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Starting something new in Cologne

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The trend scouts and futurists will be paying attention to the 15 start-ups presenting their visions of the future during the International Hardware Fair Cologne

For the first time ever at the trade show – known in the German-speaking world as Eisenwarenmesse — 15 start-ups will be presenting their visions of the future to international top decision-makers, trade visitors and exhibitors at three workstations. The Start-up Village is being organized in cooperation with fediyma, the European Federation of DIY Manufacturers and the trend scout and futurist, Richard van Hooijdonk.

The selection of the start-ups and their business models won't be announced until the first day of the fair.

According to organizers of the international event – slated for March 4-7 — new technologies and new business models play an ever-increasingly important role for the entire hardware industry. And the Start-up Village is a response to those new forces.

Fifteen newcomers were chosen from over 1,100 start-ups, who will present new technologies such as virtual reality, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and neurotechnology. They will showcase their products and services to the international trade audience from 4 to 6 March in the form of 20-minute presentations on the stage of the Village.

“In addition to unique business opportunities and new contacts, the Start-up Village offers the participating companies, trade visitors and exhibitors of Eisenwarenmesse – International Hardware Fair Cologne the possibility for an exchange about the current and future developments on the global hardware and DIY market,” reads a prepared statement from Koelnmesse, organizers of the trade fair.

The Village will enable traditional companies to enter the digital space together with the start-ups in order to experience new impulses and possibilities for the future, according to Koelnmesse.

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About that new tax law …

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New changes to U.S. tax laws led 41% of survey respondents to lower their long-term expectations for the U.S. housing market, according to the 2018 Q1 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey.

The quarterly survey, sponsored by Zillow and conducted by Pulsenomics LLC, asked more than 100 housing experts and economists about their expectations for home price growth, and whether tax reform affected these predictions.

When asked how the new tax law impacted their five-year forecast for home values in the U.S., 41% of respondents said their overall housing outlook is now more pessimistic, while 31% of the panelists had a more optimistic view as a result of the tax reform. The remaining 28% of respondents said that tax reform did not change their outlook.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted in December 2017, limited many itemized deductions such as the mortgage interest deduction while expanding the standard deduction. Most taxpayers take the standard deduction, and will see take-home incomes increase as a result of tax reform, providing a boost to spending, savings and investment this year.  

One possible reason for the experts' pessimism is the fear that cutting taxes when the American economy is already running at full capacity increases the risk of a downturn in the next five years. This could push the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates faster than had been expected, according to Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas. 

"By expanding the standard deduction, tax reform will put more money into the typical American's pocket in 2018, which will boost spending and could help renters save faster for a down payment," said Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas. "But the longer-term outlook is less rosy. There is some concern that tax cuts at this point in the business cycle may be throwing fuel on an already ranging fire and could lead the economy to overheat. Most economists we surveyed see a stronger outlook for the housing market over the next year or two but a more pessimistic outlook on the longer horizon."

In the near future, experts raised their predictions from previous surveys for home values as limited inventory and high demand keep prices moving higher.

"The persistent short supply of entry-level homes for sale has highlighted just how bifurcated the U.S. housing market has become," said Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics. "The experts project that the value of homes in the bottom third of the market will appreciate at 6 percent this year—double the rate expected for the highest-priced tertile. Limited inventory of low-priced homes, coupled with expectations for rising interest rates, likely foreshadow a frenetic, anxiety-filled spring buying season for qualified first-time homebuyers."

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HBSDealer Stock Watch: A bullish close to the week

BY HBSDealer Staff

Twenty-seven of the 30 public companies on the HBSDealer Stock Watch finished in positive territory on Friday, with LL leading the way with a 4.24% gain, just ahead of TREX’s  4.05% increase. UFPI fell 5.94%.

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