Wal-Mart also illustrate the resilience of the overall economy: They all remain profitable, housing slump or not.
And some retailers that act as bellwethers for recession haven't felt the housing dip in any measurable way.
Consumer electronics stores Circuit City and Best Buy have benefited from a national mania for digital flat-screen TVs. A similar boom for its products and services has shielded Bright House Networks, which has been wiring homes at a record pace.
Economists Snaith and Simonson said falling home values haven't sapped retail sales as much as predicted. They blamed the fear on proponents of the "ATM effect," the theory that people used their home equity as cash machines for frivolous purchases. When that equity dries up, consumer spending stalls. So goes the theory, at least.
"I don't buy the notion that everyone was tapping into home equity for the express purpose of buying a flat-screen TV or fishing boat," Snaith said. "I think a lot of people were bundling up debt and refinancing at a lower interest rate."
Hobbling the theory even further, Freddie Mac, the public company formed by Congress that handles millions of mortgages, revealed that "cash-out refinancing" remains prevalent.
Duncheon's Nursery & Landscaping in Land O'Lakes represents the part of the boom that won't abate. Unlike Raymow, Duncheon's has focused on residential customers. And there's a lot more residences to go around. Thousands of new homes cocoon the business in a 5-mile radius from U.S. 41.
Joy Cole, standing at a display of coyote urine pellets that repel plant-nibbling deer, carries the sweat streaks of a worker who's been hustling even at 9 a.m. on a weekday.
"Business has been as good as it's ever been," she said.
James Thorner can be reached at email@example.com or 813 226-3313.
Why the housing slump hasn't brought us a recession
Economists have a variety of explanations for Tampa Bay's resilience. Among them:
The "ATM effect," the theory that people took cash out of their homes to make foolish purchases during the boom, is exaggerated. Most people refinanced their homes to take advantage of record low interest rates, saving money in the long run.
Personal income growth, which includes investment gains along with wages, remains strong locally at about 6 percent. That, not home equity, is the best measure of whether a person will spend.
Despite job losses in construction, real estate and industries like furniture, jobs proliferate in fields like health care, hospitality and business services, pushing up employment 1.2 percent the past year.
Many workers in construction were illegal immigrants who worked for cash. The government had a tough time counting them when they were employed. And it has a tough time counting them when they are laid off.
[Last modified July 20, 2007, 22:25:29]
The housing slump extends beyond houses
The drop has pulled the rug out from under rug sellers ... and landscapers, appliance dealers, plumbers and others.
By James Thorner, Times Staff Writer
Published July 22, 2007
As one of the Tampa Bay area's largest landscaping companies, Raymow thrived servicing new home buyers of companies such as Standard-Pacific and Transeastern homes.
Now Standard Pacific's Florida sales are in retreat. Transeastern has tanked and its corporate name will vanish under new ownership.
Housing's economic ripple has rolled over Raymow. The Oldsmar company projects $5-million less in sales than originally forecast and has laid off about 100 of 320 employees.
"We've had a hurt put on us for sure," vice president Wendy Andrews-Fine said.
Almost everyone's heard about the pain the crumbling housing market has inflicted on building trades, real estate agents and mortgage lenders. But the tremors have cascaded from the inner circle to more distant, but related, industries.
Think furniture stores, appliance dealers, pickup sellers - even the CSX trains that lug lumber to Tampa to build homes.
"It's weighing down the economy and it's shaved growth off. There's no doubt about that," said Sean Snaith, a University of Central Florida economist who tracks the economies of Florida's metropolitan areas.
But economists like Snaith caution that a slowdown in one of the region's largest industries hasn't dragged the overall economy into recession, even in Slump Central like the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area. That's not to say a recession couldn't happen should the real estate outlook darken further, but it hasn't happened through the middle of 2007.
Job creation, though much reduced thanks to construction layoffs, hasn't stopped. Personal income is the best gauge of whether consumers will continue to spend. It has risen locally about 6 percent the past year, fueling retail sales. Florida's gross state product, the measure of all economic activity in the state, continues to rise.
"It's clear housing hasn't been able to knock the economy off track," said Ken Simonson, economist with the Associated General Contractors of America in Arlington, Va.
But Simonson isn't in the business of dispensing happy talk: "I do expect to hear about a lot of bankruptcies in businesses that furnished and equipped a home or yard."
Jeff Bloom knows what he's talking about. Bloom's family has run Ethan Allen furniture stores in and around Tampa since 1967. Since late last year, customers just aren't coming through the doors at his design centers in Tampa, Citrus Park and Brandon.
