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↑ Candle blamed for Pa. fire that left 35 homeless – LancasterOnline: Pennsylvania
DUBOIS, Pa. (AP) — A state police fire marshal says a candle caused a fire that destroyed a 10-unit apartment building in central Pennsylvania that left about 35 people homeless.
How do you gently remind tenants about various hazards such as the risk of lost due to careless use of candles?
Do you issue an apartment-complex monthly newsletter with safety tips?
↑ FRANKFORT, Ky.: Bill keeps landlords from liability in dog attacks | State | Kentucky.com
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Landlords who live on their own property would not be financially liable for a tenant's dog if it attacks another person….
What are the laws of your state concerning landlords, tenants, and dog bites?
We think that landlord's should be very careful about allowing dogs. Courts also change trends. You may not be able to rely upon an earlier ruling in your state.
What sort of rental-agreement language should cover responsibility for any dog attacks? Consult your attorney, and read your insurance policy.
↑ Downsizing Baby Boomers Means Big Boom for Multifamily | Property Management Insider
Baby Boomers will soon be reentering the rental market, looking to downsize from their sprawling suburban homes to cozier apartment units.
"… there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and that you have to have different housing options available to the different populations. What I've been saying consistently along the line is we're going to have to have a greater diversity of products types and more creativity into the configurations of units depending on the populations that you're trying to attract."
That could mean that the face of the properties could change along with the shift in apartment demand that points to those born between 1946 and 1964.
Storage space? People not only downsize their living space, they downsize the amount of stuff they've collected over the decades. Still, it makes sense that Boomers will hold onto more stuff than the younger renters will collect in most rental units, unless we're dealing with young "pack rats." That doesn't seem to be the trend according to most writers on the subject though. We'll see.
↑ Plug N Play LED Tube Demo – YouTube
Have you seen these?
After much confusion over the launch video of our Plug N Play LED tube series, we have decided to create a video showing our tubes working with both magnetic and electronic ballasts. Please email tom at raiseenergysolutions.com for more information and visit our website at http://raise energy solutions.com/
↑ Want a scary view of where the economy is heading? Well here it is — Telegraph Blogs
Nor would I agree that wealth taxes are the answer to bubble conditions in the housing market.
If the UK needs housing while national debts are large, taxing those at the top to pay for infrastructure and increased housing to reduce the bubble doesn't sound like a problem.
It would, in fact, benefit everyone, the very rich included.
The idea that higher taxes on the superrich and near superrich slows growth has been thoroughly debunked.
The only thing that happens with lower taxes on the super wealthy is the super wealthy end up being the ones who can buy things while the rest especially at the bottom can hardly afford scraps.
The superrich do not pass down much wealth, and they do not create more relative wealth for the masses much above subsistence wages.
The arguments put forth by some spokespersons for those rich are false that the US and UK have grown by the wealth of the rich rather than by governmental policies and practices that improved the state of the lower and middle classes and the hard work of those classes. That progress has been declining since the 1980's, right when laissez-faire voices started being heard and listened to more and more, undoing the New Deal in the US and old Labour policies in the UK.
The Great Recession was a direct result, as is the slow recovery.
↑ Economists React: Is China's Export Boom Real? – Real Time Economics – WSJ
China's Customs Administration surprised everyone Wednesday by announcing January export and import figures that were far stronger than expected. Export growth of 10.6% on-year far outstripped forecasts of a 0.1% rise, while imports, up 10%, also came in way ahead of expectations.
That suggests the recovery in Europe and the United States, China's most important markets, is still on track, while commodity producers that sell to China can rely on resilient demand.
But analysts were quick to point out that China's trade data have been badly distorted in the past by exporters overstating the value of their shipments to bring money into the country illegally. The exaggeration in January 2013 was particularly bad — which makes this year's strong growth all the more puzzling.
So is global trade growth back on track? Or are companies fudging the numbers again? Economists weigh in (edited slightly for style): …
Fool me once, ….
