Most of the coverage of the companies impacted by the housing slowdown has focused on homebuilders and mortgage lenders. But what about everyone else associated with a new home purchase? A new survey from Move, Inc., the collection of real estate-related businesses formerly known as Homestore.com, highlights the huge spillover the housing boom has had on other companies. The study estimates that homebuyers and renters spend $170 billion annually on moving-related products and services, about $9,000 per household. Half that is invested in the home, including decorating, improvement and repairs. The rest goes to recurring services like banking, cable TV, telephone and Internet access. Movers often switch to new grocery stores, insurance companies, auto mechanics and pharmacies. Move found that many buying decisions were clustered around the two weeks immediately before and after a move. The majority of people surveyed reported purchasing major appliances, home electronics, furniture, window treatments, bedding, lawn and pest control supplies, all within the first two weeks of moving. What’s also important for marketers is that customer loyalty is often up for grabs as movers reassess their purchases, opting in some cases to trade up to higher-end brands. No wonder Home Depot stock is off 18% from its high for the year, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (of which Home Depot is a member) flirts with record highs.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.