Sequester Could Ruin Your Vacation And More

We’ve already been talking about the sequester and what it could do to affect the Greater Boston area economy. The sequester – $85 billion in federal budget cuts – went into effect March 1. If you’ve been following the news and thinking it will only affect federal employees facing a furlough, you may be wrong.

In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson offers a list of delays, annoyances, and other sequester related problems you could be facing this summer. Check it out, then read on for more surprises.

There’s no way to know with certainty the exact effects budget cuts will have on the Greater Boston area economy. And the sequester is highly politicized, so there’s likely exaggeration on both sides.

Whether all, or any, of these sequester-related hassles come to pass will continue to be a matter of debate. Time will tell.

In the meantime, what do you think? Is the sequester going to cause real problems like those described in the video, or do you welcome the cuts and think the warnings are nothing but political posturing? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.

Sequester Cuts Could Hurt Boston Economy

Boston sequester cuts could hurt a recovering economy and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino called on members of Congress to return to negotiations over the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that went into effect last Friday.

When Sequester Will Affect The Greater Boston Area

Boston Sequester Cuts Could HurtMenino said city-employed workers would start losing their jobs in about two weeks if Congress does not take action on the sequester.

The mayor estimated that Boston stands to lose several millions of dollars in the city’s budget. He said it would affect research, housing assistance, and public health initiatives.

“They’re real things. They’re not some rhetoric by the elected officials in Washington. These are real people that get affected by the inaction of our Congress,” Menino said.

He urged members of Congress to reach a deal.

“This hurts every American in this country. So it’s time for action. Stop the posturing. Let’s get down to business.”

A recent analysis offers “cautious optimism” that the Massachusetts economy will continue to grow modestly in the coming months, despite the threat posed by the automatic federal spending cuts.

The editorial board of MassBenchmarks, a journal published by the Donahue Institute at UMass, forecasts a rebound in exports from the state now that the economies of two major trading partners — Europe and China — have begun to stabilize.

The economists also cite the improving real estate market and an unemployment rate that remains below the national average. They say the state has experienced a “reasonably healthy” recovery.

Just how the sequester may affect Boston Area real estate is still unclear, but we’ll keep you posted right here on our website as time goes on and talks continue between Congress and the White House.

In the meantime, while sequester news continues on, start your search for Greater Boston Area real estate here.

Boston Housing To Drive Economic Growth

The Boston housing recovery is expected to be the primary driver of the Greater Boston area economy this year.

Boston housing expected to drive economic growth in 2013.Homebuilding activity will likely remain the strongest growing component of the economy in 2013, followed by consumer spending, increased domestic energy production, and stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

Home sales rebounded to the strongest level in five years in 2012, as home building bounced back to levels not seen since early in the recession. Near record low mortgage rates, rising home prices and a drop in foreclosures have combined to bring buyers back to the Boston housing market.

Lot of Demand for Boston Housing

There’s a lot of pent-up demand for Boston housing, and very little supply. As demand continues to improve, home builders have nothing to sell. They’ll have to build. Growth in building will mean adding not just construction jobs, but also manufacturing jobs building the appliances and furniture needed in the new homes, which in turn drives overall consumption higher.

Economists say the tight supply and renewed demand for Boston housing should lead to higher home values — about a 3.7% increase is anticipated.

But even with the bullish outlook on Boston housing, economists are still forecasting only a modest rise in the overall economy this year. The consensus estimate is for economic growth of about 2.4% in 2013, only a modest improvement from the 2012 growth rate of about 2% they’re forecasting when the final numbers are in.

The biggest concern economists have is a standoff on Capitol Hill. About three-quarters of those surveyed recently picked Congressional gridlock — which could result in a cutback in federal spending — as the biggest problem facing the U.S. economy.

What do you think? Do you think Boston housing is going to be the leading driver of the Greater Boston area economy this year? Or will another driver take control? We’d love to hear your opinion. Just leave your comment below.

Start your search for Boston housing here.

Things That Used to Be Free

It’s hard to believe, but these days, we pay for many things that used to be free. And you don’t need to be all that old to remember a lot of these “once free” things that we pay for today.

Are there any other things you can think of that used to be free that we now pay for? We’d love to hear what you can add to the list Stacy just mentioned in the video. Use the comment box to sound off.