News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Jul. 3-4, 2014

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Super rich driving higher prices in New York real estate

2) Lack of first-time homebuyers starting to weaken the move-up market – OC Housing News

3) Most in flood-prone W.Va. community take buyouts | The Herald-Dispatch

4) Concern over New Jersey coastal building rules – News – NorthJersey dot com

5) St. Louis man accused of arson, fraud : News

6) Pace of Commercial Development, Construction Picking Up Speed – CoStar Group

7) Federal Reserve Bank San Francisco | Will Inflation Remain Low?

8) The Re-Explosion of U.S. House Prices Is Over – Businessweek

9) U.S. Apartment Rents Climb at Faster Pace as Demand Rises – Bloomberg

10) Storms leave power outages, flooding, flight delays in central U.S | Reuters

11) Daron Acemoglu talks Crony Capitalism & John Mauldin on Future QE – YouTube

12) Mortgage volume remains stuck despite lower rates

13) Singapore ranked most transparent real estate market in Asia – Channel NewsAsia

14) We have to worry about deflation? Maybe yes maybe no.

15) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: The Employment Situation — June 2014

16) How bad policy is making the Great Recession's damage permanent – The Washington Post

  1.    Super rich driving higher prices in New York real estate

    The Manhattan real estate market is now a tale of two cities—the merely rich and the super rich.

    While prices for one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments fell in the second quarter from the first quarter, prices for big, new condos soared by double digits during the same period, according to a new report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants.

    Prices for one-bedroom apartments fell 3.6 percent to a median sales price of $702,500. Prices for apartments with four or more bedrooms jumped 16 percent to a median price of $6.75 million.

    Add your comment.


  2.    Lack of first-time homebuyers starting to weaken the move-up market – OC Housing News

    Why rentals are here to stay for a long time:

    … some speculate that current owners with low-rates won't want to sell and give up their current mortgage; some will become long-term landlords even if they move.
    Most move-up market sales get their equity from the profitable sale of a previous home. With the crash of house prices, those who bought over the last 10 years have no more equity than they originally put down, and most are underwater. This potential buyer pool is dead.

    The thing is, we don't expect the government to do what it would take to rev up the economy via millions of solid, productive, good-paying, public-sector jobs. We think they are too afraid of several things: inflation but also that the elites would find themselves unable to take such a huge percentage of the wealth. Of course, we believe the attitude of most of (not all; see: "The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats – Nick Hanauer – POLITICO Magazine") the rich is extremely shortsighted, as they too would benefit much more by the entire economy improving for everyone.

    Add your comment.


  3.    Most in flood-prone W.Va. community take buyouts | The Herald-Dispatch

    Most year-round residents in a flood-prone area in Berkeley County have accepted government buyouts through a hazard mitigation effort that began following a flood in 1996.

    Add your comment.


  4.    Concern over New Jersey coastal building rules – News – NorthJersey.com

    The rules would make it easier to build or expand marinas and add restaurants to them, and make it easier to build one- or two-family homes in coastal areas. They also would make it easier to erect piers and to build attractions on them.

    "We continue to have high growth in areas that were shown to be vulnerable in the storm," said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society. "The department doesn't seem to have taken that lesson to heart."

    Add your comment.


  5.    St. Louis man accused of arson, fraud : News

    A St. Louis man was arrested Monday on mail fraud and arson-related charges, federal prosecutors said Monday.

    Add your comment.


  6.    Pace of Commercial Development, Construction Picking Up Speed – CoStar Group

    The three-month moving average for multifamily residential construction starts rose 3.5% in May to 366,000 units — about where a fully recovered construction market should be, according to Reed Construction. Despite a 7.6% decline in May, year-to-date multifamily starts are up 14.8% over 2013.

    Add your comment.


  7.    Federal Reserve Bank San Francisco | Will Inflation Remain Low?

    Inflation, as measured by the core PCEPI, currently stands below the Fed's 2% target. A simple empirical Phillips curve implies that inflation will remain relatively low in the near future. Estimating just how low depends a great deal on the assumptions in the model. We test two specific variations to the basic model, altering the measure of slack and the assumptions about inflation expectations. We find that these variations produce some higher projections for future inflation. However, it is difficult to prove that any one specification of the model is the true one. Instead, examining the effects of various specifications can be instructive in exploring how various factors affect forecasts of inflation.

    Add your comment.


  8.    The Re-Explosion of U.S. House Prices Is Over – Businessweek

    Call off the bubble alert. Through 2012 and 2013, U.S. house prices were rising at a pace that was as extreme as anything seen during the disastrous housing bubble of the last decade. But since the start of 2014, the pace of increase has slowed markedly. Assuming the slower pace sticks—and it looks as if it will—prices will remain affordable, if not exactly cheap. "That means that the housing market will avoid becoming overvalued, allowing the recovery in sales activity and housing starts to continue," Capital Economics property analyst Paul Diggle said in a research note ….

    Add your comment.


  9.    U.S. Apartment Rents Climb at Faster Pace as Demand Rises – Bloomberg

    All 79 of the primary markets measured by Reis had gains in effective rents, the first time that's happened since the last recession …

    Add your comment.


  10.    Storms leave power outages, flooding, flight delays in central U.S | Reuters

    Cars were damaged and windows were broken by the hailstorms, the NWS said.

