What is your take on the market?


I hear conflicting news about the market. I'm confused between what I read and what I see. Housing prices seem to be rising while I still see commercial office lease signs in just about every office area. I hear the employment market is fine for architects but that seems to be regional. I don't know any unemployed architects at the moment yet I've noticed, over a decade, fewer architect offices in the urban core. The last time I checked the Architectural Billings Index looked to be back where it was prior to 2008 which could suggest that everyone should be back to work but that might not be the only indicator or it might not correlate at all with architecture jobs.   

I'm confused. I can't tell if we are in recovery or another recession in on the way in the next 5 years. After the great depression, and I know we are all tired of these comparisons, the recovery for architects took almost 30 years. If this is going to be a 30 year climb, well, I don't know. I guess that is a cost / benefit I'd evaluate.    

Jan 13, 14 5:35 pm

All the shitty contractors and subs went out of business, the good contractors still remain but are busy so it is hard to pin them down, construction costs went up to cover their losses, the amount of people with money to build went way down, unless they were very rich to begin with, architects are getting low-balled left and right because some other dude is giving it away for half price.  Even though house prices are on the up, you can still buy and existing home and land for way cheaper that it costs to build new.  Construction loans and financing are very hard to get.  architects loose, banks win; go neo-feudalism!

Jan 13, 14 6:09 pm

The market has over shot its self. The middle class will be non-existent in 10 years here in America. As the baby boomers retire and give more of their inheritance to their children which are in there 40's and 50's, they will sell out to the multinational corporations that are willing to buy the last remaining value left in America, hence the insurgence in the stock market. The greatest nation in the world has been hollowed out to something reminiscent of the cactus that once existed. Do you hear the echos, I know I do. My grandfather would be appalled by 2/3 of his children, and it's not even their fault... do not listen to you're parents!

Jan 13, 14 6:30 pm
wurdan freo

"Everyone should be back to work" Are you kidding me? Are you blind? If everyone was back to work, we would be looking at a booming time in the economy. As it is the the economy is sputtering along because people and business have been able to slowly deleverage since the credit bubble burst six years ago. Architecture firms are no where near the employment levels they had pre bust. Most companies are no where near employment levels they had pre bust. 

A simple google search will give you tons of data on the still painful unemployment rate

Additionally... just because you finally got a job after you've been laid off for multiple years doesn't mean you've replaced your income and you probably have credit problems. Many, many people are still struggling. 

At the end of the day... all markets are local... so maybe stating what market you are in would shed some light on your comments. 

I see 5 more years of this sputtering along before the economy is churning again. Assuming of course, the trillions of dollars being printed by the fed doesn't cause the dollar to collaspe, the current fed bubble doesn't cause another crash, the money being printed by the fed doesn't cause hyperinflation and the US doesn't get sucked into WWIII in the middle east or civil war.  

Jan 13, 14 7:26 pm

Wow -- what a depressing group of comments ^ ^ ^ ^

Jan 13, 14 7:34 pm
wurdan freo

alright Stone. Point taken. :P One of my New Years Resolutions was to be more positive so hear we go!

Because of the crash and subsequent recession. There is a huge opportunity right now for quality subcontractors. Not white collar GCs. Those guys are a dime a dozen, but the guys who actually get the work done. Come up with a solid business plan for producing something of value and it could be a gold mine. Assuming of course, the trillions of dollars being printed by the fed doesn't cause the dollar to collaspe, the current fed bubble doesn't cause another crash, the money being printed by the fed doesn't cause hyperinflation and the US doesn't get sucked into WWIII in the middle east or civil war. :)

Jan 13, 14 7:54 pm

The market?  There is no market anymore, it's all fraud.  Stocks are up because Fed printing.  Only the HFTs make any real money there anymore, everyone else is a sucker.  You got 401k and think you'll get some money out of it someday?  Ha ha, just wait, the joke will be on you.  Stocks are up but company earnings continue to  slide?  Yeah that's a disconnect.

Houseing is fraud too.  Prices remain artifically pumped because gov involvement & insurance gurantee.

And frankly, stocks dont' really matter that much anyways because it's all a secondary market.  Gov bond market has far bigger implications.  Although Fed can print money, states & municipalities are fucked because they keep taking debt to service debt.  Detroit is just the first drop in the waterfall.

Europe is fucked too.  the Eurozone is a disaster and should be immediately rescinded but the elites have too much at stake to let the people win that battle.  Bloodshed is likely coming.

