Boreas and Friends Take a Toll on the Economy

AMA2-20-14Boreas, Cleon, Electra . . . the newly named winter storms marched across the northeastern US earlier this winter in quick succession, leaving behind frigid air, paralyzed cities, and economic consequences that proved costly for some, lucrative for others. And the result is a mixed picture for employment, construction and the big indicator of economic recovery, housing.

The storm season that put “polar vortex” into everyday usage kept some workers off the job, but it also boosted business for anybody offering cold weather related services. And although other factors played a part in slowing down housing markets during that period, financial and real estate experts observe a major dip in housing sales during that period of the coldest weather to hit the US since 1994.

Sales of existing homes fell in January 2014 to levels not seen in over a year, and experts say weather most likely played a significant role in the slowdown in some areas. It’s not the first time that weather has had an effect on housing – a similar situation followed the “Super storm” Sandy of a couple of years ago as well.

The unusually cold weather –this past January was the coldest since 1994 – also contributed to a slowdown in other economic sectors such as employment. And that also has a direct impact on the housing recovery and the ability of buyers to qualify for and sustain a mortgage.

But the hard-hit East Coast wasn’t the only area to see a slowdown in housing sales – and that means other factors such as higher mortgage rates and tighter standards for borrowing also contributed to a slow period. And in some areas, the supply of available properties also hit levels not seen in the past year as well.

Is the slowdown temporary? It’s too soon to say. The Federal Reserve is going forward with its plans to taper down its stimulus plan – a hint that they don’t ‘t see the current situation as permanent. And conditions are different in various areas of he country, where weather wasn’t a major factor in the equation.

But the stats emerging after the January freeze give even more weight to Jason Hartman’s advice to

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diversify holdings. Wise investors who want to build wealth need to spread holdings over as many markets as possible.

Diversifying outside an investor’s local markets also opens doors to new opportunities in places where the factors stat affect market slowdowns are less of an issue – winter storm warnings aren’t as likely to affect the housing inventory in the West, for example, And those other factors, too, may play a different role.

Boreas and his friends may play their own part in a temporary housing slowdown. But smart investors can soften the blow – and the effects of other factors too – by casting a wider net for investing opportunities. (Top image: Flickr/DrStarbuck)

Read more from The American Monetary Association:

Emerging Markets Worry About Stimulus Fallout

Can the World Have Too Many Currencies?

The American Monetary Association Team



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