    One person died in Linn County, Iowa, the sheriff's office there said, when a building collapsed in heavy winds.

    Authorities in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday afternoon recovered the body of a 17-year-old boy who was swept into a storm drain on Monday night after heavy rains hit the area, said Greg Buelow, the city's public safety spokesman.

    Add your comment.


  11.    [152] Daron Acemoglu talks Crony Capitalism & John Mauldin on Future QE – YouTube

    [At 15:15 ] … part two of Edward's interview with John Mauldin.

    We think John Mauldin is right to be looking at the next recession and thinking about what the Yellen Fed will do. He seems right about that they know that they won't want to repeat the same experiments we've all just gone through. More direct spending right into the real economy is what they should have done and certainly should be what they do next time around, but we'd like to see fiscal spending via bond-free money (Greenbacks, the real ones: United States Notes).

    Add your comment.


  12.    Mortgage volume remains stuck despite lower rates

    The stall in mortgage volume therefore could mean slower sales in the second half of the year ….

    Mortgage rates moved slightly higher Tuesday, thanks to the stock market rally. As investors poured money into stocks, bonds suffered and mortgage rates loosely follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond.

    We think the stock-market bears are correct and look forward to a significant drop. The Fed will have to completely regroup. Exactly when this will happen doesn't appear clear yet.

    Add your comment.


  13.    Singapore ranked most transparent real estate market in Asia – Channel NewsAsia

    Singapore has been ranked the most transparent real estate market in Asia, according to the Global Real Estate Transparency Index 2014. It maintained 13th place, while Hong Kong slipped from 11th to 14th.

    Chua Yang Liang, head of research at JLL Singapore, said: "In other markets, the tenants have the ability to look the components within that service charge. In Singapore's case, it is typically a broad number and tenants typically do not have the ability to audit.

    "The other one is the market fundamentals in terms of the time series, the depth of the data, we have strong series, quite long – but in terms of depth of the details like building information, building profile, that kind of details that are publicly available are still lacking compared to other mature markets."

    Add your comment.


  14.    We have to worry about deflation? Maybe yes maybe no.

    Very interesting:

    The experience of the last two hundred years reveals deli then two types of deflation, a "good", which was accompanied by a growth, and a "bad", which was accompanied by stagnation or even economic depression. But they are the first the most common cases. Andy Atkeson and Pat Kehoe, in the article mentioned above, try to verify the existence of a stable relationship between price variation and change in GDP in a sample of 17 countries from 1820 to 2000 and did not find it. That is, it does not seem to exist in the data no systematic statistical relationship between deflation and economic depression. To our knowledge, there is no other empirical evidence "robust" to support the idea that the absence of inflation or cause brings economic stagnation or worse.

    We look forward to hearing from those who disagree (see #16 below for some of that).

    Add your comment.


  15.    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: The Employment Situation — June 2014

    Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 288,000 in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 6.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains were widespread, led by employment growth in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and health care.

    In June, the civilian labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent for the third consecutive month. The employment-population ratio, at 59.0 percent, showed little change over the month but is up by 0.3 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

    The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) increased by 275,000 in June to 7.5 million. The number of involuntary part-time workers is down over the year but has shown no clear trend in recent months. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

    In June, 2.0 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 554,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

    Among the marginally attached, there were 676,000 discouraged workers in June, a decrease of 351,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in June had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

    In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $24.45, following a 6-cent increase in May. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.0 percent. In June, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $20.58. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

    The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised from +282,000 to +304,000, and the change for May was revised from +217,000 to +224,000. With these revisions, employment gains in April and May were 29,000 higher than previously reported.

    Okay, this is better; but we must not lose sight of the fact that the jobs being created still tend too much to the lower-paying type, hours worked are too few, too many people have given up looking, and those who are still looking constitute way too many who just can't seem to obtain employment but want it and probably really need it to make ends meet and to perhaps get ahead (pay down debts, save, and be positioned to take advantage of new opportunities, education, and to avoid crushing setbacks along with preparing for retirement).

    We still maintain that we should create higher paying jobs via public spending on infrastructure and public-sector jobs where the private sector just hasn't been able, or has been unwilling (for whatever reasons), to create the necessary work.

    Once the private sector is in a position to take up all of the labor slack, the public sector could transition workers to the private sector with strings attached that the private sector not be wildly deregulated as it was leading up to the Great Recession.

    Add your comment.


  16.    How bad policy is making the Great Recession's damage permanent – The Washington Post

    Don't blame the Great Recession for making us permanently poorer. Blame our policymakers for letting it.

    This concept is called hysteresis, and it's the idea that a long enough slump can maim the economy's long-run potential. That's because 1) too little investment today can keep us from growing as much tomorrow, and 2) too few jobs can make the long-term unemployed give up hope of ever finding work again. In other words, it means that we might never undo all the damage the financial crisis has done.

    And that would leave us with a lot of damage still. How much exactly?

    The article goes on to overly concentrate on creating inflation rather than just discussing austerity. Our point is that we could eliminate austerity completely without raising inflation if leadership were wise and visionary enough to get rid of government bonds. It would be extremely easy and great for the nation.

    Add your comment.


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