News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 15-16, 2014

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Why Won't Washington Take on Wall Street's Biggest Crimes? – James Kwak – The Atlantic

2) Off the Charts Blog | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Just the Basics: Sources of Federal Revenues, Explained

3) Kocherlakota – "Monetary Policy Report to the People of Rochester, Minnesota – YouTube

4) Foreign investment in Spanish real estate hits a 9-year high | Fox News Latino

5) Millennials Most Interested in Luxury Real Estate – The Epoch Times

6) There's big business in the tracking of home prices – Business – The Buffalo News

7) On the House: Home prices stabilize; sales numbers increase

8) Beijing high-end housing market retreats in Q1 – Xinhua | English news cn

9) Video: Chile's historic Valparaiso in flames

10) Venture Capital: Warning – Flammable! (E36) – YouTube

11) One seriously injured in natural gas explosion at Seattle motel | KOMO News

12) Phoenix Fire Department loses keys for businesses | KING5 com Seattle

13) Cost of cleaning up toxic Seattle home mounts over $300,000 | KOMO News

  1.    Why Won't Washington Take on Wall Street's Biggest Crimes? – James Kwak – The Atlantic

    … why, immediately after the most severe financial crisis in more than seventy years, which resulted in the loss of almost nine million jobs, did the Justice Department choose to train its heavy artillery on insider traders?

    … Lloyd Blankfein (for example) can always say that he didn't do anything illegal and didn't know any of his employees were doing anything illegal. But the SAC case shows that if a firm's executives create an incentive system and a culture that predictably results in criminal behavior, then the firm itself is a criminal.

    What do you make of that?

    Add your comment.


  2.    Off the Charts Blog | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities | Just the Basics: Sources of Federal Revenues, Explained

    Over recent decades, the share of federal revenues coming from individual income plus payroll taxes has grown, while the share from corporate taxes and other revenues has fallen.

    Add your comment.


  3.    Kocherlakota – "Monetary Policy Report to the People of Rochester, Minnesota – YouTube

    Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, addresses a meeting of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce on April 8th, 2014

    He says that the FOMC is under preforming (undershooting) inflation and employment targets. He employs helpful, clear graphs in explaining things.

    Add your comment.


  4.    Foreign investment in Spanish real estate hits a 9-year high | Fox News Latino

    Foreign investment in Spanish real estate rose in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year to 6.45 billion euros ($8.95 billion), the highest level registered in the past nine years and 16 percent more than in 2012.

    Britons, the French, Russians and Belgians are those who are buying the most real estate in Spain.

    Add your comment.


  5.    Millennials Most Interested in Luxury Real Estate – The Epoch Times

    Millennials make up a third of the United States' population, and are changing the residential real estate market. Worries that the younger generation—purveyors in the sharing economy and perceived to prefer renting to buying—don't want to buy homes are dissipating.

    A great deal has to do with how the survey questions are worded. They can be worded to obtain the desired psychological results. We aren't saying that's what's happened here, but without seeing the questions, we can't be sure whether wording played a role even if unintentional, which sometimes happens.

    Regardless, it makes sense the further away from the housing crash we get, the more people will get back into ownership.

    Higher down-payment requirements and higher loan-standards in general should still temper things, and should if we're to avoid a replay of the Great Recession.

    Add your comment.


  6.    There's big business in the tracking of home prices – Business – The Buffalo News

    The dramatic collapse and recovery of home prices in recent years has stoked interest in the fate of housing, creating new fans for wonky price indexes formerly tracked mostly by the slide-rule set.

    A company that provides much of that data has just completed a $750 million shopping spree, making it the 800-pound gorilla of real estate numbers.

    In addition to producing its own monthly price index, CoreLogic of Irvine, Calif., now owns two other leading brands: The Case-Shiller home price indices and DataQuick Information Systems.

    But the acquisition binge included much more than home-price trackers.

    Add your comment.


  7.    On the House: Home prices stabilize; sales numbers increase

    Interesting tidbit:

    In a presentation to agents and brokers of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors in early March, economist Gillen said the raw Multiple Listing Service data "don't really show the magnitude of the price depreciation."

    "Builders have been buying up hurricane-damaged properties at steep discounts, which aren't on the MLS, and then redeveloping those sites into newer, better, pricier homes and reselling them, which are on the MLS," he said. "So the MLS sales data has been significantly skewed upward toward higher-priced homes."

    Yet housing is recovering for real, prices have stabilized, sales are increasing, and fundamentals are in line with their historic norms, he said.

    Add your comment.


  8.    Beijing high-end housing market retreats in Q1 – Xinhua | English.news.cn

    The high-end housing transaction volume in Beijing plunged by 23.85 percent quarter on quarter in the first three months, to reach 181,904.01 square meters, a decrease of 17.88 percent year-on-year.

    Across the country, China's property market has been showing signs of cooling down in recent months.

    Add your comment.


  9.    Video: Chile's historic Valparaiso in flames

    VALPARAISO, Chile – Firefighters struggled for a second night early Monday to contain blazes that have killed 12 people, injured 500, destroyed 2,000 homes and forced 10,000 people to flee the densely populated hills that gave this Chilean port city its unique beauty.

    Add your comment.


  10.    Venture Capital: Warning – Flammable! (E36) – YouTube

    We include the following because the issue of Ukraine has global implications, of course, but also because the discussion concerning Russian gas is presented in a way that will hopefully demystify it for many of our readers.

    Russia warns that Ukraine's gas debt could threaten energy supplies to Europe. And, as relations with the west sour, Russia looks east to China.

    Add your comment.


  11.    One seriously injured in natural gas explosion at Seattle motel | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News

    One person was seriously burned in an natural gas explosion at a motel in Seattle Monday morning.

    The blast happened before 11:30 a.m. at the Klose In Motel at 9309 Aurora Avenue N. in North Seattle, blowing out the front wall of one room and causing severe damage inside.

    Add your comment.


  12.    Phoenix Fire Department loses keys for businesses | KING5.com Seattle

    The Phoenix Fire Department said Monday it can't account for hundreds of keys for lock boxes that allow firefighters responding to fires or alarms to enter thousands of businesses and apartment complexes when they are closed.

    … the department will replace the locking mechanisms of the 9,000 lock boxes at establishments using the system in Phoenix.

    Add your comment.


  13.    Cost of cleaning up toxic Seattle home mounts over $300,000 | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News

    Eight days after environmental crews began a cleanup at a Green Lake home overflowing with dangerous toxic chemicals, work is still continuing and costs of the cleanup are mounting over $300,000.

    A tip from the Seattle Fire Department led the EPA to the 6300 block of 5th Avenue NE, which is the home of a man in his 90s and his extensive collection of chemicals, including arsenic, sodium nitrate, benzidine and cadmium.

    Add your comment.


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