↑ How Bank of Japan Will Save U.S. Investors in 2014 – TheStreet
"Monetary conditions will remain very loose," said Koesterich [BlackRock's San Francisco-based chief investment strategist Russ Koesterich] during his Tuesday phone interview with TheStreet.
"We think China will engineer a soft landing and has engineered a soft landing," underscored Koesterich.
We think that assessment is at least premature.
↑ Crisis Chronicles: The Commercial Credit Crisis of 1763 and Today's Tri-Party Repo Market – Liberty Street Economics
… it is difficult for firms to hedge losses when market risk and credit risk are highly correlated and aggregate risk remains. In this case, as asset prices fell during a time of distressed "fire sales," asset prices became more correlated, further exacerbating downward price movement. When one firm moved to shore up its balance sheet by selling distressed assets, that put downward pressure on other, interconnected balance sheets. The liquidity risk was heightened further because most firms were highly leveraged. Those that had liquidity guarded it, creating a self-fulfilling flight to liquidity.
↑ The German court's futile search for Platonic essences of 'monetaryness' and 'fiscalness' | longandvariable
It's fascinating when macroeconomics and finance becomes a matter of constitutional law, as is happening in Germany, where their constitutional court has ruled on the legality of outright monetary transactions, or OMTs. Their justification for ruling is that the ECB's activities might enter the fiscal sphere, and so undermine German fiscal sovereignty, which would be contrary to the German constitution. That constitution was put in place to stop the German central banks buckling under pressure to finance German deficits, and so to avoid a repeat of the hyperinflation which undermined the Weimar Republic. With monetary policy now delegated to the ECB, this constitution has the effect of limiting the ability of the ECB to debase the euro to finance another government's deficit. Somewhat perversely, given the original intention of the constitution's drafters, these limits are having the effect of undermining the credibility of the (relatively young) Southern European democracies that are struggling most with fiscal problems. [Update: actually, if you think about it, the historical irony is even more unpleasant and apt, since it was the social chaos of hyperinflation in part that provided for the emergence of German National Socialism. It's now the chaos post-austerity in Greece, a direct consequence of the German anti-inflation bias, that is fuelling the support for the Golden Dawn].
The ending of that penetrating introductory paragraph is not the thesis of the article, but the article is nevertheless interesting to read.
Our readers will know that we think the Germans have been way too cautious about assuming the monetary and financial leadership in the EU and in a way that would boost the entire community: anti-austerity. We think the Germans have been thinking too small, too insularly.
↑ Enslave the robots and free the poor – FT.com
… Pointing to all the robots, his host asked: "How are you going to collect union dues from those guys?" Mr Reuther replied: "And how are you going to get them to buy Fords?" …
A recent paper by Carl Frey and Michael Osborne of Oxford university concludes that 47 per cent of US jobs are at high risk from automation. In the 19th century, they argue, machines replaced artisans and benefited unskilled labour. In the 20th century, computers replaced middle-income jobs, creating a polarised labour market. Over the next decades, however, "most workers in transport and logistics occupations, together with the bulk of office and administrative support workers, and labour in production occupations, are likely to be substituted by computer capital". Moreover, "computerisation will mainly substitute for low-skill and low-wage jobs in the near future. By contrast, high-skill and high-wage occupations are the least susceptible to computer capital." This, then, would exacerbate inequality.
The rise of intelligent machines is a moment in history. It will change many things, including our economy. But their potential is clear: they will make it possible for human beings to live far better lives. Whether they end up doing so depends on how the gains are produced and distributed. It is possible that the ultimate result will be a tiny minority of huge winners and a vast number of losers. But such an outcome would be a choice not a destiny. A form of techno-feudalism is unnecessary. Above all, technology itself does not dictate the outcomes. Economic and political institutions do. If the ones we have do not give the results we want, we must change them.
That's a good article for getting the mental juices flowing. We've been calling for the start of this debate. We need to plan ahead in ways that will assure that no one falls through any cracks and that everyone benefits by a very high quality of life.
Change is coming, and it's coming quickly, too quickly to wait to have this discussion.
