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

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) [Very Highly Recommended] Thomas Piketty Video Interview: "Who Owns What Where?" – YouTube

2) [Recommended] Conglomerate Blog: Business, Law, Economics & Society

3) Carlsbad desalination plant – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

4) Storms cause scattered damage around Indiana – Breaking News – Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

5) Missouri town cleans up after EF2 tornado – Washington Times

6) China's Sizzling Real Estate Market Cools – NYTimes com

7) Prices soaring on Denver housing market

8) LA Times – Southland home prices rise the least since 2012

9) Report explores global energy impact on real estate – Prime Property

10) Strong 2014 real estate sales fill city coffers | Aspen Daily News Online

11) Just Released: Young Student Loan Borrowers Remained on the Sidelines of the Housing Market in 2013

12) Why Light and Bright Sells [& Rents] More Homes [Units]- YouTube

13) Yuan's path to global currency not without roadblocks – YouTube

14) US Homeownership Rate Is Too High

15) USDOJ: Electrolux Agrees to Pay $750,000 Civil Penalty for Delay in Reporting Oven Hazard

16) Fire at Oregon winery causes $300,000 in damage – KPTV – FOX 12

17) Sprinkler clause adds wrinkle to bonding debate as lawmakers wonder if Dayton bluffing on veto | Star Tribune

18) Standard Features are Not Amenities | MHN Blog

19) Japan growth blows past forecasts, but will the glow last? – YouTube

20) LA Times – Bay Area home prices soar

21) Housing Market: Pockets Of Hot And Cooling | Here & Now

22) Study: Dangerous storms peaking further north, south than in past | MIT News Office

  1.    [Very Highly Recommended] Thomas Piketty Video Interview: "Who Owns What Where?" – YouTube

    Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the 21st Century, tells us about his study of the history of income and wealth since the 18th century.

    Add your comment.


  2.    [Recommended] Conglomerate Blog: Business, Law, Economics & Society

    A few weeks back (I am catching up on my blogging), the Economist featured a terrific essay on "A History of Finance in Five Crises." The conclusion of the essay — "successive reforms have tended to insulate investors from risk" and "this pins risk on the public purse … [t]o solve this problem means putting risk back into the private sector" — resonates. However, the Economist makes a few surprising errors of omission in reaching this point.

    Add your comment.


  3.    Carlsbad desalination plant – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Carlsbad desalination plant is a desalination plant under construction in Carlsbad, California. It will produce 50 million gallons of water per day and will provide 7% of the potable water needs for the San Diego region. The project, headed by Poseidon Resources, will be adjacent to and north of the Encina Power Station and will share its intake and outflow system.[1] It is scheduled to be completed in 2016.[2]

    They need around 715 million gallons a day. They should build 15 times as much capacity just for San Diego if they want to use only desalinated water. Imagine how much capacity the whole of California needs. Think of the amount of alternative (non-carbon) energy infrastructure they need to run that and the rest of their energy needs to completely get off carbon. Can they do it?

    They could. It's just a decision. Money is NOT the obstacle. Our government could fund it all debt-free.

    Add your comment.


  4.    Storms cause scattered damage around Indiana – Breaking News – Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

    Strong thunderstorms that moved across Indiana caused scattered damage and knocked out electricity to thousands of homes and businesses.

    Add your comment.


  5.    Missouri town cleans up after EF2 tornado – Washington Times

    Residents in a small northwest Missouri town that took a direct hit from an EF2 tornado were busy Sunday assessing damage and rescheduling events, like next week's high school graduation.

    Add your comment.


  6.    China's Sizzling Real Estate Market Cools – NYTimes.com

    After almost two decades of nearly unceasing increases in real estate prices and construction across China, one of the world's longest-running bull markets finally seems to be stalling, with broad consequences for the country's economy and possibly its politics.

    Prices are falling for both new and old apartments. The volume of deals is drying up. And developers are pulling back, furloughing workers and delaying new projects. In the latest sign, housing starts plummeted 25 percent in April from a year ago, the Chinese government announced on Tuesday.

    Other sectors of the Chinese economy are healthier than residential real estate, and could help sustain economic output. Infrastructure spending by the government, particularly railroad construction, is moving into high gear. And the central bank has gradually pushed down the renminbi against the dollar in currency markets this year, helping the competitiveness of Chinese goods.

    Wishful thinking? Likely.

    Add your comment.


  7.    Prices soaring on Denver housing market

    The reason prices are shooting up, according to realtor Wade Perry, is the lack of homes on the market.

    Add your comment.


  8.    LA Times – Southland home prices rise the least since 2012

    Southern California home prices in April rose at their slowest clip in more than a year, a welcome sign for would-be buyers who have been priced out of the housing market.

    Sticker shock has taken some wind out of the housing recovery in the last year. Higher prices and mortgage rates have pushed many families and investors to the sidelines, causing sales to tumble and prices to moderate.

    For the first time since September 2012, more than one Southland county posted annual price increases that weren't in the double digits, research firm DataQuick said Tuesday. In Orange County, the median home price rose 7.7% from April 2013 to $576,000, and prices in San Diego climbed 8.7% to $435,000. In March, home prices increased 14.9% in O.C. and 12.4% in San Diego.

    Contributing to the moderating prices have been investors pulling back from the housing market. Absentee buyers, mostly investors, accounted for 26.1% of all homes sold last month. That's compared with 27.7% in March and 30.6% in April 2013.

    Add your comment.


  9.    Report explores global energy impact on real estate – Prime Property

    As we've reported before:

    An explosion in unconventional oil and gas development is having a dramatic impact on commercial real estate activity in Houston and other markets with a heavy focus on oil and gas operations, according to a new report from CBRE Group, a commercial real estate firm.

