Matcha Green Tea and Matcha Powder

Matcha Green Tea

So if green tea is the road to health, then Matcha Green Tea is the freeway. Drinking one cup of this ingredient packed brew can be compared to drinking approximately 10 cups of regularly prepared green tea. If you are a fan of the health benefits that green tea provides through the delivery of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, then you should be a raving fanatic of matcha powder.

Matcha Benefits Comparison

How Matcha Compares to Other Health Drinks

We list the 8 Benefits of Green Tea in our GT review. The benefits of Matcha remain the same although greatly enhanced due to concentration. We know that, compared to regular green tea, Matcha is about ten times more powerful. What about other healthy beverages though? How does this power-packed version of green tea stack up to other drinks like Pomegranate or Gojiberries? If you look at the chart below, you may be mildly shocked at the results.

Almost 15 times the antioxidant benefit of Pomegranate and more than 100 times that of Spinach, our supercharged GT delivers a powerhouse of healthy ingredients. How is it so much more powerful than regularly brewed green tea? Well the secret is in the grinding of the leaf. When you brew a tea, you only get a fraction of the ingredients as they are steeped into the water. With Matcha, it is a powder ground from the entire leaf so all of the benefit of the green tea extract is boiled into your morning beverage.

If you are inclined to know more about the ingredients found in a single serving, here are some additional studies provided courtesy of Brunswick Laboratories (see tables at the bottom of the page). This form of green tea powder has become extremely popular and demand has been rapidly rising. When looking at the comparative analysis, it is pretty easy to see why popularity is growing at such a fast pace.

Matcha Ingredients

Matcha Green Tea Ingredients

It is readily apparent that our Super Tea is ingredient rich and contains a plethora of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. All of this is delivered with almost no calories. It truly is a powerhouse of health, even compared to other so called healthy drinks (see comparison below).

Matcha Detailed Comparison

Matcha Green Tea Detailed Comparison

Green Tea and Green Tea Extract Benefits

Green Tea Your Way to Health

Green Tea – a figment of your healthy imagination or a does it have real benefit? Like supplements, green tea can have a placebo affect on our body and mental impact that helps us feel healthier. When we look at the real effects however, we might be surprised. A double blind study was performed in 2003 that showed the viability of green tea as compared to participants who just took a placebo. This study is published in the US National Library of Medicine that shows a positive reaction in those participants who actually drank green tea.

Green Tea and Medicinal Impact

“Participants treated with a combination regimen of topical and oral green tea showed histologic improvement in elastic tissue content.” ( This was a conclusion that suggests that green tea, in any format, has a positive impact on cell content inhibiting photoaging in study participants. The significance of the impact to photoaging was inconclusive, but the results still show positive reaction.

Eight Top Benefits of Green Tea

There are numerous posts and articles on the benefits of green tea or green tea extracts ranging from health to mental acuity and weight loss. Many are simply claims and have little substance to the argument that this type of tea has an impact on our well-being. There are however, some factors that have a concrete basis with enough validity to put the positive effects, and the beverage itself, in the plus column. Proponents of green tea (GT) and green tea extract (GTE) suggest that one or both can do the following;

