Friday, May 21, 2004

Housing Watch: Wunderdog reports in from Front Lines

The oldman has been collecting and compiling information about the Housing market. The view of those sitting on the higher macro-economic food chain is that with housing starts only down 0.7% in single family homes and a small rise in multi-residence buildings that the housing market isn't yet down that much.

However reporting from the front lines of the Detroit construction market, Forgetting of Wunderdog blog has some interesting news of a slowdown in the work of his profession.

As I've returned now to pick up work in metro Detroit, I find some slack days. The people who have been farming me drywall jobs over the past four years (a business roughly averaging at least 5 million per year in revenues) are experiencing what might generously be termed a 'slowdown'.

My experience may only be anecdotal, but here is how a supervisor described it to me:

We got guys willing to take a cut (for your position) from 4 cents a square foot to 3 and a half. They're also willing to do the site cleanup (scrape/sweep, normally $50) for free. They're desperate for work, and the product suffers because of paycuts. We're paying all tradesmen less now.

For me, going from 4 cents to 3.5 stacks up like this: A typical house with 10,000 square feet of drywall will take a day and a half to complete, say 9-13 hours. The typical scrape and sweep adds another $50 to the $400. Now guys are willing to take $350 for the same work, a 23 percent paycut.

You can read more about his site at Wunderdog. He's a good writer and I've been trying to encourage him to blog about more than just politics. While I'm a political junkie myself, I recognize that mostly the field is over-saturated. In addition most people including most people on the internet aren't that politically conscious. While a few political bloggers like Kos, etc. have racked up quite a following, it's pretty sure that it's going to be difficult for others to break into that league even if they have good product.

This is one of the reasons why I've diversified into economic writing. However I'm not going to abandon my occasional posts on political philosophy, especially of conservativism, and general geopolitical issues - I've been following the Taiwan issue pretty closely. In addition, I intend more spiritual type postings on my philosophical thoughts. Besides macroeconomic issues I'm going to start focusing on more microeconomic issues such as healthcare, education costs, etc. as well.

I haven't forgotten my initial start in writing this blog as outrage over the mess GWB was making of the Republican party, but I've switched to indirectly opposing him by analyzing the issues in order to show by contrast that he really doesn't have any good ideas for legislative policy - a refrain uttered by of all people the deposed Trent Lott recently!


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