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Is the US Housing Market Slowing Down?

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There are signs that the US housing market, buoyant for several years with prices soaring, is slowing down as even properties in popular ‘hot spots’ such as Seattle, parts of Texas and Silicon Valley are taking longer to sell and sometimes not making their asking prices.

Economists predict the overall gain for property prices across the US will only be five percent for 2018 and will be down to three percent in 2019. The rise of home improvements – well over $300 billion is being spent on various house remodeling projects per year – show Americans are staying put and improving their present home rather than moving.

Versatile, top quality home improvements and ‘add-ons’ such as attic and garage conversions, and easy-to-install storage such as weatherproof prefabricated sheds that can add more space in a matter of hours, are giving people the chance to increase space in and around their properties for a fraction of the costs of moving home.

Pricing and interest rate rises

What has slowed the market?

Accelerating house prices – they’ve finally outstripped house buyers’ ability to afford them; rises have mostly been fueled by hitherto low housing stock in hot markets such as California and the Miami area.

Interest rate rises – recent interest rate rises make it not only more difficult for buyers to afford the repayments on what is likely to be a high mortgage, but have caused confidence to dip as people wonder if more are on the way.

Not a full blown slump

Many analysts, including Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Shiller – who predicted the ‘dot com bubble’ bursting back at the turn of the millennium – don’t predict a big downturn like that experienced during the financial crisis of 2008.

They’re saying it’s more a sign of demand naturally tailing off for a while as the market corrects itself and housing stock increases. It certainly has done in property hot spots such as Seattle where supply rose by well over 20% compared to late 2017.

Confidence has waned somewhat in the property market; even though the US economy is doing well only some 65% of Americans consider it a good time to buy – the lowest percentage since the world wide slump of 2008 when the property market was severely affected.

Certain areas such as Alabama are actually seeing property sales rise as these are areas that are still relatively affordable compared to the likes of California, where prices still make it hard for people to buy.

House builder stocks falling

An indication that all is not well in the housing market is the significant fall in homebuilding company stock values: overall stocks are down 21% this year, so very much in 2008 recession territory and worthy of caution.

Good for investors but less good for buyers

The lowering of prices and the rise of housing stock makes it good news for investors as properties offering decent yields may become reality again.

Ironically, a strong economy allied to low unemployment – the lowest since the late 1960s – increases the risk of interest rates continuing to rise as the Federal Reserve tries to keep inflation under control. That has the consequence that confidence is lower for potential house buyers, as is their ability to buy.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Operating With the Blinkers On? Why You Need To Reconsider Your Outsourcing Strategy

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A lot of what makes a business effective is its ability to roll with the punches. If you find yourself constantly adapting to trends, you need to remember that it has to come from a place that will have a positive impact on the business, rather than keeping up with trends for the sake of it. One of the biggest trends in recent years has been outsourcing. And so many companies look towards outsourcing as a way to reduce the bottom line, but is this an effective approach? Is it actually time to stop outsourcing? Let’s show you some components that can help you to decide what would be best, and whether outsourcing will benefit your business or hinder it?

Where Is Your Business Falling Down? 

Skills are pivotal to the success of any company, and when we are lacking the right skills, this is where we turn to outsourcing. However, when we utilise skills from an outsourced entity we end up in the position where we are relying on these people to help us get to the next stage of our business. There are times when we can outsource when it is not to do with the skill. For example, if we had to move our headquarters to a different location, rental truck companies like flexfleetrental.com can help with the practical components. But if you find that your business is falling down in a place as important as a lack of skills, you have got to think twice if outsourcing is the best approach. And this is because if you have someone on board to help you get to the next stage, and then you let them go, are you going to need them to come back further down the line? In which case, surely it is better to have a full-time member of staff fulfilling this position? 

Is Outsourcing More Cost-Effective? 

Everybody uses outsourcing as an approach to save money, but outsourcing costs can vary, but they can also be more expensive when you have gone into it with the right mindset. Knowing your costs is crucial, and calculating the maths is something you will need to do. This guide to outsourcing costs at classicinformatics.com can provide some insight here. Outsourcing can reduce costs, but if your overriding goal is to improve the business, you might want to think about investing in the company rather than cutting corners. Outsourcing can be cost-effective, but only when done over a short period of time. The difficulty of outsourcing over a short period of time is in finding the right person. If you are able to find a person with the right skills, it can be more cost-effective. However, the hunt for the right person can be as expensive.

What Does Outsourcing Do for the Business? 

The goal is to improve the bottom line, but we’ve got to look beyond numbers and metrics. A business is not just successful in terms of its figures, but it’s the people within the business and the cultural components that will ensure its efficacy. Many businesses utilise outsourcing in such a manner that it says to the employees “they are not good enough.” Therefore, this is not going to help the company in the long run. Employees will become dissatisfied with the company and their roles and will go and find someone that will support them. Outsourcing is great for numbers, and if you are the type of entrepreneur that is looking to create an environment where you can rule with an iron fist, outsourcing can be very effective. There are still entrepreneurs who prefer to operate with an “it’s not personal, just business” approach. But if you use outsourcing as a crutch to prop up your business during tough times, you’ve got to think about the long-term impact on your employees. 

It proves harder to keep a business going when you are forever outsourcing. It is a common trend that will continue for years to come but we have to remember that outsourcing is not always the most effective solution. We are forever blinkered in our approach to doing business, and this is driven by the desire to make money. But a business is so much more than that. It is an entity that should provide a need within society or provide for a certain demographic. So if you are thinking about either utilising outsourcing or giving it up, it is important to make sure that all of your lightbulbs are on.

