News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. May 8, 2015

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Slow but Steady Climb Back to Normal | Eye On Housing

2) The Cost Of Buying New Construction Has Reached An All Time High

3) Top real estate trends for investors in 2015 | Inman

4) Housing market: Home flipping falls in first quarter – Sun Sentinel

5) Real estate investors should be flipping over Pittsburgh, survey finds | TribLIVE

6) Whole Foods to open chain for Millennials

7) UPDATE 3-Lumber Liquidators to suspend sales of Chinese laminate flooring | Reuters

8) NASA technology located four trapped earthquake victims in Nepal, by detecting their heartbeats – Quartz

9) Are you ready to share the road with a self-piloting big rig? (+video) – CSMonitorcom

10) Drought means Lake Tapps could remain dry all summer | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News

11) Golden Dawn trial: Nervous Greeks fear court case – BBC News

12) CO2 levels reach monthly record – BBC News

13) FRB: Speech–Yellen, Finance and Society–May 6, 2015

14) The Fed Does Not Control the Money Supply – NYTimescom

15) Supreme Court of Texas Examines an Anti-Concurrent Causation Clause for the First Time | Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP – JDSupra

16) Economic Policy Turned Inside Out by Stephen S. Roach – Project Syndicate

17) Cash Sales On the Downtrend

18) mainly macro: The IMF, Greece and economic reality

19) Bond rout explained in 90 seconds – YouTube

20) Employment Situation Summary

21) Where Can Millennials Afford to Buy Homes? | Zillow Blog

22) UK luxury real estate seen surging on Tory win

23) As more rent, the wealth gap widens

24) Tornado Outbreak Tears Through the Plains; Heavy Flash Flooding in Oklahoma City Metro, Lincoln, Nebraska – weathercom

25) What States Are At Risk for Wildfires in 2015? | Reuters

26) Residents in at-risk regions admit they're not ready for wildfire — SEATTLE, May 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ —

27) Home & Landscape – Firewise | National Fire Protection Association

28) City won't let some flooded residents fix homes

29) Rising Trade Deficit Slows Job Growth in Manufacturing | Jobs Bytes | Data Bytes | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research

30) Triumph of the Unthinking – NYTimescom

31) Scottish nationalist landslide – YouTube

32) Multifamily Outperforming Private Single Family Construction – YouTube

33) Rental discrimination across world's major cities – YouTube

  1.    Slow but Steady Climb Back to Normal | Eye On Housing

    In the first quarter of 2015, 68 markets or metropolitan areas had an index value of one or greater, an increase of 7 markets in one year. …

    … Strong employment growth leads to the need for more homes and the markets showing the greatest improvement are in strong employment markets, primarily in energy production and refining.

    That was in the first quarter. The oil-price slump will show up in future reports.

    Add your comment.


  2.    The Cost Of Buying New Construction Has Reached An All Time High

    Joe Manausa:

    If you think you want new but are willing to look at existing homes, I strongly encourage you to exhaust the existing homes market before deciding to buy new. The homes are much less expensive and many are sitting on better lots than what you can find for new homes today. Perhaps it would make sense to buy and existing home on a great lot and put some money into upgrades. It is very likely you can do this and still be well below the price of a similar new construction home.

    Notice how people buying to rent out don't typically buy new. That's because the math is better with used, per this sound article.

    Add your comment.


  3.    Top real estate trends for investors in 2015 | Inman

    Compared to the years that have passed by, the supply of available properties in 2015 has dwindled even more. As a result, Atlanta real estate companies are trying to find a number of vacant lands so that they can carry out their development projects, thereby adding to their profits.

    Add your comment.


  4.    Housing market: Home flipping falls in first quarter – Sun Sentinel

    Flipping — buying and reselling within 12 months — was a lucrative business for investors in 2012 and 2013 because home prices had hit bottom and there was a large supply of foreclosed homes selling for discounts.

    But many of those distressed properties have been sold, and prices have risen to a point that makes flipping impractical for some investors, said Daren Blomquist, a vice president of RealtyTrac, an Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure listing firm.

    "The perfect storm for flipping has passed in a lot of markets," he said Wednesday.

    Add your comment.


