Economic Snapshot Overview by Dr. Reid Cummings - May 2019

Posted on May 22, 2019 by Dr. Reid Cummings
Dr. Reid Cummings

American Flag in front of Mobile Bay. data-lightbox='featured'

Greetings, and welcome to the May 2019 Mobile Bay Economic Snapshot.

This month we are very pleased to introduce our newest Vacant Land Sales Dashboard focusing on vacant land sales in Baldwin and Mobile Counties. As with all of our Real Estate Dashboards, the data stretches from the most recent month back to 2001. Additionally, by making the slightest of changes, the user can easily switch between counties and view land sales by city. Transactional information is reported on a monthly and a year-to-date basis. We also report the total number of transactions and the corresponding total transactional value, as well as average and median sales prices.

Any real estate development begins with the land, and over time, even as buildings come and go, the land remains. We developed our new Vacant Land Dashboard because of our belief that by understanding land values and historic land sales trends, real estate professionals, investors, and lenders can be better prepared to make critical development and capital investment decisions. The first sentence of the preamble to the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics reads as follows: “Under all is the land.” Here, here. Credit goes to our soon-to-graduate Neel Patel for developing this tool.

U.S. Port Rankings Dashboard Updated

Although we have featured our Port Dashboard for a few months, we recently made some slight adjustments. It is now more visually appealing and much more user-friendly. We also updated it with the most recent available data on Port volume and traffic.

Speaking of the Port, many in our region breathed anxious sighs of relief in recent days. On May 17, the Trump Administration announced it would end its tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada and Mexico. In response, both countries lifted tariffs on many U.S. agricultural products. One of the expected results will be a likely increase in activity at the Port and less frustration for so many of our region’s businesses with economic ties to our friends north and south of the border.

But tariffs are not over yet, for the United States or China. Currently, the U.S. government continues to impose 25% tariffs on a number of Chinese imports. Products include machinery, semiconductors, automobiles, aircraft parts, computer modems and routers, circuit boards, chemicals, building materials, and furniture. Under consideration currently are 25% tariffs on many consumer products, including cell phones, computers, toys, clothing, and electronics.

The Chinese initially responded by increasing tariffs on 5,140 products produced in the U.S. More recently, they announced retaliatory tariffs of 25% on 2,493 additional products, including liquefied natural gas, soy oil, peanut oil, and frozen minerals. The new tariffs will also be imposed on petrochemicals, a potentially worrisome development for many of our region’s manufacturers.

Unfortunately, today it appears that the trade dispute between the U.S. and China will not end anytime soon. Even so, negotiations continue, and the issue remains fluid. Perhaps increased economic pressures on both countries will work to build momentum for an agreement. Stay tuned.

Until next time, from everyone at the Center, we wish you and yours all of the best.

Sources cited: Journal of Commerce, Reuters

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