Twice in the last twelve months we’ve picked up screws in tires on the car. A third time we picked up a huge nail in a tire on the Jeep (before we sold it). Last week, I even managed to pick up a screw in one of my bike tires while riding to work in the morning! Most of these haven’t been a big deal as they’ve been $20-$30 repairs or we’ve been able to time them pretty well with when we knew we already needed tires.
A friend at work hasn’t been quite as lucky – three punctures from nails and screws, needing 2 new tires in the last year. Another friend remembers at least two tire punctures in the same period. It’s kindof ridiculous, but the frequency with which we’re getting flats is starting to harken back to a different time in Florida… the mid-2000s.
It Was A Different Time
Mr PoP and I moved to Florida (though a different area than where we now live) in summer 2006, right around when the construction boom down here was hitting its absolute peak. Within a year of moving here, I remember having 3 punctured car tires, and Mr PoP had a car tire puncture and enough punctures and blow outs from riding his bike over construction debris in the road that he went out and bought kevlar tires for his bicycle. It was really bad through about fall 2007, and then it stopped. We didn’t somehow get better at avoiding screws, nails, and other debris in the roadways. Instead new construction just fell off a cliff.
Just like this:
New construction rates in the Sunshine State plummeted, and our tires were happier than ever.
What About Lately?
We can look back over our transaction history in Mint* and see that over the last few years, our tire puncture rate has been steadily increasing.
- 2008: 0 punctures
- 2009: 0 punctures
- 2010: 0 punctures
- 2011: 1 puncture
- 2012: 2 punctures
- 2013: 3 punctures
- 2014 YTD: 2 punctures (one in the bike and one in the car in just the first 8 months of the year)
These tire punctures correlate pretty strongly with the steady increases in housing starts that Florida has seen since 2011 and at least in our direct area it seems like there’s way more construction than we’ve seen in ages!
This one is going up down the block (and Mr PoP wants to be the owner’s BFF due to the two 2-car attached garages!).
These two are another couple of streets over…
This gigantic 3-story house with a pool is going up next door to the empty lot we own…
and there are new developments and multi-family buildings popping up around here as well.
Are Boom Times Here Again?
I don’t want to make any grand pronunciations or predictions about the real estate market in Florida**, but considering that housing starts are still running well below the relatively stable rate of the mid-1990s, I feel pretty confident about one thing:
I’m pretty darned glad Mr PoP just bought be some kevlar tires for my bike to prevent any future punctures there since this construction doesn’t seem to be slowing.
* Seriously, how awesome is it that I can pull this data up in about 2 seconds on my mint account. I only wish my mint history went back further to capture 2006-2007, too!
** In general, it seems that prices in our neck of the woods (other areas of FL might be very different) have recovered to where one would have expected them to be based on extrapolation of long term COL adjusted increases on mid-1990’s pricing. In other words, it no longer feels like there’s a “going out of business” sale on homes in our area, but prices are also not in the stratosphere of irrational exuberance where they were in the mid-2000s. To me, these seem “fair” when considered within the last 20 years of historical context.
So how is the flat-tire to new construction ratio in your neck of the woods?