  5.    Real estate investors should be flipping over Pittsburgh, survey finds | TribLIVE

    Adamek buys, renovates and sells homes around the city, including in trendy neighborhoods such as Lawrenceville. But the housing stock in many places was built more than a century ago and requires extensive renovations that could deter outside investors, he said.

    "You're not going in and just painting the kitchen and the walls," he said. "The return and reward is there, but it takes a lot of work."

    When was the last time the plumbing and electrical service were updated? You could run into asbestos and lead-paint issues too. Be careful!

    Add your comment.


  6.    Whole Foods to open chain for Millennials

    The new concept follows other retail giants like Walmart and Target, which have been opening smaller format, convenience-focused stores in urban markets that have fewer products and are heavily focused on fresh food and snacks. The new Whole Foods stores will likely compete in the same space, Saunders says, though will stand out because the brand has already built a reputation for high- quality food. Still, Millennials want convenience.

    Have you any of these stores near your rentals? What's been your experience regarding attracting and keeping tenants because of it?

    Add your comment.


  7.    UPDATE 3-Lumber Liquidators to suspend sales of Chinese laminate flooring | Reuters

    The company said on Thursday it had reviewed air quality in about 2,600 households with flooring sourced from China as of May 1 and found that formaldehyde levels in over 97 percent of those households were compliant with World Health Organization's guidelines.

    Do you have any of this in your rentals? If so, what are your plans?

    Add your comment.


  8.    NASA technology located four trapped earthquake victims in Nepal, by detecting their heartbeats – Quartz

    FINDER is a radar machine that sends a continuous microwave signal through the rubble, and can detect a human's breathing or heartbeat (and distinguish it from the movement of an animal). It can locate people hidden behind 20 feet of solid concrete or buried beneath 30 feet of rubble, and the person doesn't need to be conscious to be detected.

    Add your comment.


  9.    Are you ready to share the road with a self-piloting big rig? (+video) – CSMonitor.com

    Fact: Within a generation, there simply won't be enough routine work to compensate everyone. It seems we will have to go to a guaranteed income or starve people.

    Add your comment.


  10.    Drought means Lake Tapps could remain dry all summer | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News

    The question some lakefront homeowners are asking: with a drought, why was the lake drawn down so low? Cascade said the final decision to go ahead with the projects was mid October, 2014 before any talk of drought surfaced.

    Add your comment.


  11.    Golden Dawn trial: Nervous Greeks fear court case – BBC News

    While we've all been riveted to the economic news coming out of Greece, the EU, and eurozone, Greece has been attempting to keep down the fascist element that typically raises its head during such downturns if too much austerity is applied, as has happened to Greece at the hands of the misguided neoliberals running much of Europe and especially Germany.

    We don't know the guilt or innocence of the individuals charged, but we can say without hesitation that the Golden Dawn is fascist.

    The trial of the far-right Golden Dawn party resumed at a high security jail in Athens on Thursday, but it was quickly adjourned as the local authority tried to have it moved to another court.

    Add your comment.


  12.    CO2 levels reach monthly record – BBC News

    We think most people are under the impression that CO2 levels are pretty much uniform around the planet.

    Global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have reached a new monthly record of 400 parts per million….

    …CO2 has risen more than 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times.

    "Half of that rise has occurred since 1980,"….

    Well, "nuisance flooding" will continue increasing especially for the poor living along ocean coastlines.

    We're wondering what the change will mean for the El Nino/La Nina patterns.

    Weather and climate modeling will improve as computer power continues improving, but it will strain mightily trying to predict what has never been seen before.

    Add your comment.


  13.    FRB: Speech–Yellen, Finance and Society–May 6, 2015

    Janet Yellen:

    …financial institutions channel society's scarce savings to productive investments, thereby promoting business formation and job creation. Access to capital is important for all firms, but it is particularly vital for startups and young firms, which often lack a sufficient stream of earnings to increase employment and internally finance capital spending. Indeed, research shows that more highly developed financial systems disproportionately benefit entrepreneurship.

    The financial sector also helps households save for retirement, purchase homes and cars, and weather unexpected developments. Many financial innovations, such as the increased availability of low-cost mutual funds, have improved opportunities for households to participate in asset markets and diversify their holdings. Expanded credit access has helped households maintain living standards when suffering job loss, illness, or other unexpected contingencies. Technological innovations have increased the ease and convenience with which individuals make and receive payments.

