Tag Archives: W.P. Carey School of Business

housing.prices

Phoenix housing market ending relatively flat year

After several years of wild roller-coaster activity, the Phoenix-area housing market is ready to end a relatively flat year. That’s according to the latest monthly report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Here are the highlights of the new report on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of October:

• The median single-family-home sales price went up just 4 percent from last October to this October – from $200,000 to $208,000.
• Demand remains lower than last year, with sales of single-family homes down 5 percent from last October.
• The Valley is experiencing a very small bump up in two areas – investor interest and new-home sales.

After the housing crash, Phoenix-area home prices shot up from September 2011 to summer 2013. Then, the median single-family-home price rose just 4 percent more – from $200,000 to $208,000 – from last October to this October. Realtors will note the average price per square foot also went up 4 percent. The median townhome/condo sales price rose only 2 percent.

“We’ve seen very little change in the Greater Phoenix housing market for the last year, and stability is the order of the day,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Price increases look tame over the last 12 months and even tamer if you examine just the last six months. There is no longer any real upward price momentum greater than the general level of inflation.”

Orr’s report notes that demand in the market remains lower than last year. In fact, the amount of single-family-home sales dropped 5 percent from last October to this October. Activity from first-time home buyers has been unusually low, in part because some people had their credit badly damaged during the housing crash and also because millennials are waiting to enter the home market until later in life than previous generations. These are also reasons the rental market is strong. Rents have increased 3.7 percent over the last 12 months in the Phoenix area.

Meantime, Valley foreclosures have dropped way down over the past year. Completed foreclosures of single-family and condo homes were down 19 percent from last October to this October. The lack of cheap foreclosures here has been largely driving investors to other areas of the country, where bargains are more plentiful. However, there was a little bump back up between this September and October. The percentage of residential properties bought by investors hit 15.5 percent, the highest level since May, but still well below last year’s levels.

“Investors and out-of-state buyers are showing a small recovery in buying interest, but to get our market back to what we would consider normal will still require a major increase in demand from local first-time home buyers,” explains Orr.

Some expect the coming introduction of conventional home loans with a lower, 3-percent down payments next year to stimulate more interest, but Orr isn’t sure this will make a major dent. He anticipates small, incremental improvements.

“The big economic gains of the last few years have helped companies, but not necessarily the average person who might consider taking out a home loan,” says Orr.

One other note from Orr: The market share for new-home sales is doing better and has recovered to 14 percent – the same level as October 2013. Taylor Morrison, Pulte Homes and Meritage Homes are leading the way in the Phoenix area.

Those wanting more Valley housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

Deloitte Report Reveals Mid-Market Companies Expect U.S. Economic Growth

Experts: 2 more years until full economic recovery in Arizona

We can expect our economic recovery to take about another two years in Arizona. That’s what experts said today at the 51st annual Economic Forecast Luncheon co-sponsored by Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and JPMorgan Chase.

About 750 people attended the event at the Phoenix Convention Center. Key experts delivered a comprehensive overview of what’s happening in the state and national economies, as well as the stock market and housing market. One main message was that Arizona is now growing at a faster rate than the nation, but we still have some distance to go.

“As of May, the United States finished gaining back 100 percent of its jobs lost in the recession, but in Arizona alone, we’re only 69 percent of the way there,” explained Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We expect to regain that last 96,400 jobs in the next year and a half.”

So far this year, Arizona has experienced 2-percent job growth, while our state’s 30-year average is a much higher 4.2 percent. Still, this rate was good enough to rank Arizona as the No. 12 state for job growth as of October. Arizona ranked No. 13 in personal-income growth by midyear. McPheters believes the state will speed up from here.

Among his Arizona predictions for 2015:
• Employment growth could rise from an expected 2.2 percent this year to 2.5 percent next year.
• Personal-income growth could jump from 4 percent this year to 4.5 percent in 2015.
• Population growth could go up from 1.4 percent in 2014 to 1.5 percent next year.

McPheters added Arizona is doing particularly well in creating jobs in finance/insurance and health care. The state is lagging in manufacturing and construction. Arizona unemployment has dropped from 7.8 percent last year to 6.8 percent this year. However, we continue to recover much more slowly than from past economic downturns, and we continue to face risks from ineffective growth policies at the national level.

John Lonski, chief capital markets economist of Moody’s Analytics, addressed the national economy by saying that we can expect more subpar growth in 2015.

“We expect U.S. real GDP (gross domestic product) growth to rise from an expected 2.2 percent this year to about 2.8 percent next year,” said Lonski. “We also anticipate the national unemployment rate may drop from 5.8 percent this October to 5.4 percent by the end of 2015.”

In addition, Lonski predicts U.S. wage and salary income should grow by about 4.5 percent next year. He believes industrial capacity will be more fully utilized. He said the housing collapse, tightening of fiscal policy, and insufficient new product development have been contributing to America’s economic struggle. However, he expects the next major wave of technological innovation to supply stronger-than-expected growth, whether it’s self-driving autos or robotics.

“We’re also experiencing some big changes because of a population shift,” Lonski added. “Only about 1.5 percent of the jobs added post-recession have gone to those ages 16 to 54, while those ages 55 and older gained 20.9 percent. This shift has prompted less spending and more saving, especially by those closer to retirement.”

Lonski also expects the budget deficit to go up, after bottoming out at 2.6 percent of GDP in 2015. That’s because of increased spending on retiring baby boomers, as well as the still-unknown costs of the Affordable Care Act. Decreased defense spending should moderate some of the increases.

James Glassman, managing director and senior economist for JPMorgan Chase & Co., covered the financial markets. He said that, despite the recent rise in stock prices, they are still fairly valued. He added household net worth is back in record territory.

“Credit conditions are improving, and rising vehicle sales prove it,” said Glassman. “Also, we’re seeing some improvements in the housing industry, since builders addressed their previous speculative overbuilding by underbuilding in recent years. Rising home prices are helping to drain the number of ‘underwater’ mortgages.”

Glassman notes the energy sector is also humming along. He expects interest rates to go up next year as the economy continues to improve.

Elliott D. Pollack, chief executive officer of Scottsdale-based economic consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack and Company, covered the Arizona housing market. He repeated that the state has recently experienced a significant slowdown in population flows and only a modest recovery from the sharp downturn in our housing market.

Pollack said there are a few positives, such as slow acceleration of the local economy, decent home affordability, low mortgage rates, a slight loosening of lending standards, and the movement of many all-cash investors to other bargain areas of the country. These factors create more opportunity for local buyers who need financing.

“However, we still see several negatives that outweigh those positives, including relatively sluggish employment growth, fewer people moving, millennials delaying home purchases, many people still waiting out their required seven years in the credit ‘penalty box’ after foreclosures, and overall difficulty in getting home loans,” explained Pollack. “Full recovery is still years away.”

Pollack said more people who have been renting may jump back into the housing market over the next several years as conditions improve. Meantime, apartment construction is up. Pollack believes the Valley won’t see any significant office construction – except in select submarkets like Tempe – until at least 2017.

More details and analysis from the event, including the presentation slides, are available from the business school’s “Research and Ideas” website at research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

tax

Will campaign contributions lower your tax rates?

Many politicians will tell you that donating to their campaigns does not affect the way they vote or design laws. However, a new study from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University suggests regular ongoing contributions do help provide access to influential lawmakers and that companies making campaign contributions specifically to tax-writing members of Congress wind up paying lower tax rates over time.

“We found that firms investing in relationships with tax policymakers through campaign contributions do gain greater future tax benefits,” says Assistant Professor Jennifer Brown of the W. P. Carey School of Business, one of the study authors. “We specifically looked at members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee in the research. Overall, we saw that donating companies experienced lower and more consistent effective tax rates in the long run.”

The new research was recently published online by the Journal of the American Taxation Association. The authors are Brown and two recent Ph.D. graduates from the W. P. Carey School at Arizona State University: Assistant Professor Laura Wellman, now of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Assistant Professor Katharine Drake, now of the University of Arizona. In the study, they remark that political action committee (PAC) contributions to members of Congress, in general, rose 60 percent from the years 2000 to 2008, but PAC contributions specifically to tax-writing members of Congress went up even more — 80 percent.

