News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 22-23, 2014

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Saudi Arabia To Build the World's Tallest Building – Business Insider

2) 5 worst cities to be a renter (unless you're fabulously wealthy) – Salon com

3) Why a Pit Bull? – OC Housing News

4) Cuba home woes endure despite real-estate reform – US News

5) Q&A with commercial real estate broker and developer Michael Comras – MiamiHerald com

6) Bikini-Clad Models As Props In China's Real Estate Market By International Business Times

7) Forbes: Hangzhou A Symbol Of China's Real Estate Market Distress – New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD TV)

8) Bowman brothers put the pop in real estate shots – The Orange County Register

9) Earthquake Early Warning coming to Washington | KING5 com Seattle

10) Deflation in Sweden: Questions and answers | Lars E.O. Svensson

11) Sheriff: Would-Be Burglar Found Dead In Oven Vent – KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE com

12) First responders ask Diamondhead residents to mark homes – WLOX com – The News for South Mississippi

13) Norwalk woman pleads guilty to setting house fire – StamfordAdvocate

14) Hoarding, clutter present special dangers to firefighters – LancasterOnline: Local News

15) Storms cause damage; thousands still without power | WOODTV com

16) Mississippi Storms Damage At Least 20 Campers, Leave 2 Injured – weather com Possible Severe Storms This Week

17) Legislation Affecting the Screening of Tenants | Resident Screening Blog

18) Louisville real estate market picking up

19) With Google as backer, sky's the limit for eBay of real estate

20) Home Prices Hit Pre-Recession Levels In Many Bay Area Cities – CBS San Francisco

21) How tight is the housing market? One North Portland ZIP code has zero houses for sale | OregonLive com

22) How to make a stately pile pay – YouTube

23) Portland Apartments Appear Primed to Continue Posting Strong Rent Growth – Apartment Market Dynamics – YouTube

24) Realty Mogul on Crowd Funding – YouTube

25) Are We Headed for a Credit Market Crash? | House of Debt

26) Rents, Rents, Everywhere Rents! | Jared Bernstein | On the Economy

  1.    Saudi Arabia To Build the World's Tallest Building – Business Insider

    The Kingdom tower will measure 3,280 feet when completed, which stretches 568 feet taller than the current Guinness World Record holder for tallest man-made construction, the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai.

    Add your comment.


  2.    5 worst cities to be a renter (unless you're fabulously wealthy) – Salon.com

    The housing market is supposedly recovering, yet the homeownership rate is dropping. Meanwhile rents in urban areas were already high but now are absolutely skyrocketing. What's going on?

    We need good-paying jobs and more affordable-housing construction.

    Add your comment.


  3.    Why a Pit Bull? – OC Housing News

    … what dog breeds do homeowner's insurance companies tend to resist covering?
    1. Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
    2. Doberman Pinschers
    3. Rottweilers
    4. German Shepherds
    5. Chows
    6. Great Danes
    7. Presa Canarios
    8. Akitas
    9. Alaskan Malamutes
    10. Siberian Huskies
    11. Wolf-hybrids
    (Note: Insurance companies tend to deny coverage for the first four breeds on this list most often, experts say.)
    The industry claims dog bites cost insurance businesses an arm and a leg. Recently released data from the Insurance Information Institute, which represents more than 300 companies, reveals dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowner liability claims paid out in 2012— costing insurance companies nearly $490 million last year.

    Add your comment.


  4.    Cuba home woes endure despite real-estate reform – US News

    When President Raul Castro legalized a real estate market for the first time in five decades, it was supposed to stimulate both new construction and maintenance of existing homes. But 2½ years later, there has been only a minimal impact on easing one of Cuba's biggest challenges: a chronic lack of suitable housing.

    Cuba, a country of about 11 million people, lacks around 500,000 housing units to adequately meet the needs of the island's citizens, according to the most recent government numbers from 2010. The housing deficit widens each year as more buildings fall further into disrepair, punished year-round by the tropical sun, sea and wind.