We're talking about renting versus owning; but if the jobs aren't there, such issues will be entirely moot without some means by which people are adequately provided.
How do we handle it? If all money moves to one side of the ledger, who will buy the proverbial Fords?
↑ Fed's Fisher Blames Congress for Lower Growth – Real Time Economics – WSJ
Equal time for opposing views:
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher said Tuesday if the economy isn't growing more strongly, it's Congress's fault.
"It is my firm belief that the fault in our economy lies not in monetary policy but in a feckless federal government that simply cannot get its fiscal and regulatory policy geared so as to encourage business to take the copious amount of money we at the Fed have created and put it to work creating jobs and growing our economy," Mr. Fisher said, in a speech delivered to members of accounting trade group Financial Executives International in Dallas.
"Fiscal policy is not only "not an ally of U.S. growth," it is its enemy," the official said.
Actually, we agree that fiscal policy has been the problem. We, on the other hand though, believe that fiscal policy has been way too hawkish.
Now, if Mr. Fisher can come up with a policy where the lower and middle classes truly would be put back to work in high-skills, clean, safe, high-paying jobs supplied by the private sector, we're all ears.
We don't think the private sector will do it without guidance from the general voting public via their elected representatives. We aren't holding our breath on that either though (said with a well-intentioned chuckle).
We really do need to focus on getting the unemployed employed at truly living wages or in creating some method where they are provided for while not wasting away.
Robot communal slaves? It looks like that's where we should be headed, given that technology isn't slowing down but rather speeding up.
↑ Bank Marketing Strategy: Banks Can't Close Branches Fast Enough
This is an in-depth look at the issue of bank-branch closures by Jim Marous.
According to SNL Financial, banks closed a net 1,487 branches last year. That's the highest number of net closures since the research firm began tracking the statistic in 2002. The majority of these closures have been attributed to the increasing use of online and mobile banking as technology enables consumers to manage their accounts, make remote deposits and shop for services more efficiently from desktops or smartphones.
Despite these closures, the number of bank branches in the U.S. still hovers above 80,000 according to the FDIC, making the U.S. one of the highest branched countries per capita in the world. That is why, in an era of sluggish revenue growth and heavy compliance costs, most bankers are trying to close or reconfigure underperforming branches as quickly as possible.
Contrast that article by Jim with this from an earlier post of ours: http://propertypak.com/2014/01/28/news-c ommentary-analysis-jan-28-2014-realestat e/#01281416
↑ The 2 Biggest Mistakes Made in Calculating Rental Property Returns
If you are looking to buy a rental property, you can expect to have the following monthly expenses once you own the property: taxes, insurance, property management fee (if applicable), homeowners' association (if applicable), mortgage (if applicable), vacancy, and repairs. Of all of those numbers, the only ones you can't know for sure are the vacancy and repairs.
You do have to estimate those. The rest of the numbers, however, you can absolutely get actuals for.
Ask the current owner what they pay in taxes or look it up on the county's tax assessor website, get a quote from your insurance company, ask your property manager how much they charge, call the homeowners' association and find out how much they charge, and get a quote from your lender on what your payment will be. Easy!
And for the rents, because people love to guess on these too, find out how much the current tenants are paying and if there are no current tenants, have a property manager or a real estate agent run comparables in the area and determine what they deem to be a viable rent for that property in that area.
It's a worthy article that makes some good points; but just to clarify, getting a real quote (with contingencies such as possible on-site inspection), rather than a non-binding estimate, from an insurance agent on a property you do not own isn't as easy as rolling off a log. A fairly hard number is the result of a complete application covering deductible and limit choices, endorsements, and many other factors.
↑ Richard Cooper and Richard Dobbs examine how the end of quantitative easing will affect different economic actors. – Project Syndicate
Good overview and proving correct on emerging markets so far: Richard Cooper and Richard Dobbs:
… all players need to understand how the end of QE will affect them. After more than five years, QE has arguably entrenched expectations for continued low or even negative real interest rates — acting more like addictive painkillers than powerful antibiotics, as one commentator has put it. Governments, companies, investors, and individuals all need to shake off complacency and take a more disciplined approach to borrowing and lending to prepare for the end — or continuation — of QE.
