News Alerts. Nov. 6, 2013. Evening Edition. #RealEstate

Linking ≠ endorsement. Enjoy and share:

  1. Euro Loses Most Since July 2012 on ECB Rate-Cut Bets; Real Drops – Businessweek

    Joseph Ciolli reports:

    The euro slid the most in more than a year versus the dollar as weaker-than-forecast economic data for the currency region fueled speculation the European Central Bank will cut interest rates as soon as at its meeting next week.

    The greenback climbed the most since June against a basket of 10 major peers after the Federal Reserve said it sees economic improvement even as it plans to maintain stimulus while it awaits evidence of further gains. A gauge of currency volatility rose for the first week since August. Brazil's real dropped amid concern the nation's credit rating may be cut.

    "The weak unemployment and inflation reports that we saw have drained demand for the euro," Ravi Bharadwaj, a Boston-based senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions, a unit of Western Union Co., said in a phone interview. "These economic measures certainly add to the case for further dovish bias. I would definitely expect the European Central Bank to assume a more cautionary stance on monetary policy."

    Source … http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-11 -02/euro-loses-most-since-july-2012-on-e cb-rate-cut-bets-real-drops


  2. Neighborhoods crack down on rental properties

    GREENWOOD, Ind. (AP) – Homeowners associations across Indiana are restricting rental properties after a wave of purchases by investors.

    Immediate market values will fall as a result.

    One should think that they might have taken a wait-to-see approach before pressing the investors.

    We wonder if reverse legal actions might ensue if this becomes a national wave. Investors could sue for the loss of anticipated profits.

    We certainly can understand people wanting to protect their neighborhood from undesirables, but many tenants are very fine people.

    Perhaps they could have engaged the investors on a tenant-screening level.

    Source … http://www.wishtv.com/news/local/neighbo rhoods-crack-down-on-rental-properties


  3. Commercial real estate starting to heat up

    Metropolitan Portland Oregon; Jim Redden reports:

    (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — The commercial real estate market is sputtering back to life in the metropolitan area. A number of high-profile projects that stalled during the Great Recession have suddenly restarted. Several other large construction projects also are just getting underway.

    Source … http://www.koin.com/news/multnomah-count y/commercial-real-estate-starting-to-hea t-up


  4. Central Banks Make Swaps Permanent as Crisis Backstop – Bloomberg

    Jeff Black reports:

    Central banks in advanced economies from the U.S. to Europe and Japan said emergency currency-swap lines established during the global financial crisis will be made permanent, providing safeguards against future turbulence.

    Ben Bernanke seems to think that this creates a moral hazard of sorts.

    "We don't necessarily want to be providing a permanent service for financial markets," Bernanke said. "There's a good case that we should put pressure, or at least try to influence, banks to better manage these currency mismatches, or if not currency mismatches the fact that they are relying on dollar funding and there are difficulties in achieving the funding that they need."

    He has a point.

    Source … http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-31  /ecb-makes-crisis-cash-lines-at-central -banks-permanent.html


  5. Wall Street Firms Poised to Disappoint Bankers on Bonuses – Bloomberg

    Michael J. Moore & Zeke Faux report:

    Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), which set Wall Street pay records when stocks surged and cheap credit abounded in 2007, is again leading the industry as markets boom anew: putting aside less money for staff and more for investors.

    Goldman Sachs, along with the investment-banking divisions of six of its biggest U.S. and European rivals, allocated a collective 39 percent of revenue for compensation in the first nine months, down from 42 percent a year earlier and the 50 percent some firms earmarked before the financial crisis. Goldman Sachs's 41 percent ratio so far this year is its lowest nine-month figure as a public company.

    Rising revenue at many banks is stoking employees' hopes for larger bonuses, after year-end payouts were cut in the wake of the financial crisis and packed with restricted stock, which vests over time. Firms instead are preparing to shrink compensation for individuals amid investor pressure to improve return on equity. The measure of profitability stands at 10 percent or lower at each of the five biggest Wall Street banks – – less than half the levels that preceded the credit crisis.

    … making shareholders happier, driving up stock values, setting up the ability to sell more shares to raise more free-and-clear capital. Right?

    Source … http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-31  /wall-street-firms-poised-to-disappoint -bankers-on-bonuses.html


  6. Trelora founder promises a real estate industry shake-up – The Denver Post

    Denver real estate startup Trelora Realty is firing up a passionate debate in the real estate community by targeting the commission structure that traditional brokerages consider vital to their survival.

    Trelora charges a flat $1,700 to sell a home and takes $3,000 in compensation, rather than the standard 2.8 percent commission, when it helps a client buy a home.

