Inland Empire Economic Forecast Sees Hope

Many thanks to everyone who attended our Inland Empire Economic Forecast yesterday at the Riverside Convention Center. Chapman University's chief economist, Esmael Adibi, said that while conomic times are still tough, there is hope that job growth, albeit slow, is on the way.

Speaking before more than 450 business leaders, Adibi said 2011 will be another year of slow improvement.

According to Adibi's forecast, the Inland area could see about 12,000 new jobs this year, 1% increase. That will likely trigger more good economic news. Personal income is expected to rise 3% in 2011, leading to better sales tax revenues for cities as well as Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

On the residential real estate front, low prices and interest rates should start to increase demand, particularly for first-time homebuyers.

"If you have a job and are in the market place to buy something, it's a good opportunity," said Riverside BIA CEO Mark Knorringa.

Please note: We'll post event photos to our Facebook page as soon as they are available. Please be sure you have "friended" the page so you will be alerted when they are available, as well as receive other up-to-the -minute housing news.

Read the San Bernardino Sun article

Photo courtesy of Applied Photography

New Homes vs Resale

It's not a surprise where we come down on the question of whether to buy a new or a used home. 

The overall cost savings and benefits of buying new home far outweigh any initial savings that may entice a buyer to purchase a foreclosed home from a bank.

In case you missed it during this weekend's revelry, the Riverside Press-Enterprise's Leslie Berkman wrote a very good article on the subject and included some comments from our Riverside BIA Past President, Steve Ruffner with KB Home.  

Definitely worth a read to start your week!

Read the full article

Also, our regional BIA of Southern California offers an excellent list of 10 reasons why new homes are a much better value than resale.

Read the list

Housing Starts Down in Sept But Up for 2010 to Date

Anyone related to the building industry in Southern California knows that housing starts have fallen dramatically from where they were six years ago. So it's really no surprise that housing starts fell again in September, as reported this week.

The good news is that there are signs of improvement. As reported in today's Contra Costa Times, builders in Riverside and San Bernardino counties pulled 4.1% more housing permits in the first nine months of 2010 compared to 2009.

Our own Riverside BIA CEO Mark Knorringa was quoted in the article:

"There won't be anything that will return to what we've historically seen," Knorringa said. "But little by little we're going to find our way out of this."

 Read the full article

 

Riverside County cities could keep impact fee discounts

There's a great story in today's Press-Enterprise about the positive impact fee reductions have had on spurring development (and economic recovery) in the Inland Empire. The news is so good, in fact, that many councils and boards are looking to extend fee reductions set to expire this December.

Our own Riverside County Chapter CEO Mark Knorringa is quoted in the article commenting on how builders have used reductions to help keep projects going:

They have said specifically there were some projects they built when they did because of the fee reduction.

The article includes an interesting city-by-city comparison of permits issued during the first eight months of 2009 vs. the first eight months of 2010.

Read the full article

Photo credit: twoGiraffe

Riverside County Building Permits Rise in August

More good news this Friday!

The Construction Industry Research Board and CBIA are reporting that the number of pulled housing permits were up in August versus the same time last year.  Our own Mark Knorringa was quoted in today's North County Times in their piece about the permit trend.

We're also hearing anecdotal stories from a few members that traffic at model homes is picking up. More on that later.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Read the full North County Times article

Read the CBIA press release

Download the CIRB statistics

Photo Credit: Flickr user Terinea IT Support

CARB Takes Up Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Targets

A few weeks ago we told you about a great victory at a Southern California Association of Governments meeting when rationality won out over intense political pressure from environmental extremists.

That was when the SCAG board agreed that emission reduction targets proposed by the California Air Resources Board were unrealistic and potentially harmful to our region's struggling economy. SCAG voted to reject the proposed targets of 8% for 2020 and 13% for 2035 and instead recommended emission reduction targets at 6% for 2020 and 8% for 2035.

Well, CARB will be taking up the issue at a public hearing tomorrow in Sacramento.

Please read CBIA CEO Liz Snow's op-ed in today's Sacramento Bee on why CARB is on a very destructive path with this issue.  Let's hope level heads prevail!

Read the op-ed

Watch the live meeting webcast, starting at 9 am

Photo Credit: Slices of Light

Op-Ed by Riverside BIA Preident Kevin Canning in Today's PE

The Riverside Press-Enterprise today ran a terrific op-ed from President Kevin Canning regarding the need for leaders at the civic, county and statewide levels to work together to help our economy recover. The piece explains the vital role construction, particularly that of new housing, plays in our region's economy and the direct, secondary and other ripple effects it carries across nearly all economic sectors and industries.

Says Canning:

Recent efforts in parts of Riverside County and statewide have utilized a proactive approach to revive the hard-hit construction industry. These include temporary reductions in development impact fees and state/federal tax credits, all of which have had positive effects in the context of the recession. It's critical that we continue to allow these industries to recover and re-establish themselves, as they provide employment and economic activity that are of widespread benefit. 

Read the full article

Photo credit: steveleenow

Online Magazine Highlights Riverside's RED TEAM

Ever wonder what your BIA is doing for you? Look no further than this article in PublicCEO.com for answers.  PublicCEO.com is an online magazine for California city managers, county administrators, public executives and elected officials, and an article posted yesterday describes the Riverside Economic Development RED TEAM's efforts to identify ways to minimize the economic downturn and transition to recovery through increased job opportunities in the construction industry.

In the article, Scott Mann, a Menifee City Councilman, describes how development impact fee reductions helped stimulated economic activity in his city "without a doubt."

A sample of the quotes from our own CEO, Mark Knorringa:

"This isn't to build homes so much as create jobs," Knorringa said. "We're just trying to get some people back to work and turn this thing around."

Read the full article