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April 25, 2003 - Image 66

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-04-25

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Business Outlook

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With mortgage rates at historic lows, home builders
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Cohen agrees with his peers that
consumers are anxiously waiting for a
resolution to the problem with Iraq
and the Middle East. "That being
resolved, people will breathe a sigh of
relief and be ready to go out and look
at homes," he said.
He points to the economy two years
ago when "everybody was hit and dis-
mayed by the fact that their invest-
ments had deteriorated and so they
just held back and withdrew. They
were saying they simply couldn't afford
it anymore. But
now they're over
the shock.
"One thing still
rings true. Of all
the ups and downs
we've seen in tech-
nolo.,v stocks, and
even blue chip
stocks, one thing
held steady —
housing," said

he home-building industry
is carrying the economy, a
fact that even Federal
Reserve Board Chairman
Alan Greenspan has acknowledged,
says builder Stuart Michaelson, presi-
dent of the Windmill Group.
Although other industries are stag-
gering under the weight of the eco-
nomic recession, it has been a different
picture for the
industry. Despite
the sluggish econ-
omy, housing
starts were up 5
percent in 2002,
making it the res-
idential building
industry's fifth
best year in histo-
ry, said Building
Association (BIA)
President Steven
Best Investment
Perlman, a part-
ner in Ivanhoe-
Bernie Glieberman,
Huntley Homes
owner-president of
in West
Novi's Crosswinds
Communities, con-
"Housing con-
curs. "Given the
struction surged
performance of the
5 percent in
stock market, your
December 2002,"
best investment is a
added Perlman.
house. You can live
But he cautioned
in it and make a
that because of
profit. You can't do
consumer fears of
that with a stock
terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq,
the market could stay flat with zero
He points out that everybody in the
growth for the next five
marketplace has a profit in
their current house, no mat-
Low interest rates have
Larry Cohen
ter where they bought.
enabled some local builders
stands inside
Glieberman is seeing more
to do more than just stay
one of I his
consumers becoming aware
afloat. And many local
model I James.
of the profit in their homes,
builders are optimistic that
then selling, taking their tax-
once the issue of Iraq is
free profit and moving on to
resolved, the pent-up buying
a larger house.
power of consumers will be released.
"As long as interest rates remain low,
"I get a sense that the economy in
there certainly is a demand for hous-
general is much healthier than one year
ing. The demographics are there," said
ago at this time," says Lawrence Cohen,
Glieberman, a past president of BIA.
president of Cohen Associates and
Cohen takes the investment corn-
Cohen Homes.com in West Bloomfield. parison further. "One thing housing

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