Existing Home Sales Decline By 34% December 2022

· Home sales declined 1.5% on a month-over-month basis in December 2023.

· Existing home sales were down 34% year over year, marking the eleventh straight month of declines.

· The median sales price rose 2.3% to $366,900 on a year-over-year basis.

The National Association of Realtors recently shared a significant home sales decline in December 2022, by 34% year over year and a decline of 1.5% month over month. – the 11th consecutive month of declines. This reflects a downward trend in home sales that have taken place for almost a year, suggesting an unfavorable housing market climate. Moreover, such a downward trend has the potential to decrease the value of real estate prices. It is important to pay attention to home sale trends to make well-informed decisions when it comes to buying or selling a house.

Why Are Homes Sales Falling So Fast?
The mortgage rate increases of 2022 were unprecedented, with rates having doubled over the course of the calendar year. This all-time high increase in mortgage rates is the number one cause of the decline in home sales that we have seen across the country. High mortgage rates inflate mortgage payments and can put a strain on potential buyers’ pockets. In January of 2022 mortgage rates were reported to hover around 3%, but by December they had risen to an alarming 6.5%. This drastic in mortgage rates is faster than ever before, leading to a decrease in people being able to afford their dream homes.

Why Are Interest Rates Rising So Fast?
The federal funds rate is an instrumental tool in the Federal Reserve’s attempt to combat the inflationary pressures on the US economy, specifically now when inflation rates are at their highest in 40 years. In 2022 alone, the Federal Reserve hiked up the federal funds rate seven times, starting at a low of .25% and closing out the year with a federal funds rate of 4.5%. This is a major shift and leads to a higher cost of borrowing money for houses, cars, and everything we buy, putting a damper on consumer spending. But how high does the federal reserve rate need to go to gain control over inflation? While experts may have predictions, it’s ultimately impossible to know for sure.

In recent years, the Federal government has overseen the unprecedented growth of the M1 and M2 money supplies by increasing the number of dollars available. Looking at graphs of M1 and M2 money supplies reveals a sharp acceleration in growth in both funds. With more dollars chasing goods and services, prices naturally will rise as suppliers leverage higher demand to increase costs. This concept is simple and also known as ‘supply & demand 101′.

Will There Be a Housing Crash in 2023?
We do not believe there will be a crash in home prices in 2023, however, we do believe home prices will decline in 2023 says John Myers owner/broker of Myers & Myers Real Estate.

Housing prices are beginning to fall in many of the large cities across the United States. While there is a range of predictions from experts about what will happen next. One thing is for certain: the housing market centers around local markets and no two housing markets are the same. As a result, buyers and sellers should track local housing prices and keep an eye on the economy as time progresses to gauge how they might affect their housing plans. Although it is fully possible that housing prices could crash in some areas, others may follow different trends altogether – so tune into your local housing market to stay informed.

What Should Home Buyers Do?
As home buyers weigh the decision to purchase, they need to consider all the factors that go into home buying, especially the current and expected mortgage rates. Most experts predict the Federal Reserve will increase its fed funds rate over the 2023 year, which should result in a rise in mortgage rates. However, some experts are proposing different opinions; they feel that mortgage rates could reduce by the end of 2023. Despite these contrasting predictions, I fall in the camp that mortgage rates will be higher after this year than when we started it. Buyers will have much to ponder as home prices possibly decline due to pandemic-driven economic challenges and increased competition for homes with low borrowing costs. Each home buyer should monitor their local real estate market and reflect on their goals carefully before making a home-buying decision so they can be sure their purchase aligns with what is best for them.

What Should Home Sellers Do?
Home sellers fall into two categories – homeowners that must sell and those who want to sell. For home sellers that must sell, we highly recommend selling sooner rather than later given the fact that rising mortgage rates are making it harder for buyers to afford a home and home prices are currently falling in major cities; although we do not expect an outright crash. Homeowners who want to sell should know that markets have changed and offers will likely not come flooding in as quickly as they may hope. They should adjust their expectations accordingly and understand that patience is required when marketing themselves properly in these unique markets.

In Conclusion
After a few years of an ultra-competitive housing market, the market is shifting and a more balanced market is emerging. Buyers, sellers, real estate agents, real estate investors, and other professionals within the real estate industry are adapting to this change which results from pandemic-related circumstances being largely over, essentially returning the real estate market to pre-pandemic norms. Buyers will note that properties are staying on the market longer as competition eases up somewhat, though it is still an active housing market. It will be interesting to monitor how this shift continues in the coming months and years.

Is Your Product Packaging Newsworthy?

I see hundreds of releases on product packaging every week. For the most part I read the headline and say to myself “who cares.” That in itself is very telling because I am a packaging junkie and I’ll read almost anything that has to do with packaging.

Recently, mainstream media coverage of the packaging industry has been more in-depth than usual. I see dozens of articles about packaging each week. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the news articles deal with negative perceptions of packaging and its influence on society. From bottle water to excess packaging the packaging industry is getting a bad “wrap.” You can help change all that by portraying your product packaging in a positive manner.

