News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Apr. 29-30, 2014

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) America's fastest shrinking cities

2) Foreign buyers delight in the glut of Spain's cheap Costa properties | World news | The Observer

3) Watch Out Below! The Housing Market Is Tumbling at the Worst Possible Moment

4) Off-Duty Nassau Detective, Neighbor Rescue Homeowner From Fire – CBS New York

5) Rising sea levels, storm tides make NYC more prone to big floods every four years: Study : SCIENCE : Tech Times

6) Why the European Parliament matters – YouTube

7) Arkansas Tornado Damage Aerial Video 4-27-2014 — YouTube | PropertyPak

8) Should new housing bubble fears stop home shoppers? – OC Housing News

9) How a weak housing market is weighing on the economic recovery : Ct

10) The Housing Market's Drag on Good Jobs – Businessweek

11) Another Round Of Tornadoes Rakes Through The South : The Two-Way : NPR

12) Pa. judge upholds sale of widow's home over $6 tax bill

13) April 27—28, 2014 tornado outbreak

14) Pending Home Sales Increase In March (Or So They Say)

15) Prefabricated Micro Apartments—Pretty Fabulous

16) China's currency conundrum | East Asia Forum

17) The good you do for the dollar when you pay your taxes | Making Sen$e | PBS NewsHour

18) Judge rules Garden City must create affordable housing – News 12 Long Island

19) Spain: Almost 800 hectares of stone fruit affected by hail storm

20) Afghanistan floods death toll rises to 127 | Asia-Pacific | Worldbulletin News

21) New York's Four Seasons restaurant sued over plan to move Picasso painting | Fox News

22) Former Pa. Home Of Mario Andretti Destroyed By Fire – CBS Philly

23) Floating home battle not ended by high court

24) Life crumbles around family – Jackson Hole News&Guide: Town & County

25) [Recommended] China's Debt Endgames

  1.    America's fastest shrinking cities

    Based on recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates, 24/7 Wall St. examined changes in population for 381 metropolitan statistical areas from April 2010 through July 2013. We also considered figures from the Census Bureau's 2012 American Community Survey. We reviewed population figures from each decennial Census since 1940, using each area's largest county as a proxy for the metro area. Data on incomes and price levels, current as of 2012 and 2011, respectively, are from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Figures on home price changes are from the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) House Price Index and are current as of the end of 2013. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for December of each year from 2010 to 2013 are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Estimates for gross metropolitan product are from IHS Global Insight. EMSI data on changes in total jobs, as well as manufacturing and construction jobs, between 2001 and 2013 were also considered.

    These are America's shrinking cities.

    Add your comment.


  2.    Foreign buyers delight in the glut of Spain's cheap Costa properties | World news | The Observer

    Although hundreds of Spanish families are still being evicted every day for defaulting on their mortgages, foreign buyers have returned in force to the country's depressed property market.

    New data from the Bank of Spain last week showed that foreign purchases in 2013 exceeded €6bn (£5bn) for the first time since 2004.

    Add your comment.


  3.    Watch Out Below! The Housing Market Is Tumbling at the Worst Possible Moment

    While it's no secret the housing market has been struggling, it wasn't until this week that we discovered just how dire the situation has become.

    On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales, which account for roughly 90% of the American housing market, fell in March for the seventh time in eight months. At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million sales, they were 0.2% below February and a disturbing 7.5% under the same month last year.

    Add your comment.


  4.    Off-Duty Nassau Detective, Neighbor Rescue Homeowner From Fire – CBS New York

    NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An off-duty Nassau County police detective and a neighbor risked their lives to pull a man from his burning home on Long Island Sunday morning.

    Add your comment.


  5.    Rising sea levels, storm tides make NYC more prone to big floods every four years: Study : SCIENCE : Tech Times

    New York City (NYC) is in for some extreme flooding should another Hurricane Sandy hit the metropolis, thanks to the drastic sea level rise and the storm tide's current maximum height, which also means it will be 20 times more likely to flood than it was 170 years ago, a new study bared.

    Add your comment.


  6.    Why the European Parliament matters – YouTube

    As the European elections approach at the end of May, Alex Barker, the FT's EU correspondent, reports from Brussels on the growing power of the European Parliament in shaping the future of the EU.

    Add your comment.


  7.    Arkansas Tornado Damage Aerial Video 4-27-2014 — YouTube | PropertyPak

    Drone video right after the tornado moved through just south of Mayflower, Arkansas.

    Add your comment.


