SMK Capital Management LLC
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Northeast Ohio home sales were up 6.9 percent in June; prices also rose – July 2016

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Northeast Ohio home sales continue to eclipse last year’s levels, and prices still are rising across much of the region.  Sales of new and previously owned homes were up 6.9 percent in June, when compared with a year before. In Cuyahoga County, buyers snapped up 1,686 houses and condominiums last month, marking a 14 percent increase in purchases from June 2015…Read the full article

A Revitalized Cleveland Is Ready for Its Close-Up – July 2016

Last year, Cleveland issued construction permits for projects valued at $1.5 billion…that is twice the value of projects permitted in 2012…In all, 29 projects with more than $3.5 billion in investment have opened or are scheduled to open in the city center from 2016 to 2018…Cleveland is emerging as one of the country’s principal centers of biomedical innovation and development, centered on the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University. The city counts 25,000 jobs and 700 companies — 400 more than a decade ago — that are involved in health and medical research, biomedical device design, information technology and other related activities….Read the full article

Cost of doing business in Northeast Ohio lower than national average – June 2016

The cost of doing business is 10% lower in Northeast Ohio than the national average, according to an analysis by Team Northeast Ohio, the regional business attraction nonprofit.  Team NEO will use this information to sell companies on the competitive advantages to coming to Northeast Ohio when they are looking across the country for a place to start a new business or moving an existing operation.  For its quarterly economic review released Wednesday, June 15, the organization surveyed comparative data on a number of economic indicators including the cost of labor and energy, as well as construction and leasing costs and rates of state and local taxes.  “We have a business case to make for why it’s more affordable (to do business) here,” said Jacob Duritsky, Team NEO’s vice president for strategy and research…Read the full article

Rebuilding Cleveland and Akron – April 2016

Despite having been ravaged by the Great Recession, many Northeast Ohioans agree that Cleveland and Akron are on an upward trajectory.  Both cities have seen some of their long-forgotten neighborhoods reinvigorated with fresh development. Young professionals are eager to live in the cities’ downtown districts. The idea of Cleveland and Akron collaborating for the betterment of the region is no longer a foreign concept but a real possibility….Read the full article

Labor market is on the mend – April 2016

As the top Federal Reserve official in Cleveland explained last week, it was a long time coming, but Ohio’s labor markets have finally returned to their pre-recession peak….The good news is Ohio’s unemployment is now at 4.9%. That’s a sharp decline from the 11% peak seen in December 2009 during the height of the Great Recession. Overall, the unemployment rate is one good indicator that business here is thriving again…Read the full article

Behind U.S. GDP Data Is Reason for Recession Worry – March 2016

On the face of it, the latest government update on how the U.S. economy performed in the fourth quarter looked a bit more encouraging. Growth was revised to a 1.4 percent annualized pace from a previously estimated 1 percent, and the adjustment to gross domestic product was for a good reason — consumer spending rose more than previously thought.  Yet beyond the headline number, there is a reason for some concern. Corporate profits plunged 11.5 percent in the fourth quarter from the year-ago period, the biggest drop since a 31 percent collapse at the end of 2008 during the height of the financial crisis…Read the full article

Ford to invest $145 million in its Cleveland Engine Plant – March 2016

Ford Motor Co. is investing $145 million in its Cleveland Engine Plant in Brook Park to support the production of what it calls an “all-new second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine family.” …The investment will mean that 150 jobs will be created or retained at the plant, which employs more than 1,500 people, according to a Ford news release. The Cleveland Engine Plant already makes the company’s current EcoBoost engine and has produced more than 1 million of them since 2009. The efficient EcoBoost engines are the “cornerstone” of Ford’s engine strategy to cut fuel consumption and emissions. Cleveland was the home of the EcoBoost, said Cleveland site manager Kevin Heck, and this announcement helps solidify that status. It helps create security “for the plant, for the team, for the area,” Heck said….Read the full article

US creates 242,000 jobs in February – March 2016

The US economy added 242,000 jobs in February, far better than the 190,000 expected by economists.  The Labor Department numbers underlined the strength of the US economy and may allow the Federal Reserve to gradually raise interest rates this year.  Another 30,000 jobs were also added to the previous estimates for December and January.  The unemployment rate was unchanged from January at 4.9% – an eight-year low…Read the full article

These 5 U.S. Markets Are Seeing the Highest ROIs – March 2016

In a study just released today, RealtyTrac shares information about flipped properties* in its Q4 2015 U.S. Home Flipping Report. A total of 5.5 percent of all single family homes and condos, or 179,778 single family homes and condos, were flipped in 2015. This represents the first annual increase in shares of homes flipped following four consecutive years of decreases. Of 110 metropolitan areas studied, 75 percent, or 83 markets, showed increases in the share of homes flipped, with a total of 110,008 investors or entities completing at least one flip — the highest number of flippers since 130,603 in 2007…Read the full article

San Francisco housing market reaches highest levels of unaffordability – December 2015

here is no doubt that San Francisco is in a deep housing mania.  When you take a look at the junk you can buy with $1 million you realize something is amiss.  Bubbles are hard to assess when you are in them.  You have continuing momentum pushing prices higher and the constant rhetoric that “this time is different” although history tends to serve as a better guide.  But San Francisco is in another dimension.  The median home price is now $1.25 million and the typical condo is selling for $1.1 million…Read the full article