“Proactive firms build relationships with policymakers through continued campaign support, with the expectation of gaining some economic benefit,” says Wellman. “There is an advantage to getting in the game early and maintaining your seat at the table. Our research provides evidence that increasing the number of political ties to tax policymakers produces a stronger effect on future tax rates.”

The paper points out that one member of the Senate Finance Committee raised more than $11 million in his 2008 campaign, even though he was running essentially unopposed. The research isn’t aimed at showing that anything inappropriate is happening, but rather, that contributions to tax policymakers may help supply more access, such as a receptive ear.

The study utilizes PAC data from the Federal Election Commission and lobbying data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The researchers found that when a firm moved from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile of “relational” activity – equal to supporting at least five more candidates — then that firm experienced a lower future cash effective tax rate, which added up to an average of about $33 million in annual savings. The frequency of the donations and the power level of the candidates also play a role in the equation.

The article adds that lobbying and contributions work together in achieving firms’ tax-policy outcomes. The full study is available at http://aaajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.2308/atax-50908.

Arizona Economic Forecast 2011

Boyes named founding director of ASU research center

ASU has announced the appointment of Professor William Boyes as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty at the university’s business school. Through the research center, Boyes will be able to build on his scholarly investigation of how economics, policy and general well-being are influenced by individuals’ ability to make choices.

“This new center will bring together scholars and public intellectuals to examine the broad societal effects of free markets, private property rights and entrepreneurship,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “The issues that it will convene researchers to consider are directly linked to ASU’s commitment to engage on questions of critical importance to our region, to the nation and to the wider world.”

The center is made possible by $5 million in gifts. Part of the money comes through a grant from the philanthropic W. P. Carey Foundation, which supports schools and universities in the areas of business and economics. The organization’s founder, the late investor Wm. Polk Carey and founder of W. P. Carey & Co., also provided a $50 million gift to ASU in 2003 that resulted in the renaming of the business school as the W. P. Carey School of Business.

The W. P. Carey Foundation helped to secure up to $3.5 million for the center from the Charles Koch Foundation, which also focuses its philanthropy on university research and education.

ASU is frequently recognized for innovation in research and education, and the university was recently ranked the nation’s No. 2 up-and-coming school, according to U.S. News & World Report. The new Center for the Study of Economic Liberty will build on the university’s legacy of innovation. It will be involved in research, publishing, conferences, and engaging students and scholars from around the world.

Boyes is excited to take his current research further. His research has helped to inform policymakers at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Federal Trade Commission and various companies that all play a significant role in America’s economy. His new research will explore the economic implications of government regulation, small business and public education.

“We will study the intersection of individuals, the private sector and government,” explained Boyes. “We want to help educate students and inform the general public. We hope to use our research as a catalyst for broader conversations that can lead to societal solutions.”

The center’s executive director will be Scott Beaulier, an economist who has held previous appointments in the area of economics at three universities. He has done extensive research on the implications that economic policy has at a state, federal and international level, affecting the ability of people to live satisfied, fulfilling lives.

W. P. Carey Foundation Chairman Francis J. Carey, III noted, “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the W. P. Carey School of Business, Dean Amy Hillman and Professor Boyes in supporting the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty.”

Charles Koch Foundation President Brian Hooks said, “We’re excited to support ASU and the important work its faculty members are doing.”

Staying Innovative as a One Man Operation

Arizona businesses win Spirit of Enterprise Awards

We all win when local companies grow, create jobs and help boost our still-recovering economy. Today, several of the state’s best businesses were honored for their positive role in our communities. They’re the winners of the 18th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

“We enjoy recognizing locally owned companies that introduce innovation, empower employees, impress customers, and make a real difference in Arizona,” says Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “This year’s Spirit of Enterprise Award winners are in a variety of industries, and they all meet a market need and have a great impact on the Valley.”

Hundreds of business and community leaders attended today’s awards luncheon at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, where the winners were announced. The finalists’ impressive stories were shown on video, as the firms were lauded for ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship.

The 2014 Spirit of Enterprise Award winners are:

• Ersland Touch Landscape – Overcoming Adversity Award. This state-of-the-art landscape maintenance company started as a one-man, one-mower operation run out of a garage. After 30 years in business, it now has a complete customer “feedback log,” an Adopt a Highway commitment, work with nonprofits, and more than 400 residences and 20 homeowner associations as clients.

• IO – Emerging Enterprise Award. This growing firm is focused on rethinking data-center technology, using software solutions, instead of just physical locations. It has more than 650 global clients, including Goldman Sachs and LexisNexis, as well as two patents and an emphasis on energy efficiency.

• I-ology – Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. This woman-owned technology company offers Web design and related services. It features close client relationships, heavy community involvement, and no management hierarchy, offering all employees a chance to participate in revenue sharing, stock options, flexible schedules and industry events.

• Kitchell – The Hahnco Companies Special Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award. This 100-percent employee-owned commercial builder, developer and program manager launched 65 years ago. It now has more than 850 employees, international operations, an internal leadership program, significant charitable contributions, and a focus on enabling employee-driven innovation.

• Melrose Pharmacy – Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award. This independent pharmacy offers fast, highly personalized service; utilizes cutting-edge equipment; and supports charities like the March of Dimes and local community issues. It has also achieved a 119-percent increase in net income already for this year.

The other Spirit of Enterprise finalists this year were Clean Air Cab, Endless Entertainment, India Plaza/The Dhaba, The James Agency and Potter’s House Apothecary.

Also this year, the Spirit of Enterprise Student Entrepreneur Award went to Anthony Gonzales, a recent W. P. Carey School of Business MBA graduate. Gonzales is a finalist in Entrepreneur magazine’s College Entrepreneur of the Year competition with his grant-winning, ongoing development of FITGuard, a mouthguard designed to indicate levels of head impact for athletes, as well as a smartphone application that can provide data to a diagnosing physician.

The event also included its first-ever National Founder of the Year award. The honoree is Sam Calagione, founder and president of Delaware-based Dogfish Head Brewery. Calagione’s family-owned business started small and grew about 400 percent in just four years. He still experiments with new products, works creatively with other breweries and food companies, and has written books about his experiences as an entrepreneur.

The Spirit of Enterprise Awards are just one focus of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business-creation experience. The center recently introduced the Sun Devil Select competition to honor ASU alum-owned or alum-led businesses. The center is also self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships to sustain its activities. For more information, visit wpcarey.asu.edu/entrepreneurship.

housing

Phoenix Housing Market in Low Gear Until Next Year

The Phoenix-area housing market is unlikely to see a significant boost until next year. That’s according to the latest monthly report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Here are the highlights of the new report on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of September:

• The median single-family-home sales price was up 5 percent from last September, but that’s largely just because fewer sales are clustered at the bottom end of the market, not because individual home prices are rising much.
• The area has been experiencing sluggish demand and low sales activity for more than 14 months.
• Because there are fewer people buying, the rental market is hot, with both rents and construction permits for new multi-family housing rising.

After the housing crash, Phoenix-area home prices shot up from September 2011 to last summer. This year, prices leveled off and then rose somewhat. The median single-family-home price went up 5 percent from last September to this September – from $198,997 to $209,900. Realtors will note the average price per square foot rose 7 percent. The median townhome/condo price went up 15 percent.

However, the report’s author says the median increases happened primarily just because fewer sales are now clustered at the lower end of the market, with fewer foreclosures and short sales available. Only luxury homes above $2 million are seeing stronger-than-normal demand. Overall, the number of single-family-home sales is down 7 percent from last September to this September.

“Demand has been much weaker since July 2013 and still shows little sign of recovery,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Supply is also fairly limited. We anticipate pricing will continue to move sideways over the next few months, and a significant increase in demand will be required to change things.”

Investors are unlikely to bring that increase in demand. They’ve largely lost interest in the Phoenix area, now that better bargains can be found in other parts of the country with more foreclosures. Investors accounted for only 14.4 percent of residential-property purchases in September — way down from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012.

“To get the market back to what we would consider normal will require a major recovery in demand from local first-time home buyers,” explains Orr. “The last quarter of the year is rarely one in which first-time home buyer demand takes off without some unusual stimulus, so it looks as though our hopes for a livelier market will have to rest on a stronger start to 2015.”

Orr says if lenders decide to lower their standards for home loans, then that might create some additional demand next year. Many people who went through foreclosure in 2008 will be allowed to enter the market again, after spending the required seven years in the credit “penalty box.”