  1. High in Flavonoid Antioxidants – Can lower your risk of various types of cancer. It is well-known that antioxidants can minimize damage leading to cancer by isolating and reducing free radicals in your system.
  2. Increases Fat Burning for Weight Loss – Not to be confused with the effects that caffeine can have on the body, it is claimed that green tea elevates the burning of fat within the body. In other words, it is supposed to enhance your metabolism resulting in higher rate of fat burn and increased weight loss. There are studies that validate this statement and there are studies that show no impact so let us know if you have tried green tea or green tea extract as a fat burning solution.
  3. Improves Brain Function and Neuron Stimulation – Aside from caffeine to wake up your brain cells, green tea contains an amino acid, L-theanine, that has promotes neurotransmitter activity in the brain. This is, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (, an ingredient that accelerates activity in the brain theoretically making you smarter. Who needs a brain pill?
  4. Contains Bioactive Compounds That Improve Health – Green tea contains flavonoids and catechins such as EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate). These are powerful antioxidants proven to reduce free radicals that can cause molecular damage. The suggested benefits are slowed cellular aging, reduced risk of cancer and disease treatment.
  5. Lowers Risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – Ingredients in this beverage are said to reduce the risk of these diseases through increased brain activity and neuron stimulation. There is little basis for this conclusion however studies done in cultures that drink green tea show a lower population percentage of these diseases overall.
  6. Kills Bacteria – Just like your favorite mouthwash commercial, kills bacteria that can cause bad breath and reduces your risk of infection. GT ingredients, specifically ECGC, are shown to fight germs and fight infections. There is some basis to this statement.
  7. Lowers Risk of Type II Diabetes – Again, minimal substance to the studies, but some ingredients are known to enhance sensitivity to insulin thereby improving risk of Type II Diabetes. Population studies have shown smaller percentage of individuals with this disease even though the number of people diagnosed worldwide with Type II has exploded in recent years.
  8. May Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease – Antioxidants shield LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation which is a primary contributor to cardiovascular and heart disease. Basically, GT lowers the bad cholesterol while protecting the good cholesterol. It is claimed with some substantiation that people who drink this regularly have reduced risk of heart disease.

Green Tea Helps You Live Longer

Regardless of the validity of claims that GT is beneficial to your health, there is substantive proof that the beverage holds at least some positive impact. The ingredients alone target oxidization which is known to damage health over time. Coupled with amino acids and neuron transmittal, even if there is a minimal reduction in risk of disease, then I am better off drinking this compared to some of the other beverages I consume.

Green tea on steroids. If you are looking for maximum benefit from the tea you drink, you may want to look at Matcha. This is a GT powder chock full of more antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals than its more tame sibling. You can learn more about Matcha Powder here, but suffice it to say that Matcha is made from the entire tea leaf so it is more potent from an ingredient perspective.

I look at it this way, I drink coffee in the morning. What if I substitute Green Tea instead? Positive results have been shown to occur in a short period of time that can positively impact my cardiovascular system, my fat percentage / weight as well as my mental health and acuity. If I still get the benefit of a caffeine shot in the morning and the side effects are positive then it is worth the minor change. Probable case scenario, I still get a good tasting, warm beverage with caffeine (or caffeine free) in the morning and realize some change in health. Not a bad trade-off.

Virtual Counselor - TownSpeaks Technology

Virtual Counselor

Technology brings us to the age where communication and interaction have become more impersonal. Data moves at the speed of light, but what are some of the negatives associated with the age of technology? Have we forgotten the human equation as we hurtle into the future? Technology even provides us with solutions for personal well-being. Introducing the virtual counselor.

Virtual Counselor – The Power of Technology

What is the biggest detractor in technology? Is it the speed of information and the constant bombardment of input? Perhaps it is the onslaught of immediacy and how everyone expects everything right now. There is no delay in demand and it is only getting worse. Maybe it is that our bosses and colleagues, thanks to 24/7 connectivity, no longer show any boundaries when it comes to expectations. Whatever you define as the biggest drawback of technology, the one common aspect is that it makes our lives more impersonal. Enter the virtual counselor.

Millennials, along with members of generations past and future, have grown increasingly used to technology as the primary form of communication and they have become accustomed to the impersonal interaction of text and email. Interpersonal communication, including the subtle art of reading expression and inflection, is getting edged out by the phone and computer screen. The problem? We, as humans, are not built that way. We need interface. Enter the virtual counselor. If you would like to explore more about the role of technology in virtual counseling, there is an interesting article from the American Counseling Association – The Role of Technology in Counseling.

The Virtual Counselor – What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us

When we think of a virtual counselor, we think of someone online who can answer questions and help us navigate difficult or challenging emotional waters, but virtual counseling is much more than that. When you think of counseling, maybe you think of counseling for kids or marriage counseling. These are only two of areas that make up a vast online presence. Here is a brief list of the different types of counseling.

