Shares of home improvement giants Home Depot and Lowe's hit 52-week lows Monday amid increasing pessimism in the housing market, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Home Depot closed at $29.75, down 65 cents, while Lowe's closed at $25.13, down 87 cents. Analysts say they aren't exactly surprised, since trouble in the real estate sector means homeowners are less likely to take on costly improvements.
The Journal-Constitution quotes a Deutsche Bank Securities analyst, Mike Baker, as predicting that the depressed housing market may likely continue throughout next year. Others have said home prices could drop further, and that fortunes are not likely to turn around soon for the remodeling and improvement industries.
So what does this mean for greens? On one hand, slowing home construction could be a boon for wildlife and open space, as sprawl is curtailed. Decreasing pressure from speculators and developers suggest less encroachment will take place into wilderness areas.
Perhaps home sizes will slow their relentless march upwards, which means each family will have a smaller ecological footprint in terms of natural resources required and land taken up. Perhaps fewer Americans will consider getting a second or third home, something that vastly expands their impact.
On one hand, consumers may feel like they have less money to invest in green building features like energy-saving appliances and solar panels. On the other, there may be more incentive to do so, both to save money in the long haul, and to try to get a leg up on the competition by offering attractive features that distinguish your property from the many other available ones in the area.
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