    The industry hasn't passed on cost savings from technology, and consumers, still nursing wounds from the housing downturn, can't afford the tolls the industry continues to demand, argues the company's founder, Joshua Hunt.

    Some consumers have complained online about the $500 nonrefundable fee Trelora charges to list a home, and about pressures to list at a lower price than desired.

    It sounds like for cookie-cutter homes, it might work; but for the luxury/custom market where agents are creating feature videos and advertising in print media and so forth, the only way to make it work might be by itemizing charges (customer choices) and tacking on a markup for the agency/brokerage and agent(s), at least the seller's agent, depending.

    It is our understanding that in other parts of the world, the standard US 6% commission is considered extremely high.

    Source … http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_24 438138/trelora-founder-promises-real-est ate-industry-shake-up


  7. The concept of an 'untethered' office takes root – latimes.com

    Roger Vincent reports:

    When he heard about a shake-up at company headquarters, Mark Sprague got a knot in the pit of his stomach.

    It wasn't his executive job that was at stake at the international real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc. It was his spacious office of 11 years, his cherished file cabinets and his trophies. They all had to go.

    Sprague and everyone else in the company's 200-person office were given no choice by management. Everyone was to be part of an experiment to create the company's first completely "untethered" office in the United States where employees roam freely.

    We keep seeing more and more articles promoting this open-office concept, but there are businesses for which this model would be a bad idea.

    The more sensitive the information, the more confidential, the less secure that information in an open atmosphere such as the one described. How can one have a highly strategic conversation on the phone or elsewise if even the most low-level and/or non-vetted employees can be sitting right next to the one having that conversation that should be completely private.

    Of course, there are security issues throughout the communication chain. Just consider the NSA eavesdropping/spying that's been revealed.

    Getting to end-to-end unbreakable encryption where nothing leaks, not even internally, not to those without a real need to know, is quite a challenge already without everyone being pushed into the "untethered" office.

    So, be mindful of your business, its type, its need for compartmentalizing employees concerning that said "need to know," before you gut your whole floor and make it friendly for young people who've perhaps not thought through security implications, not been through security breaches and resultant monetary losses.

    Yes, you could build internal secure-office space that isn't designated for any one particular employee, but sometimes there are deadlines where having to "put everything away" (papers, etc.) each night would just cause delays that might cost the business a contract.

    If your business is not of the type that requires such security and privacy and wants a "clean desk" atmosphere, then the open-office format truly could be great.

    Note the image of the workstations, that some of them have full-glass partitions. How sound proof are they? Some people work better without distractions, especially on time-sensitive, mission critical projects. There are auditory distractions to be concerned with but also visual.

    Source … http://www.latimes.com/business/realesta te/la-fi-property-report-20131031,0,2405 527,full.story#axzz2jbu4yD5D


If you are an investor in 1-4 unit properties in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, or Washington, please do the financially responsible thing and make sure you have proper Landlord Insurance with PropertyPak™. We love focusing on real estate and the economy in general, but we are also here to serve your insurance needs.

Hill & Usher (PropertyPak™ is a division) has many insurance offerings. See our menu above for more info and links.

Did this post help you? Let us know by leaving your comment below.

Note: This blog does not provide legal, financial, or accounting advice. Seek professional counsel.

Furthermore, we, as insurance producers, are prohibited by law from disparaging the insurance industry, carriers, other producers, etc. With that in mind, we provide links without staking out positions that violate the law. We provide them solely from a public-policy standpoint wherein we encourage our industry to be sure our profits, etc., are fair and balanced.

We do not necessarily fact checked the contents of every linked article or page, etc.

If we were to conclude any part or parts of our industry are in violation of fundamental fairness and the legal standards of a state or states, we'd address the issue through proper, legal channels. We trust you understand.

The laws that tie our tongues, so to speak, are designed to keep the public from losing confidence in the industry and the regulatory system overseeing it. Insurance commissioners around the country work very hard to analyze rates and to not allow the industry to be damaged by bad rate-settings and changes in coverages. The proper way for people in the industry to deal with such matters is by adhering to the laws, rules, and regulations of the applicable states and within industry associations where such matters may be discussed in private without giving the industry unnecessary black eyes. Ethics is very high on the list in the insurance industry, and we don't want to lose the people's trust. That said, the industry is not perfect; but what industry is?

For our part, we believe in strong regulations and strong regulators.

We welcome your comments and ask you to keep in mind that we cannot and will not reply in any way or ways where any insurance commissioner could rightly say we've violated the law of the given state.

We are allowed to share rating-bureau data/reports and industry-consultant opinions but make clear here that those opinions are theirs and do not necessarily reflect our position.

Subscribe