By Robb M. Stewart
Canada is paving the way to become a launching pad for commercial space flights, with plans by Ottawa to establish regulations aimed at supporting launches by private entities.
The move promises to better position Canada to tap into increase in money that has poured into the space sector in recent years, as a number of countries have increased their level of space activity to join or take on industry titans like the U.S.
The federal government said Friday that while Canada is well positioned to support space launches, the regulatory framework needs to be modernized and a number of measures are planned to support commercial launch activities.
In the interim, the government said it plans to allow commercial space launches in Canada under existing legislation and regulations, on a case-by-case basis. During this period, which is expected to last three years, Transport Canada intends to work with other federal departments and agencies to develop regulatory requirements, safety standards and licensing conditions needed for commercial space launches in the country.
The government said the transportation department also will establish an interdepartmental review process to ensure any launch is considered and approved in a way consistent with domestic legislation, international treaties, and national security and foreign policy interests.
“A long-term Canadian commercial space launch regulatory framework is key to maintaining Canada’s leading role in outer space exploration and development and represents an important evolution in Canada’s space activities,” said Annie Koutrakis, parliamentary secretary to the minister of transport. “Canadian space launch capability will create lasting economic opportunity for the Canadian space sector, encourage innovation and research, and support national security.”
Since the early 1980s, nine Canadian Space Agency astronauts have flown to space 17 times. The government said that in 2020, the Canadian aerospace industry contributed more than $16 billion and close to 207,000 jobs to the country’s economy.
In a report released Friday, McKinsey & Co. said the space sector has experienced massive growth in investment, with public and private markets globally injecting $10 billion in fresh capital into space companies in 2021, compared with $300 million a decade earlier. And while the U.S. remains in the lead for funding, with a civil space budget that represents more than 40% of the worldwide total, many countries are raising their level of space activity and about 70 have established national space agencies, the consulting firm said.
A first attempt to launch satellites from British soil reached space earlier this month, though fell short of reaching its target orbit. In November, India tested its first privately developed rocket with a suborbital launch that was a step forward in its efforts to develop a commercial space industry.
Maritime Launch Services Inc., which is developing a launch site in the eastern province of Nova Scotia that will provide satellite delivery services to clients, welcomed Canada’s support for commercial launch activities.
“With today’s announcement, the global space industry can be confident that commercial launch in Canada is not only here, but it has this government’s support,” Maritime Launch Chief Executive Stephen Matier said.
Write to Robb M. Stewart at email@example.com
The list of permits issued to build new single-family homes in Waco used to run longer than the proverbial letter to grandma. Now it is more like a blurb, thanks to rising interest rates, recession fears and less confidence speculative homes will find a buyer in a timely fashion.
Homebuilders typically hibernate during cold weather, the chill and moisture of November and December not conducive to pouring slabs or installing roofs. But numbers during 2022’s last half seemingly dropped prematurely, possibly reflecting national and regional housing trends.
Waco issued 18 permits in October to people wanting to build single-family homes, a decline from 38 issued in October last year. During the calendar year through October, the city issued 563 permits compared with 571 during the first 10 months of 2021, according to Karr Ingham, a West Texas economist who compiles a monthly snapshot of trends in Waco.
People are also reading…
Ingham said Waco’s permit output in October “tanked,” producing the lowest monthly total since the 14 issued in January 2016.
In November, Waco issued 12 permits to build new homes, one more than the 11 in the same month last year, according to the list compiled by the local office of the Associated General Contractors of America. Hewitt took up the slack, issuing permits for 24 new homes, up from three the previous November.
Ingham’s monthly report includes only permits issued in Waco, not in surrounding areas.
“From the builders I’ve heard from, they are not comfortable starting work on a home right now, not for any particular reason but due to the climate in general,” said Bobby Horner, spokesperson for Waco’s inspection services department.
“Not as many contractors are starting new houses at the moment,” said Craig Vrbas, a longtime employee at the Gross-Yowell lumberyard on Franklin Avenue. “Will it pick up? We’ll see. They’re waiting to see what happens now. Our volume is down maybe 10% to 15%, not on a particular item but in general.”