  • Marriage and Family
  • Guidance and Career
  • Rehabilitation
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse
  • Educational
  • Debt counseling
  • Child development counseling
  • Eating disorder therapy
  • Grief counseling
  • Art therapy
  • Musical therapy

These are just a few areas of specialty, but what is unique is that each area now has a significant online presence. No matter what type of assistance you need, you can find it online. Now here is where it really gets interesting. Most of the online or virtual counselor listings you will find are to professionals you can find online. So really, many of the listings you find are simply listings to private or public practices or counselors.

The Truly Virtual Counselor

But where is technology taking us? The interaction between human and machine has become a dependent relationship between user and mechanism for transport. With Quantum Computing on the near horizon and our electronic volumes of interactive data, we are getting closer to an AI form, but we will never be able to truly create Artificial Intelligence. We cannot create a sentient being any more than we can create gravity. Maybe someday, but not yet.

What we can do right now however, is mimic human interaction and recreate responses that reflect what society considers a “correct” answer to almost any question that can be asked. So does this mean that search engines will become our virtual counselor? The solution will be some form of data construct that will provide answers to questions we have. Look at Siri who is even programmed to answer inane questions. Look at Google, Yahoo and the rest of the search engine platforms built to query through mountains of data almost instantaneously

To learn more about human and computer interface, there is an excellent read – Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction: Design for All and Accessibility Practice. You can learn where we are headed as a society and how our interface with computers and technology will evolve.

To artificial intelligence, we have a long way to go and it is doubtful that we will be able to recreate intelligence in our lifetime or lifetimes immediately following. We will continue to improve technology’s capability to respond based on recreated human response. Mimic is not a form of intelligence, though we will continue down that path because we are human.

Amazon Echo

Seriously. Amazon Echo is just cool and it may even be the start of something much bigger. Ever thought about talking to a device that can answer all your questions, play music and accomplish simple verbal tasks and commands. Okay, so that is cool but Siri does that right? Well, yes and no.

What is Amazon Echo and how does amazon echo work? Amazon Tap.

What is Amazon Echo?

Thought you would never ask. Echo is the first real attempt at vocal home management where you can simply say a command or make a request and it comes true. Like failed attempts at smart home devices, there are always the physical limitations and dependencies on hardware to accomplish physical tasks. In other words, to turn off the lights or adjust the thermostat, you have to buy the accessories like the voice remote or the WeMo plug-in devices. They are already available and you can see all the available accessories if you scroll to the bottom of this article.

If you want less of a footprint you can get the smaller version appropriately labeled Amazon Dot or if voice activated assistance is not your thing, you can get the Amazon Tap where you tap the mic button on the unit to interact.

The Amazon Echo starts around $179.99 while the Amazon Dot retails for $89.99. If you prefer the physical trigger then look at the Amazon Tap going for $129.99. To learn more or to purchase these items, follow the links. They will take you directly to Amazon – your trusted online source.

What Does Amazon Echo Do?

Another great question, but the real question is “What does Amazon Echo not do?” Okay, maybe that is going just a little too far. The Amazon Echo can’t do a lot of things. Yet! It is, however, the first step toward having a mainstream market, automated home butler. As the Amazon Echo and its accessories expand, it will become capable of much more.

Currently, here are some of the things it can do to make your life easier.

  • Plays all your music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and more using just your voice. It can even play your iTunes library if you import it.
  • Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio
  • Allows hands-free convenience with voice-control
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
  • Answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and more using the Alexa Voice Service
  • Controls lights, switches, and thermostats with compatible WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, Nest, and ecobee smart home devices
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features and skills–over 100 added since launch, including Domino’s and Uber

Granted, the bullet list above is from Amazon, but here are some critical points that are easily missed. Amazon Echo is working to be platform agnostic so it can play or do across multiple devices and platforms. That makes it universally acceptable and this is very important to the future success of the Amazon Echo platform. Where you have a phone connection and Amazon Echo, it has the ability to do your tasks for you including ordering a pizza or getting you an Uber ride without you having to pickup a phone. Whether we realize it or not, this is a serious step toward home automation services.

