News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Aug. 14, 2014

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Record income gap fuels US housing weakness

2) New law toughens penalties for arson – News – Citizens' Voice

3) Fire department weighs options for 2016 funding – Washington Times

4) Family in bed bug case sues insurer – SFGate

5) Calculated Risk: MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

6) 5 myths about buying a home

7) Taiwan Eyes China's Interest In Its Real Estate With Suspicion

8) Twin Cities real estate rebound reaches economics-defying moment | Star Tribune

9) How To Grow Your Nest Egg By Thinking Outside The Box – shellyrobersonrealtor com

10) Always Screen Your Tenant-Because This Could Happen To You – Rental Rookie

11) Opening remarks: Inflation Report Press Conference – August 2014 – YouTube

12) Drop in UK wages puzzles economists – YouTube

13) Multifamily Update, Forecast & Management Strategies – YouTube

14) Sioux City sees drop in reports of dog bites since '08 crackdown – Omaha com: Articles

15) Storm Prediction Center adds threat levels to address really bad weather on 'slight risk' days | Star Tribune

16) It's Mid-August. Where Are All the Atlantic Hurricanes? – Bloomberg

17) Canandaigua woman found guilty in arson trial, gets 4 to 12 years – News – Victor Post – Victor, NY

18) Extreme weather becoming more common, study says | Environment | theguardian com

19) Yunnan Earthquake Insurance approved pilot failed to start, annual loss of 3.8 billion

20) Typhoon Halong loss could be similar to Roke's estimated $1.1 billion | Artemis bm

21) [Highly recommended] China's economy is bound up with Xi's anti-corruption campaign | George Magnus

22) [Recommended] Are ageing populations actually good news? | Forum:Blog Forum:Blog | The World Economic Forum

23) Euro-Zone GDP – Recap – MoneyBeat – WSJ

24) Morning Agenda: A Market for Delinquent Mortgages – NYTimes com

25) [Recommended] Boston Fed Chief Warns of Dangers to Repo Market – NYTimes com

26) Real estate company stole trade secrets: suit | New York Post

27) Village mandates registration, inspection of rental properties | Observer and Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Weeklies | hometownlife com

28) Oklahoma City's Economy Remains Hot, But Apartment Revenue Growth Has Cooled – YouTube

  1.    Record income gap fuels US housing weakness

    Hardly news but worth repeating:

    The number of Americans in work has surpassed the pre-recession peak. But there has been little lower and middle wage growth, constraining demand for houses across much of the country.

    Add your comment.


  2.    New law toughens penalties for arson – News – Citizens' Voice

    HARRISBURG — Arsonists face tougher penalties if they injure civilians and firefighters or cause large-scale damages under a new state law. The law creates a felony crime of aggravated arson that applies when someone intentionally sets a fire that injures people in the targeted property or a firefighter, emergency responder or civilian at the scene.

    Add your comment.


  3.    Fire department weighs options for 2016 funding – Washington Times

    VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) – A southwestern Indiana fire department is facing an uncertain financial future after finally emerging from years in the red.

    Add your comment.


  4.    Family in bed bug case sues insurer – SFGate

    Neil and Patricia Whitney of Rutland say Vermont Mutual Insurance Co. has refused to cover their homeowner policy. The Rutland Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1kW3Jwh) the company denied their claim because it doesn't cover pollution in homes such as the "discharge, dispersal, seepage, migration, release or escape of pollutants."

    How would you rule on this insurance issue?

    As a homeowner knowing that pollutants were excluded, would you have submitted the claim?

    Add your comment.


  5.    Calculated Risk: MBA: Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey

    Mortgage applications decreased 2.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 8, 2014. …

    The Refinance Index decreased 4 percent from the previous week to the lowest level since May 2014. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent from one week earlier to the lowest level since February 2014.

    Add your comment.


  6.    5 myths about buying a home

    Here are five once commonly believed myths that no longer apply.

    Myth #1: Buying a home is a great investment

    Myth #2: Buying is always better than renting

    Myth #3: The three most important factors are location, location, location.