Laura Sterr, a regional sales manager for Stylecraft Builders, said the company started building fewer speculative homes when the fourth quarter of the year arrived. But she said demand remains strong. Stylecraft sold more than 50 homes last month and has sold 65 so far this month in the area stretching from Bryan-College Station to Fort Hood to Waco. Sterr said at least 20 of the more than 50 homes sold last month were in Greater Waco.
“It’s said that people don’t buy homes during the holidays, but December has been pretty good for us,” Sterr said.
She said other commonly accepted beliefs about building and marketing homes have been turned on their head, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shifts.
“At the height of the housing craze, we were limiting sales because we couldn’t service everyone wanting to buy a home,” Sterr said. “Now we’re not limiting sales, though we have adjusted the number of houses we release into inventory.”
She said Stylecraft also began rationing sales when interest rates were at their lowest “because we were getting a lot of investors scooping up everything they could before homeowners could act.”
That dilemma has corrected itself as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to how fast things were 12 to 18 months ago,” customer homebuilder Keith Gunn said of the breathtaking sales pace builders saw. “But my part of the market has not slowed much.”
He rattled off new homes under construction or just completed in Badger Ranch, Hidden Valley, Tanglewood and Creekside. He has a “blend” of jobs continuing in Lorena, Robinson and West. His custom-built homes start at $450,000, “but most are quite a bit taller than that.”
“I have lots in different places, but I haven’t decided if I want to start spec houses. I’m not in a hurry to build them,” Gunn said. “I haven’t had many subcontractors contacting me, saying, ‘Hey, we’re out of work.’”
Buyers run the gamut from business owners and empty-nesters to college professors and coaches, said Gunn, who remains optimistic.
“Waco has always been insulated from larger markets,” Gunn said. “Dirt is still affordable. Jobs are still available. Lumber prices have come down, though lumberyards are not taking as many orders. It always slows down around the holidays, but the volume of what we have has not slowed.”
He said supply chain issues and lumber prices have eased, but high-end appliances seemingly have a mind of their own. He said some who moved into their homes three or four months ago still await delivery.
Homebuilder Scott Bland said Greater Waco still suffers from “an incredibly low supply” of homes, a condition exacerbated by rising interest rates and inflation. He said someone pondering launching a new subdivision must consider the start-up costs related to installing streets and infrastructure.
“But people aren’t being laid off or anything like that,” Bland said. “It’s an odd situation for us. This rate thing is causing us to have bigger supply issues. When they do go down, there is not going to be much out there for people to buy. We won’t be able to build fast enough to fill the void nine months from now, when summertime arrives and people are sitting on a ton of equity, and the Fed eases back on what it’s doing. We’ll see a rush on houses again.”
Bland said maybe the housing market needed a break from something of a frenzy.
“This allowed pricing to stabilize,” he said. “We’re in a much better position going out than coming in, unless we have another pandemic.”
Homes sold for an average $361,430 in October, 29% more than the $280,212 norm in the same month last year.
ADT Commercial Recognized for Employing Military Veterans
For the first time, and just in time for Veterans Day, U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh recognized ADT Commercial as one of the 835 recipients of the 2022 HIRE Vets Gold Medallion Award presented by the U.S. Department of Labor. The award recognizes ADT Commercial for its dedication to employing military veterans, and is part of the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-31). The organization was presented with the award in a virtual ceremony on Nov. 9.
The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is the only federal-level veterans’ employment award that recognizes a company or organization’s commitment to veteran hiring, retention, and professional development. Recipients of the 2022 HIRE Vets Medallion Award meet rigorous employment and veteran integration assistance criteria, including veteran hiring and retention percentages; availability of veteran-specific resources; leadership programming for veterans; dedicated human resource efforts; pay compensation and tuition assistance programs for veterans. More than 1,400 employers have earned a HIRE Vets Medallion Award since 2018.
As a 2022 Gold Medallion Award recipient in the Large Employer category with more than 500 employees, ADT Commercial has certified that more than 7% of its new hires for the 2021 calendar year were military veterans, with 75% retained as employees for 12 months. The company retained 90% of veteran hires made in 2021.
This achievement marks an incredible milestone in ADT Commercial’s continued commitment to recruit and welcome more veterans and military servicemembers to the organization.
“To be awarded Gold Medallion status is such an amazing accomplishment and a testament to the years of work our teams and leaders have put in to give our nation’s heroes a path forward and long-term career in their civilian lives,” said Zack Morris, Director, Commercial Career Programs.