Until then, the rental-home market is red hot, with fast turnover and a constrained supply of rental homes available. The Phoenix area has already seen a 5.7 percent boost in rents over the past 12 months. Construction permits to build new multi-family housing to meet the demand are also on a strong upward trend.

Those wanting more Phoenix-area housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

Land Advisors, WEB

Metro Phoenix Land and Housing Forecast examines ‘refined opportunity’

While the industry has experienced sub-par housing activity over the past 11 months, the anticipated pace of growth going forward depends on a few factors, not the least of which is credit and qualification conditions, household formation, employment growth, the cost of new construction and outsiders’ perceptions of the local market. What are the expectations for growth in the nation’s economy, real estate capital markets, and residential real estate? Will these perceptions of a “refined opportunity” in real estate change how you operate your business now and in the future?

On Wednesday, December 10, 2014 the Land Advisors Organization will bring together a distinguished group of industry experts including Tim Sullivan (Meyers LLC), Nick Taratsas (DMB), Joel Shine (Woodside Homes), Mike Orr (Arizona State University, W. P. Carey School of Business), Don Garner (Alliance Bank of Arizona) and Matt Cody (Cachet Homes), to provide their considerable insight. Greg Vogel, CEO of Land Advisors Organization will moderate the panel.

Event Information:
DATE:        Wednesday, December 10, 2014
TIME:        2:30 Registration, 3:00 Program, 5:00 Networking Reception
LOCATION:    Sheraton Downtown Phoenix
COST:        $100 per person; $75 for public agencies and officials ($25 increase after Dec. 3)
REGISTER:    www.landadvisorsevents.com

All net proceeds benefit New Pathways for Youth and Arizona State University Real Estate Programs.

Since 1989, New Pathways for Youth has transformed the lives of more than 2,600 at-risk youth through mentoring. Their programs are designed to build self-esteem and leadership skills, increase school attendance and performance, end gang activity and violence and decrease substance abuse.

The Division of Real Estate at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University provides the research and experience-based expertise necessary to address challenges in the contemporary real estate industry. Real estate faculty members bring real-world expertise into the classroom. Their collaboration and vision have contributed to an international real estate projects emphasizing ethical and responsible development that enhances community value and vibrancy and is sustainable and financially successful.

For companies interested in supporting this event and its chosen charity, they can review the sponsorship opportunities.

phoenix

Arizona drops from Top 10 for job growth

We’re still slowly recovering from the staggering loss of jobs during the Great Recession, but some cities and states are rebounding faster than others. The job-growth numbers for the first three quarters of 2014 are now out. Research Professor Lee McPheters of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University provides rankings and analysis of the winners and losers, based on the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Top 10 cities and surrounding metro areas (1 million or more workers), for non-agricultural job growth — comparing January through September of this year to the same nine months last year:

Orlando, Fla. – up 3.7 percent
Houston – up 3.5 percent
Dallas – up 3.4 percent
Miami – up 3 percent
Portland, Ore. – up 2.9 percent
Riverside, Calif. – up 2.8 percent (tie)
Denver – up 2.8 percent
San Francisco – up 2.6 percent (tie)
Seattle – up 2.6 percent
10.  San Diego – up 2.4 percent

Top 10 states for non-agricultural job growth – comparing January through September of this year to the same nine months last year:

North Dakota – up 4.6 percent
Nevada – up 3.6 percent
Texas  – up 3.3 percent
Utah – up 3.1 percent
Florida – up 2.9 percent
Oregon – up 2.8 percent
Colorado – up 2.7 percent
Delaware – up 2.5 percent
California – up 2.2 percent (tie)
Washington – up 2.2 percent

Analysis:

The United States has added about 2.4 million jobs so far this year. The monthly average from January through September was 1.8-percent job growth nationwide. That pace is only slightly better than last year’s, when we saw an overall annual increase of 1.7 percent, so the recovery remains relatively slow.

On the state list, North Dakota has held the No. 1 spot every year since 2009, largely thanks to its oil and gas production. Nevada, Texas and Utah also topped 3-percent job growth this time, with Nevada’s economy receiving a big boost from building activity and impressive construction gains of more than 10 percent.

“Seven of the top 10 job-growth states so far this year are in the West,” says McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Oregon and Delaware are new on the list this time, replacing Idaho and Arizona.”

Arizona actually fell out of the top 10 for the first time in two years. Even though it ranked No. 3 in health-care job growth and No. 5 in financial-activities job growth, the state has now dropped to No. 14 overall. Manufacturing, government and construction contributed to the decline.
The bottom 10 states so far this year are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, Vermont, Virginia, New Jersey, New Mexico and last-place Alaska.  Five of these states were also on the bottom in 2013: Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, New Mexico and Alaska.

McPheters notes very high interest in state economic performance right now because 30 governors are up for reelection, including those in top-10 states Nevada, Florida, Oregon, Colorado and California, as well as bottom-10 states Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico and Alaska.

On the top 10 cities list, Orlando holds the No. 1 position with 3.7-percent job growth, double the national pace.

“Eight of the top large cities for job creation are in the West,” explains McPheters, “However, Florida also did well, with two cities on the list.”

Seven of the top 10 cities are clustered in Florida, Texas and California. They include Orlando, Miami, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego and Riverside, Calif.

The greater Phoenix labor market dropped out of the top 10, as its rate of job growth slipped from 2.7 percent in 2013 to a more modest 2.2 percent during the first three quarters of this year. Phoenix is currently No. 12 among labor markets with 1 million or more workers.

Still, seven large labor markets have job creation below 1 percent: Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, northern Virginia and lastly, Detroit.

The full rankings and other job-growth data from McPheters can be found at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Job Growth USA” website: www.wpcarey.asu.edu/jobgrowth. Use the “year to date” function for the current 2014 numbers.

housing.prices

Could Looser Lending Standards Boost Phoenix Market?

Will banks start to drop their standards and let people with slightly lower credit scores and much lower down payments buy homes? That’s the big question, after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and other agencies voted to approve new, looser lending rules this week. A well-known expert from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University says if the change happens, and the adjustments are reasonable, then it could be good for the Phoenix-area housing market, stimulating growth.

Here are the highlights of the school’s monthly housing-market report on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of August:

• The median single-family-home sales price went up 11 percent from last August, but that’s largely just due to having fewer sales clustered at the bottom end of the market.
• Both supply and demand in the market remain relatively low.
• Lenders have been reluctant to expand the number of people eligible for home loans, which is helping to stunt market growth.

After the housing crash, the Phoenix area had a fast boost in home prices from September 2011 to last summer. This year, prices leveled off and then rose somewhat. The median single-family-home price went up 11 percent – from $192,000 to $213,500 — from last August to this August. The average price per square foot jumped 7 percent. The median townhouse/condominium price went up 10 percent. However, the report’s author explains the median gains are not reflective of higher home values across the board.

“The median went up largely just because we saw a big drop in sales clustered at the low end of the market,” explains Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The average price per square foot actually dropped last month. I expect prices to move sideways to slightly down over the next few months until supply and demand get back into balance.”

Both supply and demand are relatively low in the Phoenix-area housing market right now. Single-family-home sales activity dropped 15 percent from last August to this August. Investor interest, in particular, has dramatically fallen over the last year. The percentage of homes bought by investors in August was 14.4 percent, way down from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. There aren’t a lot of cheap “distressed” homes to buy, with completed Phoenix-area foreclosures down 43 percent from last August to this August.

“Better bargains for investors can be found in other parts of the country,” says Orr. “Over the last three months, the percentages of homes bought by investors have been lower than we have seen for many years, confirming investors are no longer driving the market the way they did between early 2009 and mid-2013.”

Rental homes remain popular for those who don’t want to buy a house or who can’t qualify for a home loan. Fast turnover and low vacancy rates have already pushed rents up 5.8 percent over the last year in the Phoenix area.

Meantime, we’re seeing a lot of speculation about whether banks will lower their standards and start letting people with good – but not great – credit scores qualify for home loans. Also, conventional loan down payments could be dropped from 10 percent to as little as 3 percent. The chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Agency spoke in Las Vegas this week and indicated that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would likely still purchase and retain those loans, if the banks make them.