Construction of a planned Wesley Chapel store, a community that until early 2006 was the throbbing heart of housing's growth spurt, has been placed on hold.
A chain of upscale furniture stores called Storehouse, with a branch near Bloom's Citrus Park store, went bankrupt last year and closed.
"We have to wait and see when housing's coming back before we can justify building," Bloom said. "This is as rough as we've seen it in many, many years."
When St. Petersburg builder Construction Compliance Inc. filed for bankruptcy this year, one of the first things seized was its pickups.
Tom Castriota, owner of Castriota Chevrolet in Hudson, has noted the same phenomenon in Pasco County: a glut of pickups for sale on U.S. 19 from idled plumbers and other tradesmen.
a. Throw a dart on any of your responses re: Iraq. You will be either whining or shilling. I'd help you out here, but I think you are up to wiping your own arse. And if you don't understand shilling, you might ask a semi educated aquaintance of yours.
b. & c. I see you cont to have difficulty reading charts. So be it. As for 'most people' appreciating a 10% gain, perhaps you and the Dwuck do, but 'almost all people' would prefer the ave market return of nearly 30% over that period. Didnt you fall over yourself bragging about just such a gain in VGPMX.
Now try and find your silly shilly posts. I know it will be difficult amongst all your whinings, but try.
OK.. Canoodle.. you are dismissed.
re. a. so you still can't find a single post to support your claims...
re. b. You look like a fool proclaiming gold to go to $550 when it dipped to $650 in June. One of your numerous Chicken Little episodes.
re. c. The one year chart shows a 10% gain. Most people would appreciate such a gain. All people know that 10% gains are not "flat" - except you, Alpha.
Next time, think, or investigate, before you post. You won't look so stupid or so full of propaganda. You'll present yourself like an adult, instead of a child.
Canoodle.. Man up.. OK, so English is your 2d language or uyou are a naturally born Weasal. I imagine it is much more likely that latter than the former, but many a NeoHead was born ashore, so perhaps it is your out.
a. Anyone on this Board that doesn't beleive you have been all but a shill for Bush, Cheney & Rummy and their Iraq Missadventure has an IQ south of 75 AND the social graces of Dummy.
b. I'm good with my sense of gold and where it is has been, is at and heading. Ask again when either of you has made good on the bet.
c. If you dont recognize how flat gold has been for the year 1. check out the charts of Jul '06 & Jul '07 I was kind enough to provide for you. I know how English challenged you are. Are you also sight challenged.
Having addressed your canoodles, will you now man-up and acknowledge that VMPMX has NOT returned in excess of 30% each year for the past 5 years or will I yet agian, need to put such with all the other failures of yours to man-up. And to think you claimed to be the character professor of this Board.
lol! Alpha, you're going to police my statements? Well, go right ahead. Let's start with:
a. List one or more of my emails that support your contention that I embrace Bush policies? You haven't been able to find one for such a long time. Maybe you can start.
b. Give us an update on your lovefest with cheesecake, when you invited yourself to Bear's cheesecake party when gold hits $550. That was just last month:
c. Then just hours ago, you were gloating that gold is flat the past year, yet it is up 10%, and has been soaring for quite some time.
It seems you can't get your facts straight. But you can duck and dodge, with a little disinformation thrown in.
NOW i'm talking to you J-4
RE: I heard all I need to from you on AAPL, since you already told us you lied about it and didn't have the nerve to hold on... so you SOLD IT. Now you're telling up about 300% gains. LOL. You need b^lls to do that MFer
>> 1st of all...your math or chart reading is atrocious..aapl's up about 1800% in the last 5 yrs..which is what that chart showed...1500% at the least compared to vgpmx
>> 2nd...........when i asked you about what to do on/with apple....i was looking for a second opinion from someone who claimed to know everything (or at least how to read a chart)........at the time i said i sold it....i did so to shut you up and/or end the converstaion on that subject.....yes,..i lied..i never sold it....my cost is still $78... i think when we had that discussion i finally said i sold at 86..which was way off the hi at the time...yet still not the bottom....selling at that point woulda worked...(you were reight) as it did drop lower......however.....i didn't sell it...my sell announcement was to end the subject matter with you....stupid me...i still own it!!
j-4...was i talking to you??????
>>best i can tell that was posted as a comment to canoe's post...
>>you wanna buy property...commercial...you go to southeast michigan..namely Detroit
>>you keep on buyin gold..silver..and uranium....keep wishin and hopin......for the next 3 mo..3 yrs..5 yrs whatever
>>i'd rather own things that "ARE" going up.....when gold starts going up...i'll have some...(actually i like duckies silver idea better...more bank for the buck)not for you to worry or concern yourself with!