↑ Calculated Risk: Weekly Update: Housing Tracker Existing Home Inventory up 4.7% year-over-year on Feb 10th
… for the 17th consecutive week housing inventory is up year-over-year. This suggests inventory bottomed early in 2013.
Note: One of the key questions for 2014 will be: How much will inventory increase? My guess is inventory will be up 10% to 15% year-over-year by the end of 2014 (inventory would still be below normal).
↑ Why It Is Almost Impossible To Stop Currency Rigging | Economy Watch
Authorities in New York have announced they are launching an investigation into the manipulation of the world's biggest financial market — the US$5.3 trillion a day traded in currencies. New York regulators join authorities elsewhere in the US as well as in the UK, Switzerland and Germany.
Martin Wheatley, the UK's chief financial regulator, has declared the scandal is likely to be "as bad as Libor".
If it is going to turn out to be as bad as the LIBOR scandal, then also see: http://propertypak.com/2014/01/21/news-a lerts-jan-21-2014-realestate/#0121141
↑ NAR's chief economist said what about the housing market? | HousingWire
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, caught HousingWire's eye with his recent remarks at the Alabama Commercial Real Estate conference.
Yun gave a decidedly candid assessment of the state of the economy, housing and commercial real estate with a little more red meat, with a little less of the positive that normally comes out of the NAR press room.
HousingWire caught up with Yun Monday and asked him to expand on the central question of his remarks — "Why does it feel like we're still in a recession?"
↑ The Long and Short of It: The Impact of Unemployment Duration on Compensation Growth – Liberty Street Economics
How tight is the labor market? The unemployment rate is down substantially from its October 2009 peak, but two-thirds of the decline is due to people dropping out of the labor force. In addition, an unusually large share of the unemployed has been out of work for twenty-seven weeks or more—the long-duration unemployed. These statistics suggest that there remains a great deal of slack in U.S. labor markets, which should be putting downward pressure on labor compensation. Instead, compensation growth has moved modestly higher since 2009. A potential explanation is that the long-duration unemployed exert less influence on wages than the short-duration unemployed, a hypothesis we examine here. While preliminary, our findings provide some support for this hypothesis and show that models taking into account unemployment duration produce more accurate forecasts of compensation growth.
If correct, it would help explain "sticky wages." There are many other factors that could be tested though.
↑ Better Markets: JPM was given 'blanket civil immunity' – CNBC
Dennis Kelleher, President & CEO of non-profits group Better Markets, discusses its lawsuit against the Justice Department's deal with JP Morgan Chase.
He wants transparency. We think that's good risk management. How about you?
↑ Why Subprime Mortgages Are Better Under Dodd-Frank – OurBroker : OurBroker
Peter G. Miller:
… to be a qualified mortgage a loan must be fully documented. Points and fees cannot exceed 3 percent when the loan has an initial balance of $100,000 or more. Prepayment penalties are allowed for qualified mortgages but they cannot exceed 2 percent of the loan amount in year one, 2 percent in year two, 1 percent in year three and nothing thereafter. The debt-to-income ratio is limited to 43 percent of the borrower's gross monthly earnings — a qualifying mortgage requirement which effectively limits loan size and interest costs. Lenders must verify the borrower's ability to repay the loan. Balloon loans cannot be qualified mortgages. Interest-only financing is out. Loans with a term of more than 30 years are forbidden and negative amortization is banned.
In the end, a subprime loan that's also a qualified mortgage is today simply a loan with a higher interest rate that reflects the borrower's impaired credit standing — and a loan without gotcha clauses or toxic elements.