In an effort to foster an environment that would attract former servicemembers to a civilian career in the security industry, ADT and ADT Commercial have continued to champion a number of veteran integration assistance programs to ensure the inclusion and success of military employees within the organization.
Williams Sonoma, a portfolio brand of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE: WSM), the world’s largest digital-first, design-led and sustainable home retailer, announced today the expansion of the brand’s Business to Business services with a new commercial grade kitchen offering. The launch of a new commercial grade offering for Williams Sonoma, follows the success experienced across all Williams-Sonoma, Inc. brands by providing B2B customers with an industry leading assortment of contract grade furniture and custom product solutions.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221103005835/en/
William Sonoma Launches Commercial Grade Kitchen Offering as Part of Expansion of B2B Services (Photo: Williams Sonoma)
Williams Sonoma’s new commercial-grade kitchen offering provides both commercial and residential customers a curation of over 2,000 existing products that have passed Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s in-house Contract and Commercial Grade testing protocols. All protocols incorporate best practices from a range of industry leading accreditation bodies and testing that best simulates the rigors of a wide range of commercial and hospitality environments. At launch, the assortment of commercial-grade products includes electrics, cutlery, cookware, bakeware and dinnerware items. These items will be available to purchase directly on the brands website, in store, or through Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s specialized B2B teams.
“We know Williams Sonoma and Williams Sonoma Home products are best-in-class and we are proud to be able to offer commercial and contract certification to provide an additional assurance of the quality and durability our brands are known for,” said Williams Sonoma President, Felix Carbullido. “Our commercial kitchen offering allows us to engage with new and existing B2B customers as well as service the needs of our hospitality partners and home chef customers on any project.”
For more information on Williams Sonoma and Williams Sonoma Home’s Contract and Commercial Grade product offering, please visit:
- Williams Sonoma B2B:
- Williams Sonoma Trade:
- Williams Sonoma Commercial Grade Offering:
- Williams Sonoma Home Contract Offering:
About Williams Sonoma
Since its founding by Chuck Williams in 1956, the Williams Sonoma brand has been bringing people together around food. A member of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE: WSM) portfolio of brands, Williams Sonoma is a leading specialty retailer of high-quality products for the kitchen and home, providing world-class service and an engaging customer experience. Products include cookware, cooks’ tools, cutlery, electrics, bakeware, food, tabletop and bar, outdoor, cookbooks, as well as furniture, lighting and decorative accessories. Each store offers cooking classes and tastings conducted by expert culinary staff. A comprehensive gift registry program for weddings and other special events is available in stores and online. On williams-sonoma.com and the Williams Sonoma blog, Taste, customers can find recipes, tips, and techniques that help them create delicious meals. Williams Sonoma can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. Williams Sonoma is also part of The Key Rewards, a free-to-join loyalty program that offers members exclusive benefits across the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. family of brands.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221103005835/en/
The surge in fire pits for outdoor living projects that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic comes as little surprise. With many guests unable or unwilling to gather inside, businesses expanded their operations outdoors to stay afloat.
What’s perhaps more surprising is that fire feature manufacturers and distributors are still tracking sales significantly above pre-COVID numbers, indicating a sustained interest among designers and businesses in enhancing outdoor living spaces, says Casey Harvey, vice president of sales for propane gas equipment and appliance distributor Ray Murray.
“I think what we’ve seen is a mainstreaming of the outdoor space and folks realizing that they don’t have to spend a hundred thousand dollars,” Harvey says. “You could spend $5,000 or $10,000 and get a beautiful, usable outdoor space. So I think the mainstreaming of that trend is here, and I think we’ve hit a new plateau in order to enable growth going forward.”
Here are three trends driving the sustained growth of commercial fire pits.
1. Fire features are a cost-effective option to make an outdoor space stand out.
In a world where adding hardscape, paving, and retaining walls can send the costs of a project soaring, fire features represent an affordable opportunity for a designer or contractor to make an outdoor space valuable throughout the year, says Art Kunkle, vice president of sales for fire feature manufacturer Warming Trends. “A fire feature gives them a reason to be out of doors,” he says. “It’s a source of light. It’s a source of warmth. It’s a great place for people to gather. That makes their project a year-round return on investment instead of just seven months of the year.”