“Right now, funds are flowing only to a small proportion of potential buyers, who have excellent credit, which is contributing to weaker-than-normal demand for homes to purchase,” explains Orr. “Lenders are reluctant to take any unusual risks in an environment when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might take negative, profit-damaging action against the banks on loans sold to them. It appears it will take a major move by Fannie and Freddie to limit those risks before mortgage availability can get back to a normal level and support the next stage in the housing recovery.”

Orr adds, “Banks have to walk the line on their lending standards. They went from the porridge being too hot (standards too lax) to the porridge being too cold (standards too tight). It’s still a while until we get to ‘just right,’ but striking the right balance could move the Phoenix-area housing market toward more sales and more demand.”

Those wanting more Phoenix-area housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

global

W. P. Carey School Announces Hall of Fame Members

Two technology mavens and a prominent professor focused on improving our health care will be honored for their accomplishments this month. The three alums will be inducted into the W. P. Carey School of Business Homecoming Hall of Fame at Arizona State University on Oct. 30. Previous inductees come from such diverse organizations as the American Red Cross, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Motorola, Wells Fargo Bank and XM Satellite Radio.

“The new honorees have all blazed a trail in their respective fields, making a difference in their professions, their community and society as a whole,” says Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “They also set a great example for our current students that there are no limits on how far they can go in their own career paths.”

The 37th annual W. P. Carey School inductees are:

• Leonard Berry – Dr. Berry, a distinguished professor and well-known author, has devoted his career to studying the marketing and quality of services, with a recent focus on how to improve health care service. He has written 10 books and done extensive work with the Mayo Clinic. He is currently examining how to improve the service experience of cancer patients and their families. Berry has received countless major academic awards and is both a fellow of the Academy of Marketing Science and a past national president of the American Marketing Association. He is a member of several boards of directors, including for Lowe’s, Genesco and Nemours Children’s Health System. He is a Regents Professor, teaching at Texas A&M University, and he received his Ph.D. from ASU’s business school in 1968.

• Brian Gentile – Gentile’s impressive tech career spans almost 30 years and major global companies, including Apple, Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle), and NCR Corporation. He is a leader in “big data” and cloud computing, who recently built and served as CEO of Jaspersoft Corporation. After TIBCO Software recently acquired the company, Gentile became senior vice president and general manager of its TIBCO Analytics products business unit. He has also been a public governor on the board of the Pacific Stock Exchange, a public member of a New York Stock Exchange committee on ethics and business conduct, and a founding board member for several Silicon Valley startups. He earned his MBA from ASU in 1992.

• Chuck Robel – Tech legend Robel served as chairman of the board of McAfee, one of the world’s best-known computer-security software companies, prior to its multibillion-dollar sale to Intel. He now serves on the boards of directors of GoDaddy, Jive Software, and several other public and private companies. He previously helped to manage about $1 billion in portfolio investments as chief operating officer at venture capital fund Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. He has been involved in more than 80 initial public offerings (IPOs) as an adviser, investor and board member. He received his bachelor’s in accounting from ASU’s business school in 1971.

Alumni, business leaders and students will attend the Homecoming Hall of Fame event Thursday, Oct. 30 at McCord Hall Plaza on ASU’s Tempe campus. The reception starts at 5:30 p.m. Advance registration is requested at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/events/2965 or by calling (480) 965-3978.

Deloitte Report Reveals Mid-Market Companies Expect U.S. Economic Growth

ASU helps honor ‘Most Accurate Economist’

While many Americans were still pinching every penny and praying for a faster recovery from the Great Recession, John Lonski, chief capital markets economist of Moody’s Analytics, understood what our country really faced in its uphill battle toward an economic comeback. He had the most accurate U.S. forecast among the nation’s top economists for the years 2010 to 2013. Accordingly, he will be honored Oct. 16 with the prestigious Lawrence R. Klein Award for his achievements.

“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of Moody’s Analytics’ Capital Markets Research team,” Lonski says. “Given the economic uncertainty, accurate economic analysis is more important than ever to help financial institutions quantify risk and opportunities and simulate the impact of policy adjustments.”

The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University sponsors and judges the Lawrence R. Klein Award, one of the best-known and longest-standing awards in the economics profession. The annual award is named for the late Nobel Prize winner Dr. Lawrence Klein, and it goes to the individual or team with the most accurate economic forecast among the Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey participants for a four-year period. The Blue Chip newsletter has been published for almost 40 years and is regarded as the “gold standard” of business forecasts. Lonski beat out about 50 competitors for this year’s award.

“The biggest challenge of the 2010-to-2013 forecast period was to anticipate how the recovery would unfold,” explains Economics Professor Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “John Lonski’s projections were particularly accurate for the last two years, when he called for a slow decline in the unemployment rate and nailed gross domestic product (GDP) growth at just over 2 percent.”

Lonski is an acclaimed forecaster, who contributes regularly to forecasting surveys from The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, Reuters and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank. He was named the top economic forecaster in The Wall Street Journal’s June 2004 survey, and he has done countless interviews for CNBC, The New York Times, Fox Business, Dow Jones, Bloomberg TV, National Public Radio and many other major media outlets. He contributes a quarterly editorial piece for Japan’s Nikkei Veritas newspaper and comments regularly in Moody’s “CreditTrends” and weekly “Market Outlook.” Prior to joining Moody’s Analytics, he worked for National Economic Research Associates.

At the Klein Award event, Lonski will deliver his 2015 forecast, “Goldilocks Redux: 2015’s Outlook for Business Activity, Inflation, and Interest Rates,” including these predictions:

• Another year of modest improvement for the U.S. economy is likely.
• The continued release of pent-up demand for autos and housing should underpin consumer spending.
• However, the subpar growth of employment income, the household-sector’s debt overhang, and the conflict between still-tighter mortgage loan standards and the diminished savings of middle-income households limit the upside for household expenditures.
• The unprecedented aging of both the population and the work force will weigh on income growth and spending.
• Ample global slack implies that a disruptive swelling of inflation risks is unlikely.
Year-end 2015’s expected ranges are .75 to 1 percent for federal funds and 3 to 3.25 percent for the 10-year Treasury yield.
• By mid-2015, the Fed should begin a measured tightening of policy.
• The heightened scrutiny of regulators may ward off the excesses of previous credit-cycle peaks.

Top industry professionals and others will attend the invitation-only award ceremony Oct. 16 at the University Club in New York, starting at 6 p.m.

VIPs expected to be in attendance include Randell E. Moore, executive editor of the Blue Chip Economic Indicators; Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business; Hannah Klein, daughter of the award namesake; and Trevor Bond, president and chief executive officer of W. P. Carey Inc. (NYSE: WPC).

Staying Innovative as a One Man Operation

Spirit of Enterprise Award Finalists named

Arizona is still recovering from the Great Recession, and many local businesses are playing a key role in the comeback. Today, some of the state’s best companies are being recognized as finalists for the 18th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

The prestigious awards recognize firms for creating jobs, boosting our economy and delivering great customer service. Past winners include well-known names like Cold Stone Creamery, Ollie the Trolley and Total Transit (Discount Cab), as well as fast-growing businesses, such as Infusionsoft.

“We look for Arizona businesses that demonstrate ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship,” explains Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We also want to see innovation, a positive internal culture, and an impact on both our economy and our local community.”

