Chamber hosts State of Economy Thursday

State Of The Economy

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama hosted their annual State of the Economy breakfast Thursday.

The Chamber, along with many business and city leaders across Tuscaloosa, gathered for a discussion on the local economy’s health.

Topics included housing, key growth areas for 2022 and what leaders can do to help improve things further.

During the housing discussion, Alabama Center for Real Estate Associate Director Stuart Norton discussed rising home prices because of elevated demand and low inventory.

Right now, there’s not enough supply of homes first-time homebuyers seek out, meaning fewer people are getting into the housing market.

“I spoke with a builder recently, and in years past you could specify what brand of appliances you wanted and now it’s just your house will have appliances, but it might take a while,” Norton said. “To me, that’s just an interesting example of the supply chain issues that are faced by many industries not just home building.”

But higher home prices may also give people an incentive to sell, Norton said.

“There’s a housing shortage in pretty much all communities around the nation, and the solution will be a mixture of for-sale and for-rent properties,” Norton said.

Some of the rising house prices tie into inflation, which was discussed by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Vice President and Regional Executive Anoop Mishra.

“Inflation is here,” Mishra said. “There are labor issues that all communities are facing, not just in Alabama but nationwide. As we look into 2022, we need to make sure that we acknowledge that these are two fundamental issues that we are going to need to confront and work through.”

It’s important for business owners to understand wage pressure isn’t going away, and that should inform how businesses consider how to retain and attract quality employees.

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