Japan?  Fucked city.  Even with zirp they are paying a quarter of their income to cover debt service.  Even  a minor interest rate rise will collapse them.  And abenomics is destroiying the exchange rate of the yen (which might be good) except japan is heavily reliant on imported energy, especially now that nuclera has become such a liability there.

Probably best to move to africa & start practising the hunter-gather thing.  Seriously, even if the internet is still working in 10 years, I would be shocked if most of our threads are dog recipes.

Jan 14, 14 10:05 am

The self-described smartest people in the world are busy mining / burning / poisoning the planet for maximum personal profit with the happy assistance of the governments they control and the begrudging assitance of a world full of slaves and indentured servents. 

Jan 14, 14 10:39 am

i think there has been some improvement in the market.  essentially, there is some sort of natural growth that got suspended during the recession since people that were in a position to invest/grow their company in a way that involves an architect held off due to the uncertainty.  we got a bit of stability and they released the money and went forward with their projects.  for 2014, i expect to see mostly stagnation.  not a lot of decline, but then not much growth either.

might be fun to hunter-gather in africa, but i would want the gps on my phone to locate water sources and such....

Jan 14, 14 10:43 am

Then I must be in an anecdotal bubble where I don't know anyone unemployed and construction has been going on all around me. I see people going to work every day and enjoying life without any signs of hardship. None of which seems to corroborate with what I read in the news or experience hence the ponderous disconnect with reality prompting the initial question. I know it has been said that one shouldn't look into their neighbor's bowl unless it is to see if they have enough. Yet when the news and the anecdotal observations don't jibe one might need to check reality with the experience of other people. As in WTF is going on because none of this makes sense.  

Jan 14, 14 12:38 pm

atom, what region are you in?

also, when you say every architect you know is working, do you know very many architects?  have you seen any go into different fields?

what sort of projects are you seeing get build?  like, multi-family, or office or industrial or something?  a mixture of pretty much everything?

Jan 14, 14 12:50 pm
Non Sequitur

Market is booming in Canada.

Jan 14, 14 1:01 pm

 Revision_After reading Ji-lax's post on the other thread, I am guessing that 2/3rds my grandfathers children may not have listen to him enough.

But if I were the children of those 'children'...wink wink, I would not listen to them at all.

Jan 14, 14 1:22 pm

Foru whatever it worth, Baltic dry index is continuing to collapse.

Jan 15, 14 9:20 am

^ Great site. Don't forget to stock up on precious metals.

Jan 15, 14 10:02 am

Booze & cigarettes are also a good hedge against fiat currency for those of you who can't afford gold & silver.

Jan 15, 14 11:08 am

"...what region are you in?" My own slice of purgatory, it may be the only thing I ever own. 

" you know very many architects?"  Lots

"...have you seen any go into different fields?"  Only the brightest and most creative. Maybe they are the ones Darwin must have been talking about, the ones that can adapt.  

"...what sort of projects are you seeing?" Multi-family mostly, office - none, industrial - no because after NAFTA the industrial went to Mexico and now China's manufactuing has left parts of Mexico vacant.  

Jan 15, 14 2:50 pm

oddly enough, you make purgatory sound like a pretty nice place.  perhaps just the other side of the big rock candy mountains?

Jan 15, 14 2:57 pm

The first firm I worked for outta college was a multi-family office. Once mid-2008 hit after the Lehman and AIG collapse it went from 75 ppl to 12 in 1.5 years. The book keeper, and the HR lady made it through the torrent, not may others. I'd be stocking up on cigarettes and booze. All seasoned architects know that another rift could happen from the slightest butterfly effect.

Hopefully you are seasoned!

Jan 15, 14 3:41 pm

Just to be crystal clear, I recommend cigarettes & booze not for consumpiton but as a store of value (a less expensive version of gold & silver).  When the shit really hits the fan (& those dollare & euros in your pocket become worthless) then you'll need something to trade if you hope to eat.

Cigarettes and (especially small) bottles of booze work very well as alternative currency in a crisis. 

Jan 15, 14 4:04 pm

lol... I hope everyone picked that up. Are you drunk already?

Remember, those shooters are for bad times Hansum.

Jan 15, 14 4:10 pm
Non Sequitur

Handsum, that post might be the closest thing to reality that you've written in a while. They must not have passed over your card-board box with them chemtrail machines this week.