    Myth #4: Buy the worst home in the best neighborhood.

    Myth #5: All real estate is local.

    Add your comment.


  7.    Taiwan Eyes China's Interest In Its Real Estate With Suspicion

    Local home buyers in Taiwan's inflated real estate market are upset with the Chinese for skirting rules aimed at limiting the purchase of property in the island nation by people from the mainland, according to a Reuters report. Taiwan is also worried about Beijing's growing influence in the country, which China views as a break-away province.

    Add your comment.


  8.    Twin Cities real estate rebound reaches economics-defying moment | Star Tribune

    Last month there were 8,015 new listings, but only 5,198 home sales, according to data released Tuesday by the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. That was a 10 percent decline in sales, and 10 percent increase in listings. Prices increased 3.4 percent to $215,000.

    What the article didn't mention is that there's a lag with sellers before they realize it's not a seller's market and they'll have to reduce asking prices. Other factors may be at work in the Twin Cities area though.

    Add your comment.


  9.    How To Grow Your Nest Egg By Thinking Outside The Box — shellyrobersonrealtor.com

    Over the years I have had many clients ask me if it was possible to put real estate investments inside of their IRAs. The answer is "Yes" but the IRA has to be specific and has to not have certain restrictions. Thinking outside the traditional investment box can reap many rewards for you and your family. Here are some IRA basics and some ideas for getting real estate investments inside of your IRA.

    Individual Retirement Accounts Have Several Typical Categories …

    Add your comment.


  10.    Always Screen Your Tenant-Because This Could Happen To You — Rental Rookie

    We showed our property this week to a man who had called and was able to come right over to view the property. While he was there, he said that he was extremely interested and was ready to move forward right away. Not only was he verbally ready, but he pulled out his checkbook and wrote a $1,000 check for the security deposit on the spot. While we were excited about having someone so interested in the property, I couldn't help but wonder why he was so eager to move forward. He even stated that he wanted to move in on Friday- 3 days away- whether the property was ready or not.

    Add your comment.


  11.    Opening remarks: Inflation Report Press Conference – August 2014 – YouTube

    Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, sounding very Yellenesque:

    Add your comment.


  12.    Drop in UK wages puzzles economists – YouTube

    The Bank of England has halved its forecast for average wage growth. Sarah O'Connor, economics correspondent, talks to Daniel Garrahan about why salaries in the UK are falling while employment is rising.

    Unemployment was higher than previously thought. People are glad to be back at work, don't see the world economy as having been mended, and don't want to risk making waves right now by clamoring for higher wages.

    Add your comment.


  13.    Multifamily Update, Forecast & Management Strategies – YouTube

    Multifamily sector performance soared in the second quarter! Hear the latest and what to expect moving forward.

    Guests also share the impact of the recovering housing and job markets, strategies to attract and retain residents, plus the latest cap rates and financing for class A, B and C apartment communities.

    Add your comment.


  14.    Sioux City sees drop in reports of dog bites since '08 crackdown – Omaha.com: Articles

    SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Six years after Sioux City officials cracked down on pit bulls and vicious dogs, fewer people are reporting cases of dog bites.

    Pit bull owners don't like it; but the statistics on pit bulls are not good, and it doesn't all come down to training and handling. They were bred to fight.

    They're often too big and way too strong for many people to handle. The old and young are particularly vulnerable. They also do get loose a great deal.

    It's not the dogs' fault, but why choose a pit bull when there are so many other breeds that are so much less risky?

    Insurance carriers in general really frown on the large, aggressive breeds. They do so because they have the claims data to justify that position.

    If you are a landlord or manager, how do you handle potential tenants who want to have a pit bull live on your property?

    Add your comment.


  15.    Storm Prediction Center adds threat levels to address really bad weather on 'slight risk' days | Star Tribune

    The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center said Monday it will add two threat levels to its weather outlooks so people aren't surprised by really bad storms on days with just a "slight risk" of tornadoes, hail or high winds.

    Add your comment.


