News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 27-28, 2014

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) TipCast; Sourcing Conventional VLI Units – YouTube

2) Understanding El Nino – YouTube

3) Why are big investors betting against the housing market? | HousingWire

4) Mortgage Rates Fall to 7-Month Low | Realtor Magazine

5) Unpublishable thoughts: Piketty Debunked? Not So Fast

6) inequality

7) [Informative] Whatcom health officials: More properties contaminated by illegal meth use | Local News | The Bellingham Herald

8) Meet The Woman At The Heart Of San Francisco's Anti-Tech Gentrification Protests | Business Insider

9) California property taxes due to rise significantly – OC Housing News

10) Blast rips through Waroona bank – The West Australian

11) 37 dead, 6 missing in south China rainstorms – Xinhua | English news cn

12) Detroit Tries to Stay on Schedule as Requests Pile Up – Bloomberg

13) Magnitude 6.4 earthquake shakes Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria | Reuters

14) Worst drought in 150 years hits Spain

15) 13 injured in SW China quake – Xinhua | English news cn

16) Navigating Monetary Policy in the New Normal, Monetary Policy in a Changing Financial Landscape, Speech by Christine Lagarde at the ECB Forum on Central Banking

17) America The Youthful? Yes, On a Relative Basis | BlackRock Blog | Global Market Intelligence

18) City home inventories hit new lows | New York Post

19) Piketty Has Two Separate Income Inequality Theories | Demos

20) Affluent Indians over-invest in property | Business Line

21) Gentrification and Geography of the Economy | Sustainable Cities Collective

22) The $100 million from Chase: Where it's going, how it will help Detroit | Detroit Free Press | freep com

23) The Irish learn the hard way on housing | | MacroBusiness

24) 10 Real Estate Markets Where The "Buy and Hold" Strategy Actually Made Sense

25) 5 New California Laws that Apartment Owners and Property Managers Should Be Aware Of | CRE Radio – Commercial Real Estate Radio with Howard Kline

26) 11 reasons the real estate market could crash again | Inman News

27) One World Trade Center Rents | Durst | Port Authority

28) E.C.B. Plots Strategy for Staving Off Deflation – NYTimes com

29) 200,000 New Homes a Year is an "Unachievable" Figure – Building Momentum, Housebuilding Report 2014

30) Don't Raise Interest Rates

31) US Endowments Investing in Private Real Estate Funds – May 2014

  1.    TipCast; Sourcing Conventional VLI Units – YouTube

    Geri Borger, Multifamily Production Manager, explains how to identify very low income properties in the conventional apartment market.

    Add your comment.


  2.    Understanding El Nino – YouTube

    This video demonstrates how warm water in the central Pacific can influence prevailing pressure and precipitation patterns across the ocean basin. These atmospheric disturbances influence the average position of the Jet Stream. In turn, the jet alters temperature and precipitation patterns in the United States.

    Video produced by the Climate.gov team in cooperation with climate and Earth scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies and institutions. Any opinions voiced by people in these videos are their own; they are not official NOAA statements or opinions. Unless specifically stated otherwise, Climate.gov video productions can be freely republished or re-purposed by others

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  3.    Why are big investors betting against the housing market? | HousingWire

    MarketWatch surveyed some of the bigger names on Wall Street who focus on housing, and the general consensus is that whatever recovery was going isn't anymore, and that they're betting against housing.

    Hard to argue considering that rates are at the lowest in 2014, and yet sales have stalled out in all but the highest priced segments.

    Add your comment.


  4.    Mortgage Rates Fall to 7-Month Low | Realtor Magazine

    According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates reached the following national average for the week ending May 22:

    30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.14 percent, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week's 4.20 percent. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.59 percent.

    Well, we were wondering last year if we'd see the 2's. It really should have happened and would have had Ben Bernanke not started the premature taper-talk. Anyway, now we're waiting for the 3's again due, again, to the taper, slowing the global economy.

    Had the Fed not tapered or even talked about it, construction would have been much stronger to fill the lack of inventory.

    Of course, the student-loan crisis needs fixing. Plus, we need infrastructure jobs, private and/or public sector but regardless, primed by federal fiscal spending (based on debt-free money: United States Notes).

    Add your comment.


  5.    Unpublishable thoughts: Piketty Debunked? Not So Fast

    … for the ONS numbers, they give us only 3 data points over a 6 year period, which happens to include the biggest shock to asset prices since the Great Depression and the Second World War. You can argue that the ONS's lower estimate of wealth inequality is better than Piketty's, but you can't say anything about the trend.

    Add your comment.


  6.    inequality

    … the only real issue is why Piketty adjusted the data for several years differently, whether it is explained in the files, whether that explanation is reasonable, and if it is not explained, whether he can provide one. Out of the three "classes" of issues raised by FT, only the second has some validity. So far.