    The contribution of the financial sector to household risk management and business investment, as well as the significant contribution of financial-sector development to economic growth, has been documented in many studies. Such research shows that, across countries and over time, financial development, up to a point, has disproportionately benefited the poor and served to alleviate economic inequality.

    Okay, but why do we need to do any of that based upon usury? We could do all of that and much more without charging anyone interest.

    Add your comment.


  14.    The Fed Does Not Control the Money Supply – NYTimes.com

    It's true that the Fed can't force banks to create credit. The Fed can't force velocity (the movement of money in the economy). Via fiscal activity though, the government could do both and should.

    Add your comment.


  15.    Supreme Court of Texas Examines an Anti-Concurrent Causation Clause for the First Time | Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP – JDSupra

    Relying on the policy's anti-concurrent-causation clause, the court of appeals held that the policy excluded coverage of Plaintiff's costs to comply with the city's ordinances because the necessity of compliance resulted at least in part from flooding, coverage for which the policy expressly excluded.

    Add your comment.


  16.    Economic Policy Turned Inside Out by Stephen S. Roach – Project Syndicate

    Consider the US — the poster child of the new prescription for recovery. Although the Fed expanded its balance sheet from less than $1 trillion in late 2008 to $4.5 trillion by the fall of 2014, nominal GDP increased by only $2.7 trillion. The remaining $900 billion spilled over into financial markets, helping to spur a trebling of the US equity market. Meanwhile, the real economy eked out a decidedly subpar recovery, with real GDP growth holding to a 2.3% trajectory — fully two percentage points below the 4.3% norm of past cycles.

    Indeed, notwithstanding the Fed's massive liquidity injection, the American consumer — who suffered the most during the wrenching balance-sheet recession of 2008-2009 — has not recovered. Real personal consumption expenditures have grown at just 1.4% annually over the last seven years. Unsurprisingly, the wealth effects of monetary easing worked largely for the wealthy, among whom the bulk of equity holdings are concentrated. For the beleaguered middle class, the benefits were negligible.

    And what is Stephen Roach's prescription? He calls for structural reforms, which we know means austerity. He doesn't call for fisccal spending to replace QE, as we do.

    Add your comment.


  17.    Cash Sales On the Downtrend

    The decline in cash sales is related to the drop in buying activity by investors, given fewer distressed sales on the market and rising prices. Sales for investment purposes fell to 14 percent in March 2015 from about 20 percent in 2014 while distressed sales accounted for 10 percent of existing home sales.

    Add your comment.


  18.    mainly macro: The IMF, Greece and economic reality

    Simon Wren-Lewis:

    …unlike their Troika colleagues, the IMF can admit and learn from its mistakes, rather than trying to cover them up. It is now reported to be telling the Eurozone finance ministers that they must write off more of Greece's debt before the Fund will release more money.

    Will the IMF force Greece's creditors to see some sense? The problem is that we have been here before, and the IMF backed down. It may be full of economists, but it is ultimately run by politicians who may have too many ties to those in the Eurozone. But as Ashoka Mody says, the IMF's credibility is at stake. It should stop trying to pressurise the new Greek government into making reforms that contradict its election platform, and instead focus its efforts on getting the rest of the Troika to be realistic. Above all else, Greece must be helped out of its depression as quickly as possible. Sensible macroeconomists, including those at the IMF, know that makes sense.

    Add your comment.


  19.    Bond rout explained in 90 seconds – YouTube

    Bond yields have jumped and caught investors offside. Markets editor Mike Mackenzie explains what has changed and the lessons to be learnt.

    Add your comment.


  20.    Employment Situation Summary

    Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.4 percent. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and construction. Mining employment continued to decline.

    Lots of labor slack remains.

    Add your comment.


  21.    Where Can Millennials Afford to Buy Homes? | Zillow Blog

    Metro areas in the middle of the country offer more choices. Here are some of the most affordable:

    Add your comment.


  22.    UK luxury real estate seen surging on Tory win

    Labour didn't understand economics well enough to sell the common folks on what the Tories have done wrong and will continue to do wrong.