  16.    It's Mid-August. Where Are All the Atlantic Hurricanes? – Bloomberg

    Part of the reason is El Nino. While the weather-changing event, most readily identified by a warming of the waters in the equatorial Pacific, hasn't officially developed, the sea surface temperatures there have bobbed a little above normal for weeks at a time during the past few months.

    Add your comment.


  17.    Canandaigua woman found guilty in arson trial, gets 4 to 12 years – News – Victor Post – Victor, NY

    It took the eight-woman, four-man jury just three hours of deliberation Tuesday night to find 29-year-old Shallamar Hayward-Crawford of Canandaigua guilty on all charges stemming from a December 2013 fire. The fire destroyed her 41 Saltonstall St. property, damaged two adjacent properties, and caused one firefighter to sustain smoke damage.

    Add your comment.


  18.    Extreme weather becoming more common, study says | Environment | theguardian.com

    Extreme weather like the drought currently scorching the western US and the devastating floods in Pakistan in 2010 is becoming much more common, according to new scientific research.

    The work shows so-called "blocking patterns", where hot or wet weather remains stuck over a region for weeks causing heatwaves or floods, have more than doubled in summers over the last decade. The new study may also demonstrate a link between the UK's recent flood-drenched winter and climate change.

    …Coumou and his colleagues argue there are good physical reasons to think there is a causal link, because the jet streams are driven by the difference in temperature between the poles and the equator. As the Arctic is warming more quickly than lower latitudes, that temperature difference is declining, providing less energy for the jet stream and its meanders, which are called Rossby waves.

    Add your comment.


  19.    Yunnan Earthquake Insurance approved pilot failed to start, annual loss of 3.8 billion

    August 3, Ludian County, Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province 6.5 earthquake. According to the provincial Civil Affairs Department report, as at 10:30 on August 6 to preliminary statistics, the earthquake has caused 108.84 million people were affected, 589 people were killed and 2401 injured; 25,800 80,900 houses collapsed….

    Add your comment.


  20.    Typhoon Halong loss could be similar to Roke's estimated $1.1 billion | Artemis.bm

    The eventual insured loss total for typhoon Halong which struck Japan at the weekend could be of a similar magnitude to 2011's typhoon Roke which was estimated at $1.1 billion, according to risk modeller AIR Worldwide.

    Typhoon Halong struck Japan on Sunday, having been downgraded to a tropical storm just prior to landfall. Despite the lower windspeeds, it was the rainfall levels which will drive the majority of the insurance and reinsurance industry losses from Halong, with record levels of rain experienced in many areas of Japan in recent weeks.

    In some cases as much as three feet of rainfall was dumped….

    Add your comment.


  21.    [Highly recommended] China's economy is bound up with Xi's anti-corruption campaign | George Magnus

    This is a great backgrounder! George Magnus:

    …it is simply not going to be possible to sustain economic growth at 7-7.5% while the economy is rebalancing. The secular downturn in investment growth, especially of real estate and construction, and the inevitable unwinding of credit creation and debt accumulation, sooner or later, will affect economic performance negatively long before policy reforms possibly lead to higher productivity growth.

    Real estate and related construction investment account for about 16% of GDP, and while transactions volumes are in the process of falling significantly, prices are not falling that sharply yet. Even so, it will be a surprise if property and land prices do not fall further. Even if households are shielded by virtue of the relatively low share of mortgage debt in relation to income and GDP, land and real estate account for about two-fifths of the collateral behind all commercial bank assets. So, the knock-on consequences of the fade in real estate investment are likely to permeate the economy for some time, even if the banks themselves are at little risk of a Western type liquidity crisis (because the People's Bank will presumably make good any shortfalls). In any event, the de-leveraging process is still at a very early stage and we would probably need to see several quarters of declining transactions volumes in real estate, defaults, and falling credit to GDP before judging that the sectoral unwind was complete.

    Read about the 45 tigers and party purity, etc., to gain greater insight into what's driving China's leadership.

    Add your comment.


