Economic Forecast for 2012: Brady Sees Stabilization
Ocean City Home Bank President Steve Brady delivers his annual economic forecast to the Ocean City Chamber.
In his 20th annual economic forecast for the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Ocean City Home Bank President Steve Brady used a John F. Kennedy quote to set the stage: "The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain."
Brady addressed a couple hundred business owners and professionals at a luncheon at the Flanders Hotel on Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 19).
He said he saw a lot of signs nationally and locally in 2011 that the economy is stabilizing, including:
- A Dow Jones average that saw its third straight year of gains (after some "head-snapping turns," including 104 triple-digit daily swings).
- A 60-year low for 30-year mortgage rates (3.92 percent).
- A national unemployment rate at 8.5 percent (down from 9.8 percent).
- In Ocean City, 734 property sales in 2011 (up from 643 in 2010).
- In Ocean City, an average sales price of $564,000 in 2011 (down just $1,000 from the 2010 average).
- In Ocean City, a relatively flat change in permits issued for new construction.
Brady said Ocean City and the region will be better equipped for economic success in 2012 with the completion of the Route 52 causeway and the continued success of events such as First Night and the downtown's Old-Fashioned Family Christmas. In the region, he noted the sale of Atlantic City's Steel Pier, financing for the completion of the Revel casino, concerts at Atlantic City's Bader Field and the completion of the Shore Medical Center as examples of positive developments.
His predictions for the economy in 2012 don't include any dramatic booms or busts.
"We've got to stay positive," Brady said. "Things are stabilizing."
The two big impediments he'd like to see removed: health care and the regulatory environment.
Each is needlessly complex, he said, and a potential drag on a small business owner.