    Sergio Diaz-Briquets, a U.S.-based demographer who has written about the island's housing deficit, estimated the figure is now somewhere between 600,000 and 1 million.

    Add your comment.


  5.    Q&A with commercial real estate broker and developer Michael Comras – Business Monday – MiamiHerald.com

    Michael Comras has played a major role in the reshaping of South Florida. As a commercial real estate broker and developer, his name is synonymous with the resurgence of Lincoln Road and the creation of such areas as the Collins Avenue Fashion District. Comras has also been involved in Midtown Miami, Wynwood, the Design District, the Brickell area and other parts of Miami-Dade, and is even putting his mark on Broward County.

    Comras, president and CEO of the Comras Company, is a native New Yorker who has spent the past two decades in South Florida, focusing on creating destinations.

    Add your comment.


  6.    Bikini-Clad Models As Props In China's Real Estate Market By International Business Times

    "When it comes to making a sale more enticing, we've considered offering all sorts of things: free parking spots, garden plots, iPhones, gift cards — whatever will give us even a small advantage," one real estate agent in Ningbo told the International Business Times, speaking on condition he not be named lest appear desperate for sales. "It's tough to compete without those kinds of amenities or deals. Everyone is doing it."

    According to CBRE, a Los Angeles-based real-estate brokerage firm and research group, the average vacancy rate in second-tier cities in China is about 21 percent, double of what is considered to be a healthy number. Speaking to China's Economic Review, Frank Chen, the head of China research at CBRE, says in some other second-tier and smaller cities, the numbers are even grimmer. For example, vacancy rates in commercial real estate in the southwestern city of Chengdu, a second-tier city that has more investment potential, were as high as 44 percent.

    Urbanization, prompted by expanding international and domestic business, may be the life raft for the sinking ship that is smaller-market real estate, drawing in the people and dollars needed to fill up the empty apartment buildings, office towers and shopping malls, eventually bringing demand in line with supply.

    Add your comment.


  7.    Forbes: Hangzhou A Symbol Of China's Real Estate Market Distress – New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD TV)

    China's housing market is currently facing a crisis. The property market has seen prices being cut, with huge debts owed by developers, and landlords requesting return of housing. Forbes magazine reported on April 13 that Chinese commercial and residential real estate is facing poor performance. This can especially be seen in Hangzhou, which has become a symbol of market distress.

    Add your comment.


  8.    Bowman brothers put the pop in real estate shots – The Orange County Register

    "Their photography is better than most of the real estate photography I see," said Alan Blakely, director of the Association of Independent Architectural Photographers and the Real Estate Photographers of America & International, who reviewed the brothers' work online at the request of the Register. "Their sense of composition is much better … there's nothing in their portfolio that screams, 'Wow, this is an odd angle!'"

    Add your comment.


  9.    Earthquake Early Warning coming to Washington | KING5.com Seattle

    A test of a similar system came Friday morning in Mexico, after a 7.2 magnitude struck 170 miles from Mexico City. Vidale says the more basic early warning system helped get the word out as much as 60 seconds before parts of the city were hit.

    Mexico City saw 9,500 people killed in a giant magnitude-8.1 earthquake in 1984. It was a much larger quake, but centered even further away that the 7.2 that kit Friday morning. This time there are no reports of major damage or casualties.

    Vidale estimates the U.S. West Coast early warning system will cost around $16 million a year to operate.

    Add your comment.


  10.    Deflation in Sweden: Questions and answers | Lars E.O. Svensson

    This is what happens when a central bank (like the Fed) tightens prematurely. Let's not go there.