2. Linear fire features carve out a larger role.
Round fire features still make up the majority of installations, with larger round shapes measuring 6–8 feet in diameter becoming increasingly common, Harvey says. But long, narrow, linear fireplaces are also growing in popularity. “We’re starting to see the division of this outdoor room into specific zones for different things, and using these long, skinny fireplaces or fire pits is a nice way to break up the space,” he says.
3. Built-in gas lines offer operational advantages.
For most commercial businesses, running dedicated gas lines to the fire pit is preferable to a standalone propane tank, Harvey says. Rather than requiring staff to switch out cylinders in the middle of a meal service and having servers deal with relighting the flame, a dedicated gas line can be hidden away or run underground and connected to a facility’s main propane storage. Alongside the fire pit, businesses and designers can include gas grills and outdoor heaters with better performance than electric alternatives.
As amenities that can keep an outdoor space habitable, cozy, and easy to maintain year-round, fire pits and other propane-fueled outdoor living features are investments many businesses will find worthwhile.
Check out three additional commercial fire pit trends by visiting propane.com.
Toledo Solar Commences Solar Panel Shipments to Viper Networks for Commercial and Residential Deployment
As previously announced (6/25/2021),
The first to provide utility-scale power and reliability to rooftop markets, Toledo Solar’s Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) solar panels require significantly less energy to manufacture, the shortest energy payback period and the lowest carbon footprint in the industry. In the utility space, American made, CdTe thin film solar panels have been proven to outperform foreign sourced PV-SI panels in terms of lifetime ROI (Return on Investment) and durability. As a result, they currently power approximately 40% of the American utility market and 8% of the worldwide market.
Thin-film CdTe panels are 100% recycled with over 90% of all materials reused, whereas silicon panels are mostly scrapped in local landfills, creating a growing hazardous waste problem.
According to the Biden administration, in
Mr. Farid Shouekani, CEO and President of
For more information go to https://toledo-solar.com and www.ViperNetworks.com or follow us on Twitter @vipernetworks
Safe Harbor Statement:
This news release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in Section 27A of the
Investor Relations/Media Contact:
2022 GlobeNewswire, Inc., source
Businesses in Laos, especially smaller companies, need more support to help them better seize the opportunities arising from the China-Laos Railway and enhance their competitiveness in regional trade, officials and experts said.
“The China-Laos Railway is a very good project that has been started and been implemented successfully. We can see so far that… the railway is fully in use,” said Xaybandith Rasphone, president of the Association of the Lao Garment Industry and vice-president of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
However, Xaybandith believes that, compared with big companies, including those in China and other neighboring countries like Thailand, it is still challenging for Laotian companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, to make full use of the railway.
“The capacity and the products that we produce here have not yet been of the volume that can be supplied to the Chinese market,” said Xaybandith, adding that there is a need for government support.
The volume of cross-border goods transported by the China-Laos Railway exceeded 1 million metric tons as of Aug 9, according to Xinhua News Agency. Of that total, the Laotian section of railway transported 1,076,500 tons, of which 263,400 tons went from China to Laos, and 813,100 tons from Laos to China, with an average monthly growth rate of nearly 17 percent.
Opened on Dec 3 last year, the 1,035-kilometer line connects Kunming, the capital of Southwest China”s Yunnan province, with Vientiane, the capital of Laos. With a design speed of 160 kilometers per hour, the route slashes the travel time between the two cities to 10 hours, from 30 hours by road.
Litthikay Phoummasak, president of the Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion Association of Laos, said business communities in Laos and neighboring countries like Thailand have been working since the beginning of the year to improve collaboration on the use of the China-Laos Railway to promote trade.
“Many local investors invest in agriculture, logistics, warehouse and industrial property, as (they expect that) the China-Laos Railway will make Laos the trade and logistics hub of the region,” Litthikay said.
However, improvements are needed to provide better access to the railway for Laotian businesses, Litthikay said, adding that hurdles include high logistics prices charged by agents and the lack of an online ticket booking platform for passengers.
Noting news reports of an influx of Thai tourists as a result of the railway, Litthikay said it is important to make the ticketing process smoother and better regulated to support the recovery of the tourism sector, a key contributor to Laos’ economy.
