From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

By: Tim Rausch on May 31, 2014 - 11:41am - Add new comment

Buying a bank-owned or HUD-owned house in the Augusta area could yield a 45 percent discount compared to a house that isn’t “distressed.”

 

RealtyTrac’s report on foreclosure home sales for April comes up with that figure by comparing the median sales price of distressed homes to the median sales price of the nonforeclosure homes.

 

(Distressed? Yes, I also didn’t realize houses had anxieties, but that’s the jargon.)

 

By: Tim Rausch on May 24, 2014 - 10:38am - Add new comment

Some who question the declining unemployment rate point out that the reason it’s going down – nationally, statewide and metro – is because there are fewer people seeking jobs.

 

The workforce is lower, hence the percentages are better when compared to those that have jobs. The number of people on the “sidelines” taint the true picture of unemployment: Many people aren’t looking because they aren’t finding jobs.

 

By: Tim Rausch on May 16, 2014 - 9:23am - Add new comment

Leading indicators point to better things for the Augusta economy.

 

Every month, economists at Georgia Regents University crunch job, housing and stock numbers to develop their Leading Economic Indicators index. In March, the index went up 0.4 percent from February, reversing two months of declines.

 

“It was good news considering January and February hadn’t been good. Some of it was weather-related issues that hit us locally,” said Simon Medcalfe, who oversees the index for GRU. “Also, the national economy had sputtered a little.”

 

By: Tim Rausch on May 12, 2014 - 12:53pm - Add new comment

Crown Communities, which has built several subdivisions in Augusta, is now owned by a Fort Worth, Texas, company.

 

D.R. Horton Inc., which is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, bought the “homebuilding assets” of the Atlanta-based Crown for $210 million in cash.

 

Those assets include a sales order backlog of approximately 420 already-sold houses, 640 houses in inventory and 2,350 lots. D.R. Horton also acquired control of approximately 3,400 lots through option contracts.

 

By: Tim Rausch on May 9, 2014 - 1:30pm - Add new comment

Homes are selling a little slower this year compared to last year.

 

Real estate data on the Augusta metro area shows about 40 houses under what buyers did in January through April.

 

The average listing price of a house this year is $157,000, according to data from the Greater Augusta Association of Realtors.

 

When it sells, though, the average price is $154,700.

 

Buyers were negotiating better deals last year and in 2012 – they were getting $4,000 to $5,000 less.

 

By: Tim Rausch on April 23, 2014 - 12:52pm - Add new comment

As people continue to cut the cord on the landline phone in homes, what is a company to do with all that wiring?

 

Find something else to stream down the wire to customers.

 

In the last three years, AT&T has spent $100 million on upgrades in the Augusta area, primarily to transition over to IP-based networks for the wire and wireless.

 

By: Tim Rausch on April 16, 2014 - 6:57pm - Add new comment

It is a little ironic that some of the trees from the ice storm that knocked out power are now being used to make some.

 

Ameresco Inc. has a “biomass cogeneration” facility at Savannah River Site. That’s code for “we burn wood chips and shredded tires to make electricity.” It fits in the realm of environmentally friendly energy because the trees and tires are waste kept out of landfills.

 

By: Tim Rausch on April 8, 2014 - 10:40am - Add new comment

E-Z-GO has a birthday coming up this year.

 

The iconic golf car company turns 60 in June, but won’t be having the cake and cookout until the temperatures cool off in the fall, said President Kevin Holleran.

 

“They’ve put thoughts together of a fall weekend where we could celebrate with our employees, with former leaders,” Holleran said. Locals and corporate officials will also be invited.

 

By: Tim Rausch on April 4, 2014 - 10:34am - Add new comment

We know Augusta is an affordable place to live. A couple of times a year, there’s a Web site study or list that will rank one of our counties or the whole metro area as an affordable place, occasionally referring to the area as cheap.

 

The Web site that makes it into the paper once a month when it releases information about foreclosures, RealtyTrac, has a mountain of housing data that it has recently used to rank cities based on rental returns.

 

And, yes, Augusta’s high on this list, which is why I’m writing about it.

 

By: Tim Rausch on March 22, 2014 - 10:28am - Add new comment

Alex Nowrasteh had some interesting things to say about immigration’s effect on the nation’s economy.

 

The net immigration from Mexico, legal and illegal, was zero during the recession and into the recovery because of the housing collapse. In other words, because of the economy, there were just as many Mexicans leaving the U.S.A. as entering it.

 

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