    … deflation has been caused by the Riksbank's tight monetary policy since the summer of 2010. The majority of the executive board chose in the summer of 2010 to start increasing the policy rate, which was then at 0.25 percent. The policy rate was increased at a steady and fast rate to 2 percent in the summer of 2011. The increases started, in spite of the forecast in the summer of 2010 for inflation the next few years lying below the inflation target and the forecast for unemployment lying far above a long-run sustainable rate. (See figure 2 in this post.) The policy-rate increase caused the real policy rate (measured as the repo rate less HICP inflation, in order to be comparable across countries) to increase from minus 2.5 percent to plus 1 percent. This is a very large increase of 3.5 percentage points and was a very dramatic tightening of monetary policy. (See figure 3 in this post.)

    With such a strong tightening of monetary policy, it would be very strange if inflation would not fall far below the target, and even become negative, as it indeed has done. It would also be strange if unemployment would not increase and stay high above a long-run sustainable rate, as it also indeed has done. Without the tightening that started in the summer of 2010, inflation would most likely now be much closer to the target and unemployment might have been about 1.2 percentage points lower.

    … In order to get inflation back to target soon, the policy rate has to be lowered quickly to 0.25 percent or even zero. If this does not help, the Riksbank — as other central banks at the zero lower bound with too low inflation and too high unemployment — will have to use unconventional (but by now frequently tested) policy measures. These includ e a negative policy rate, large-scale asset purchase to lower long interest rates (quantitative easing), a low policy-rate path for a longer period with different variants of "forward guidance", foreign-exchange interventions to depreciate the currency or at least (as in Switzerland) prevent it from becoming too strong, and to aim to overshoot the inflation target for a few years.

    Add your comment.


  11.    Sheriff: Would-Be Burglar Found Dead In Oven Vent – KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com

    MARRERO, La. (AP) – Authorities in a New Orleans suburb say a business owner arrived at work to find the legs of dead man dangling from an oven vent in the building's kitchen.

    Add your comment.


  12.    First responders ask Diamondhead residents to mark homes – WLOX.com – The News for South Mississippi

    Good advice:

    DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) –

    It's not a problem exclusive to Diamondhead, but residents who fail to post their addresses on their homes and mail boxes are making it tough for first responders to find them during times of emergency.

    Add your comment.


  13.    Norwalk woman pleads guilty to setting house fire – StamfordAdvocate

    STAMFORD — A Norwalk woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to setting a Greenwich Avenue home on fire in 2012 that belonged to her ex-boyfriend's mother just days after the woman found out her former boyfriend married her cousin.

    Add your comment.


  14.    Hoarding, clutter present special dangers to firefighters – LancasterOnline: Local News

    Can a landlord enforce a no-hoarding provision in a rental agreement due to fire and other hazards? Consult your contract-law attorney for enforcible wording.

    When firefighters arrived to fight the fire at Ken Murry's Mountville home late last month, they couldn't open either of the front doors.

    Belongings — much of it related to his railroading passion — blocked doors.

    That was the first indication firefighters were dealing with a hoarder's home, according to Mountville Fire Co. Chief Dean Gantz Jr.

    Add your comment.


  15.    Storms cause damage; thousands still without power | WOODTV.com

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A string of strong spring thunderstorms went through several West Michigan counties Saturday, causing damage and knocking out power to thousands of people.

    Add your comment.


  16.    Mississippi Storms Damage At Least 20 Campers, Leave 2 Injured – weather.com Possible Severe Storms This Week

    Straight-line winds damaged at least 20 camper trailers in a southern Mississippi town Monday night, leaving two people injured.

    Along with multiple overturned trailers, trees and power lines were downed by the strong storm that ravaged the Santa Maria RV Park in Gautier, Miss., according to the Associated Press. The storm came through just before 8 p.m. local time Monday.

    Add your comment.


  17.    Legislation Affecting the Screening of Tenants | Resident Screening Blog

    The consumer reporting industry, despite what critics, media and the general population may believe, is a highly regulated business. Although this article should not be perceived as legal advice and is certainly not a comprehensive list of new legislation, we will do our best to highlight bills, ordinances and mandates across the U.S. that have recently come to our attention.

