Listen weekdays from 1-3pm ET
(No audio? Try our help)
Recent shows | More media

Listen Live: Mon-Fri 1-3pm ET

Posted: 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Real estate recovery highlighted by return of the Porta Potty!

By Clark Howard


It's one of the most oddball metrics I've ever seen of the housing recovery: The portable toilet business is booming once again thanks to new construction making a comeback.

Call it the Porta Potty index!

So many Porta Potties had been in storage when the housing market collapsed. Central Florida was one of the hardest hit markets. But now The Orlando Sentinel has profiled one of the companies demolished by the bust -- and they're hiring employees again.

Single family starts are up by roughly 50% in the last quarter of last year, according to the newspaper. When you look around the country, construction of apartments is taking all over the place. You see the building cranes.

We are in the early stages of a meaningful recovery. Hopefully we never get back to the speculative building by the millions that threw the supply-demand equation out of balance. We've now had enough time to sock up all the excess inventory.

In addition, we're seeing a lot of construction for medical facilities because of our aging population.

One trend I am so excited about: it's been an article of faith that doctors have to rip you off by locating where you have to pay for parking. Talk about a way to make patient unhappy! Thankfully, more entrepreneurial medical practices are now locating in shopping centers and traditional office buildings, both of which offer plenty of free parking.

The primary care doc I see is a building with $6 parking. Fortunately, he's located in a neighborhood where I park on the street for free (up to two hours) and then walk about 8 minutes to the doc's office.

Yes, it's true I do that even when I have fever or feel under the weather. Be it would be so much better if it wasn't that crazy paid parking to begin with. We're getting there!