Amazon Echo vs. Siri

What about Siri? Wasn’t that the first try at voice automation? Short answer is yes, Siri is a valid effort around voice automation and interacting verbally with a device designed to make your life easier. There are two points, however, where we have to make a distinction between the Amazon Echo (Alexa Voice) service and Siri.

First, the feud between Amazon Echo and Siri is going to be fought on different battlegrounds. Where Siri is an application geared toward mobile interface and use, Amazon Echo is focused on the home and helping a user manage their environment. There is a significant crossover section and that is where Echo comes in. The question that will differentiate this battle is whether our smartphone is a viable platform to manage all of our services and conveniences.

This brings us to our second argument. Siri is buggy and often just does not translate well. This is a source of frustration for all of us who are on an iphone. You say “syrup”, Siri says “tomato”. Let’s not be too critical of Siri though. The Apple team did a great job with the hardware they had to work with. There is still a huge disconnect between what the phone is capable of and what home based hardware can do. The chasm is closing, but not in time to prevent Amazon Echo from taking a large share of the voice automation market.

In the end, Amazon Echo wins over Siri (for now) and what started as interactive bluetooth speakers may end up winning the vocal automation war.

Amazon Echo Accessories

Tablets For Kids

Some will argue that educational aids such as tablets for kids are not necessary for the development of our children. The opposite side will argue that these are necessary tools so that kids can get comfortable with technology at an early age. The truth is, they are both right.

There are lots of different sizes, shapes and makes when it comes to tablets for kids, but the question is whether these tools help a child acclimate to technology or is this too early an age to introduce technology as they are building their social skills and ability to interact with other young humans. In reality, we have to apply the rule of moderation. Tablets for kids are an invaluable tool for education when they are used in moderation.

Tablets for Kids – An Introduction to the World

Just like with anything else in a child’s life, educational tools should be used with parental interaction so that a parent can help the child become proficient. Another argument for the supervision is to moderate the time between social interaction and developing other skills. One of the biggest problems we have with children and technology is that the child can tend to get lost in technology. They can become so engrossed that they devote more and more time to technology at the expense of everything else and this can happen very easily.

That said, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. There are actually only a few studies that explore the trade-off between positives and negatives of tablets for kids. In every one, including a research study done by Jordy Kaufman, director of the BabyLab at Swinburne University in Melbourne, that explored toddler use of kid’s tablets to understand the impact.

Tablets for Kids – Supercharge Your Child’s Imagination

The result of this study along with virtually all other studies in this area is that tablets for kids are a great way to get children as young as toddlers to interact with technology and expand their imagination. With the explosion of apps for kids and educational tools available, children can explore and associate visually with the world outside of their direct environment. As a parent, you have to view tablets for kids as a supercharged toy that can expand the creativity and imagination of your child.

Tablets for Kids – A Comparison

Which one is the best one? There are a ton of choices to choose from. Here are a few of them. A couple of things to look for when you are purchasing tablets for kids are ease of use, ability to expand and features geared toward use from a child’s perspective. Here are some choices that we recommend. Once you find one that you like, be sure to look at the full description to find the kid’s tablet that is right for you and your child.