    Add your comment.


  7.    [Informative] Whatcom health officials: More properties contaminated by illegal meth use | Local News | The Bellingham Herald

    Like the state and Pierce County, Whatcom County requires cleanup if tests show contamination levels at 0.1 microgram per 100 square centimeters and higher. That level is among the strictest in the nation.

    Whatcom County officials are deciding whether to raise the threshold that triggers cleanup – a step that the state Department of Health is taking as well after being petitioned to change the rule. If it does after a public hearing July 22, the new state threshold would go into effect in September.

    State and county officials said that 0.1 microgram standard was set at the lowest level that could be detected through lab testing at the time of adoption. The idea at the time was "any is too much," Hegedus said. It wasn't based on an assessment of risks to people's health, officials said.

    They're considering the standard adopted by California after a 2009 study by that state's Environmental Protection Agency determined that 1.5 micrograms per 100 square centimeters was based on health risks that would protect the most vulnerable populations – pregnant women and young children. The state Department of Health has recommended adopting the 1.5 standard.

    Add your comment.


  8.    Meet The Woman At The Heart Of San Francisco's Anti-Tech Gentrification Protests | Business Insider

    San Francisco has been riveted in recent months by a series of protests against the way tech workers — and their big salaries — have driven up real estate prices in San Francisco, pricing out workers from less lucrative fields.

    Activists have stopped Google's commuter buses, smashed windows, and picketed the homes of Digg Founder Kevin Rose and one of Google's corporate lawyers. One activist even vomited onto a Yahoo commuter shuttle after protesters stopped it in the street. They recently demanded $US3 billion from Google as mitigation for the damage they believe the company has caused the poor in San Francisco.

    The protesters often wear masks and costumes, so it's sometimes hard to know who they actually are.

    Erin McElroy is one of the main activists in the movement, and she agreed to have lunch with Business Insider in San Francisco's Mission district recently, and answer a few questions.

    Add your comment.


  9.    California property taxes due to rise significantly – OC Housing News

    California:

    Tax bills are going up for bubble owners. What is going to happen?

    Add your comment.


  10.    Blast rips through Waroona bank – The West Australian

    The police Bomb Response Unit and Arson Squad officers are investigating the blast at Bendigo Bank on South Western Highway about 3.40am.

    Add your comment.


  11.    37 dead, 6 missing in south China rainstorms – Xinhua | English.news.cn

    Death, displacement, building collapses, crop destruction:

    BEIJING, May 26 (Xinhua) — At least 37 people have died and six others remain missing after downpours hit provinces in south China, according to a statement from the China National Commission for Disaster Reduction on Monday.

    Add your comment.


  12.    Detroit Tries to Stay on Schedule as Requests Pile Up – Bloomberg

    Rhodes set a hearing for May 28 to consider the evidence requests and whether the city has made it impossible for plan opponents to prepare for the trial.

    Detroit, Michigan's biggest city, filed for bankruptcy last year saying it couldn't meet all its financial obligations and still provide essential services. Ballots on a debt-adjustment plan have gone out to creditors including thousands of current and former city workers, some who face pension cuts under the city's proposal.

    The outcome will have a direct impact upon area real-estate values.

    Add your comment.


  13.    Magnitude 6.4 earthquake shakes Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria | Reuters

    Greece is often buffeted by earthquakes. Most cause no serious damage but a 5.9 magnitude quake in 1999 killed 143 people. In Turkey, more than 600 people died in October 2011 in the eastern province of Van after a quake of 7.2 magnitude and powerful aftershocks. In 1999, two massive earthquakes killed about 20,000 people in Turkey's densely populated northwest.

    Saturday's tremor was also felt throughout Bulgaria ….

    Add your comment.


  14.    Worst drought in 150 years hits Spain

    Ana Casals, a spokesperson for Aemet, said that rainfall has not been this low since records began 150 years ago.

    TV meteorologist Jose Antonio Maldonado added: "We have never seen such a long and intense drought.

    "Even during the second worst period of drought on record, there was twice as much rain as there is now."

    Does this give real-estate investors pause for thought?

    Add your comment.


  15.    13 injured in SW China quake – Xinhua | English.news.cn

    The quake, which happened at 4:49 a.m. [May 24, 2014] in Yingjiang County of Yunnan Province, had affected 313,000 residents in 15 towns and toppled and damaged 9,688 houses as of 7:40 p.m., according to local publicity officials.

    The quake has also damaged 36 schools and 9 bridges.

    Add your comment.


