News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Oct. 30, 2014

Linking ≠ endorsement.

Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Feds Seeking Input on Proposed Flood Insurance Rule | Mortgage News | Daily National and State Headlines

2) Historic UNR dorms can be saved, expert says

3) Two-alarm fire in San Jose destroys up to 70 motorcycles – San Jose Mercury News

4) OSHA issues 2 citations for Reno Discovery Museum fire

5) Fire hose connections vanishing in Hammond – seattlepi com

6) Deadly apartment complex explosion prompts investigation | Amarillo Globe-News

7) Unstoppable Hawaii lava closes in on homes, officials close schools | WJLA com

8) Here's why renters in America feel trapped – Yahoo Finance

9) Asian investors bet on US real estate-commentary

10) Rickards: "Central bankers are impotent" & Yanis Varoufakis on Europe's stress tests – YouTube

11) Miami's Apartment Sector Holding Up as Big Supply Wave Looms – YouTube

12) Fracking In Trouble: Drilling Deeper Post Carbon Institute

13) A sprinkle of compost helps rangeland lock up carbon – SFGate

14) Phoenix Sheraton hotel closed through Monday after fire

15) Port Orford official: Storm caused $1 M in damages | AP Wire | The Bulletin

16) 2 hurt when water line ruptures at Orlando resort – Washington Times

17) Cause sought for gas explosion that destroyed Newark home | The Columbus Dispatch

18) Poll: Neighbors key to coping with disasters – SFGate

19) 10 families of Oso slide victims sue state, county, forest owner | Local News | The Seattle Times

20) Oklahoma judge dismisses earthquake lawsuit | News OK

21) Police ask for public's help in string of blazes – WMC Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee

22) Get Off the Beach? Hell No. Why Shore People Don't Get Climate People – Bloomberg

  1.    Feds Seeking Input on Proposed Flood Insurance Rule | Mortgage News | Daily National and State Headlines

    In accordance with HFIAA, the proposed rule would require regulated lending institutions to escrow premiums and fees for flood insurance for loans secured by residential improved real estate or mobile homes that are made, increased, extended or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2016, unless the regulated lending institution or a loan qualifies for a statutory exception.

    Add your comment.


  2.    Historic UNR dorms can be saved, expert says

    The University of Nevada, Reno's historic Lincoln and Manzanita halls can be saved and made safer, a California structural engineer who has worked on numerous preservation projects in Nevada, said Wednesday.

    "…they are made of unreinforced masonry so they are a potential hazard in the event of an earthquake," said Green, the owner a structural engineering and historic preservation firm in Torrance, Calif.

    …they will be reinforced and converted into office space, a use that would not pose the same danger to occupants as it would to sleeping students caught in an earthquake.

    Green said his company converted the old U.S. Mint building in Carson City into the Nevada State Museum, worked to preserve the old courthouse in Hawthorne, and currently is compiling a study on retrofitting the Story County Courthouse to make it more resistant to damage from earthquakes.

    Add your comment.


  3.    Two-alarm fire in San Jose destroys up to 70 motorcycles – San Jose Mercury News

    Up to 70 motorcycles were destroyed in a two-alarm fire early Sunday night at a San Jose power sports dealership, according to the San Jose Fire Department.

    By the time firefighters arrived, two-thirds of the building was involved in flames. Fifty firefighters had difficulty getting inside the building because of bars on the store's windows. Williams said the bars had to be removed, which delayed their access.

    Add your comment.


  4.    OSHA issues 2 citations for Reno Discovery Museum fire

    A Reno science museum has been issued two citations after a tornado demonstration last month led to a flash fire that injured 13 people.

    Reno fire officials said a three- to five-second blaze erupted Sept. 3 after an employee poured alcohol on a cotton ball that had been dusted with boric acid and partially ignited.

    OSHA says the museum didn't assess personal protective equipment for employees, and didn't train employees on using hazardous chemicals.

    Add your comment.


  5.    Fire hose connections vanishing in Hammond – seattlepi.com

    City officials said thieves are making off with brass fire hose connections on commercial buildings in Hammond [Louisiana].

    The problem is statewide, and the state fire marshal's office said it has opened an investigation.

    The department is carrying an extra connection on its trucks in case firefighters respond to a fire at a building that has been a target of the thieves.

    Add your comment.


  6.    Deadly apartment complex explosion prompts investigation | Amarillo Globe-News

    BORGER — Tenants of a multi-family apartment complex decimated by a deadly explosion Saturday morning in Borger said city inspectors and the property owner were aware of problems with gas odors at the complex as early as August.

    The explosion sent a thunderous shock through Borger just before 9 a.m. Saturday and residents reported hearing the explosion from as far away as Fritch and Sanford. It destroyed much of a six-unit apartment complex at 318 N. Deahl St., killing one person and leaving several others with minor injuries, Borger police said.

    Add your comment.


  7.    Unstoppable Hawaii lava closes in on homes, officials close schools | WJLA.com

    HONOLULU (AP/ABC News) – After slowly snaking through unoccupied land for weeks, a river of asphalt-black lava has entered a residential property on Hawaii's Big Island.