The 18th annual Spirit of Enterprise Award finalists are:

• Clean Air Cab (Mesa) – a family-owned, eco-friendly cab fleet with consistent 100-percent annual growth and a Happy Ride consumer guarantee, sourcing more than 83 percent of its business needs from local providers and donating to local charities, including the ONE Community Foundation for advancing the rights of the LGBT community.
• Endless Entertainment (Tempe) – an events production and consulting company started by a college entrepreneur at ASU that has been lauded by Inc. magazine, has a strong customer-service focus, and has worked with a range of clients from San Diego Comic-Con and the X Games to the American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks, Target and Zappos.
• Ersland Touch Landscape (Phoenix) – a state-of-the-art landscape maintenance company with more than 30 years of experience, a complete customer “feedback log,” an Adopt a Highway commitment, work with nonprofits, and more than 400 residences and 20 homeowner associations as clients.
• India Plaza/The Dhaba (Tempe) – a small, minority-owned one-stop shop for all things Indian, including an award-winning restaurant, a marketplace and an education center, with a low staff turnover rate, a no-questions-asked return policy, and vegetarian, gluten-free and environmental initiatives.
• IO (Phoenix) – a firm focused on data-center technology, services and solutions that are defined by software, instead of physical locations, with more than 650 global clients, including Goldman Sachs and LexisNexis, as well as two patents and a focus on energy efficiency.
• I-ology (Scottsdale) – a woman-owned technology company offering Web design and related services that features close client relationships, heavy community involvement, and no management hierarchy, where all employees have the chance to participate in revenue sharing, stock options, flexible schedules and industry events.
• The James Agency (Scottsdale) – a boutique, full-service advertising and public relations agency specializing in high-end brands, which was started by a 25 year old and now boasts flexible work schedules, no outsourcing, annual pro bono clients and last year’s revenue of more than $2 million.
• Kitchell (Phoenix) – a 100-percent employee-owned commercial builder, developer and program manager launched 65 years ago, which now has more than 850 employees, international operations, innovations like virtual construction, an internal leadership program, significant charitable contributions, and a focus on safety, work quality and customer satisfaction.
• Melrose Pharmacy (Phoenix) – an independent pharmacy that offers fast, personalized service, contributions to the March of Dimes and other charities, and involvement in community issues, as well as achieving business goals of $2.7 million in sales by its third year in business and a 119-percent increase in net income so far this year.
• Potter’s House Apothecary (Peoria) – a pharmacy specializing in compounding, with its own continuous-quality-improvement program and patient seminars, which reached its three-year business plan projections in just 18 months and became one of fewer than 15 Arizona pharmacies with accreditation from the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board.

The finalists from the W. P. Carey School for the Student Entrepreneurship Award are:

• Anthony Gonzales/Force Impact Technologies – Gonzales, who just graduated with his MBA, has made headlines as a finalist in Entrepreneur magazine’s College Entrepreneur of the Year competition with his grant-winning, ongoing development of FITGuard, a mouthguard designed to indicate when an athlete should be removed from a game for possible head injuries/concussions, as well as a matching smartphone application that can provide results to a diagnosing physician.
• Paige Corbett/PetSitnStay – Corbett was working as a kennel assistant and attending business school, when she came up with the idea to start an online service to connect pet owners with pet sitters and in-home care options as an alternative to less personal commercial boarding facilities.

Winners will be announced at a luncheon Friday, Nov. 21 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. Hundreds of business and community leaders attend the annual event. Also, new this year, an entrepreneurship workshop will be held right before the awards luncheon. There, top W. P. Carey School faculty members will talk about what tools and techniques you can use to advance your business.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities or to attend, call (480) 965-0474, e-mail wpcentrepreneurship@asu.edu, or visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu/spirit.

The Spirit of Enterprise Awards are just one focus of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center recently introduced the Sun Devil Select competition to honor ASU alum-owned or alum-led businesses, as well as the Sun Devil Igniter Challenge to help fund student businesses. The center also offers companies a chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while allowing students to get hands-on business experience. It is a gateway to access other ASU business resources. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities.

WPCarey-School-Sign

W. P. Carey School Ranks Top 30 Again

U.S. News & World Report announced its highly anticipated annual rankings for undergraduate business schools. Once again, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is honored among the nation’s Top 30. This is the ninth time in 10 years the school has made the prestigious Top 30.

“We’re proud to strive for and achieve excellence year after year, thanks to our dedicated faculty, staff, students and alumni,” says Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “This ranking is determined by deans and senior faculty members at peer schools, who understand what it takes to create and maintain a fantastic business program.”

In addition to the No. 29 ranking overall, the undergraduate business program is also among the top 10 in the West. The school’s acclaimed supply chain management program ranks No. 3 nationwide in the specialty category for its field. In addition, the school has several other programs in the Top 30 in their specialties – accounting at No. 30, entrepreneurship at No. 19, management at No. 20, management information systems at No. 15 and marketing at No. 23.

The W. P. Carey School and its programs have achieved many other recent Top 30 rankings, as well, including:

• U.S. News & World Report ranks the school’s full-time MBA program No. 27 in the nation.
• U.S. News ranks the school’s online MBA No. 2 nationwide and the school’s evening MBA No. 18 among part-time MBA programs.
• Britain’s Financial Times ranks the school’s online MBA program Top 10 worldwide.
• The Financial Times ranks the school’s China-based executive MBA program No. 28 worldwide.
• The University of Texas at Dallas ranks the W. P. Carey School Top 30 worldwide for business-school research productivity.
• The Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranks the W. P. Carey School No. 22 in the world for economics/business.

For more information about the W. P. Carey School of Business, visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu.

housing

No Housing Bubble Right Now in Phoenix

The Phoenix-area housing market is NOT creating another housing bubble to pop anytime soon. The latest monthly report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows a lack of enthusiasm from both buyers and sellers. Here are the latest details on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of July:

• The median single-family-home sales price went up 8 percent from last July, but forward price movement is greatly slowing down.
• Activity in the market was also much slower this July than last July, with the number of single-family-home sales down 19 percent.
• The W. P. Carey School is launching an enhanced-content website where those interested in more in-depth housing-market statistics can get customized views of what’s happening.

Phoenix-area home prices dramatically recovered from the housing crash, quickly rising from September 2011 to last summer. This year, prices dropped a little, leveled off, and then finally, the median single-family-home price rose this summer. The median jumped 8 percent — from $194,000 last July to $210,000 this July. Realtors will note the average price per square foot also went up about 8 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up about 6 percent to $130,000. However, don’t expect much more upward momentum.

“Most of the median-price increase over the last 12 months is because a greater percentage of the homes being sold are in the luxury market, not because home values overall are increasing,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We anticipate pricing will move sideways or slightly down over the next few months until supply and demand get back into balance.”

At the moment, both demand and supply are low in the Phoenix area. The amount of single-family-home sales dropped 19 percent from last July to this July. (The only bright spot is new-home sales, which increased their market share from 9 to 12 percent.) Investors have focused on other areas of the country with better bargains, so the percentage of residential properties they bought in July was just 13.6 percent, down from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. Orr says other home buyers aren’t stepping in, and supply isn’t rebounding.

“Usually, when demand is weak for an extended period, supply starts to grow, as it did in the second half of 2005 and throughout 2006 and 2007, heralding the collapse of the housing bubble,” Orr explains. “However, this summer, supply is slowly weakening. It appears that the lack of enthusiasm among buyers has spread to sellers, instead of causing them to panic. Many sellers clearly have the patience to wait for better times and are unwilling to drop prices to dispose of their homes.”

Orr adds the choices for anyone who wants to buy a Phoenix-area house for less than $175,000 are pretty slim. For example, bargain foreclosures are few and far between. Completed foreclosures on single-family homes and condos are down 45 percent this July from last July.

The limited options at the low end of the market are also contributing to the booming demand for single-family rental homes. Orr says fast turnover and low vacancy rates have already pushed the rent on single-family homes in the most popular areas up 7.5 percent over the last 12 months. Affordable apartment and condo rentals have also become hard to find.

In order to better serve the public with more insight on the Phoenix-area housing market, Orr and the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business are launching a new enhanced-content website today. In addition to the free news releases distributed by the school, those wanting more housing data can subscribe at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on whatever interests you most about the market.

“Though we’ve already had a great response to our housing reports, we wanted to make our real estate information even more useful to people,” says Orr. “With the enhanced site, you’re able to customize your view to more closely examine data in particular price ranges, specific parts of the Valley, and even certain transaction categories. We think the real estate community will be really pleased with the new tools.”

housing

Phoenix Housing Market in a Slump

The Phoenix-area housing market is officially in a slump. That’s according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which reveals the latest details on Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of June:

* Though the median single-family home price went up 11 percent from last June, the forward price movement has dramatically slowed down from last year.
* Activity in the market remains sluggish, with single-family home sales down 11 percent from last June.
* A few slightly encouraging signs were for builders, who saw an uptick in new-home sales in June and their highest monthly total of new single-family construction permits in more than two years.

Phoenix-area home prices shot up from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and then even dropping a little earlier this year. Then, this June – after three months of almost stagnant prices – the median single-family-home price finally rose to $211,000. That’s up 11 percent from $190,000 last June. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up about 10 percent. However, the report’s author says we’re not likely to see much more forward movement for a while.

“We’re in an 11-month slump in demand; sales were very low in the spring,” says Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “There are a few positive signs that demand may gradually start to recover during the second half of this year, but we are unlikely to see much help for pricing until 2015 because there is always a long delay – typically nine to 15 months — between any change in the market and the resulting change in pricing. Meantime, we may see a little downward correction, not a bubble bursting, as some have predicted.”

