As we prepare for 2005, we find a housing market that is no longer a national boom, but instead a mix of regional booms, slowdowns and mostly "status quos." Nationally, the outlook is for slowly rising mortgage rates and slowly improving job growth. If both occur, the change in housing construction levels should be minimal in 2005. The Likely Scenario is for the U.S. economy to move along the red arrow below. Demand: Job growth is slowly increasing in most markets around the country, with the most noticeable improvements in the markets that were hit hardest by the technology downturn in 2000. Population growth is likely to be greater in the more affordable markets where jobs are also plentiful. While we will continue tracking these statistics for all of the markets in the country, your best local barometer for housing demand is probably the number of cars on the road during rush hour. If you are looking for the best submarkets, find out where the office and industrial building constr...
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