  8.    Should new housing bubble fears stop home shoppers? – OC Housing News

    California endured three large housing bubbles since the early 1970s. Each one was kicked off by a huge house price rally, inflating prices well beyond any reasonable fundamental measure. From early 2012 to mid 2013, the house price rally was just as steep as previous price surges, but not as long in duration. Cautious home shoppers fear this latest rally may signal yet another housing bubble, but rather than purchase for fear of being priced out forever, buyers wait or decide to safely rent instead.

    I consider this cautious behavior a great sign for housing. In the past, realtors could have scared buyers into action or appealed to their greed, but today those tactics fail more often than they work, partly because buyers are still weary after the recent bust ….

    Add your comment.


  9.    How a weak housing market is weighing on the economic recovery : Ct

    Madison is enjoying an unprecedented boom in apartment construction but far fewer developers are pursuing new single family homes or condos these days.

    It's part of a national trend that is being linked to the slow economic recovery.

    Investment in residential real estate now makes up a smaller share of the overall economy than at any time since World War II, according to the New York Times. That is a hugely significant statistic, considering the housing industry and all that goes with it — furniture, appliances, flooring, landscaping, etc. — remains the largest single sector of the U.S. economy.

    Add your comment.


  10.    The Housing Market's Drag on Good Jobs – Businessweek

    A sobering new report today from the National Employment Law Project finds that as the economy has inched toward recovery, low-wage jobs have returned far more quickly than middle- or high-income work. Big picture, this raises questions about the health and sustainability of an economic recovery without wage growth. Drilling down into the report's finding shows how the housing sector in particular is a key middle-income employer that has failed to rebound.

    NELP has a helpful chart of the changes across industries.

    Add your comment.


  11.    Another Round Of Tornadoes Rakes Through The South : The Two-Way : NPR

    A day after a line of severe storms spawned tornadoes blamed for the death of at least 15 people in Arkansas and Oklahoma, the South was raked again.

    This time, Mississippi and Alabama were hard hit.

    CNN reports:

    Add your comment.


  12.    Pa. judge upholds sale of widow's home over $6 tax bill

    A Pennsylvania county judge has again ruled against a widow who lost her home because of an unpaid $6.30 interest charge for paying her school taxes late.

    Tax records show that as of last week she has an outstanding balance of more than $20,000, including penalties and interest, for county, municipal and school taxes from 2009 to 2013.

    Add your comment.


  13.    April 27—28, 2014 tornado outbreak

    The April 27—28, 2014 tornado outbreak is an ongoing large and deadly severe weather event that has produced multiple long-track tornadoes and over a dozen fatalities. It is the first major US tornado outbreak of 2014.

    Add your comment.


  14.    Pending Home Sales Increase In March (Or So They Say)

    Joe Manausa writes:

    The funniest thing about this report is found in its timing. Two days ago, I wrote why real estate professionals should report on year over year changes in order to remove the impact of seasonality, and yet Dr. Lawrence Yun likes to think the NAR can positively drive the market with regular "good news" reporting.

    We aren't sure just how much Mr. Yun intentionally tries to psych the market. We've heard him being pretty dire before, not that Joe isn't correct that seasonality should probably always be pointed out. Regardless, it's the following by Joe that we found most interesting though:

    There is a transitional problem in the housing market that is becoming more evident every day. When people sell their home, whether they are short or not, they are not generating the equity that historically has propelled them to buy the next home.

    There is a huge hole in the demand component of the housing market, and it won't be filled overnight.

    Historically in Tallahassee, roughly one half of our buyers come from the group of people who have to first sell a home. This group has been stymied with negative equity since 2007, and home values have only begun rising a year ago. That means one-half of our historical demand has their hands tied, unable to sell and generate enough cash to buy.

    As home values recover, this historical demand will recover. But it won't happen in May 2014. It will happen over the next several years.

    Sadly, we will see mortgage interest rates rise over this same period of time, reducing home affordability for those who have to wait.

    However, we're not sure that interest rates will rise the way people seem to think they will. It will largely depend upon how the Fed views things. The way things have been handled hasn't really lit a fire under the economy. It's prevented a deeper recession/depression, but fiscal actions rather than monetary have been severely lacking. Politicians don't seem to grasp this, and many simply don't understand economics even at the most basic level.

    The federal government does not need to be run as a household that can't create its own money. It also doesn't have to fear inflation if it targets its spending on truly productive endeavors.

    It has been obvious for years now that we are mired in stagnation and even sinking. What's it going to take to get decision makers to wake up? Where are the knowledgeable educators being listened to? Where are the politicians and others seeking out the right answers?

    Add your comment.


  15.    Prefabricated Micro Apartments—Pretty Fabulous

    In a previous blog, we introduced the micro-apartment trend and discussed whether it was the "real thing" or the latest fad in city living. The micro-apartments, or micro-units, as they're sometimes called, average around 500 square feet or less and are geared toward young, single folks in urban locales.