  16.    Navigating Monetary Policy in the New Normal, Monetary Policy in a Changing Financial Landscape, Speech by Christine Lagarde at the ECB Forum on Central Banking

    Broadly, the pre-crisis consensus was that monetary policy should focus on maintaining price stability—understood as low and stable inflation. Price stability, together with "light touch" microprudential regulation, was supposed to also deliver financial stability. Remember, the prevailing belief was that financial markets were resilient.

    There was no agreement that monetary policy should "lean against the wind" to fend off surges in credit or asset prices. However, in the case of a crisis, monetary policy would 'lend a hand' by cleaning up after the event—such as by lowering interest rates.

    The 2008 global financial crisis challenged these basic tenets. It is very clear now that financial crashes can be extremely costly, and their clean-up excessively long and complex.

    … we know that central bank independence has served us well. There is a strong relationship between independence and inflation performance—a relationship that is empirically well-grounded.

    Yet, central bank independence cannot be taken for granted. It takes a great deal of confidence to surrender a considerable amount of sovereign power to an unelected body. Though once the decision to delegate is taken, it can go far. Think of the Bundesbank and the remark made by former European Commission president Jacques Delors in 1992: "Not all Germans believe in God, but they all believe in the Bundesbank."

    … Importantly, a responsible fiscal policy is essential to avoid the risk of fiscal dominance. ["fiscal dominance" is inherently bad?]

    The crisis also raised awareness about the policy trade-offs caused by spillovers. In many countries, policymakers were caught between a rock and a hard place: raising interest rates to tame inflation, only to find that it stoked capital inflows and further appreciation. Exchange rate flexibility was also not a panacea, as exchange rates often 'overshot' on both ends of the capital flow cycle.

    … the third approach a more compelling course of policy—that of international monetary policy cooperation. I know that this topic has some very vocal skeptics, but also very ardent supporters. As you can imagine, I am a bit biased and I would ask the skeptics to keep an open mind.

    As the crisis has taught us, in times of distress, the potential gains from cooperation can be huge. Cooperation essentially reduced the risk of tail events with large international feedback effects.

    Think of the coordinated cut in policy interest rates in key countries at the height of the crisis, or the swap arrangements that the Fed instituted with other major central banks.

    We're for cooperation but not under a plutocracy, not where bankers run governments, not where the currency is debt-based.

    Add your comment.


  17.    America The Youthful? Yes, On a Relative Basis | BlackRock Blog | Global Market Intelligence

    Russ Koesterich:

    Slower growth. While the United States' demographic advantage suggests it will grow faster than other developed countries, growth is still likely to slow without an influx of immigrants or a change in fertility rates. Over the long term, a country's growth rate is a function of just two things: growth in the labor force and productivity. Unless everyone suddenly becomes more productive, an aging population suggests slower growth relative to the post-WW II average.

    Productivity today is much more a function of automation and technological advancement. It is quite possible for a rich nation that targets its investments wisely to make great strides in productivity. The problem is in choosing leaders who are wise. It takes a wise and informed population to do that. It's circular. Is leadership doing what it should to inform the population?

    Add your comment.


  18.    City home inventories hit new lows | New York Post

    From the Upper East Side to East New York, would-be homebuyers are facing a massive inventory crunch this spring.

    Add to that rapidly rising prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn, limited new development geared to the luxury market, and underwater homes hampering many locals' ability to sell, and it all equals a tough market for many New Yorkers.

    Add your comment.


  19.    Piketty Has Two Separate Income Inequality Theories | Demos

    Well-thought-out: Matt Bruenig:

    … FT's data arguments are about whether this Capital Concentration Effect argument is consistent with the data. That's an empirical question. The best data we have (Saez-Zucman) says absolutely yes:

    Add your comment.


  20.    Affluent Indians over-invest in property | Business Line

    "Many wealthy Indians hold a large proportion of their wealth in real estate as there is a belief that the price will never go down," says Balamurugan, Co-Founder and Director of Metis Family Office Services.

    Still, many factors point to a likely drop in allocations to real estate in the coming years.

    Add your comment.


  21.    Gentrification and Geography of the Economy | Sustainable Cities Collective

    We expect what local people earn to set the price for housing. That leaves out expecting a reflection of local fundamentals to be a function of population. Population goes up, rents could go down. Population goes down, rents could go up. In the latter scenario, an influx of brains trumps a larger egress of labor in the non-tradable sector. Construction workers move to where the housing starts are.

    Add your comment.


  22.    The $100 million from Chase: Where it's going, how it will help Detroit | Detroit Free Press | freep.com

    So what's the first thing Detroiters will do with JP Morgan Chase's $100 million?

    Eastern Market will use its share to finish renovations on its Shed 5, including creation of a community kitchen where local food entrepreneurs will find low-cost places to work.

