> With an unemployment rate that has dropped
steadily since its peak in February, North Carolina is
now the third-best state in the country for declining
> With 36,700 jobs created in the last 12 months and
commitments for 30,000 new ones, it's understand-
able why North Carolina ranks fourth in the nation for
> North Carolina was recently ranked by Forbes
Magazine as the third-best state for business - up from
No. 5 a year ago, while Asheville and Durham were
named among the top 10 best places to retire.
> In September, retail sales rose for the third straight
month, a sign economists say should alleviate fears of
a double-dip recession since consumer spending
accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
> Housing starts hit a five-month high in September, a
tentative sign of improvement in the housing market.
When compared to September last year, housing starts
were up 4.1 percent.
> The country continues to regain its confidence in the
housing market. A survey by Fannie Mae shows 70
percent of Americans believe now is a good time to buy
a home - up from 64 percent in January.
> A six-month supply of homes is one of the barometers
of a healthy housing market. In September, the number
of unsold new homes fell to the lowest level since 1968
and declined from an 8.6-month supply of homes the
previous month to an eight-month supply.
> Housing affordability conditions are 60 percent better
today than they were during the housing boom. And
qualified buyers are taking notice. In September, existing
home sales rose 10 percent when compared to the
> While a total of 288,345 properties were lost to fore-
closure in the third quarter, default notices - the first
step in the foreclosure process - declined 21 percent
from the same period last year.
> New help is now available in 17 North Carolina coun-
ties to homeowners who are struggling to make their
mortgage payments through the N.C. Foreclosure
Prevention Fund. Starting in December, assistance will
be available statewide and is expected to help 21,000
struggling N.C. homeowners.