Editor's note: Ted C. Jones, Chief Economist - Senior Vice President for Stewart Title Guaranty Company, will deliver the closing keynote address at the 2015 Oklahoma Building Summit & Expo on Thursday, August 27. Jones recently shared some of his perspective in advance of the Building Summit. The following is the third of three blog posts from that conversation:
Q: You maintain an active Twitter account and post of a lot of statistics that you have uncovered. How does that help you or your customers?
Ted C. Jones
A: My job description is to provide internal and external customers better information to customers to help them make a better, informed decision. Twitter is basically my own reading and my own research. The stuff I put on there is stuff I find appealing. For instance, last month 40 percent of all existing home sales were on the market for less than 30 days. What that says to me is we still have a sellers market in this country and it was at a higher percentage the month before, which says to me that perhaps our inventory is even shrinking nationwide. And what that says to me is that rents and prices are going to continue to rise.
Q: You also post a lot of what you call "I did not know that" stats. Can you give us an example?
A: For instance, I like the information from the National Association of Home Builders. They have some real pertinent information on their blogs. NAHB, for example, said they were talking about labor shortages with their builders, and 72 percent of builders said there was a real shortage of labor. That means I have three out of four builders who are looking for people. That's probably why we haven't gone back to that 1.1 million new home sales a year, because we can't find the people to build 1.1 million.
Q: What else would you want your Oklahoma audience to know before you speak at the Building Summit?
A: When we walk in there we will have the latest statistics. Ultimately, statistics are like in-laws who stay more than 3 days with you. Remember that infamous line, fresh fish in your refrigerator after three days are just like your in-laws. You have to clean up the mess after they leave. I think that's true of old statistics of any kind. It's got to be fresh. The freshest is the best.