In the past, Laos and China traded mostly copper and rubber, but the railway has made it easier for other goods, such as agricultural products, to be exported to China, said Philaiphone Vongpraseuth, vice-president of the Young Entrepreneur Association in Laos and CEO of the consultancy Solver Laos Sole Co.
Philaiphone said that young entrepreneurs in Laos, especially those who live along the railway route, have been preparing to enter the cross-border trade business and seize new opportunities from the new line.
The total value of Laos’ trade in July was $968 million－$427 million in exports and $541 million in imports－according to the website Lao Trade. China remained the country’s top export destination.
Most of the young Laotian entrepreneurs are focused on agricultural products to be exported to China, as well as tourism, which Philaiphone expects to increase threefold if border restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.
Xaybandith from the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry said he hopes that more guidance can be provided to local small and medium-sized enterprises, as many of them still do not know much about using the railway. A more comprehensive logistics network around stations will also be necessary, he said.
Xaybandith said the railway provides opportunities for Laos to grow the production capacity of high-end agricultural products related to green and healthy concepts, such as organic food, and export them to China.
“We would like to encourage Chinese businesses to make use of (the railway) and also invest more in Laos,” he added.
How well do you know your PropTech?
Great PropTech shouldn’t remain stationary; it should constantly be evolving and advancing to suit modern consumer mindsets, as well as the changing needs of busy agents.
If you were to ask me how many big developments we’ve released over at Spectre within the last year, it would be in excess of 20. In just 12 months, Spectre has transformed from a predominantly on-market prospecting tool, into an all-encompassing suite of marketing tools powered by artificial intelligence.
So I’m asking you… are you aware of all the new features your PropTech supplier has delivered? Do you regularly look out for product update emails? Do you read the newsletters they send out? If you answered ‘no’ to most of those questions, then you’re more than likely not making the most out of your systems and the modern functionality they now offer.
The importance of regular reviews with your suppliers
At Spectre, I have occasionally spoken to a client who will be paying for our instruction generation tool, as well as other PropTech products, and they didn’t realise the functionality of their other products already exists within Spectre.
This means they’re unnecessarily paying for multiple PropTech subscriptions, as well as overcomplicating their internal processes by jumping between several platforms when they can get all the same functionality in one place.
Therefore, one of the best bits of advice I could give an agent for ensuring they get the most out of their PropTech is to have regular monthly or quarterly reviews with suppliers. If they haven’t approached you about these meetings already (which they should be!), I would strongly suggest reaching out to your account manager and requesting them.
Assigning a dedicated team member to manage your PropTech
According to the Global PropTech Survey by KPMG, ‘the biggest barriers to further digitalisation include the lack of a designated person to drive the strategy and the lack of appropriate in-house talent.’
Without a dedicated person overseeing your PropTech, knowledge of that product can become fragmented, collaboration breaks down, responsibility is shifted and then action is never taken.
Placing responsibility on one team member will focus attention on your PropTech, maximise usage of the system, and help with further establishing a strong working partnership with the account manager for better communication regarding usage and new features.
Measuring the success and usage of your tech stack
If you’re an agency owner, you’ve probably wondered at some point if the PropTech you’ve invested in is providing a good ROI. And rightly so!
However, a good ROI typically comes hand-in-hand with appropriate system and feature usage by you and your team. Circling back around, this is again where having a dedicated team member to oversee your tech stack and continually collaborate with your account manager is vital.
In order to measure the benefit of your PropTech, any good supplier will be happy to send success and usage reports on a regular basis. These insightful reports are a must for getting the most out of your Proptech, as they will allow you to analyse how well your team is using the system, as well as any features not currently being utilised to help boost your ROI.
In my experience, the most successful agencies are not only utilising PropTech to power their processes, but they are also proactive with their account management. They don’t rest on their laurels and instead constantly seek new ways to be better than the competition – taking advantage of all the new and emerging technologies available to them.
So, to all the agents out there using PropTech, I urge you to look out for product update emails, read your monthly newsletters, establish a great relationship with your account managers, and request those all-important reports… because these simple things will help you achieve maximum value from your tech stack and boost your success!
The good news is that if you do the above, you’ll put yourself in the top 5% of agents in my opinion. The great news is, to get an advantage over the competition, you don’t need to spend more on proptech, just get more out of the PropTech you’re already paying for!