    Add your comment.


  16.    China's currency conundrum | East Asia Forum

    You may have to read this article more than once.

    If China tries to liberalise its financial markets, hot money finance flows the wrong way — into the economy rather than out. Although fully liberalising China's domestic financial markets and internationalising the renminbi someday may be possible, that day is far off.

    Add your comment.


  17.    The good you do for the dollar when you pay your taxes | Making Sen$e | PBS NewsHour

    Adam Smith, the father of economics, had the same idea in 1776. He wrote in "The Wealth of Nations":

    A prince, who should enact that a certain proportion of his taxes should be paid in a paper money of a certain kind, might thereby give a certain value to this paper money, even though the term of its final discharge and redemption should depend altogether upon the will of the prince.

    That's right.

    Add your comment.


  18.    Judge rules Garden City must create affordable housing – News 12 Long Island

    GARDEN CITY [New York] – A judge has ordered Garden City to bring affordable housing to the area.

    Garden City officials have insisted that the village did not intend to discriminate. The village board has 30 days to decide whether it will appeal the decision.

    This raises the question of how small a political unit must be before it doesn't have to set aside lands and development for those of low income or for people of color, per se.

    If this hold up upon any appeal, will it also be applied to every bit of the Hamptons for instance?

    Even it if does, will there still be segregation within the political unit?

    Add your comment.


  19.    Spain: Almost 800 hectares of stone fruit affected by hail storm

    Over 500 hectares of apricot, peach, cherry, nectarine and flat peach plantations have been badly affected in the Spanish municipality of Fraga by a rain and hail storm that hit the town last Sunday.

    Agricultural unions, the UAGA and BDA, reported that the storm has completely destroyed some areas and that there are growers who have yet to report damages to their insurance, as the deadline to do so with Agroseguro has not been reached.

    Nuria Florenza, of Asaja, pointed out that a number of plantations have been affected by between 80 and even 100% in some specific areas, especially in Fraga and its surroundings.

    She estimates that between 500-1,000 hectares have been affected by the storm, which started around 9 pm on Sunday and reached precipitation levels of between 20 and 30 litres per square metre in just ten minutes.

    The UAGA union has also made a preliminary assessment of the damage, which has concentrated in the town of Fraga. Between 600 and 800 hectares of fruit plantations are estimated to have been affected by the storm.

    The extent of the damage has varied between 20 and 80%, depending on the area and the crops' phenological stage.

    Insurance technicians will culminate their assessment of the damages in the coming days.

    Add your comment.


  20.    Afghanistan floods death toll rises to 127 | Asia-Pacific | Worldbulletin News

    At least 127 people died and hundreds of villagers were displaced after flash floods ravaged northern Afghanistan, disaster authorities said Sunday.

    Add your comment.


  21.    New York's Four Seasons restaurant sued over plan to move Picasso painting | Fox News

    "This case is not about Picasso," RFR lawyer Andrew Kratenstein said in court papers. Rather, he wrote, it is about whether an art owner can insist that a private landlord hang a work indefinitely, the building's needs be damned. "The answer to that question is plainly no."

    What do you think?

    Add your comment.


  22.    Former Pa. Home Of Mario Andretti Destroyed By Fire – CBS Philly

    NAZARETH, Pa. (AP) — The former eastern Pennsylvania home of race car driver Mario Andretti has been gutted by a fire.

    The state police fire marshal said the blaze was accidentally sparked by a hot lawnmower parked among combustible materials in the garage.

    Add your comment.


  23.    Floating home battle not ended by high court

    NORTH BAY VILLAGE, FL (AP) — A Florida man won a precedent-setting victory last year when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with him that his floating home was a house, not a vessel covered by maritime law. But so far the ruling hasn't helped him secure compensation for the home, which a city seized and destroyed using the laws that govern ships at sea.

    Add your comment.


  24.    Life crumbles around family – Jackson Hole News&Guide: Town & County

    It took several months for the evidence to add up. Even then, the Budges could not have imagined that the small signs were pointing to the scene of devastation of last week when their house, which Budge's father built, was ripped in two by a slow-moving landslide that has been creeping down East Gros Ventre Butte.

    Add your comment.


  25.    [Recommended] China's Debt Endgames

    An article on China's high-wire act without a net:

    The strength of the banking system is probably overstated, primarily because of the understatement of bad loans and the relationship with shadow banks. Real levels of non-performing loan may be as high as 5-10% of assets, about 5 to 10 times the reported levels. The risk of a significant portion of assets held in the shadow banking system may ultimately come back into the banking system.

    Add your comment.


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