August 11, 2015

Putting Charlotte On The Map

Charlotte NC

Source: Charlotte Chamber

The Charlotte region is home to 951 foreign-based companies that employ more than 68,000 people. These companies represent 796 parent companies from 46 countries. Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and France have the largest number of companies in the Charlotte region, totaling 57% of the area’s foreign-based businesses.


Germany Flag 2   1. Germany

  Number of companies in 2014: 191
  Number of companies in 2003: 148
  Total company locations: 263
  Total number of employees: 14,362
  Representative companies: Daimler Trucks North America, Schaeffler Group USA, Siemens Energy Inc.



United Kingdom Flag 12. United Kingdom

Number of companies in 2014: 120
Number of companies in 2003: 74
Total company locations: 235
Total number of employees: 6,038
Representative companies: Compass Group North America, Aon Hewitt



Canada Flag 2

3. Canada

Number of companies in 2014: 92
Number of companies in 2003: 69
Total company locations: 134
Total number of employees: 4,992
Representative companies: Resolute Forest Products, Domtar Corp.



Japan 1 4. Japan

 Number of companies in 2014: 80
 Number of companies in 2003: 51
 Total company locations: 117
 Total number of employees: 5,176
 Representative companies: ASMO North Carolina Inc., NGK Ceramics USA Inc.



France 2 5. France

 Number of companies in 2014: 61
 Number of companies in 2003: 38
 Total company locations: 97
 Total number of employees: 5,509
 Representative companies: Legrand/Pass & Seymour, AXA Equitable


July 21, 2015

Charlotte-area home sales jumped 22% in June

Charlotte Homes sales up

From Jen Wilson at Charlotte’s residential real estate market continues to heat up, according to the monthly activity report from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.

Home sales in the Charlotte region jumped 22.1% in June from a year earlier, the association reported — a figure that surpasses the year-over-year gains posted in recent months. Data from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service show 4,434 homes were sold in the area last month, up from 3,630 in June 2014.

On a month-to-month basis, sales were up 15.3% in June from May, when 3,845 homes were sold.

However, the annual growth rate in sales prices slowed in June. The average sales price last month was $260,003, up 0.8% from a year earlier, while the median sales price was $206,089, rising 4.5%. In May, average and median prices rose 4.2% and 8.1%, respectively, from a year earlier.

July 20, 2015

Fed Likely to Raise Rates by Year’s End if ‘Economy Evolves’ as Expected

Brian Honea – from DSNews: Fed Likely to Raise Rates by Year’s End if ‘Economy Evolves’ as Expected 

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen had a busy week, making semi-annual appearances before the House Financial Services Committeeon Wednesday and the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.

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In both hearings, Yellen addressed the subject of the much-anticipated federal funds range increase;  Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee, she reiterated that more economic improvement,  particularly in the labor market, is needed along with confidence that the objective of 2 percent inflation  can be met over the medium term. She said the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) would  determine on a meeting-by-meeting basis if progress toward that goal is sufficient enough to raise the  rates.

“If the economy evolves as we expect, economic conditions likely would make it appropriate at some  point this year to raise the federal funds rate target, thereby beginning to normalize the stance of  monetary policy,” Yellen said. “Indeed, most participants in June projected that an increase in the federal funds target range would likely become appropriate before year-end. But let me emphasize again that these are projections based on the anticipated path of the economy, not statements of intent to raise the rates at any particular time.”

The target range for the federal funds rate has remained near zero since December 2008, right at the beginning of the financial crisis. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said the Fed’s continuing to hold interest rates down could have an adverse effect on the economy, particularly on household savings.

“Past announcements by the Federal Open Market Committee have stated that it would adjust its interest rate policy once unemployment fell to 5.6 percent,” Shelby said. “The Fed’s estimates, however, show an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent or lower for 2015, and yet, interest rates remain unchanged. TheMonetary Policy Report released yesterday states that the Fed will keep rates low, even though ‘the unemployment rate [will soon] be at or below … its longer-run normal level.’ This is concerning because pushing the economy beyond its normal level can have negative effects, as we have seen with economic bubbles in recent history.”

Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was critical of the Fed’s unpredictability on monetary policy.