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How To Make Business Life So Much More Favourable

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If you have a business or you’re heavily considering starting a business, then you’ll know all about the perils and the difficulties that will come with it all. While it seems like such a wonderful idea from the outside looking in, it’s actually something that can really take its toll on you if you’re not prepared enough both mentally and physically. 

You’ll always be looking for ways to make business life an awful lot more convenient. The idea in this game is obviously to work hard as you never get anywhere without a serious commitment. You’ll really want to focus on working smart, however. Hard work for no reason is foolish when you have much better ideas and techniques staring you in the face. Business life can be a real hassle if you get things wrong and have to go through laborious days. Here are just a few ways to make your days, weeks, and months a lot more favorable for you: 

Get The Right People Around You  

Who you share your time with in business matters so much. If you have all of the wrong people, then you could be on a downward slant over the next few years. If you have good people with the right attitude and intentions, then you’ll likely become a lot more successful. In terms of using the right people, we’re talking about networking, hiring staff, bringing in specialists, soliciting advice, and so many other areas. Business is an interpersonal game, so make sure the right groups and individuals work with what you’re trying to achieve. 

Embrace Technology A Lot More Than Perhaps You Are Right Now 

If you’re already someone who wants to milk every platform they have, then this idea won’t worry you too much. There are so many pieces of ai powered software around that will help you with what you’re trying to achieve. Analytics, ads, management, and so many other areas can be bolstered with good programs. 

Set Up Genuine Plans With Achievable Goals 

This sort of goes without saying because you’ll likely have plans for the tasks ahead. This is more the idea of creating more structured plans for areas that are perhaps freer and less structured. Setting goals for everything you do can lead you to understand more about what needs to be done. It also gets everyone even more motivated. 

Take Care Of The People Working With You 

In terms of those you’re with, you’re going to need to treat them properly. It’s amazing what can happen if you neglect how they feel and the work they put in. The best leaders will always hone in on each individual and check in with them. 

Outsource Certain Jobs That Are Tedious

Sometimes, there are particular tasks that – although they need to be done – take up lots of unnecessary time and stress. If you are outsourcing admin, for instance, it makes life a lot easier for you as you all can focus on the productive and progressive side. 

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Current Trends in Business That Every Entrepreneur Should Work Towards Achieving

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The world of business is changing and with it the trends that entrepreneurs should be working towards. Entrepreneurship has become a lifestyle as opposed to just a paycheck. With an entrepreneurial mindset, you can do anything. Check out these current trends in business that every entrepreneur should work on achieving:

E-Commerce

E-commerce has been a significant trend for the past few years, and you can expect it to continue being so. E-commerce has multiple benefits, including increased revenue, high availability of products, and a more significant customer base.

E-commerce allows businesses to be present on all digital platforms, which helps them reach out to more customers quickly. In addition, it makes it easier for companies to reduce overhead expenses as there are no physical stores that have rent costs associated with them or inventory levels that need maintenance constantly. Statistically, e-commerce has grown rapidly in the past few years from 25% – 30% year on year.

Financial Apps and Software

The software aspect comes into play when considering how businesses manage their finances moving forward. Companies must adapt to technology. Otherwise, they will find themselves left behind by competitors who embrace emerging technologies such as cloud computing and mobile apps. It is also easier to make purchases using these apps and communicate with the sellers. Incorporating such software with equipment and partnerships with a payment processing company will diversify the business activities and set you up for expansion.

These apps allow them to move away from traditional forms of financial management such as spreadsheets and accounting software to financial management apps such as Xero. With these new apps comes the ability to monitor business finances from anywhere, which can help businesses grow faster than what they would ordinarily be able to manage with slower conventional processes.

Blockchain Tech

Blockchain tech is the current trend in business that every entrepreneur should work towards achieving. You can apply this technology to many different industries, and entrepreneurs need to find their niche within this growing market. It’s also critically important not to overlook blockchain tech when deciding which cryptocurrency or token you want your company associated with.

Both positive and negative factors are involved in choosing one solution over another, but it all comes down to finding what works best for each situation. For example, today’s most valuable aspect of blockchain tech is its promotion of secure transactions between parties while eliminating third-party transaction fees (or at least significantly reducing them).

It means that businesses operating on a global scale could potentially enjoy significant savings in maintaining financial records. Transparency is also an important selling point for blockchain tech. The decentralized nature of its design makes all transactions public and easily accessible by anyone who has access.

Fraud and Cyber Crime

Another current trend that every entrepreneur should work towards achieving is fraud and cybercrime. In today’s modern world, the internet has brought the business community closer together as it allows you to reach a global market from almost anywhere with an Internet connection. Unfortunately, this means those who want to take advantage of this have access to millions of more potential customers, making it easier for fraudsters to steal money from unsuspecting victims.

Businesses that are not careful can fall victim to several types of cybercrime, including phishing, spoofing, pharming, and identity theft. These crimes are increasing at an alarming rate as more people use the internet for business purposes which means scammers often target them.

Conclusion

Today, business is becoming increasingly challenging. The traditional ways of doing things don’t work anymore, and it’s time for entrepreneurs to adapt to stay relevant within the industry. However, the industry itself is evolving rapidly, and it’s challenging to keep up with the changes that are happening every day. Fortunately for you, this post is here to help you understand the current trends that every entrepreneur should work towards achieving.

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