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- JPMorgan Reaches Record $13B U.S. Mortgage Accord – Businessweek
JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s record $13 billion deal to end U.S. probes of its mortgage-bond sales would free the nation's largest bank from mounting civil disputes with the government while leaving a criminal inquiry unresolved.
If it goes through, it will be a big deal (pun unintended) not because of the number, which is actually low relative to the amount of damage, but because 1) there will be an admission (the second; the first being the London Whale) of wrong doing (depending upon just how qualified that admission will be) and 2) the settlement won't include an agreement not to pursue further legal action against JPMorgan Chase.
- Home prices in Southcentral Alaska highest ever | Alaska Dispatch
A red-hot real estate market produced blistering sales and shot home prices to record highs in Southcentral Alaska for the second year in a row, with the average price of a single-family home going for nearly $350,000 in Anchorage and nearly $240,000 in the Mat-Su Valley.
"This is by far the best year we've had since the beginning of the downturn (in 2007)," said Mike Rasmussen, president elect of the Anchorage Association of Realtors. "It has been dramatic both in prices and in sales."
"The big thing that could reduce the cost of housing is available, affordable land, which is why for me [Michael Droege, president of the Alaska Association of Realtors], I look at the landscape and think we need a bridge across Knik, and a bedroom community 2.5 miles from Anchorage. The cost of land would be precipitously less and that would reduce the average cost of housing."
- Real Estate Q & A – NYTimes.com
Q. I've always suspected that my apartment is rent-regulated. So I contacted the state's Division of Housing and Community Renewal, and it sent records that suggest the apartment was rent-stabilized because the rent for the last year on file (in 1996) was only $450. There are no records after that. Is there a way for me to clear this up and figure out the legal rent that can be charged for my apartment?
Q. Buyers may often waste time and lose money by going into contract on a multi-unit building without knowing whether the building has a history of building violations. How would a buyer check for the existence of violations on a building ahead of time?
Q. Two months ago, I rented my downstairs apartment to a tenant through a broker. The broker told me that he had done a credit report and a criminal background check on the tenant and that everything had come back fine. Since we share a mailbox, I have noticed that the tenant has been getting notices from collection agencies. The broker told me he would send me the reports, but I have never received any information on this tenant. I am now concerned. What can I do?
Click through for the answers.
- Wildfire threat takes over housing in western states | 2013-10-10 | HousingWire
More than 1.2 million residential properties in 13 Western U.S. states sit in the potential path of a wildfire, representing $189 billion in total property value combined.
… Colorado tops the list of states, with a total of 83,174 homes falling into the very high-risk category.
On a metropolitan level, Los Angeles is home to the most single-family residences exposed to wildfire risk, with more than 60,000 properties in the 'high' or 'very high risk' categories.
Is your 1-4 unit residential property properly insured against the risk of loss due to wildfires? Does your property qualify for such coverage? Are you willing to risk it all by going without the proper insurance? http://propertypak.com/
- Taking Stock of the Labor Market Recovery :: Maggie Jacobson and Murat Tasci :: Economic Trends :: 10.18.13 :: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
The employment-to-population ratio has been virtually stuck around 58.5 since the beginning of the recovery in mid-2009.
Since September 2012, we have received a lot of information about the labor market that is encouraging and suggestive of overall improvement. There are, however, still soft spots indicating continued weaknesses. When the FOMC emphasized the importance of labor market improvements last year, Committee members were looking at a very weak labor market outlook. Most members expected the unemployment rate to drop below 8 percent by the end of 2013 and to settle between 6 percent and 6.8 percent by the end of 2015 (as reported in the Summary of Economic Projections). Since then, the unemployment rate has declined to 7.3 percent. The most recent projections, from September 2013, show that most Committee participants now expect the unemployment rate to be somewhere between 7.1 percent and 7.3 percent by the end of this year and somewhere between 5.4 percent and 5.9 percent by the end of the projection period, 2016.
Following the drop in unemployment but also the drop in participation and the reasons behind those figures and when combined with other economic and real-estate data helps landlords and managers plan rent rates, purchases, construction, etc.
- Game-Changing Investments for the U.S. – NYTimes.com
The decline in net productive investment, both private and public, is a matter of urgent concern for economic growth and job creation. Fixed investment expands capacity and usually improves productivity, particularly when new capital embodies new technologies, in that way generating more income, higher demand and yet more investment. This virtuous circle enables robust job creation as well.
Instead of a virtuous circle of strong investment fueling aggregate demand and building future productive potential, the United States economy is caught in a vicious cycle of weak investment, lackluster job creation and a faltering potential growth rate.
The United States has been underinvesting in infrastructure for the last two decades, and the result is plain to see: congested roads, crumbling bridges and delays at airports. The cost of such underinvestment is more than just a test of endurance for commuters. Without modern infrastructure, products can't move quickly and efficiently. Supply chains become more vulnerable, and businesses are more reluctant to invest.
During the last 20 years, infrastructure spending in the United States has averaged about 2.6 percent of G.D.P. — a percentage point less than the amount needed to bring United States infrastructure up to the standards in other advanced economies.
What do you think?
- Tarullo Says Big Bank Failures Still an Issue – Real Time Economics – WSJ
"…Mr. Tarullo said."
Regulators' efforts to deal with the failure of a big bank remain a work in progress, but the Federal Reserve will move "in the next few months" to require large financial institutions to hold minimum amounts of long-term debt, a top official said Friday.
Federal Reserve governor Daniel Tarullo said the regulator was hoping to push firms to at least maintain their current levels of long-term debt holdings, "which, by historical standards, are currently at fairly high levels." Without a requirement to hold the debt, firms might unwind those positions in the future, Mr. Tarullo said in remarks prepared for a Fed conference here.
The proposal is key to the broader effort by U.S. policy makers to be able to deal with the failure of a large financial institution without having to resort to the taxpayer-funded bailouts that were the hallmark of the 2008 financial crisis.
Let's hope they get it right so taxpayers won't ever be on the hook again.
- Robert Shiller – A Skeptic and a Nobel Winner – NYTimes.com
[Question] You've been writing in your columns about real estate bubbles — like the bubble that burst and led to the financial crisis that we're still recovering from now. You've found that real estate prices generally move more slowly than stock prices. Why is that?
[Answer] It's been true until now, anyway. One reason is that real estate is mainly a market of amateurs; it's not easy for people to move quickly.
There's a lot of momentum in that market. But professionals are coming in, and it could change.
- New real estate sign rider: 'No flood insurance required' | Inman News
Lobbying efforts by mortgage lenders to delay premium increases for homeowners who depend on the National Flood Insurance Program fell on deaf ears, but now Realtors in storm-prone areas who represent homes that don't require flood insurance can at least use that as a marketing plug.
Real estate agents in a number of Florida counties are making sure that buyers are aware whenever a home does not require flood insurance, prominently advertising that fact in online listings, yard signs and magazine ads, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
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