Last year was a good year for HoCo farmers, According to the December issue of HoCo Economic Indicators the loco agricultural economy was led by corn which “bought the best prices on record.”
There are concerns going forward.
“This being a healthy year for growth of products, farmers are still seeing very high fuel, fertilizer, and machinery parts costs soar.”
It was also a good year for residential real estate with median sale prices up by 7% compared to a year ago and inventory is 35% lower. “The sale price to list price on average is now 97%. Multiple offers and escalation clauses are helping bring the sale to list price closer together.”
The appraisers, on the other hand, are a bit behind the trend.
“When there are multiple buyers willing to pay over the asking price and appraisers pricing is below the asking price it leads to frustration for all parties involved.”
It wasn't a great year for commercial real estate, according to the report, with new development “virtually non-existent.” The upside is that the lack of new product has helped bring the commercial vacancy rate down to 13.7% from 15.9% a year ago.
I think they missed the loco leasing activity tied to the Department of Defense. The DoD took down 150,000 square feet of new space in Emerson Corporate Commons in North Laurel and another 140,000 square feet of new construction in the
River Corporate Park
in Columbia. I wouldn't actually call almost 300,000 square feet "virtually non-existent" though you could make the argument that these buildings were developed outside of the normal market. Neither of these office projects were openly listed for lease even though they were both speculative developments.
As of September, the HoCo unemployment rate stood at 4.9%, down slight from 5.4% for September of 2011. The HoCo population, as of July 2012, stood at 294,477.
You can find the complete December 2012 report here.