Archive for November, 2011

No Surprise – Number of Businesses In Piedmont Triad Down Due to Recession

We’ve heard a lot about the rise in unemployment in the Piedmont Triad due to the Great Recession, but according to a new report it’s not just that businesses shrank their payrolls, many of them disappeared outright:

Greensboro-High Point had 17,838 businesses in 2009, down 2.7 percent to 18,324 in 2008, the On Numbers analysis shows. Winston-Salem lost 3.3 percent of its businesses during that same time period, with businesses declining from 10,818 to 10,457, according to the analysis.

In Burlington, the number of businesses declined from 3,309 to 3,212 between 2008 and 2009, a 2.9 percent drop.

Businesses in the Thomasville-Lexington region dropped by 4.2 percent from 2,916 businesses to 2,795 during that same time period, while Mount Airy saw businesses decline from 1,737 to 1,693, a 2.5 percent decrease.

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November 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

Forsyth County Appraisers Already Preparing for 2013 Revaluation

Heads up to all property owners in Forsyth County, preparation is already under way for a 2013 revaluation:

The county last went through revaluation in 2009. It was an arduous process: Coming as it did during a real estate meltdown that gripped many parts of the country, some argued that the entire process that year be scrapped. A 4-3 vote on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners kept the 2009 revaluation in place.

This time, tax officials have a different challenge: a decline in the volume of sales makes it harder to track what is going on in Forsyth County neighborhoods. But Tax Assessor John Burgiss is confident that between his team of trained assessors and the technical tools they have to help them, the job will get done right.

“We don’t make the market — we follow it,” Burgiss said.

The assessor’s office has divided the county into nine sections, with an appraiser over each sector for residential property. The county is divided into four sections for commercial real estate.

By the time revaluation is finished, appraisers will have examined all 160,000 parcels in the county.

November 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

Breaking Ground in the Piedmont Triad

There’s been a flurry of new apartment construction announcements in the Piedmont Triad over the last couple of weeks, namely:

Signature Property Group just announced they plan to add 216 units to the  Gardens at Anthony House community in Greensboro.

Lomax Properties is planning a 196-unit community – Greenway at Fisher Park Apartments – near the Newbridge Bank Ballpark in Greensboro.

Chris Parr announced plans to build a 310-unit community – Stafford Place – off of Peters Creek Parkway on the south side of Winston-Salem.

In downtown Winston-Salem a motel has been converted to a 104-unit community called Hilltop House Apartments.

November 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

450 SF Origami Apartment

What can you do with 450 square feet?  Apparently a lot!

November 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm Leave a comment

Creative Ideas for Developing Creativity

Lauren Boston has a nice post on the NAA blog about incorporating creativity into your work regimen:

Once a month she hosts a day with her staff devoted to ideas and innovation. On the appointed day, employees report to the office at their normal time and Zumo distributes a list of topics. Staff members are then permitted to spend the day any way they choose—be it on the property or off the property (but not, despite what they may do across the pond, drinking).

At day’s end, the employees regroup to discuss what they’ve come up with. The concept is called a FedEx Day, because you are expected to deliver something overnight. To be paid for the day employees just have to produce an idea.

The first FedEx Day was a hit and resulted in several great ideas, such as Assistant Manager Erin McNorton’s plan to help manage the property’s many rambunctious children through a ‘Get Caught Being Good’ program.

To encourage good behavior, the staff printed a list of do’s and don’ts for children and distributed it throughout the property. Now, whenever a staff member sees a well-behaved child doing something such as picking up trash or walking quietly in the breezeways, he or she gives the child a special coin. The coins can be brought to the community office and be exchanged for prizes such as small toys and candy.

November 14, 2011 at 9:14 am Leave a comment

NC School of Government Produces Guide to Rental Property Inspections Law

The North Carolina School of Government has published an extensive, 27-page guide to the state’s new rental inspections law enacted in July, 2011.  Of particular note the guide provides a couple of easy-to-understand charts that outline under what circumstances a property or management company may be inspected.  You can find a PDF copy of the guide here:

Residential Rental Property Inspections, Permits, and Registration: Questions and Answers

November 11, 2011 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

More Employers Questioning Need to Offer Health Insurance

Some of the insights shared at a recent Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce meeting about the state of the health care industry will probably not come as a shock to any business person who’s been paying attention the last few years:

Keith Kiser, a senior vice president for BB&T Insurance Services, said his group is fielding more questions from employers about the justification for providing health insurance to employees, besides as a carrot to hire and retain quality workers.

“Chief executives and chief financial officers are fully engaged in these conversations these days,” Kiser said, considering the cost of providing health insurance typically ranging from $8,000 to $10,000 for each employee.

The 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation study on employer health benefits, out in September, found 99 percent of large companies — 200 or more workers — offer health benefits, but only 48 percent of those with three to nine employees do and 59 percent of those with 3 to 199 workers do.

Three-quarters of small firms (3-199 employees) not offering health benefits believed their employees would prefer a $2 an hour increase in wages rather than health insurance, Kaiser said.

Kiser said the reality that 1 in 5 consumer dollars goes to health-care costs “does keep you awake a night.”

This trend will likely get more prominent as the new federal health regulations, aka Obamacare, go into effect:

The federal health-care overhaul will allow employers to stop providing health insurance — beginning in 2014 — with their employees going into a government-controlled exchange.

However, employers with 50 or more workers that don’t offer coverage will be required to pay $2,000 for each full-time employee in its full-time work force. The fee begins if at least one employee enrolls in a plan through a health-insurance exchange and receives a federal subsidy. Two part-time workers are considered as one full-time employee.

The top executives at Blue Cross Blue Shield N.C., Novant Health Inc. and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center said they empathize with businesses’ concerns about health-care costs since they are large employers as well as providers.

So, spend $8-10,000 insuring your employees or pay the government $2,000 for not insuring them.  An interesting question, especially when you consider that companies only started offering health insurance in general during World War II as a way to entice workers in a highly competitive hiring market.  It’s a relatively recent phenomenon in American history for companies to provide health insurance to their employees and over the years it became a kind of “least common denominator” in terms of employee benefits packages.  That began to change when health care costs started to explode, and now it looks like health insurance is returning to it’s original role – a very nice perk that can act as a set of “golden handcuffs” for valued employees.

It will be interesting to see how this impacts apartment management companies, many of which are small companies, and the many small businesses that serve them.

November 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm Leave a comment

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