Volume 47, Issue 9 - November/December 2008

From the Editor

Third Time is a Charm
Even in a Down Economy
by Samantha Carpenter

If you are an avid reader of Shelter magazine, then you realized that last month Drew Vass penned the editor’s column. In fact, Drew was the editor in my stead and produced 95 percent of the October issue. I couldn’t have been on leave without his help and I am so very appreciative. Why was I on leave you may be wondering? I had a baby girl, Cora Stone Carpenter, on August 8, 2008. As some of you know, Cora is my third child. She has twin older brothers, Clay and Owen, who are five and started kindergarten a few weeks after her birth. As you can imagine, August was an extremely busy month for us at the Carpenter home.

It was while I was on maternity leave that the economy started to really take its snow dive. I have to admit that my anxiety about our family’s 401K was at an all-time high, as was my anxiety about what was going to happen to Americans in general. I’m sure my nervousness about the economy was somewhat hormone-induced, but I know that many of you have had some worries too. Being 34 years of age, my husband, Jeff, and I don’t have tons of money in our 401Ks, but we did lose a lot of money in the stock market through some personal investments. Actually, to be honest, we don’t really know how much we lost out of our 401K because, as my husband says, “I’m not even going to look at it for four years. I don’t want to know.” 

Our family still has time to save for retirement, but I do feel for those of you who are near retirement and now feel you can’t retire as soon as you would like. I know many of us got used to our retirement savings getting bigger, our savings accounts getting more robust and life being relatively easy. But the economy is cyclical, and there are going to be downtimes. I know we are all hurting right now, and some more than others. But the forecast of the homebuilding market isn’t totally bleak; there is hope on the horizon.

McGraw Hill Construction’s forecast was held at the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D.C., on October 22-23.

“The question we’re trying to answer and you’re trying to answer is, ‘when will housing prices hit bottom?’” said Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

He noted that after a recession (he called this one the worst in 50 years) the housing market typically does make a fast recovery.

“This recovery is likely to be different than past cycles, but the housing industry historically has recovered quickly,” he said.

He predicted that once the recovery occurs, housing will actually hit a bigger boom than it did in recent years, and that more homebuilding will actually occur in the coming decade than in the current one.

See, that’s not so bad. You can also read the news section on page 10 to get more information on the homebuilding market and how some of your peers are weathering this homebuilding storm and find out what other forecasters say.

I’d like to hear the good and bad from some of you on how the economy is affecting your business. There’s no doubt that I look forward to telling my baby Cora about how when she was born, we were in the beginning of one of the worst recessions in history, but that we all pulled through and learned from it. We all must hang in there.

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