    Its share of the money will help the M-1 Rail project draw that much closer to breaking ground this summer. And Invest Detroit, a loan fund that promotes Detroit development projects, will hire more "boots on the ground" loan officers and back-office talent to do deals in the city and get more potential projects in its pipeline.

    Add your comment.


  23.    The Irish learn the hard way on housing | | MacroBusiness

    Colm McCarthy's article nicely encapsulates many of the unintended consequences of forced urban consolidation, as well as the toxic mixture of easy credit, which increases susceptibility to boom and bust price cycles.

    There are lessons here for other nations, including Australia, which has adopted similarly restrictive planning policies despite being blessed with an abundance of land.

    Add your comment.


  24.    10 Real Estate Markets Where The "Buy and Hold" Strategy Actually Made Sense

    Have you ever heard of John Jacob Astor?

    A couple hundred years ago, this guy was kind of a big deal.

    Astor was one of the earliest (and most successful) businessmen in America. He was a merchant, fur trader and real estate investor who became the first multi-millionaire in the United States. In 1799, Astor acquired several tracts of land in an area that is now known as New York City (perhaps you've heard of it?). This guy had the foresight to predict a major economic boom and fortunately, he had the means necessary to acquire this land at a time when nobody else saw the opportunity.

    "His estimated net worth, if calculated as a fraction of the U.S. gross domestic product at the time, would have been equivalent to $110.1 billion in 2006 U.S. dollars, making him the fifth-richest person in American history." (Source: wikipedia via forbes)

    Okay… but that was 200 years ago — right?

    That time has come and come. We can't find those kinds of deals any more — can we?

    Add your comment.


  25.    5 New California Laws that Apartment Owners and Property Managers Should Be Aware Of | CRE Radio – Commercial Real Estate Radio with Howard Kline

    California:

    Commencing July 1, 2014, the only battery powered smoke alarms that are allowed to be installed in a residential rental unit are the type that have a 10 year battery life with batteries that are non-replaceable. Existing smoke alarms must be replaced by July 1, 2015.

    Add your comment.


  26.    11 reasons the real estate market could crash again | Inman News

    Fred Glick:

    580 credit score with 3.5 percent down and 50 percent ratio. Yes, folks, the same CFPB that decided on 43 has let the FHA do 3.5 percent downs with 580 credit scores and 50 percent ratios! Talk about disaster! What will happen is that more and more and more deals will go FHA and because of the low scores, there will be defaults. Inconstancy in underwriting standards where the people with bad credit get high loan-to-value loans and the person with great credit and a lot down may not get a mortgage at all. Oh, and I don't want to forget, FHA has lowered just about all the maximum loan amounts around the country shutting out many potential homebuyers (and refinancers).

    Add your comment.


  27.    One World Trade Center Rents | Durst | Port Authority

    "The market's not there," Durst told the Wall Street Journal. "When we started in 2011, everybody expected the economy to take off, and obviously that hasn't happened."

    Add your comment.


  28.    E.C.B. Plots Strategy for Staving Off Deflation – NYTimes.com

    There has been speculation that the European Central Bank might issue cheap loans to euro zone banks, with strings attached to ensure they lend the money to businesses rather than invest in government bonds, as has happened in the past.

    Ah, that's what we proposed. We also included that the banks undertake more borrower education and assistance to better assure borrower successes.

    Add your comment.


  29.    200,000 New Homes a Year is an "Unachievable" Figure – Building Momentum, Housebuilding Report 2014

    England:

    Only six per cent of housebuilders believe that the key target of 200,000 homes to be built every year is deliverable, according to Knight Frank's Housebuilding Report "Building Momentum"

    The survey also flags the sector's reliance on the Help to Buy scheme as it continues to support housebuilding figures.

    Add your comment.


  30.    Don't Raise Interest Rates

    Amongst central bankers and a certain breed of financial journalist, advocating tight money is a sign of seriousness. Thus the mumblings from the usual suspects that the economy requires a rate hike, and soon. In a way, this is predictable. For the past five years, interest rates have been as low as they ever have been in recorded history. Bond yields are low, savers and pension funds are disgruntled. A housing bubble created by low interest rates popped problematically a few years ago and rising London house prices suggest we may be in the midst of another one.

    Nonetheless, a rate hike would be a spectacular mistake.

    It isn't a rate hike that they need. It's a great deal more middle-and lower-class housing.

    Add your comment.


  31.    US Endowments Investing in Private Real Estate Funds — May 2014

    … US endowments are likely to remain active investors in private real estate funds through higher risk strategies in order to reach their respective target allocations. For instance, Texas Tech University System Endowment plans to commit $10mn, while Baylor College of Medicine Endowment will look to commit between $40mn and $50mn to value-added and opportunistic vehicles in the next 12 months.

    Add your comment.


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