    The U.S has 50 states; 3,077 counties (including "parishes" & "boroughs"); and roughly 19,355 incorporated cities. If we temporarily set aside the notions of hamlets, villages, towns and other "unincorporated" municipalities, that is a lot of politicians helping us to know what is best for our safety, our ethical fortitude and our businesses.

    When a "business" offers a single product from one location, keeping up with the rules and regulations is not a daunting task. However, when your business deals with information garnered from a multitude of sources across any of these thousands of lines, in addition to a customer base that is potentially global, keeping up with the ever evolving legislation enacted to protect us, can seem like an insurmountable obstacle.

    Add your comment.


  18.    Louisville real estate market picking up

    "Now that excess inventory is gone, the sellers have the upper hand." [said Nick Ellis, branch manager, Benchmark Mortgage]

    "It seems like if you put a sign in your yard, you will get some bites," Clines [Trevor Clines, co-owner of The Closing Group] said. "It's the complete opposite of a year and a half ago. The best way to explain it is supply and demand."

    Add your comment.


  19.    With Google as backer, sky's the limit for eBay of real estate

    Auction.com is the largest auction site
    in the country for real estate.

    While it got its start by selling distressed homes during the downturn, it has since expanded to nondistressed property and commercial space.

    Last month, it scored a major strategic investor, Google Inc., which poured $50 million into the company to bring its total funding to $142 million.

    Add your comment.


  20.    Home Prices Hit Pre-Recession Levels In Many Bay Area Cities – CBS San Francisco

    SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Real estate website Zillow released a report Monday night that shows home prices in dozens of Bay Area cities have hit pre-recession levels. Experts said prices are likely to keep going up for the foreseeable future.

    Zillow said 49 Bay Area cities have already reached pre-recession prices or will very soon.

    Add your comment.


  21.    How tight is the housing market? One North Portland ZIP code has zero houses for sale | OregonLive.com

    In a sign of just how slim the pickings are for house-hunters, one small North Portland neighborhood has hit an inventory of zero.

    Add your comment.


  22.    How to make a stately pile pay – YouTube

    Euston Hall in Suffolk boasts the work of some of Britain's greatest landscapers: Capability Brown, John Evelyn and William Kent. The Duke of Grafton gives FT House & Home editor Jane Owen a tour and tells her how a historic estate works in the 21st century.

    Add your comment.


  23.    Portland Apartments Appear Primed to Continue Posting Strong Rent Growth – Apartment Market Dynamics – YouTube

    Across the country, there are very few apartment markets that have A) strong rent growth and B) relatively low new development volumes. Portland is one of them. For that reason — and because of very healthy demand drivers in place — Portland's apartment sector should continue to post strong rent growth over the next couple years.

    Add your comment.


  24.    Realty Mogul on Crowd Funding – YouTube

    Michael talks with Realty Mogul CEO and Co-Founder Jiliene Helman about how they are utilizing technology and real estate know-how to revolutionize networking and fund raising in the commercial real estate industry.

    Add your comment.


  25.    Are We Headed for a Credit Market Crash? | House of Debt

    This is the picture that worries many. The Greenwood-Hanson model is currently predicting negative excess returns on risky bonds. That is the definition of a bubble — people are buying risky bonds that in expectation will deliver less return than riskless bonds. As you can see, their model predicts negative excess returns prior to the Great Recession as well. This is the exact same graph that Governor Stein showed in one of his speeches (see his Figure 1 left panel).

    Add your comment.


  26.    Rents, Rents, Everywhere Rents! | Jared Bernstein | On the Economy

    Did our supermanagers, as Thomas Piketty calls them, suddenly all become super-responsive to the business cycle? Did they all bang their heads at the same time and suddenly become terribly unproductive, only to recover from their amnesia shortly thereafter? Under what version of marginal product does this pattern prevail? In fact, that pattern looks a lot like the movements in the stock market! J'accuse!

    Add your comment.


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