    The lava was within yards of a home in the rural community of Pahoa Village on Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, officials say an elementary school in the molten stream's projected path will be closed starting Wednesday.

    Dozens of Pahoa residents have been told they might have to evacuate because of the lava.

    No one knows if the lava flow will stop, change direction or hit more homes.

    In the 1990s, about 200 homes were destroyed by lava flows from Kilauea.

    Add your comment.


  8.    Here's why renters in America feel trapped – Yahoo Finance

    "The quick way to bankruptcy is to buy a house you can't afford, get locked into mortgage payments, real estate tax bills, and maintenance and upkeep expenses."

    Glink has written dozens of articles available for free with tips for first-time homebuyers. But even she recognizes that homeownership isn't for everyone. Sometimes, renting just makes more sense.

    "Choose renting if you don't know where you're going to want to live in five years, if your employment situation isn't stable, and if you can't currently set aside 20% of your after-tax income into a savings account," she says. "You might also choose renting if you're currently dating someone and hope to be in a long-term stable relationship that involves living together because otherwise you might buy a condo that's too small for your expanding family."

    Add your comment.


  9.    Asian investors bet on US real estate—commentary

    There are many contributing factors to the growth of Asian capital investment in the United States, such as the overall improvement of the U.S. economy and relative transparency of the U.S.'s political and monetary policies compared with certain Asian markets. The U.S. is on the forefront of a broader economic recovery, whereas, arguably, other regions across the globe are still struggling.

    In Asia, for example, the starkest example of fundamental issues with supply and demand dynamics is the boom of so-called "ghost cities" in China, where construction has far outpaced the general population's ability to absorb real estate. As a result, China finds itself with massive residential complexes that are not occupied, though they have been sold — not as a place to live but as speculative investments for an emerging middle class.

    In key Asian cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing and Taipei, real-estate prices are extremely high by comparison to some of the U.S.'s best markets, including New York and San Francisco. Might there be a real estate bubble forming in these key Asian markets?

    … Seattle has increased dramatically, drawn there because of the presence of Amazon, Costco, Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, etc.—the same caliber of companies that fueled the growth of Silicon Valley and San Francisco 10 years ago.

    Add your comment.


  10.    [224] Rickards: "Central bankers are impotent" & Yanis Varoufakis on Europe's stress tests – YouTube

    We largely agree with Jim Rickards here.

    [@ 4:45] Erin is joined by Jim Rickards — author of "The Death of Money" and chief global strategist at West Shore Funds. Data coming out of the US demonstrates lower mortgage yields and a surge in refis are adding to 4-year lows in gas prices to give consumers more disposable income. Jim says this isn't as bullish as us what he thinks of the new data and also gives us his thoughts on divisions at the ECB.

    Add your comment.


  11.    Miami's Apartment Sector Holding Up as Big Supply Wave Looms – YouTube

    Construction for both condos and apartments has surged to big levels in Miami. At this point in the cycle, little has actually completed — so fundamentals remain strong. But what will happen when all of this for-sale and rental supply hits the market?

    Add your comment.


  12.    Fracking In Trouble: Drilling Deeper Post Carbon Institute

    We include this because so much real-estate investing is based upon the fracking-industry boom. Will it bust? The people at the Post Carbon Institute suggest it likely will.

    Drilling Deeper reviews the twelve shale plays that account for 82% of the tight oil production and 88% of the shale gas production in the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) reference case forecasts through 2040. It utilizes all available production data for the plays analyzed, and assesses historical production, well- and field-decline rates, available drilling locations, and well-quality trends for each play, as well as counties within plays. Projections of future production rates are then made based on forecast drilling rates (and, by implication, capital expenditures). Tight oil (shale oil) and shale gas production is found to be unsustainable in the medium- and longer-term at the rates forecast by the EIA, which are extremely optimistic.

    Add your comment.


  13.    A sprinkle of compost helps rangeland lock up carbon – SFGate

    Compost, the more the better.

    A compost experiment that began seven years ago on a Marin County ranch has uncovered a disarmingly simple and benign way to remove carbon dioxide from the air, holding the potential to turn the vast rangeland of California and the world into a weapon against climate change.

    However, old-timey organic farmers have known it all along.

    Add your comment.


  14.    Phoenix Sheraton hotel closed through Monday after fire

    The Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel…damage to a panel in the electrical room after an electrical fire Saturday that filled parts of the building and nearby city streets with thick, acrid smoke.

    Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Troy Caskey said investigators suspect the fire late Saturday morning was put out by the hotel's sprinkler system. …

    The hotel opened on Sept. 30, 2008, as the largest hotel in Arizona with 1,000 guestrooms.

    Add your comment.


  15.    Port Orford official: Storm caused $1 M in damages | AP Wire | The Bulletin

    PORT ORFORD, Ore. (AP) – Last weekend's storm caused at least $1 million in damages to the port of Port Orford.

    Webb says damages to two fish buyers' facilities and a restaurant amount to nearly $500,000, and damages to port facilities are likely to bring it up to $1 million.

    Add your comment.


  16.    2 hurt when water line ruptures at Orlando resort – Washington Times

    Fire officials told television stations the injured were taken to Dr. Phillips Hospital with minor burns on their feet.