  22.    [Recommended] Are ageing populations actually good news? | Forum:Blog Forum:Blog | The World Economic Forum

    Adair Turner lays out many reasons why an aging population doesn't have to be a bad thing.

    There is, moreover, strong evidence that rising longevity can mean more years of healthy active life, not unhealthy dependency.

    We're counting on it.

    In addition to Adair's observations, we'll point out that an aging population can mean a reduction in crime per capita.

    Add your comment.


  23.    Euro-Zone GDP — Recap – MoneyBeat – WSJ

    The gloom over the euro-zone economy has darkened.

    The bloc's economy has stagnated, with gross domestic product unchanged from the first quarter. It's now 2.4% smaller than its pre-crisis peak. Its two biggest economies are struggling. France failed to grow at all from the previous quarter. Germany's fortunes were worse, with a contraction of 0.2% in the second quarter. While Spain and Portugal, and countries in eastern Europe provide brighter outlooks, the fact that the two main engines are floundering does not bode well for other members who rely on exporting to them.

    France has already called for the ECB to modify its course, and do more to weaken the euro. It has also urged the European Commission—and Europe's political leaders—to allow and easing of austerity measures.

    It may get worse. The economic impact of tensions with Russia over the future of Ukraine might not have hit the second quarter figures as badly as they might the third quarter's. Economists will certainly be probing Thursday's figures for early signs of the likely scale of the blow to Europe's prospects.

    Add your comment.


  24.    Morning Agenda: A Market for Delinquent Mortgages – NYTimes.com

    The recovery in housing is creating a market for newly minted bonds that are backed by the mortgages on homes on the verge of foreclosure, DealBook's Matthew Goldstein writes. "It is not just vulture hedge funds swooping in to try to profit from the last remnants of the housing crisis," he adds. The investors making money off these obscure bonds, none of which are rated by a top credit rating agency, include United States mutual funds. One of the biggest sellers of severely delinquent mortgages to investors is a United States government housing agency.

    The appeal of these bonds is obvious, Mr. Goldstein writes. They have yields of about 4 percent ? enticing in today's low-interest rate environment ? and pay out quickly if the foreclosure process on the loans in the portfolio goes smoothly. …

    The catalyst for the emergence of this market was a decision by the Housing and Urban Development Department to begin selling some of the most severely delinquent mortgages guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration to avoid losses to United States taxpayers, Mr. Goldstein writes. The agency set up its loan sale program to encourage private buyers to rework the mortgages and make them more affordable so the borrowers could start making payments again. But given that most of the borrowers have not made a mortgage payment in two years, the agency has assumed that most of the loans will end up in foreclosure. In many cases, foreclosure proceedings were underway even before the mortgages were sold at auction.

    Add your comment.


  25.    [Recommended] Boston Fed Chief Warns of Dangers to Repo Market – NYTimes.com

    Since the crisis, some steps have been taken to shore up the potentially unstable debt market, known as the repo market. But on Wednesday, Eric S. Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, became the latest prominent regulator to call for a more ambitious overhaul of the repo market. In particular, he suggested that financial institutions making large use of repo borrowing should maintain higher levels of capital.

    He's right.

    Add your comment.


  26.    Real estate company stole trade secrets: suit | New York Post

    Urban Compass allegedly logged on to Citi Habitats' insider database to access proprietary information on Citi's 12,000 listings, as well as nonpublic info on landlords, buyers, sellers and rental histories, Citi Habitats charges.

    Add your comment.


  27.    Village mandates registration, inspection of rental properties | Observer and Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Weeklies | hometownlife.com

    A new ordinance requires those offering rental properties in the Village of Milford to register the property and pay for inspections.

    Add your comment.


  28.    Oklahoma City's Economy Remains Hot, But Apartment Revenue Growth Has Cooled – YouTube

    The Oklahoma City economy continues to benefit from its exposure to the regional energy boom, posting consistently solid job gains. And yet, apartment revenue growth levels have slowed down of late — even without much new supply to worry about. What's happening in OKC, and will revenue growth pick back up?

    Add your comment.


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