*Heather Staff is the co-founder of Spectre and Street.co.uk
Jewellery show scammers are back in force as the world ‘reopens’ after the global pandemic.
The scams – which were increasingly prevalent before COVID forced the closure of most international trade shows all around the world – are very simple.
These scams tends to target three things: attendee lists, fair directories and hotel reservations.
This is the most common scam and involves exhibitors being contacted by people who claim to have an upcoming show’s attendee list. For a price, you buy complete contact details of every visitor – before they even attend the event!
The scammers will often use the show name, logo and/or show organiser’s name in the email signature.
Jeweller is aware of a number of emails currently circulating stating, “We are offering you the attendees contacts list of IJF International Jewellery Fair 2022: Are you interested to purchase?”
The email goes on to list attendee categories including jewellery retailer, department store buyer, watch or clock retailer, duty free retailer, jewellery manufacturer and so on.
This scam entails exhibitors receiving an email to update their company information in the ‘International Fairs Directory’, or another name similar to the name of the exhibition they are scheduled to attend.
These emails appear at a time when suppliers are focusing on the trade show’s planning.
A few years ago, a number of Australian jewellery suppliers got caught by this scam when they found themselves agreeing to pay €1,212 ($AU1,796) to a company each year for three years for the ‘privilege’ of advertising in a directory, which had no connection to any trade show.
This scam has not been as prominent in the Australian jewellery industry; however, again it’s very simple: exhibitors are offered ‘too good to refuse’ hotel deals only to discover they booked rooms through a third-party room broker.
People arrive at a hotel only to find that no booking exists and there is no recourse for the payment of rooms. These ‘brokers’ falsely imply they are affiliated with show management and secure deposits and/or full prepayment fraudulently.
Gary Fitz-Roy, managing director Expertise Events said that not only does he get calls every year from jewellery exhibitors about the attendee list being sold, he said his own business gets offers to buy the attendee list of his own show!
“It’s an old scam and no one running it is very sophisticated. The scammers copy the exhibitors list contact details from our website, as well as our details as the fair organiser, and then try to sell us an attendee list that they don’t have.
“In fact, some years ago, when we launched a new exhibition in another industry, the scammers were trying to sell the attendee list of a show that had never taken place. It was the first event,” Fitz-Roy said.
He advises exhibitors to ignore these emails: “Suppliers and exhibitors and, more importantly, visitors [retail buyers] need to be assured that Expertise Events does not sell our database, the scammers have no access to it.
“It’s simply a fraud, just another internet scam.”
This publication receives many emails attempting the attendee list scam, and a quick search of the email address and/or adding the URL address of the, so called, list broker will quickly expose the scam. That is, while the email address can be, say, firstname.lastname@example.org, there will be no website for the business Exhibitorlists.
Jeweller decided to engage with one of the scammers offering the attendee list for the International Jewellery Fair. We asked for the details of this list and the cost.
We were supposedly communicating with Henry Johnston, a database and list expert from an international research company based in Pennsylvania, USA. Even though our email replies were being sent during Australian business hours, they were being quickly answered although it was meant to be 3am in the US.
We asked Johnston to call our office to discuss the details. We were told the attendee list for a show that had not taken place included the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of 15,237 jewellery buyers scheduled to attend the Sydney trade fair.
When the number of buyers was queried, the man – who revealed he was an Indian national – confirmed that the figure was correct. He also confirmed he was located in Pennsylvania, the address on the company’s website, and explained that “he is on call to answer questions, even at 3am in the morning!”
At this point, we asked if he could tell us how many jewellery stores there are in Australia according to his “extensive database of jewellery buyers”.
He said he could provide that figure but first, he had to “interrogate the database” at which point there was fast and seemingly loudly exaggerated typing (banging) on a keyboard to signify search queries.
The answer came back “more than 40,000”.
Jeweller confirmed the question to Johnston and he replied, “Yes, that’s correct, there are more than 40,000 independent jewellery stores in Australia. And we have all their contact details.”
For the record, the total number of jewellery stores in Australia, including chain stores such as Michael Hill, Prouds, and so on, is fewer than 3,000!
Following further discussion – including a great many more outrageous claims – we agreed to buy the list.
We were presented with an invoice for $US500 listing the payment details for a National Australia Bank account; however; the payment had to be made via a specific Western Union office in Sunshine, a western suburb of Melbourne.