Amazon Fire Tablets for Kids

Amazon Fire Kids Edition - Tablets for Kids

Amazon Fire Kids Edition

Great Buy! From $99.99
The Amazon Fire Kids Edition scores high on the usability scale. Geared more for toddlers and up, this kid friendly tablet is still no slouch in computing power. This is not a toy. It is a full-featured Fire with 7″ display and a kid proof case.
Read more…
Buy Now

Amazon Fire 7″

Great Buy! From $49.99
Same great product as the Fire Kids Edition without the kid proof case. This edition of the Fire is great for saving money and if you want to buy a tablet as a crossover or shared unit between younger and older siblings.
Read more…
Buy Now

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 - Tablets for Kids

Great Buy! From $139.86
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is more of a mainstream tablet, but it should be mention in this section because it is a great tablet for kids. Like the Amazon Fire 7, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is a strong crossover between siblings and works well for young and old alike – including parents. The Tab 4 is just a well-rounded, solid piece of hardware that merits attention.
Read more…
Buy Now

Apple iPad Tablets for Kids

Apple iPad Mini Tablets for Kids

iPad Mini 2

Great Buy! From $239.86
The Apple iPad Mini 2 is a less expensive version of its newer sibling, the iPad Mini 4, but it has all of the features kids need and will save you money. Probably due to branding, this is the most popular version of kid’s tablet, but it is durable and full-featured so it gets a thumbs up from TownSpeaks.
Read more…
Buy Now

iPad Mini 4

Great Buy! From $239.86
iPad Mini 4 is the newest and greatest from the long line of Apple products. While the Mini 2 is comparable in features required in tables for kids, the Mini 4 is thinner, lighter and is in high demand mostly because it is newer. A lot of the other tablets have features just as good as the iPad Mini 2 and 4, but it is hard to beat the branding.
Read more…
Buy Now

You can also search other models available on Amazon. Just like there are a lot of great tablets for kids, buyer beware because there are a lot of back tables out there as well. If you are interested in finding out which tablets don’t quite cut it, just drop us a line and we will send you the list of tablets to avoid.

Find the tablet that is right for you.

Currency Projections and Forecast - TownSpeaks

2016 Currency Projections

Global Currency Trends and 2016 Currency Projections

2016 has not started off great for currencies around the world given the free fall of the China market and given that their volatility is supposed to continue throughout the year. This will prove a challenge to currency values and will make 2016 currency projections difficult, but will provide tremendous opportunity to trade volatility. The market itself is an issue with regard to economic stability in China as their growth continues to slow, but there is potentially an underlying issue that may shape trends and projections in both the equity and currency markets.

All economies slow, but the depth of impact is based on the size of the economy and the reach it has in global markets. China is #2 so the impact has the potential to be severe. Similar to that of the Great Recession in the United States, China’s economic stability is on the verge of collapse into a mirror image of our own financial crisis. Alone, this is bad due to the economic impact, but is at least predictable for purposes of trading.

Where there is potential for dramatic difference between the illusion of China’s slowing and what is reality lies in their currency policies. Specifically, the renminbi has been devalued multiple times by the government and this is cause for warning signs in both the currency and equity markets. Any time a country attempts to stave off financial crisis by manipulating its own currency, things are usually worse than they appear.

By devaluing currency, the government is working to pump money into the system and to provide liquidity to starving markets. Sound familiar? The currency manipulation is not necessarily the issue since most governments use this as a tool to provide liquidity. Where the real issue lies is that we do not know the depth of China’s difficulties and, given the size of their economy and the global weight that it carries, unknown is not good. We won’t know how far down the rabbit hole we will have to go to get to the bottom. Equity markets understand this and the result is 400 point slides.

The problems arise when you combine fiscal weight abroad with overaggressive interest rate hikes here at home coupled with extremely low inflation rates and stagnant growth. Add in a dash of unknown presidential candidates and you have the recipe for potential disaster.

For currency markets and currency projections, 2016 will be highly volatile with a propensity for the dollar to climb against most other currencies due to flight to safety. Additionally, currency manipulation will continue to hamper trade deficits as our trading remains purposefully unbalanced. Bond interest rates are already decreasing as the demand for investor safe haven climbs. Should the pattern continue as expected, traders will see growth in the value of the dollar with downward pressure on the Euro and related currencies. Also, should this trend continue, expect to see government intervention along the way working to inject liquidity, especially if the downward trend on China’s economy continues.

