AG’s own Tara Steele shared a graph from The Times based on Case Shiller data showing the last hundred years’ rise and fall of home prices. Included is a future projection based on how leading economists expect home values to perform as government propping, foreclosure abatement, and tax credits wind down. I actually threw up in my mouth a little bit as I felt the now omnipresent pit in the top of my stomach grow.
After I took a long drag of pepto laced with vodka, I remembered I am a niche Realtor and maybe, just maybe, that whole Shiller prediction doesn’t mean I’m going to have to spend a couple more years chasing pavement. As if karma saw I needed something more than alcohol and antacids to soothe the burn, NAR’s Green Resources Council and the Wall Street Journal simultaneously published a forecast by the Environmental Leader, a journal created to help businesses understand the implications of emergent energy, that is predicting a “surge” (aha – now that’s a word I can get behind) of growth in the next five years for the green building market from a 71 billion a year industry to 173 billion dollar a year industry. I have seen similar statistics in various collegiate journals and studies this summer and they are very consistent with this finding. Obviously, this chart is a little more to my liking.
Oh Snap Again! There’s More
Once the self medicating and good news began to sink in, I figured I could put away the hard stuff and went to drinking something more appropriate like pale ale while I further pondered my professional floundering I mean future.
Again, my friends at EcoBroker sent me a great article from the Wall Street Journal about developers turning to green building to create value as they compete with foreclosures and existing home sales including some national builders like Beazer. They also sent me a press release from the Department of Energy about federal monies being granted to help drive more energy efficient retrofitting in American Homes. Here is a quick quote about the program from the release: “These highly-qualified, multidisciplinary teams will receive a total of up to $30 million for the initial eighteen months of the projects to deliver innovative energy efficiency strategies to the residential market and address barriers to bringing high-efficiency homes within reach for all Americans. A total of up to $20 million per year will also be made available for the partnerships for three potential one-year extensions.”
That smells a bit to me like the government is going to take a different approach to helping American home values than simply offering incentives to buy or buy up and free money to the banks. In fact, this is the second such initiative in the works. If you recall earlier this year I wrote in detail about the Cash For Caulkers Bill currently working it’s way through the Senate Floor which would offer some major tax incentives for home owners to get energy audits and have retrofitting done by qualified contractors.
I Say Suck It Shiller!
Wow! My inner Renegade Realtor has really kicked in. I realize this doesn’t sound at all like the poet’s blouse wearing corn flake environmentalist you all may think I am even though I have a worm farm in my kitchen and my daughter caught a spider yesterday she has lovingly named Elizabeth but I digress. My point is, this Shiller dude and all those other economists probably have a much higher IQ than I and there probably is something to the suckiness of their predictions. However, maybe just maybe, those of us who have started drinking the eco-friendly, minimally processed, dye free, Kool Aid (preferably dirty with extra olives) are going to breeze through this era happily making a respectable living and helping leave the earth a little better than we found it. Perhaps it’s time for a few of you all to starting drinking it to.