On Monday, Nov. 24, President-elect Barack Obama announced his economic team of Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Christina Romer, and Melody Barnes. In response, Big Builder launched an online survey to gauge its readers' reactions to the news.
When asked what effect the experience brought to the table by Geithner et al would have on the U.S. economy in general, there was a strong consensus that it would move the needle in the right direction, with 62.5% of respondents expecting a very positive effect while 37.5% expected a somewhat positive effect.
However, respondents were less optimistic when it came to the potential ramifications for home building, with 37.5% believing Obama's economic team would have a somewhat positive effect, an additional 37.5% believing the effect would be neutral, and 25.0% expecting a somewhat negative result.
"All indicators are that the home building industry will still suffer through 2009 and into mid-2010," said one respondent, while another noted that a combination of speculation, loose mortgage requirements, and greed on the part of home builders are to blame for the current situation: "We all have to pay the piper."
While he did not go into specifics, President-elect Obama did touch on a significant stimulus plan that would be enacted once he takes office, noting that it would address the foreclosure crisis; while a quarter of respondents said they expect such a stimulus package to address other housing-related issues, 62.5% said they did not and 12.5% were unsure.
One problem echoed by several respondents was inventory. While one respondent pointed to a need for fluidity in the credit markets, another asserted that increased density is necessary to reduce the land cost per housing unit, enabling those buyers previously priced out of the market to make a home purchase.