If you would like to learn more about our currency programs, contact us.

TownSpeaks Real Estate US Housing Supply and Demand

Economic Indicators

Courtesy of our friends at Trading Economics
The following economic indicators represent a snapshot of our economic health at any given point in time. Economists utilize varied economic indicators to track metrics such as GDP, Debt to GDP and more to determine not only where we are, but statistically where we are headed as the world's largest economy. If you would like to look at other economic indicators, please visit

One item worth note is that economic data in the past held fewer variables so it was, by its simplistic nature, more factual. When evaluating data today, you have to take into consideration the many variables that have been introduced to measure these economic indicators. The most prevalent example is the data on unemployment. Currently, values are not provided for underemployed and even those who have given up on looking for work and are not collecting unemployment. Adding these relevant statistics can often double the real numbers. What we are looking for in the data presented are trends in equal measurements, so take care when forming your opinion from these economic indicator snapshots.

United States GDP Growth Rate 1947-2015
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the United States expanded an annualized 2.30 percent in the second quarter of 2015 over the previous quarter. First quarter GDP, previously reported to have contracted at a 0.2 percent pace, was revised up to show it rising at a 0.6 percent rate. GDP Growth Rate in the United States averaged 3.26 percent from 1947 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 16.90 percent in the first quarter of 1950 and a record low of -10 percent in the first quarter of 1958. GDP Growth Rate in the United States is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The United States has one of the most diversified and most technologically advanced economies in the world. Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, leasing, health care, social assistance, professional, business and educational services account for more than 40 percent of GDP. Retail and wholesale trade creates another 12 percent of the wealth. The government related services fuel 13 percent of GDP. Utilities, transportation and warehousing and information account for 10 percent of the GDP. Manufacturing, mining, and construction constitute 17 percent of the output. Agriculture accounts for only 1.5 percent of the GDP, yet due to use of advance technologies, the United States is a net exporter of food. This page provides the latest reported value for - United States GDP Growth Rate - plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news.


Interest Rates
The Federal Reserve left its target range for the fed funds rate at 0 to 0.25 percent on July 29th, 2015. “The labor market continued to improve, with solid job gains and declining unemployment,” and “The housing sector has shown additional improvement” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement. The Fed will tighten policy when it sees “some further improvement in the labor market,” and is “reasonably confident” inflation will move back to its 2 percent goal over the medium term. Interest Rate in the United States averaged 5.95 percent from 1971 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 20 percent in March of 1980 and a record low of 0.25 percent in December of 2008. Interest Rate in the United States is reported by the Federal Reserve. In the United States, the authority for interest rate decisions is divided between the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (Board) and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The Board decides on changes in discount rates after recommendations submitted by one or more of the regional Federal Reserve Banks. The FOMC decides on open market operations, including the desired levels of central bank money or the desired federal funds market rate. This page provides the latest reported value for - United States Fed Funds Rate - plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news.


United States Inflation Rate 1914-2015
The inflation rate in the United States was recorded at 0.10 percent in June of 2015. Inflation Rate in the United States averaged 3.32 percent from 1914 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 23.70 percent in June of 1920 and a record low of -15.80 percent in June of 1921. Inflation Rate in the United States is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the United States, unadjusted Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers is based on the prices of a market basket of: food (14 percent of total weight), energy (9.3 percent), commodities less food and energy commodities (19.4 percent) and services less energy services (57.3 percent). The last category is divided by: shelter (32.1 percent), medical care services (5.8 percent) and transportation services (5.5 percent). This page provides - United States Inflation Rate - actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news.


United States Unemployment Rate 1948-2015
Unemployment Rate in the United States remained unchanged at 5.30 percent in July from 5.30 percent in June of 2015. Unemployment Rate in the United States averaged 5.83 percent from 1948 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 10.80 percent in November of 1982 and a record low of 2.50 percent in May of 1953. Unemployment Rate in the United States is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the United States, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labor force. This page provides the latest reported value for - United States Unemployment Rate - plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news.