While sales of luxury homes continue to do OK in this market, demand for other categories remains weak. Sales of single-family homes and condos were down 11 percent from last June to this June.

Fewer investors are focusing their attention on the Phoenix area, now that better bargains can be found elsewhere. The percentage of Phoenix-area residential properties purchased by investors dropped all the way from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012 to 14.4 percent this June. That’s down around the historic norm for the Phoenix area. However, something is changing a little to create a different type of demand.

“We are finally seeing a change in the trend of low household formation,” explains Orr. “The nation saw some improvement in the second quarter of 2014. This means more people may be moving out and renting or buying their own homes.”

Perhaps in response to increased household formation, new-home sales had a pretty good month in June. For the first month all year, new-home sales topped the same time last year. In fact, new-home sales went up 5 percent just from May to June alone. New single-family construction permits also hit their highest monthly total since May 2012. Multi-family construction permits and rents continue on a strong upward trend, too.

Still, the supply of homes available for sale, especially at the lower end of the market, remains slim. Active listings (excluding homes already under contract) fell 5 percent during June. Also, new foreclosures aren’t broadly becoming available to create new supply. Completed foreclosures went down 35 percent from last June to this June.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr will also be available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

first solar - new ceo

Study: Humble CEOs Good for Business

Forget the stereotypes of arrogant, macho leaders who don’t care about anyone else’s opinion. A new study from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows humble CEOs significantly benefit a company and its management — likely more than the blowhards who think it’s their way or the highway.

“Humble CEOs are more open to making joint decisions and empowering others,” says Professor Angelo Kinicki of the W. P. Carey School of Business, one of the study authors. “Their behavior positively affects both top and middle managers, who then exhibit higher commitment, work engagement, job satisfaction and job performance. We see a trickle-down effect that seems to influence the company overall.”

The new research published in Administrative Science Quarterly comes from Kinicki, Anne Tsui and David Waldman of the W. P. Carey School of Business, as well Amy Ou of the National University of Singapore, Zhixing Xiao of George Washington University, and Lynda Jiwen Song of the Renmin University of China.

They interviewed the CEOs of 63 private companies in China. They also created and administered surveys measuring humility and its effects to about 1,000 top- and middle-level managers who work with those CEOs. The researchers specifically chose China because they needed a context in which CEOs would display a wide variety of humility levels. However, they believe the findings will generalize to many companies in the United States.

“Our study suggests the ‘secret sauce’ of great, humble managers,” explains Kinicki. “They are more willing to seek feedback about themselves, more empathetic and appreciative of others’ strengths and weaknesses, and more focused on the greater good and others’ welfare than on themselves.”

Kinicki says leadership behavior normally cascades downward, so it’s likely humility at the top effects just about everyone at a company. He points out a few examples of humble CEOs making news:

* Tony Hsieh of Zappos is a Harvard graduate, who helped boost his company to more than $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually. He also helped drive Zappos onto Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, with innovative customer- and employee-pleasing policies, such as “The Offer,” where new employees are offered one-month’s salary to leave the company if they’re not dedicated and happy.

* John Mackey of Whole Foods has shown concern for the greater good through his advocacy of organic food and spearheading his company’s move to become the first grocery-store chain to set standards for humane animal treatment. He also announced in 2006 that he was chopping his salary to $1, putting caps on executive pay, and setting up a $100,000 emergency fund for staff facing personal problems.

* Mary Barra of General Motors has faced severe criticism for problems created at the company before she took the helm in January. However, she has been quick to apologize and maintain that she’s moving from a “cost culture” to a “customer culture” at GM. She has promised to do “the right thing” for those affected by recent recalls and the problems that led to them.

Kinicki knows some people may be surprised by the study results, but he summarizes, “It’s time we understood that humility isn’t a sign of weakness or lacking confidence, but rather, a good thing that can benefit us all.”

The full study is available at http://asq.sagepub.com/content/59/1/34.full.pdf+html.

phoenix_housing_2909512_l

Phoenix Housing Shortage Coming?

The Phoenix area could soon see another shortage of homes for sale, like the one it endured from 2012 to 2013. According to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, very weak demand is masking the fact that relatively few homes are coming onto the market for sale. The area only recently emerged from another shortage, when buyers had to battle each other for relatively few home options.

Here are the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of May:

* The median single-family-home sales price was $205,000, almost unchanged for three months in a row.
* Activity in the market is extremely slow, with demand down around 20 percent from last May.
* This quietness is covering up the fact that the market’s supply of homes for sale has stabilized at about 10 percent below normal, which could lead to another shortage, if demand eventually picks up.

Phoenix-area home prices quickly rose from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and even dropping a little earlier this year. The median single-family-home sales price was $205,000 in May, about the same as it was in April and March. However, that’s still up about 11 percent from the median of $185,000 last May. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 6 percent year-over-year. The median townhouse/condo price went up 4 percent.

The market has now become extremely quiet, and further price increases are unlikely this year without some growth in demand. The amount of single-family-home sales went down 19 percent from last May to this May. Sales of townhomes and condos dropped 20 percent.

“Demand has been much weaker since July 2013,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The slight recovery in demand that had been developing over the last two months dissipated again in May. While move-up homeowners and second-home buyers are starting to compensate for the departure of investors who went to other areas of the country for better bargains, activity by first-time home buyers is still unusually slow.”

Orr says some home sellers even appear to be canceling their listings and waiting for another time when buyers have a greater sense of urgency. These families are: 1.) choosing to stay in their homes longer than they did 10 to 15 years ago; 2.) possibly stuck with negative or little equity in their homes, discouraging buying or selling; and/or 3.) wanting to stay in their current homes to preserve their very low mortgage interest rates.

That means the market’s short supply of homes isn’t expected to get much bigger in the near future. Though the supply of active listings went up 69 percent from June 1, 2013 to this June 1, it basically stabilized at about 10 percent below normal. Completed Phoenix-area foreclosures were down 50 percent from last May to this May, eliminating another possible significant source of supply. This could lead to another shortage like the recent one when we saw 95 offers on a single home.

“Between 2012 and 2013, we experienced a chronic housing shortage in Greater Phoenix,” explains Orr. “This shortage has just been temporarily masked by unusually low demand, but that could change at any time. The market has plenty of pent-up demand.”

Orr points out that population and job growth have recovered faster in the Phoenix area than home construction has. The level of single-family-home construction permitting remains very small by historic standards, and single-family new-home construction and sales remain about 65 percent below normal. One bright spot is Pinal County, where new-home sales went up 22 percent from last May to this May.

Meantime, multi-family construction permits and rental-home demand remain strong in the Phoenix area. Unemployment, falling birth rates and greater home-sharing are helping to drive this demand. The supply of single-family homes available for rent was down to 32 days on June 1. The fast turnover and low vacancy rates have already pushed rent up in the most popular locations.

Orr adds, “In Maricopa County, the percentage of properties purchased without financing in May was still at 25 percent. The normal range for cash buyers is only 7 to 12 percent, so mortgage lending still has a long way to go toward recovery.”

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr will also be available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

housing.prices

Big Increases Unlikely for Phoenix Housing Market

The Phoenix-area housing market has officially rebounded from artificially low recession levels, and we’re unlikely to see any more big price increases this year. That’s according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Here are the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of April:

* The median single-family-home sales price stabilized at just under $205,000.
* Demand and sales activity were low for the normally strong spring selling season.
* Rental homes continue to be extremely popular, since many people are ineligible for home loans and/or uninterested in home ownership.

Phoenix-area home prices rose fast from September 2011 to last summer, before slowing down and then even dropping a little bit earlier this year. This April, for the second month in a row, the median single-family-home price was just under $205,000. That’s up 13 percent – from $181,399 last April to $204,900 this April. Realtors will note the average price per square foot was up 12 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up 4 percent.

Low demand is largely putting the brakes on more significant upward price movement. The amount of single-family-home sales activity was down 16 percent this April from last April. Sales of homes in the range below $150,000 alone fell 37 percent. New-home sales went down 12 percent. All of this, even though the period from March to May is almost always the strongest part of the year for demand.