So how can you get your product seen by the media in a more favorable light? Make sure that your packaging is connected to one of the more popular news trends or consider what the media will be covering outside of the obvious “breaking” news items unless of course you have a product that can “connect” to the most current story.

Start thinking about your product and how it can connect with the media coverage. A few examples of topics the media will be covering in the future include:

· Any thing to do with diets, weight loss or healthy eating.

This topic perennially becomes newsworthy as the holiday season approaches. This topic also offers opportunities for coverage in niche publications too, such as woman-oriented or fitness publications.

· Products that are geared around breast cancer or the Fight For The Cure.

The media is giving more and more coverage to this topic every year. Pink packaging abounds. But even if your packaging isn’t pink you can still piggyback of the media spin.

· Products that are marketed to or designed for the 50+ generation.

The “boomers” topic is getting substantial media play in virtually every type of publication. If you are marketing in this space, contact a few publications and find out what they will be covering in the next issue.

· Look for media spin on anything to do with the environment, recycled materials and bio-based materials.

The environment is hot right now, so this topic is definitely worth getting excited about. I just judged a brand new packaging competition for the Produce Marketing Association and one of the biggest categories was sustainable or environmentally friendly materials. If I was the winner of that category I’d be all over the media with my product packaging.

· Seasonal holiday innovative packaging.

Not your old holiday standbys but something really unique and creative. I always recommend thinking about secondary uses for your product packaging. The holidays are a great time for “keepsake” product packaging

· Investigate a pitch less commonplace to the media.

For example, recently I read about deli labels featuring CBS’s new prime-time lineup are the network’s latest attention-grabbing marketing plan. What a great concept. I’d be using this idea for every holiday promotion.

By tying your product into a hot topic or trend, you can help counteract negative publicity about the industry such as the upcoming Consumer Reports “Oyster Awards” articles which condemn product packaging every Christmas holiday. So, keep your eyes on the look out for ways and opportunities that will paint your product packaging to the media in a favorable light and not portrayed as too much, excess or over packaged.

Read my weekly newsletter Packaging News You Can Use too. Each week I pick an issue that is either getting media coverage or will be in the near future. Look at me as your prognosticator or forecaster.

Why an Integrated Workplace Safety and Wellness Program Is Best

Employees are a business’s most valuable asset and keeping them safe and healthy should be a priority for any company. Many businesses have a workplace safety program and a wellness program, but the two programs operate independently of one another – but should they? There are some compelling reasons to integrate the two so that employees can benefit from a more global, holistic approach to staying safe and healthy on the job.

To adequately address health and safety issues, companies need to look not only at whether an employee is performing their job safely but whether they’re healthy and fit enough to do their job without a high risk of injury. Issues like obesity, poor physical fitness and inadequate nutrition make it harder for employees to carry out certain tasks in the workplace.

The link between health and safety

According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, people who are obese are at higher risk for occupational health issues and injuries. When obese staff are exposed to chemicals on the job, they’re at higher risk for occupational asthma and heart and lung issues compared to a non-obese person. They’re also at greater risk for ergonomic issues and bio-mechanical problems including carpal tunnel syndrome. If companies focus on workplace safety without addressing the obesity issue, the bigger problem remains. A unified approach that integrates occupational safety measures with wellness initiatives that emphasize good nutrition and weight control provides a more effective solution to the problem.

There’s also the issue of back injuries. Back injuries are one of the most common workplace safety issues, and people who are overweight and physically unfit are at higher risk for injuring their back on the job. Most back injuries occur as a result of lifting objects at work and ergonomic issues. Although it’s not possible to prevent all work-related back problems, integrating wellness with safety by emphasizing regular exercise to strengthen muscles in the lower back can reduce back injuries. Integrating workplace safety and wellness offers a more well-rounded approach to preventing back injuries.

What part does wellness play in safety? Wellness programs that focus on stress reduction, smoking cessation and alcohol and drug-related issues are also important for workplace safety. According to a study published in a Canadian publication called The Daily, smokers are at greater risk for being injured at work compared to non-smokers. Among women, the risk was nearly double. Stress does more than just affect employees psychologically – it increases their risk of being injured on the job. Employees who are under stress at home or at work are distracted and less able to focus on doing their job safely. Integrating stress management into a workplace safety program can help reduce the number of injuries and motivate employees to be more productive. Nutrition is another factor that a workplace safety and wellness program should address. Employees who start their day with only a cup of coffee are more prone to blood sugar drops that can lead to workplace injuries. Good nutrition is an integral part of any safety program.

There’s another benefit of merging wellness and workplace safety. Employees are less likely to participate in programs that address workplace hazards than they are wellness programs that focus on personal benefits. Integrating the two makes it more likely that employees will take part.

The bottom line

Combining workplace safety with wellness has a number of benefits for both employees and employers. Most importantly, it helps to create a safer, healthier and more productive workplace – and that’s something every company should strive for.