News Alerts, Aug. 14, 2013: Real Estate Plus

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  1. The Fed, Lawrence Summers, and Money – NYTimes.com

    Site's post description: Among the top contenders to lead the Fed, Lawrence H. Summers has by far the most Wall Street experience and the most personal wealth.

    PropertyPak's editorial comment: Larry Summers has become a Wall Street insider. This article lays it out. Here are some other interesting highlights from it:

    "…some senators are speaking out against Mr. Summers. They are raising questions about potential conflicts of interest and noting his role in the repeal of the Glass-Steagall law, which limited the sorts of activities banks could undertake, and his opposition to regulating derivatives in the 1990s — decisions that many critics say contributed to the financial crisis."

    "… in 2006, Mr. Summers was forced out of the university presidency for a variety of reasons, including remarks he made questioning why few women engage in advanced scientific and mathematical work."

    "Mr. Summers's wealth soared from around $400,000 in the mid-1990s to between $7 million and $31 million in 2009, when he joined the Obama administration…."

    "What is a potential Fed chairman doing on the board of a company that doesn't check if people can afford loans?"

    "Of the loans Lending Club has issued in 2013, 12.9 percent of the loans are charging annual percentage rates of 12.4 percent or lower, but 37 percent of the loans are charging annual percentage rates of 19 percent or more, with some as high as 29 percent."

    What do you think? Should President Obama appoint Larry Summers as Ben Bernanke's replacement heading the Federal Reserve?

  2. Trillion Yuan Fled China Banks. You Won't Believe Where It Went – Forbes

    Site's post description: Strange money movements look like a forewarning of systemic failure.

    PropertyPak's editorial comment: Is this a Chinese Banking System Ponzi scheme? "… financial institutions routinely borrow at quarter-end and record the proceeds as deposits. This trick, aided by clever accounting, explains why banks at the end of reporting periods can show large cash positions and yet still not have the funds to make loans, as happened last month.

    "Another technique to meet regulatory requirements involves WMPs, the infamous wealth management products offering abnormally high rates of return. The banks make sure these products mature at the end of quarters so they can show cash as deposits. When new quarters begin, the banks roll over the WMPs and the process starts again."

  3. Portals – Where Is All Their [Zillow's] Money Going? – RealBlogging.com

    "In earlier editions of the Swanepoel TRENDS Report we advised that successful IPOs (Initial public Offering) usually generate significant cash for companies, and we predicted that Zillow's IPO would lead them to outplay most of their competition by rolling up and acquiring the necessary assets to become the dominant player in the industry.

    "They're Expanding

    "Well they've definitely started doing exactly that."

    Read what they've acquired and why.

  4. Signs emerge of a real estate slowdown – BakersfieldCalifornian.com

    A detailed article; recommended [registration required]:

    "The housing market recovery that has renewed Bakersfield's status as a hot place to buy property is beginning to show signs of cooling.

    "Data compiled by local appraiser Gary Crabtree indicate that median home prices in the city remained virtually flat between June and July. It marked the first time this year that sales prices failed to post a significant month-over-month increase.

    "Crabtree and others say several factors appear to be in play, including rising mortgage rates and less activity by investors who have driven the local market since the housing bust.

    "While it remains to be seen whether the sluggishness will hold, some say the cooling effect may turn out to be a good thing, insofar as it eases off what may have been an unsustainable pace."

  5. Aging in Place | Real Estate Industry Blog

    7 good things for landlords & others to consider when planning their communities:

    "In a recent study, Livable Community Indicators for Sustainable Aging in Place, MetLife Mature Market Institute and the Stanford Center on Longevity identified 7 characteristics of housing communities that will allow older adults to age in place."

  6. Solar Elevators May Come to U.S. Properties in 2015

    Site's post description: As early as 2015, people may have the opportunity to ride a solar energy—powered elevator in a U.S. commercial building. Washington, D.C.—area real estate firm Akridge is teaming up with the Switzerland-based Schindler Elevator Company to bring the solar elevator, already used in Europe, to the United States.

  7. 4 | The New Second Tallest Building In The World Is An Urban Green Space Wonderland | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

    Site's post description: The just-topped 2000-foot-tall Shanghai Tower will have huge 14-story parks throughout the structure–and it will let the public in to play in them.

    "The second tallest building in the world is more like a vertical city than a building. Think of it like this: the 632-meter tall Shanghai Tower is a bustling mixed-use metropolis with more green space (and even more people) than many cities on the ground can boast of having.

    "The statistics on the building, which ranks only behind Dubai's Burj Khalifa in height, are staggering: 521,000 meters squared of floor space, 106 elevators, a weight of 1,200 metric tons, the ability to hold 30,000 people (it really is like a small city), and the kicker–one-third of the building is dedicated entirely to green space."

    The post has a number of photos.

  8. This Week's Recommended Reading

    Site's post description: 6 Articles to Read this Weekend [or this week]

  9. How Property Managers Use Resident Rewards to Increase Retention | Real Estate and Rental Marketing Blog for Professionals – Zillow Pro Blog

    Site's post description: Keeping your residents happy means keeping your homes occupied longer, with fewer turnovers. There are a variety of ways to encourage retention.

  10. Museum of the City of New York | Micro-Unit

    Site's post description: The Museum of the City of New York will present a series in which five people have been selected to spend 24 hours in a 325-square-foot apartment.


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