“The market has completed its rebound from the artificially low prices that prevailed between 2009 and 2011, and further significant increases are unlikely without some growth in demand,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “It’s also likely that the recent advance in pricing will fade during the summer months, when the luxury, snowbird and active-adult markets go relatively quiet.”

Investors continue to show disinterest in the Phoenix housing market now that better bargains can be found in other areas of the country with more foreclosures. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors was down to just 16.3 percent in April from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. Completed foreclosures on single-family homes and condos were down 54 percent from April 2013 to April 2014.

In contrast, the supply of homes available for sale is way up, with 73 percent more active listings on May 1 of this year than May 1 of last year. As a result, buyers have far more choices. However, Orr believes that may change, if demand and prices don’t pick up. Potential home sellers may stay out of the market, deciding to wait for better times.

“The underlying key problem for entry-level and mid-range housing demand is a lack of household formation due to many factors, including unemployment, falling birth rates, lower net migration and greater home-sharing, especially among millennials,” explains Orr. “However, if household creation were to return to the normal long-term average, we would quickly have a housing shortage here in Greater Phoenix.”

Meantime, the demand for rental homes is very high, and Orr says the availability of those homes is dropping to unusually low levels. He estimates there’s only a 29-day supply of single-family rentals, and therefore, rent is starting to rise in the most popular locations. As a result of this demand, the Phoenix area is seeing a strong upward trend in multi-family construction permits.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

Small Business Leadership Academy: Lauri Leadley

ASU and SRP Help Small Businesses

Small businesses play a key role in our economy, creating jobs and helping our community. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is offering a program to help small business owners and executives learn how to improve efficiency, streamline operations and raise profits. The seventh annual Small Business Leadership Academy is available to the leaders of small and diverse local businesses.

“Small businesses play a crucial role in our economy, and the W. P. Carey School of Business is very interested in helping local business owners to succeed through added education in subjects like strategy, branding and teamwork,” said Dean Amy Hillman of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “We designed the Small Business Leadership Academy to fit into the busy schedules of executives from growing businesses.”

Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding co-sponsor, is offering a number of scholarships to its current suppliers and small business customers.

“The partnership we have with ASU, coupled with the sponsorship and scholarships we offer to the academy, is a natural fit for SRP in supporting economic development within our own community,” said Carrie Young, senior director of SRP Corporate Operations Services.

The eight-week academy and its graduation will run on Wednesday nights from Sept. 3 to Oct. 29. The curriculum will cover business strategy, branding, competing through services, negotiations, management and teamwork, among other areas. Program applications are due July 18.

Participants must:

> Have been in business for at least three years,
> Have annual revenues between $1 million and $10 million,
> Have fewer than 100 employees,
> Be the owner or principal of the business.

Applicants must be able to attend all scheduled classes and related activities. Those who complete the program will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Arizona State University. These units are widely used as a measure of participation in non-credit, professional development courses.

For more information about sponsoring a scholarship or applying to the program offered through the nationally ranked W. P. Carey School of Business, call (480) 965-7579, e-mail or visit http://wpcarey.asu.edu/executive-education/small-business-academy. Current SRP suppliers can also contact SRP’s Supplier Diversity Department for information about this year’s nominating process at SupplierDiversity@srpnet.com.

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W. P. Carey School earns No. 1 Ranking

This week, U.S. News & World Report issued some new rankings for online-degree programs, growing in popularity because of their convenience and flexibility. The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University received the No. 1 ranking among the nation’s online graduate business programs for veterans.

“We’re honored to be ranked No. 1 in providing a stellar online graduate business education for our veterans,” says Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The W. P. Carey School was one of the first highly respected schools to offer online courses more than a decade ago. We utilize the same MBA degree and the same faculty members online as we do in our highly ranked face-to-face MBA programs, making it convenient for active-duty military members and veterans to participate in a top program from any Internet-accessible location.”

U.S. News & World Report already ranks the W. P. Carey School’s undergraduate business, full-time MBA and evening MBA programs among the Top 30 in the nation in their categories. Earlier this year, U.S. News also ranked the school’s online graduate business programs (online MBA and online master’s in information management) No. 2 in the nation. The new ranking covers the same two online programs for high quality, but it also adds a focus on meeting the unique needs of veterans.

The new rankings consider only distance-education programs housed in accredited institutions and performing well in areas including program reputation, faculty credentials, high student graduation rates and low graduate debt loads. The new rankings also consider criteria related to whether course credits are portable and relatively inexpensive for veterans, such as whether the institution is certified for the GI Bill, is a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium, and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Arizona State University overall has been recognized for its strong commitment to veterans on G.I. Jobs magazine’s “Military Friendly Schools” list five years in a row. Military Times Edge magazine also named ASU on its “Best for Vets” list. ASU has the Pat Tillman Veterans Center to help bolster engagement and guidance for the veteran population in areas like housing, career services, tutoring, and health and counseling services. The university has awarded more than 1,500 degrees using GI Bill benefits.

“Veterans and those serving in the military have repeatedly chosen the W. P. Carey School’s online programs because we feature a team-oriented, flexible approach,” says Stacey Whitecotton, senior associate dean for W. P. Carey School graduate programs. “In the online MBA program, for example, students work in small, personalized teams with peers from other industries, typically focusing on one course at a time. We also offer one of the few online MBA programs that allow students to customize their degrees with an area of emphasis, such as finance, international business, marketing or supply chain management.”

Among those who have completed the online MBA program is Lt. Col. Scott Coulson – a recipient of the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Badge for his service in Iraq. He completed his MBA degree while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

The school’s online Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) program is also popular, designed to prepare graduates for a career in the fast-growing information technology (IT) field. American Express, Intel Corporation, Mayo Clinic and US Airways are among the companies that send students to the school’s MSIM programs.

To learn more about the W. P. Carey School’s online programs — all offering small class sizes, a dedicated financial-aid specialist and a career center for help with job searches — visit www.wpcarey.asu.edu.

Also today, GraduatePrograms.com issued a new ranking, placing the W. P. Carey School of Business’ full-time MBA program among the Top 25 worldwide. The new No. 21 ranking is based on student experience. The site conducted a survey of both current and recent graduate students.

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What Comes Next for housing market?

The Phoenix-area housing market is experiencing a normal seasonal spring bounce in activity and prices, but what will happen next? A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University talks about the waves of consumers that will likely start returning to the housing market next year, for the first time since the recession.

Here are the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of March:

> The median single-family-home sales price recovered from two months of drops and is back to a level similar to December.
> However, demand and sales activity are still dramatically lower than at this time last year.
> The report’s author examines why certain waves of consumers may start returning to the housing market over the next several years.

Phoenix-area home prices quickly rose from a recession low point in September 2011 until last summer, when the jumps slowed down. Then, this January and February, we saw the first two back-to-back monthly drops in the area’s median single-family-home sales price. This March, we saw that dip erased, but probably not for long.

“The bounce is a normal effect of the busy spring sales season, combined with a lot more high-priced homes in the current sales mix,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The period from March to May is almost always the strongest part of the year for demand, and it is highly probable we will see pricing fade again during the summer months, when the luxury, snowbird and active-adult markets go relatively quiet. We may still be looking at little to no annual price appreciation by the end of the year.”

The median single-family-home sales price was up about 17 percent from last March to this March – from $175,000 to $204,520. The average price per square foot was up 15.5 percent. The median townhouse/condominium sales price was up 16 percent. We no longer have a tight supply of homes for sale like we did at this time last year. Supply stabilized in March, with 64 percent more listings this April 1 than last April 1.

However, low demand continues to be a problem. Single-family-home sales activity was down 20 percent this March from last March. Some of the drop comes from regular home buyers, but also institutional investors are just not as interested in Phoenix, now that better bargains can be found in other parts of the country with more foreclosures. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors in the Phoenix area this March was down to 17.4 percent from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012.

“The institutional investors are doing very little buying or selling in the Phoenix area at the moment,” says Orr. “Their focus has turned to property management, rather than acquisition or disposal.”

The areas doing especially well right now in Phoenix?

Luxury homes priced at more than $500,000 represented 11 percent more of the market’s sales activity this March than last March. High-end demand above $1.5 million was greater in the first quarter of this year than in any first quarter since 2007.
Rental homes are experiencing very strong demand. Interest is so robust that only a one-month supply is currently available on the market.
Multi-family construction permits are on a strong upward trend. In fact, Orr says the first quarter of 2014 was the second-highest quarter for multi-family permits in 12 years.