United States Government Debt to GDP 1940-2015
The United States recorded a Government Debt to GDP of 101.53 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product in 2013. Government Debt to GDP in the United States averaged 60.81 percent from 1940 until 2013, reaching an all time high of 121.70 percent in 1946 and a record low of 31.70 percent in 1974. Government Debt to GDP in the United States is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Public Debt. Generally, Government debt as a percent of GDP is used by investors to measure a country ability to make future payments on its debt, thus affecting the country borrowing costs and government bond yields. This page provides - United States Government Debt To GDP - actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news.


United States Balance of Trade 1950-2015
The United States recorded a trade deficit of 43840 USD Million in June of 2015. Balance of Trade in the United States averaged -12987.51 USD Million from 1950 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 1946 USD Million in June of 1975 and a record low of -67823 USD Million in August of 2006. Balance of Trade in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. The United States has been running consistent trade deficits since 1976 due to high imports of oil and consumer products. In recent years, the biggest trade deficits were recorded with China, Japan, Germany and Mexico. United States records trade surpluses with Hong Kong, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and Australia. This page provides the latest reported value for - United States Balance of Trade - plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news.


TownSpeaks Real Estate Indicators

Residential and Commercial Real Estate Indicators

Residential and Commercial Real Estate Indicators of Economic Health

Utilizing real estate trends to understand the economy is no secret. Given the size and scope of the real estate industry, there is little doubt that a fundamental shift in real estate pricing and sales statistics can reasonably communicate the direction markets and economic health are headed.

Housing starts directly impact home sales, construction jobs and real estate related employment are key metrics used by many economy experts, but there is a great deal more to the picture as we look at how we can use residential and commercial real estate indicators to measure economic health. In fact, we can use residential and commercial real estate indicators to project or predict economic events or shifts in fundamental investment strategies.

Commercial construction and sales are possibly even better predictors of where we are headed financially and, at a minimum, you need to look at a holistic view of the real estate industry. Historically, standard commercial is a trailing indicator following the residential market. As a general rule, commercial follows residential by about 2 years. This isn't quite the crystal ball surprise you were looking for, so let's dig in a little deeper.

Opening an office or expanding offices is a result of how businesses are performing over time. Perform well and the business grows to the point where it expands beyond existing capacity. Through difficult financial times, companies will fire and layoff. These trends, while slower in the commercial arena, almost immediately impact employment and housing which carries much higher volatility.

Businesses are simply more stable and smooth transitioning by their very nature. Commercial real estate is less immediate due to the slower, wider nature of business cash flow versus personal cash flow. So when we see residential real estate go up or down, there is a fairly strong likelihood that commercial will follow in the same direction. By the same token, if we see commercial real estate expand, then we have to factor in the 2 years prior where the market was already in the process of changing.

Once we understand the nature of this complex cycle, then it is relatively straightforward to identify where we are from an economic outlook standpoint. Add to this the historical approximation of a ten-year top-to-top / bottom-to-bottom cyclical pattern and we get a pretty good idea of the economic landscape. It is worth noting however, that current economic and political conditions have greatly destabilized our cyclical patterns to the point where they are less recognizable, but the patterns still remain. To find out why is outside the scope of this article, but we cover it in the newsletter so signup now.

So standard commercial overlaps residential. Another commercial segment is multi-family consisting of 5 units or more per building. This tells us a similar but different story. Apartments fall into the commercial category because they represent rental rather than purchase. If we factor this rental component in with the overall commercial and residential models, we not get a 360 degree view of our economy all wrapped up in the housing market.

Given that we have a relatively predictable model in the real estate industry, we can surmise that the extrapolation of data is relevant and significant enough in weight to apply with confidence as a projection of economic condition. Loosely translated, this means that not only can you use a real estate model as a gauge of economic condition, you can use it as a tool for prognosticating the real estate market itself to determine investment direction and depth.