Tightening the Sun Belt

The real estate growth that had been feeding itself in the Sun Belt has come to an end. Now many places like Phoenix are drying up.
August 29, 2009, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"These areas share one thing besides their warm climates. To a degree unmatched in the rest of the country, their recent prosperity was built not on manufacturing, technology or natural resources, but on construction and real estate - growth for its own sake.

As other areas tasted the excesses of the housing boom, they gorged on it. From 2002 to 2006, about 20 percent of private industry growth in the United States was tied to real estate and construction. In the Phoenix area, almost 36 percent of growth in the private economy during that period - more than $34 billion worth - came from real estate and construction."

New construction has almost stopped completely in Sub Belt cities, leading many there to wonder what future lies ahead for the up-until-recently booming region.

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Published on Thursday, August 27, 2009 in The New York Times
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