From the U.S.Newswire comes a release by the National Association of Realtors describing a positive forecast for all of "The Americas" for the upcoming year. While our media research has focused primarily on the contiguous states, there's no doubt that in this age of communications what's just over the horizon will influence our economies as well as our merchandising and advertising.
Here's a snapshot of some of the Association's findings and projections...
The president of the professional real estate association in Brazil, said that "Brazil accounts for 33 percent of all economic growth in Latin America, and has the region's most active real estate market. With a population of 160 million, most of the world's 500 largest companies have a presence in Brazil. "In 1993, the annual inflation rate was nearly 2,500 percent -- this year, it will be under 2 percent," he said.
The report shows that Brazil's economic growth this year is about 3.8 percent, while the unemployment rate is 7.2 percent. Interest rates in Brazil currently are at 16.5 percent, while the homeownership rate is 74.2 percent.
The president of the Canada Real Estate Association, said his country has been experiencing an economic growth rate in the range of 3 to 3.5 percent this year, about as fast as it can grow without inflation. "Canada enjoys affordable financing, high consumer confidence and very low inflation."
The only negative economic factor in Canada is that job growth has stalled in the last 6 months and that it is unlikely to pick up until early 2001. However, Canadian housing starts are at the highest level in 12 years.
The president of the Realtor Association of Jamaica, said that his nation's economy has achieved a fair level of macro-economic activity over the last 3 years. "In 1999, the GDP was -0.4 percent, while the unemployment rate dropped two points to 16 percent," he said. "Structural economic reforms permit an easier flow of capital, and with tax reform which reduced import taxes, we are seeing a boost to the economy," he added. Inflation was reduced from 80.2 percent in 1991 to 6.8 percent in 1999, he noted.
The typical home costs in Jamaica are in the range of $300,000 to $325,000 U.S. dollars, while beachfront villas are selling in the range of $350,000 to $400,000. Office space goes for the equivalent of $12 to $15 per square foot per year, he added.
The political situation in Mexico is stable with a peaceful transformation of government. After Canada, Mexico is the second most important trading partner to the United States, with $120 billion in trade alone this year.
The Panama Real Estate Association, said the greatest investment opportunity in Panama came this year with the return of the Panama Canal by the U.S. government. Carles said investment in Panama is safe, with a democratic government and the U.S. dollar as the official currency. In addition, there is n