↑ UPDATED: CRE Industry Faces Dramatic Changes in Multifamily Supply, Financing Environment – CoStar Group
The U.S. apartment market continued to see robust growth in 2013, but investors are keeping a wary eye on looming changes going into 2014, including the impact from rising supply, rising interest rates and the prospects of restructuring the nation's two biggest government-sponsored enterprises (GSE's) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
For the top 54 U.S. metros, CoStar Group forecasts more than 240,000 new multifamily units will be added in 2014, and a combined nearly 350,000 units in 2015 and 2016. Those projections are on top of the more than 200,000 new apartment units developers added between 2012 and 2013.
The supply wave already is affecting some market indicators, including gradual reductions in rental growth and increases in vacancy, according Luis Mejia, CoStar's director of U.S. research, multifamily. The aggregate fourth quarter 2013 CoStar data for 50-unit-plus properties shows a year-over-year effective rent growth pattern that is consistent with increasing competition. As landlords adjusted concessions to lure renters, annual effective rent growth declined from 4.9% in the first quarter to 2.7% in last quarter of 2013, after peaking above 7% in 2012.
↑ Dani Rodrik: The Emerging Markets' Death By Finance
Dani Rodrik, Professor of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton:
… floating exchange rates are flawed shock absorbers. In theory, market-determined currency values are supposed to isolate the domestic economy from the vagaries of international finance, rising when money floods in and falling when the flows are reversed. In reality, few economies can bear the requisite currency alignments without pain.
Sharp currency revaluations wreak havoc on a country's international competitiveness. And rapid depreciations are a central bank's nightmare, given the inflationary consequences. Floating exchange rates may moderate the adjustment difficulties, but they do not eliminate them.
↑ Predicting economic outcome is an intriguing game of perpetual motion – Independent.ie
… Bill Phillips didn't really trust his curve.
↑ Unemployment at new high of 28 pct in Nov, jobless up by 169 pct in four years | Macropolis
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate continued heading north, reaching 28 percent in November from a downwards revised 27.7 percent the previous month, according to the Hellenic Statistical Agency (ELSTAT). The November rate now holds the new high.
↑ 3 signs California housing is on the brink of something huge | HousingWire
According to the latest report from the California Association of Realtors, after six consecutive quarters of declines, California's housing affordability held steady in the fourth quarter of 2013, finally giving buyers a second to breathe.
↑ Six Advantages To Investing In Real Estate
As more people discover the benefits of owning property beyond a personal residence, they tap into the growth, tax shelter, and stability that real estate offers. Here are six things that investing in real estate can add to your portfolio.
↑ Manhattan landlords get wise, Brooklyn rents rise
Landlords saw the writing on the wall in January, as residential rents slipped and concessions grew to the highest levels in two years, reports from leading brokerages show.
↑ Raising the Rent in New York Just Got Difficult | Real Estate and Rental Marketing Blog for Professionals – Zillow Pro Blog
Last week, New York State's Home and Community Renewal (HCR) agency released a set of new regulations that aims to strengthen New York's rent stabilization laws. The 27 new rule changes will make it more difficult for landlords to increase the rent and make it easier for tenants to fight back.
↑ Zillow: Bulk home sales will boost housing | HousingWire
The Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, a pool of opinion from 110 economists, predicts housing market demand will gently ease through the next few years.
The influx of supply will come as large-scale investors sell off the homes in their portfolios.
This may come as good news to the mom-and-pop shops looking to get back into single-family rentals.
Are they really going to sell off? They won't be able to dump all at once. There would have to be a great deal of demand.
Also, smaller portfolio investors usually want a fairly deep discount on the price. Will Wall Street sell that way?
Do they plan to turn their tenants into buyers?
↑ Invest Four More Rental Property Cash Flow Calculator | Invest Four More
I am proud to announce a custom-made cash flow calculator is now available on Invest Four More! The calculator can be found right here and is also on the top menu under "tools". This is not a basic cash flow calculator that only figures the rent minus the mortgage payments. This cash flow calculator accounts for taxes, insurance, maintenance, vacancies, property management and of course the mortgage payment.
It gives you the basic idea and is an actual, functioning calculator, a nice touch for his blog.
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