Although Orlando’s construction starts on new homes are down nearly 50% over the same period 1 year ago, there’s good news to be found if you look for it: At this time last year Orlando had an unsold inventory of over 7,000 new homes, as of August 2009, this backlog has been reduced by 1/3 to 4,500.
The strong buyers market will remain however into at least the short term as foreclosures and short sales in the market have brought prices of new homes down to 2006 levels.
The impact to Orlando area contractors from the collapse of Lehman Brothers and all others who followed suit has been a serious but some say, a needed decline. Rick Friend of Paver-King in Orlando www.paver-king.com, said recently that “the strong businesses always survive the ebb and flow of the economy” and added, “in the long-run, this thinning out of the ranks benefits the consumer, those of us who have established long-term clientele and rely on repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising are the ones left standing”
All Pressure Washers, headquartered in Orlando Florida reports another year of increased sales. With the slowdown in the construction industry, many businesses are offering related services such as pressure washing.
Another related service is new construction pre-wiring and retro-fit wiring. With the increased demand in electronics such as home automation controls, home theater systems, and home networking there is more work now for technicians. Orlando Audio Visual Design and Integration has reported an increased number of installations for audio visual products. They have also reported a high number of flat panel tv installations.
Of the 62,000 jobs lost in Orlando over the past year, almost 15,000 of them were lost in the construction industry. According to Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, hiring will remain flat through the rest of the year, but strengthen in the 1st quarter of 2010 as the inventory of unsold homes is reduced, the economy nationally begins to recover, and tourism returns to Central Florida.
Orlando of course is not the only area in the US to suffer from the decline in home sales, nationwide, of the 6.7 million jobs lost since January 2008, 1.5 million were in the construction industry which is second in job loss only to the manufacturing sector.
Recovery is on horizon however, over the period May through July, home sales are up nationwide after the deepest lows in nearly 40 years. Another indicator is the stock market. With the Dow Jones returning to the 9000s, up nearly 40% from March, the signs are encouraging. Although stock prices are a mostly measure of sentiment, in business sentiment can be everything.