February 2003 Fast Takes
February 2003 Fast Takes
Solid consumer and federal government spending in the third quarter of 2002 boosted U.S. gross domestic product growth to 4 percent, helping to spark improved commercial leasing activity, an NAR analysis shows. Net absorption increased over the previous quarter by 4.7 million square feet for offices, 9.9 million square feet for warehouses, and 13 million square feet for retail spaces. Look for continuing improved absorption as business spending picks up, says NAR.
With help from real estate-industry executives, Freddie Mac has developed an online Spanish-language tutorial on the importance of good credit. The nine-module program is a first step in educating Hispanics about how to achieve homeownership, says Freddie Mac. Among those contributing to the program were the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals; Dan Carrillo, director of business development for Dilbeck, REALTORS®, GMAC Real Estate in Pasadena, Calif.; and Oscar Gonzales, chief strategic relations officer for the Houston Association of REALTORS®. More: Click here.
RE/MAX International and the CBS television network settled a trademark dilution lawsuit that the real estate company filed after an Oct. 10, 2002, episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” The show portrayed an unethical real estate practitioner, whose red, white, and blue For Sale sign resembled RE/MAX signage. In the settlement, CBS said the resemblance was unintentional and agreed to change the sign to remove any likeness to the RE/MAX sign in any future broadcast of the episode. Separate from the settlement, CBS has also agreed in a letter to NAR to replace the term “REALTOR®” used in the episode in any future broadcasts. NAR had alerted CBS that its use of the trademarked term in the episode was inappropriate.
Thanks to cash out refinancings, U.S. households had $131.6 billion to spend in 2001 and the first half of 2002, helping to shore up consumer spending at a time when other household assets were declining, the Federal Reserve says. Households plowed much of that gain—about 35 percent, or almost $47 billion—into home improvements during the period. Other uses include debt payments (26 percent), goods and services (16 percent), stocks (11 percent), real estate and other business investments (10 percent), and taxes (2 percent).
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