Jan 15, 14 4:12 pm

Everything I write is reality.  That's why everyone rejects it which is probably for the best.  If people start actually listening to my rants, I'll quickly become public enemy and will probably soon die in an "accident."

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand, the market.   Ilargi over at Automatic Earth just torched the idea that housing & stocks equal recovery.  The important thing is, where's the debt? and when you look at it that way, it's some scary shit.

They USA, for instance, is looking at the serious problem of having debt payments (the interest they owe) exceeding tax revenues in just a few more years.  That's game over when China or Russia declares checkmate and watches as America sinks into destitution.

Jan 16, 14 12:11 pm

Nah, they'll just print more money. Eventually it won't be worth anything. Then your value will be determined by what you can do rather than what you have or how much you stole. Whether or not there is still a habitble planet at that point is the question.

Jan 16, 14 12:19 pm

or they'll spend that money building armies across several continents...

how do you really force collection of a debt with mutually assured destruction as a thing?

Jan 16, 14 12:20 pm

Debt is just a tool of enslavement. It's all phony money. 

Jan 16, 14 12:25 pm

A general observation - archinect may have more economists than licensed architects!

Jan 16, 14 1:03 pm

Yeah, and most claimed economist could probably be better used as architects, or at least CAD monkeys.

Jan 16, 14 1:11 pm

^ Garbage men. They are already familiar with the territory.

Jan 16, 14 1:48 pm

MJ: "Debt is just a tool of enslavement."

​Odd, I always thought enslavement was an "involuntary" condition -- not sure I'm aware of any situations where somebody has been forced to take on debt.

Jan 16, 14 7:50 pm

Your comment shows just how uninformed/misinformed you are. Watch...

Jan 16, 14 8:22 pm

Yeah, right -- I'm going to watch a 2 hour and 41 minute video based on some vague insult.

Jan 16, 14 8:38 pm

The best slave is the one who thinks he's free.

Jan 16, 14 8:48 pm
Saint in the City

The Peter Joseph followers make good ones, too.

Jan 16, 14 8:58 pm

Asks question about market, finds profession filled with anger, hate, and discontent. A bunch of architects gone bat shit nuts. Today I learned the market is bat shit nuts.  

Jan 16, 14 10:18 pm

 I can only report what I see. I was out of work for 5 years and didn't have a single interview until recently. About a month ago it, many Dallas area firms started hiring multiple people. I had 3 interviews in a month and got hired last week. Every firm I interviewed with said they were so busy that they were afraid to take the time to train new people. The firm that hired me is very busy.

 The firms are still looking for people with lots of experience. They are asking for very specific skills, but the experienced people seem to be getting hired up and the requirements to get hired are becoming less rigid. I feel bad for new grads, but experienced people should be able to find a job in this market now. That wasn't the case even a few months ago.

I don't know if this will sustain or not, I am sure any bad news could make people afraid to build, and a recession could come again. But then again, people want things to be good, and a good attitude is important to a strong economy. All I can say is that I am happy to be working again. Some of the negative things about architecture as a career choice seem trivial when you are unemployed for 5 years.

Jan 16, 14 10:40 pm
Saint in the City

^ 5 years out of work?  Wow.  What did you do during that time?

I was out of work for a few months a couple years ago.  Much shorter time than you, but I still distinctly recall all of the awful feelings.  And the relief of a new job.  

Congrats on the new job.

Jan 17, 14 10:25 am

three points that refute recovery as taken from the beast unleashed, deflation.  An excerpt:

The key relationship for housing is home prices relative to income, NOT nominal prices. Stocks are valued relative to earnings. Homes have to be priced relative to incomes. Today, the median US income is $51K. The median home price is $328K. So homes are priced at 6.4X incomes. To put this into perspective, in 2007, the housing bubble was only marginally higher than this with homes priced at 6.8X incomes. So housing, which is alleged to be in a recovery, is not much more affordable today than it was in 2007… at a time when home prices were more overpriced than at any point in the last 100 YEARs

Jan 17, 14 12:52 pm

 Thanks Saint, I was not bored at all being out of work for 5 years. I played music every day. I also learned Revit and Sketchup, and generally kept up with my skills. But it feels REAL good to be back working. 

Jan 18, 14 12:12 am

"The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs"
Karl Marx

Feb 4, 14 7:58 pm

"The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs"

Feb 12, 14 3:18 am

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