    Add your comment.


  10.    Strong 2014 real estate sales fill city coffers | Aspen Daily News Online

    Strong real estate sales in the first four months of 2014 have given momentum to the city of Aspen's affordable housing fund.

    Add your comment.


  11.    Just Released: Young Student Loan Borrowers Remained on the Sidelines of the Housing Market in 2013

    … the failure of young consumers, and particularly the comparatively skilled young consumers of our student loan group, to re-enter the housing market remains a puzzle. Many factors could be contributing to this phenomenon, including growing student debt balances, limited access to credit, lowered expectations for future earnings, and perhaps even a cultural shift by which young people—whether they went to college or not—are deferring home purchases. Whatever the cause of student borrowers' reticence, the housing market rebound of 2013 appears to have proceeded without the help of this skilled set of young buyers.

    Add your comment.


  12.    Why Light and Bright Sells [& Rents] More Homes [Units]- YouTube

    Good tip: "Removing artwork, posters, photos and bulletin boards will also help."

    When it comes to what buyers want in home, did you know space is second to location? That's why it's important to keep your home light and bright.

    Add your comment.


  13.    Yuan's path to global currency not without roadblocks – YouTube

    The global rise of China's yuan currency is 'inevitable' but will have to be accompanied by serious reforms, according to ASIFMA CEO Mark Austen's 'road map' for yuan internationalization.

    Add your comment.


  14.    US Homeownership Rate Is Too High

    The following is the sort of notion that results from living, eating, breathing, and sleeping real estate. You may have to slow down and read the following twice or more to really get what it's saying.

    … families need to move at times, but investors can stay the course. So if there is a large percentage of homeownership, the urgency of families needing to move creates pricing opportunities for buyers. But if homeownership moves to large investors, there will be less distressed moves and therefore more stability in pricing.

    Add your comment.


  15.    USDOJ: Electrolux Agrees to Pay $750,000 Civil Penalty for Delay in Reporting Oven Hazard

    The Justice Department's Civil Division announced today that Electrolux Home Products Inc. (Electrolux), of Charlotte, North Carolina, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $750,000 to settle allegations that it knowingly failed to report immediately to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) a safety hazard associated with certain wall ovens sold to consumers.

    Add your comment.


  16.    Fire at Oregon winery causes $300,000 in damage – KPTV – FOX 12

    A two-alarm fire tore through the fermentation room of Scott Paul Winery in Oregon's wine country Sunday night.

    Fire officials said the damage is estimated to be $300,000 to $400,000. The winery's fermentation room did not have sprinklers.

    Add your comment.


  17.    Sprinkler clause adds wrinkle to bonding debate as lawmakers wonder if Dayton bluffing on veto | Star Tribune

    When it comes to the $846 million construction borrowing package being debated at the Capitol, many wonder if it's it too big to fail.

    Or in the case of Gov. Mark Dayton, is too big to veto?

    Dayton threw a curveball Monday by saying he'd veto the bill if lawmakers use it to scuttle new rules regarding fire sprinklers in new homes. That building-code clause would require single-family and duplex homes built after January to have built-in sprinklers if they are 4,500 square feet or larger.

    Firefighters say it's a feature that will save lives by extinguishing fires before they rage out of control. Builders argue that there are other now-standard safety features that prove more effective and less costly, such as smoke detectors that are interconnected and egress windows that provide basement escape routes.

    Do you think sprinklers are superior? Many insurance companies discount premiums for sprinklered properties.

    Add your comment.


  18.    Standard Features are Not Amenities | MHN Blog

    I wouldn't even consider renting an apartment that didn't have a microwave.

    It's not that I can't cook. (I can't, but that's neither here nor there.) It's just that the inclusion of a microwave in an apartment kitchen seems so standard, so basic, that if an apartment didn't include one it would feel like an apartment from the Stone Age. (I know there weren't apartments in the Stone Age. It's called hyperbole. Jeez.)

    A microwave is not an amenity.

    We'd look at the rent rate and calculate whether to buy our own microwave. Oh, we already have one of our own. We could always give ours away though.

    More seriously, how large is the micro, what's its energy rating, and is it mounted or portable, …?

    There's only so much one can say in paid advertising; but on one's own website, have at it. If its a feature, why not include something about it?

    Your thoughts?

    Add your comment.


  19.    Japan growth blows past forecasts, but will the glow last? – YouTube

    A pre tax-hike spending rush has lifted Japan's GDP growth to its highest in three years, but weak exports and another tax hike in the wings mean the recovery is far from assured. Yonggi Kang reports.

    We say that it's way too soon to judge this aspect's success.

    Add your comment.


  20.    LA Times – Bay Area home prices soar

    The region's rising rents and home prices have spurred a backlash against the tech industry. Many local residents worry the technology boom is transforming the region — and especially San Francisco — into a rich enclave with no place for the middle class.

    Add your comment.


  21.    Housing Market: Pockets Of Hot And Cooling | Here & Now

    A Realtor in Arizona says Phoenix's market has slowed to the point there's a five-month backlog, while a north Texas Realtor says houses are being snapped up fast in some Dallas suburbs.

    Add your comment.


  22.    Study: Dangerous storms peaking further north, south than in past | MIT News Office

    …over the last 30 years, tropical cyclones — also known as hurricanes or typhoons — are moving poleward at a rate of about 33 miles per decade in the Northern Hemisphere and 38 miles per decade in the Southern Hemisphere.

    Add your comment.


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