“One way our economy could be healthier is for the Federal Reserve to be more predictable in the conduct of monetary policy,” Hensarling said. “During periods of expanded economic growth like the Great Moderation of 1987-2003, the Fed followed a more clearly communicated, understandable, and predictable convention or rule. America prospered.”

The question of just how transparent and accountable the central bank is was a topic of discussion in both Wednesday’s and Thursday’s hearings, as well as a hearing in the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday (in which Yellen did not testify). In particular was an issue of the Fed’s refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by Hensarling in May seeking documents related to an investigation on the Fed’s communication policies.

“Finally, the Fed has recently crossed the line by willfully ignoring a lawful congressional subpoena for documents,” Hensarling said in Wednesday’s hearing. “This is inexcusable and unsupported by legal precedence. It cannot be allowed to stand. The Fed’s refusal to cooperate in a Congressional investigation threatens both its reputation and its credibility.  The Fed is not above the law. This is a very serious matter and must be resolved.”

Shelby noted in his opening statement at Thursday’s Senate hearing that the FOMC’s monetary policy decisions are less transparent than other central banks, such as the European Central Bank and the Bank of England, and he believes that “some aspects of the Fed’s transparency can be improved.” Yellen defended the Fed’s alleged lack of transparency before the Senate on Thursday.

“The Federal Reserve ranks among the most transparent central banks,” Yellen said. “We publish a summary of our balance sheet every week. Our financial statements are audited annually by an outside auditor and made public. Every security we hold is listed on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And in conformance with the Dodd-Frank Act, transaction-level data on all of our lending, including the identity of borrowers and the amounts borrowed, are published with a two-year lag. Efforts to further increase transparency, no matter how well-intentioned, must avoid unintended consequences that could undermine the Federal Reserve’s ability to make policy in the long-run best interest of American families and businesses.”

July 17, 2015

Home sales, prices up on short inventory

Home Sales price up

Roberta Fuchs – from the Mecklenburg Times: Home sales, prices up on short inventory

Charlotte-area home sales continued their upward trajectory in June as a double-digit drop in inventory left prospective buyers with increasingly limited options.

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The number of homes sold in the 12-county region rose to 4,434 last month, up 22 percent  from June 2014 and 15 percent from May, according to the Charlotte Regional Realtors  Association.

New listings rose 1.7 percent in June from a year ago. But inventory still dropped 24 percent  in the same period, leaving the region with 13,167 properties for sale. That’s a 3.9-month  supply, far short of the six months considered to be a market in equilibrium where neither  buyers nor sellers have the upper hand.

Inventory has been at a nearly 4-month supply for most of this year as stringent  underwriting standards and stagnant wages make it more difficult for prospective sellers to  come up with down payments and moving expenses or qualify for a mortgage. Many face a  dearth of affordable new construction or are waiting for prices to appreciate to the point  where they can recoup equity lost in the downturn.

Prices continue to increase. The average sales price in June inched up 0.8 percent to $260,003 compared with a year ago, when it increased 7.5 percent over June 2013. The median sales price rose 4.5 percent to $206,089 in the same period.

The average list price in June increased 3.4 percent to $280,884 compared with last year, when the average list price was $271,526. The amount of the original list price received increased slightly to 95.6 percent.

“Mid-year presents the perfect opportunity to assess an active CarolinaMLS market that continues to show gains in contracts, sales and prices,” said Maren Brisson-Kuester, president of the CRRA and the Carolina Multiple Listing Services Inc., in a statement. “Our median sales price is up a conservative 4.5 percent, helping to sustain a healthy seller’s market while still providing affordable options for buyers.”

Brisson-Keuster said that inventory remains challenged, “but a nearly 2 percent increase in new listings should keep buyers interested.”

Homes were on the market from list to close an average of 119 days in June compared with 125 days in the same month last year. The average number of days homes were on the market, including listings that were active and under contract but being shown, fell to 62 days from 73 days a year ago.

Preliminary pending sales in June increased 26.5 percent to 4,438. There were 3,509 homes under contract a year ago.

The CRRA reports on the residential real estate market in the Charlotte region using data from Carolina Multiple Listing Services Inc.

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