I am sorry for the lack of blogging.  Been real busy, I have $5,000,000+ in the pended sales category.  All from the last 7-8 weeks of work.  I’ve been working real hard, many late nights and 6 days a week (I don’t work on Sunday).  It’s been paying off though… starting this new business has been challenging, rewarding, costly and demanding.  People say the market is bad, I wouldn’t know.  I haven’t watched the news since November. 

Anyway, the morning’s inventory levels are:  Res.Actives 615, LakeHome Actives 379, Lake Lot Actives 427.  On May 30th we saw a peak of 629-383-430 resepctively.  Let’s hope that the inventory levels stay down.  If you read my earlier blog, you will see what the peak levels in the market were last year.  We are fast approaching the peak of the listing season.  If the levels of last year remain in the history books, then we may have left the “trough” of the market.  Time will tell.  Nationally, the OFHEO reported it’s first quarter home data.  The troubling news in the report “was the sharp jump in inventory, which almost eclipsed an all-time high set last July.  We had seen some progress in inventory levels over the last six to nin-months, but this was all but erased in April.” as quoted in Wachovia Commentary May 23, 2008.  This is nationally, we were headed there, but maybe on May 30th it stopped?

S&P CASE SCHILLER HOME PRICE INDEX. TUESDAY (as reported in Wachovia Commentary on May 23,2008).  Year-to-year home price declines in many of the major US housing markets have reached double digits on an S&P/Case Schiller basis, pulling down the composite indices, which are created on an aggregate housing market value basis.  These composite indices may overstate the national picture but it is clear that many large markets are experiencing painful price declines.  We do not see substantial gains in home prices returning before the end of the decade, at best.   The total hit to household balance sheets will likely prove to be less than widely feared, however, as many small and medium sized markets are still seing modest price gains. (Alexandria would be considered a small-sized market)

In a recent article released by Site Selection magazine, the Alexandria area was ranked the fastest growing micropolitan in Minnesota and the 10th fastest growing micropolitan in the nation.  Ranking is based upon the number of qualifying industrial/commercial construction projects taking place during 2007.  In 2005, the Alexandria area was ranked as the 2nd fastest growing Micropolitan in Minnesota and tied for 20th in the nation.

AAEDC, April report…New Jobs:  Pfeninger Warehousing 5-7 new jobs.  3M will add 50 new employees within one year and up to 90 employees withing 5 years of completion.  Carlos Creek Winery will add 3 new employees.

Also in the AAEDC Report (Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission) they have the 2006 Retail Trade Analysis Stats. “Retail sales in the Alexandria area continue to lead the state.  With a Pull Factor of 4.26 and annual taxable sales exceeding $443 million, based on 2006 retail sales data, the Alexandria area is outpacing the state and the like-sized cities in West Central and North Western Minnesota.  Alexandria’s three closest regional center competitors boast sales taxable sales of $229 million or less and pull factors of 1.81 or less.

A Pull Factor amount is derived by dividing the per capita sales of a city or county by the per capita sales for the state.  For example, if a city’s per capita sales are $20,000 per year nd the state per capita sales are $10,000 per year, the pull factor is 2.0 ($20,000/$10,000).  Average per capita taxable sales for the state of Minnesota is $9,600.

As a regional center, the Alexandria area has consistently scored a Pull Factor above 3 since 1991.  This sales strength high-lights the regional pull that our community has in the retail sector (not to mention the healthcare, service, manufacturing, and tourism sectors).  The most visible proof behind our high Pull Factor is evident during the summer months as traffice and population counts are augmented by snowbirds, tourist, and cabin/lake home owners arriving in our area.  To a lesser amount, this augmentation continues throughout the year as travelers utilize our economically diverse community for theri daily needs.  As people fortunate enought to call this area home, we are truly fortunate to not only have our beautiful lakes and natural resources, but the strong economic base that continues to fuel and drive the sustainability and growth of our community both today and into the future.  It will be our continuing challenge to maintain and grow our economic diversity into the coming years.

Sources of Information:Greater Alexandria Area Multiple Listing Service, AAEDC, Wachovia Commentary May 23, 2008