Baltimore and Washington Housing Market Continue Strong Growth

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Baltimore and Washington Housing Market Continue Strong Growth

Every market Howard Hughes Corp (NYSE:HHC) is building homes or selling lots in is experiencing growth. From Vegas to Hawaii, to Houston, to Baltimore/Washington. The company is booming, and so is the real estate.

Here is the latest from Baltimore/Washington, where Howard Hughes Corp (NYSE:HHC) has MPC’s in Emerson, Gateway, Columbia Town Center, and Fairwood, Maryland (Howard County). They also operate office buildings in Columbia and the LandMark Mall in Alexandria. Spun of from General Growth Properties Inc (NYSE:GGP) in Dec. 2010, Howard Hughes Corp (NYSE:HHC) at $35/share, its current $70 price is a fraction of its eventual value, as their assets are put to work.

From MetroStudy

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(Baltimore, MD–November 2, 2012) Looking forward we hope to see continued increases in new housing production as the resale market and the economy as a whole recovers. This is according to a recent report by Metrostudy, a national housing data and consulting firm that maintains the most extensive primary database on residential construction in the US housing market.

The Washington DC economy continues to expand, adding 38,200 jobs from August 2011 to August 2012. Currently, the MSA is 5,000 jobs below peak employment, holding close to the December 2007 level seen prior to the recession. “The Baltimore MSA saw some improvement to job growth, adding 6,800 jobs over the same time period,” said Melissa Jonas, regional director of Metrostudy’s Mid-Atlantic division. The unemployment rates in both the DC area and Baltimore continue to be below the national average of 8.1%, coming in at 5.5% and 7.7%, respectively. Baltimore has edged nearer to the national average in recent months.

New homebuyer traffic was 13% below the level seen in 2011 in the third quarter, while contracts were down by 7%. The activity seen in 3Q12 was promising, with the conversion rate rising by 7%, versus 3Q11 rates. Year-over-year for the quarter, the cancellation rate rose by 18% to an average 25.3% rate. “New housing production has picked up very slightly over the past year, with the 3Q12 starts up 20% over 3Q11,” said Jonas. The market is adding 7,600 units annually, continuing a four quarter trend of increased production. Closings in the third quarter are up 3%, versus the previous year, marking the fourth quarter in a row with a slight increase in closings.

Washington:

The Washington DC economy continues to expand, adding 38,200 jobs from August 2011 to August 2012. Currently, the MSA is 5,000 jobs below peak employment, remaining close to the December 2007 level seen prior to the recession. The unemployment rate in the DC area has risen slightly, currently at 5.5%, still significantly below the national rate of 8.1%. “This makes the Washington DC region one of the tightest labor markets in the country,” said Melissa Jonas, regional director of Metrostudy’s Mid-Atlantic division.

New homebuyer traffic was 13% above the level seen in 2011 in the third quarter, while contracts are up by 1%. The activity seen in the past three months was slightly lower, with the conversion rate falling by 11% versus 3Q11 rates. Year-over-year for the quarter, cancellation rates fell by 20% to an average 12.1% rate. New housing production increased by 18.2% versus 3Q11, which is the fifth consecutive year-over-year increase. Closings were up by 11.4% versus the same quarter last year, as the market picks up. ”Starts were again above closings and higher than any time since 2010,” said Jonas.

By: valueplays

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Todd Sullivan is a Massachusetts-based value investor and a General Partner in Rand Strategic Partners. He looks for investments he believes are selling for a discount to their intrinsic value given their current situation and future prospects. He holds them until that value is realized or the fundamentals change in a way that no longer support his thesis. His blog features his various ideas and commentary and he updates readers on their progress in a timely fashion. His commentary has been seen in the online versions of the Wall St. Journal, New York Times, CNN Money, Business Week, Crain’s NY, Kiplingers and other publications. He has also appeared on Fox Business News & Fox News and is a RealMoney.com contributor. His commentary on Starbucks during 2008 was recently quoted by its Founder Howard Schultz in his recent book “Onward”. In 2011 he was asked to present an investment idea at Bill Ackman’s “Harbor Investment Conference”.
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