Meantime, single-family construction permits were down 18 percent this March from last March. New-home sales were down 15 percent.

Orr says, “A key underlying problem for current housing demand is lack of household formation due to many factors, including unemployment, falling birth rates, lower net migration and greater home-sharing, especially among millennials. However, we could see lenders become the most influential decision-makers in this situation. Many lenders are hurting for business, with applications at their lowest level since 2000, and some may become more forgiving, accepting lower credit scores for loans.”

Orr also predicts we’ll see the first major waves of consumers who lost their homes through foreclosure during the recession coming back into the market, starting next year. He says those who lost their homes at the beginning of the downturn will have spent their required seven years in the “penalty box,” and they’ll reemerge from 2015 to 2019. He adds it’s just a question of how many of them want to try again at home ownership.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

Top Ten Sports Bars, Photo: Clintus McGintus, Flickr

ASU unveils innovative sports law programs

If you want to work with professional sports teams, big sporting events or promising student athletes, then you may be interested in the innovative new sports law and business program officially being launched this week by Arizona State University. The highly ranked Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU are collaborating on two new sports law graduate degrees you can earn in just one year. Classes begin this fall.

“I’ve worked in the sports law field for three decades, and can see we need professionals who have training in both law and business to help work on regulatory and revenue issues in the sports industry,” says professor Rodney K. Smith of the College of Law, director of the new programs. “I don’t know of any other program in the country that offers a master’s degree like this with just a single, intensive year of study.”

The two new one-year degrees are a master of legal studies (MLS), for those without a law background, and a master of laws (LLM), for those who already graduated from law school. In each program, students will work on 18 to 21 credits from the law school, and six to nine credits from the W. P. Carey School. This includes an externship, which might be for a professional sports team, a sports law firm or even a big event like a college bowl game. The programs are going to be small and personalized, accepting fewer than 30 people each in their first year. They will also focus on team-based learning and look at real-world issues, such as stadium problems, player unionization and contract negotiations.

Ray Anderson, ASU vice president of university athletics and a former executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League, will be a professor of practice in the programs. He wanted to be part of a high-quality sports offering, and this one is located in a metropolitan area with three professional sports teams, major golf events, college football bowl games and even next year’s Super Bowl.

“I am proud to be a part of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Sports Law and Business Program because it is the only one of its kind to offer a sports-focused graduate program that combines the strengths of a top law school with a top business school as its foundation,” Anderson says. “One of the reasons I came to Arizona State University from the National Football League is because of the vibrant Phoenix sports market, with its combination of sporting events representative of all major sports leagues and organizations. This fact, combined with a premier research university, will produce top-quality learning experiences for students in the curriculum.”

Courses in the new program will encompass both law and business areas, including “Sports Business Strategy and Industry Dynamics,” “Negotiations and Drafting in the Sports Industry,” and “Problems in Professional Sports Law and Business.” Big-name speakers from the world of sports are expected to participate, as well.

“The sports industry is complex and expanding,” says marketing professor Michael Mokwa of the W. P. Carey School. “The new program will provide skills and savvy for individuals seeking to make a real difference in the field.”

For more information about the new one-year degrees, visit law.asu.edu/sportslaw. A three-year juris doctorate program will also be added this fall for those who want to pursue their law degree with an emphasis in sports law and business.

grocery

Expect to Pay More for Certain Groceries

With California experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, grocery shoppers across the country can expect to see a short supply of certain fruits and vegetables in stores and to pay higher prices for those items. Professor Timothy Richards of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University recently completed some research on which crops will likely be most affected and what the price boosts might be.

“You’re probably going to see the biggest produce price increases on avocados, berries, broccoli, grapes, lettuce, melons, peppers, tomatoes and packaged salads,” says Richards, the Morrison Chair at the Morrison School of Agribusiness within the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We can expect to see the biggest percentage jumps in prices for avocados and lettuce – 28 percent and 34 percent, respectively. People are the least price-sensitive when it comes to those items, and they’re more willing to pay what it takes to get them.”

Industry estimates range from a half-million to 1 million acres of agricultural land likely to be affected by the current California drought. Richards believes between 10 and 20 percent of the supply of certain crops could be lost, and California is the biggest national supplier of several of those crops. For avocados, the state is the only major domestic source.

Richards used retail-sales data from the Nielsen Perishables Group, an industry analytics and consulting firm, to estimate price elasticities – how much the prices might vary – for the fruit and vegetable crops most likely to be affected by the drought. Those most vulnerable are the crops that use the most water and simply won’t be grown, or those sensitive to reductions in irrigation.

He estimates the following possible price increases due to the drought:

* Avocados likely to go up 17 to 35 cents to as much as $1.60 each.
* Berries likely to rise 21 to 43 cents to as much as $3.46 per clamshell container.
* Broccoli likely to go up 20 to 40 cents to a possible $2.18 per pound.
* Grapes likely to rise 26 to 50 cents to a possible $2.93 per pound.
* Lettuce likely to rise 31 to 62 cents to as much as $2.44 per head.
* Packaged salad likely to go up 17 to 34 cents to a possible $3.03 per bag.
* Peppers likely to go up 18 to 35 cents to a possible $2.48 per pound.
* Tomatoes likely to rise 22 to 45 cents to a possible $2.84 per pound.

“We predict the increased prices will change consumer purchasing behavior,” says Sherry Frey, vice president of Nielsen Perishables Group. “We’ve identified certain consumers who will be more heavily affected by the price increases — for example, younger consumers of avocados. In addition, there is a larger department and store impact retailers will need to manage. While some consumers will pay the increased prices, others will substitute or leave the category completely. And, for a category like avocados, there are non-produce snacking categories, such as chips, crackers and ethnic grocery items, that will be negatively impacted.”

Richards adds, “One other thing for shoppers to understand — Because prices are going to go up so much, retailers will start looking elsewhere for produce. This means we’ll see a lot more imports from places like Chile and Mexico, which may be an issue for certain grocery customers who want domestic fruit and vegetables.”

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W. P. Carey Honors Executive of the Year

Jim Davidson has played a key role in some of the biggest deals in the technology industry, including investments in Dell, Skype, Go Daddy, Alibaba, Avago, Seagate and Sabre Holdings, which operates Travelocity. For his impressive work in the investment arena, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University will honor Davidson – co-founder, managing partner and managing director of Silver Lake – with the school’s annual Executive of the Year Award next week.

“Jim Davidson has helped many businesses to strategically invest and grow into market leaders,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Amy Hillman. “He has been an active advisor in the technology industry for more than a quarter of a century and is considered a pioneer in the world of technology investments.”

Davidson co-founded Silver Lake in 1999 and has helped the technology-focused private-equity firm grow to manage more than $23 billion in assets and employ more than 200 professionals around the world. The firm’s portfolio currently includes or has previously included such companies as Alibaba, Ameritrade, Avago, Go Daddy, the NASDAQ OMX Group, Sabre Holdings, Seagate and Skype. The firm was also instrumental in the recent $25 billion deal in which Silver Lake partnered with Michael Dell to take Dell Inc. off stock exchanges to become private again.

Prior to his work at Silver Lake, Davidson was a managing director at Hambrecht & Quist, a technology-focused investment bank and venture capital firm that helped underwrite the initial public offerings (IPOs) of Apple, Netscape and Amazon.com. He was also a corporate securities attorney.

Davidson serves on the board of SMART Modular Technologies, a designer, manufacturer and supplier of flash memory cards and other digital storage products. He has also served on the boards of directors of many other Silver Lake investments, including Avago, Seagate and Skype. He is an active angel investor and advisor to several private tech companies and also serves on the boards of nonprofits, including the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology and the U.S. Olympic Foundation Board of Trustees.

Davidson becomes the 31st annual Executive of the Year chosen by the Dean’s Council, a national group of prominent executives who advise the W. P. Carey School of Business. Previous honorees include Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks Coffee Company; Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company, and Mike Ahearn, chairman of the board of First Solar, Inc.

Davidson will be honored at a luncheon at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn in Scottsdale on April 17. The event, which starts at 11:45 a.m., is part of the Economic Club of Phoenix speaker series. For more information about the club or to reserve seats, call (480) 727-0596 or visit www.econclubphx.org. Tickets are $75 per person for non-club members.