Needless to say, the payment was never made, even though we assured Mr Johnston that it had.
Fitz-Roy said the only way to deal with scammers is not to reply. “It happens on all of our shows and happens to other event organisers all around the world.
“Expertise Events has the largest database of jewellery retailers and buyers by far. We would never sell, rent, or give away our lists.”
House prices have been ballistic over the last two years, in part due to a big shortage in housing materials. A new report lays out what elements actually go into building a home, highlighting how complicated — and expensive — the process can get.
“In the last three years, the cost to build a home in the U.S. has risen at an unprecedented rate,” wrote the authors of Bank of America’s 2022 “Who builds the house ” report, released June 8.
A key driver of higher home prices is the shortage in building materials.
“The way home builders describe the supply chain right now is whack-a-mole,” Rafe Jadrosich, an analyst at Bank of America and a co-author of the report, told MarketWatch, “where every time they find one thing that they fix, another one pops up … there’s always a new category that’s creating the bottleneck.”
The bill for materials required to build an average size new single-family home increased by 42% from 2018 to 2021 -– making materials cost roughly $35,000 more.
Bank of America estimated the value of the raw materials in an average single-family home in America to be around $118,000 in 2021. Labor and land costs -– which can vary by region –- constitute the remaining two-thirds of the cost of a home, Jadrosich added.
“Home construction cost has consistently outpaced overall inflation over the last 40 years,” the report added.
Rising inflation in the U.S. is also contributing to an increase in prices of “household furnishings and operations,” a broad category that includes window and floor coverings and moving and freight expenses, among other items, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The index for household furnishings and operations rose by 0.4% over the month of May as compared to the previous month, and was up 8.9% from last year.
The Bank of America report, which factored in data from the National Association of Home Builders, detailed 14 components that go into building a house and how much they cost on average:
What materials go into building a home?
- Framing lumber/engineered wood
This category accounted for the largest percentage of all material in a home, at 30.2%. The cost of lumber content per home was around $35,488. Lumber prices have been on a wild ride over the last year. The commodity has come off all-time highs in 2021, when lumber prices had nearly tripled, particularly over the last four months of the year. That meant an increase of $18,600 in costs to an average new single-family home.
But experts are expecting demand to soften amid a slowdown in U.S. home sales.
“A significant factor in the price of lumber is the price of timber (the sawn tree),” the Bank of America report stated. The South “continues to be amply supplied in timber at present,” it added, “as standing inventory remains higher than post-Great Financial Crisis levels.”
- Concrete (foundation)
This category accounted for 8.9% of all content in a home, but was costly, at around $10,526.
- Windows and doors
Windows and doors have had a notorious reputation among builders over the last year, with many companies scrambling to find them.
While they only make up 8.9% of the total material per home, they are, like concrete, costly, at $10,519. Bank of America noted that windows and doors tend to be a labor intensive industry.
A shortage of windows has slowed down the construction process considerably, Jadrosich said. “You can’t finish a lot of the houses if you don’t have the windows in,” he explained. “You can’t put your appliances in, and paint the walls, and finish your floors, if the house isn’t sealed with windows.”
And until that supply chain for windows improves, “you’re gonna have a pretty slow, elongated build cycle for a lot of the home builders,” he added.
And with a shortage in specific items like windows, “it’s really difficult to live in the house if you don’t have them,” Jadrosich said. “Things like appliances, it’s hard to move in, or even get an appraisal until those are in the house. It can really, really slow down the process.”
Plumbing has been one of the sectors that has been hardest hit by the labor shortage, Bank of America said. “Employee retention will be critical to keep up with the rising demand,” they said.
- Structural panels
- Architectural coatings
- Fiberglass insulation
Let’s also not forget the various sub-sectors within homebuilding –- from flooring to paints.
And U.S. households may be facing an unseen cost as a result of rising prices in homebuilding: The average home in the U.S. has shrunk considerably over the years.
Bank of America noted that from 1982 to 2017, the average square footage of a home has declined eight times on a year-over-year basis, three of which was during and immediately after the global financial crisis.
The median square footage for a single-family home is now around 2,338 feet, according to fourth quarter data from the NAHB.
Got thoughts on the housing market? Write to MarketWatch reporter Aarthi Swaminathan at email@example.com.