    Why was the water hot enough to scald people?

    Add your comment.


  17.    Cause sought for gas explosion that destroyed Newark home | The Columbus Dispatch

    NEWARK, Ohio — Investigators expect to have more answers by the end of the week about what caused a gas-line explosion on Sunday that destroyed a Licking County home.

    The Energy Cooperative had installed a new line on Pembroke Road in the past week or so, said Patrick Connor, Newark's interim fire chief. He said some residents said they smelled gas recently, but because they saw the gas company trucks in the area they never reported it.

    Add your comment.


  18.    Poll: Neighbors key to coping with disasters – SFGate

    Landlords and managers can help foster this.

    An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey suggests that those factors — collectively termed "social resilience"— have a big impact on how prepared communities feel for disasters such as Superstorm Sandy, and are seen as more valuable in a crisis than even government.

    Experts say fostering that type of bottom-up help is just as crucial as addressing infrastructure needs and policy makers should take heed.

    "Social capital is not some random outcome," he said. "It's a resource that can be deliberately created."

    Add your comment.


  19.    10 families of Oso slide victims sue state, county, forest owner | Local News | The Seattle Times

    Ten families who lost relatives in the Oso landslide in March have sued Snohomish County, the state and a forest landowner, alleging that the disaster was not natural but the result of a series of "actions and inactions" by those parties.

    The recent lawsuit filed by Yackulic alleges that landside risks were well understood by local and state government, as well as Grandy Lake Forest Associates, which owned a 7.5-acre parcel that was logged in 2004 above the slope.

    But important information about these risks was never shared with homeowners, the lawsuit alleges.

    Add your comment.


  20.    Oklahoma judge dismisses earthquake lawsuit | News OK

    A Lincoln County district judge has dismissed a lawsuit claiming water disposal well operators caused a 2011 earthquake that injured a Prague woman.

    Prague resident Sandra Ladra in August filed the lawsuit against the operators of Lincoln County water disposal wells, claiming they caused the magnitude 5.6 earthquake in 2011 that caused rock from her fireplace to land in her lap and injure her knee.

    Add your comment.


  21.    Police ask for public's help in string of blazes – WMC Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee

    PARROTSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Police are asking for help after a string of fires in East Tennessee that have been ruled arson.

    …there have been 16 arson blazes set since August…most of the fires have been set at vacant homes and abandoned barns.

    Add your comment.


  22.    Get Off the Beach? Hell No. Why Shore People Don't Get Climate People – Bloomberg

    "Sandy was something exceptional, some crazy Frankenstein," she said from her deck with a view of Manhattan's skyline. "I think we use climate change as a way of saying to people they should leave. I know I am protected."

    Reed's resistance is borne out by academic studies that say it's human nature to quickly normalize abnormal weather events. She personifies the dilemma facing the 134 million Americans who will live along 95,000 miles of shoreline by 2020 and underscores the paradox that people most directly affected often find it most difficult to adapt.

    With federal subsidies in retreat, many won't be able to afford to live by the water. Reed didn't get a cent from the government because she had flood insurance. That covered only a fraction of her damages. Since Sandy, the cost has "sky-rocketed." She declined to disclose amounts.

    Add your comment.


If you are an investor in 1-4 unit properties in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, or Washington, please do the financially responsible thing and make sure you have proper Landlord Insurance with PropertyPak™. We love focusing on real estate and the economy in general, but we are also here to serve your insurance needs.

Hill & Usher (PropertyPak™ is a division) has many insurance offerings. See our menu above for more info and links.

Did this post help you? Let us know by leaving your comment below.

Note: This blog does not provide legal, financial, or accounting advice. Seek professional counsel.

Furthermore, we, as insurance producers, are prohibited by law from disparaging the insurance industry, carriers, other producers, etc. With that in mind, we provide links without staking out positions that violate the law. We provide them solely from a public-policy standpoint wherein we encourage our industry to be sure our profits, etc., are fair and balanced.

We do not necessarily fact checked the contents of every linked article or page, etc.

If we were to conclude any part or parts of our industry are in violation of fundamental fairness and the legal standards of a state or states, we'd address the issue through proper, legal channels. We trust you understand.

The laws that tie our tongues, so to speak, are designed to keep the public from losing confidence in the industry and the regulatory system overseeing it. Insurance commissioners around the country work very hard to analyze rates and to not allow the industry to be damaged by bad rate-settings and changes in coverages. The proper way for people in the industry to deal with such matters is by adhering to the laws, rules, and regulations of the applicable states and within industry associations where such matters may be discussed in private without giving the industry unnecessary black eyes. Ethics is very high on the list in the insurance industry, and we don't want to lose the people's trust. That said, the industry is not perfect; but what industry is?

For our part, we believe in strong regulations and strong regulators.

We welcome your comments and ask you to keep in mind that we cannot and will not reply in any way or ways where any insurance commissioner could rightly say we've violated the law of the given state.

We are allowed to share rating-bureau data/reports and industry-consultant opinions but make clear here that those opinions are theirs and do not necessarily reflect our position.

Subscribe