    Real estate and property development companies cheered as the ruling Conservative party triumphed in the polls on Friday, news that put paid to fears of a "mansion tax" that would have imposed by a Labour government.

    The "mansion tax" plan wasn't well-thought-out, and Labour didn't know how to show that the conservatives had damaged the nation via austerity, etc.

    Add your comment.


  23.    As more rent, the wealth gap widens

    …home values are rising and incomes are flat, and that is widening the wealth gap….

    That's entirely due to a lack of supply, a direct result of bad monetary and fiscal policy.

    Add your comment.


  24.    Tornado Outbreak Tears Through the Plains; Heavy Flash Flooding in Oklahoma City Metro, Lincoln, Nebraska – weather.com

    At least 39 tornadoes were reported in the Plains from Nebraska to northwest Texas Wednesday. Multiple rounds of severe t-storms with tornadoes and flooding rain clobbered parts of the south Oklahoma City metro area late Wednesday afternoon and evening.

    Add your comment.


  25.    What States Are At Risk for Wildfires in 2015? | Reuters

    The combination of drought, high winds and an excess of dried vegetation has made fire seasons increasingly dangerous each year. Add that to the increasing number of communities that are located near woodlands or grassland and the risk climbs even higher. Of the top 10 states with the number of wildfires in 2014, Texas was #1 with 9,677 fires.

    But Oregon was #1 with 985,629 acres burned.

    Add your comment.


  26.    Residents in at-risk regions admit they're not ready for wildfire — SEATTLE, May 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ —

    The hallmarks of a Firewise home or property include using fire-resistant landscaping materials such as rock or gravel and well-spaced, low-flammable plants, and making sure the perimeter is clear of potential fuels including tall grass, overgrown brush, dead limbs, and beauty bark.

    There are other steps recommended in the article. Please read it and take the ones appropriate to your situation.

    Add your comment.


  27.    Home & Landscape – Firewise | National Fire Protection Association

    Concerned about brush, grass or forest fires where you live? Use this section to learn more about Firewise principles. Find tips and tools to make your home and neighborhood safer from wildland fire.

    Learn more about your home and wildfire
    Use the interactive modules, games and quizzes below to learn about how wildfire behaves and what you can do to make your home safer.

    Add your comment.


  28.    City won't let some flooded residents fix homes

    Local buyouts may have to become national buyouts.

    "It's something that we should anticipate more in the future given climate change," said Hollander.

    MSD has researched the average number of days per year with 3 inches or more of rain, and found 20 such rain event over 50 years between 1954 and 2004, or once every 2.5 years. But there have been 11 such events just in the last decade, a rate of more than once a year.

    Add your comment.


  29.    Rising Trade Deficit Slows Job Growth in Manufacturing | Jobs Bytes | Data Bytes | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research

    There continues to be a debate among economists over the extent to which the fall in employment rates is cyclical. In this respect, it is worth noting that much of the decline is among prime age workers (25-54), not the result of the retirement of the baby boomers. The United States is doing far worse in employing prime age workers than its competitors. Its prime age EPOP fell from just under 80.0 percent before the downturn to slightly above 77.0 percent in the most recent quarterly data. By contrast, Germany and Japan have both seen sharp rises in EPOPs to 83.4 percent and 82.6 percent, respectively. Even France, which has seen a modest decline in prime age EPOPs, still has an EPOP of 80.4 percent.

    http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS123000 00

    Add your comment.


  30.    Triumph of the Unthinking – NYTimes.com

    Paul Krugman:

    President Obama inherited an economy in free fall; what we needed, above all, was more spending to support demand. Yet much of Mr. Obama's inaugural address was given over to boilerplate about the need to make hard choices, which was the last thing we needed right then.

    It's true that in practice Mr. Obama pushed through a stimulus that, while too small and short-lived, helped diminish the depth and duration of the slump. But when Republicans began talking nonsense, declaring that the government should match the belt-tightening of ordinary families — a recipe for full-on depression — Mr. Obama didn't challenge their position. Instead, within a few months the very same nonsense became a standard line in his speeches, even though his economists knew better, and so did he.

    We couldn't agree more. Where we differ is in the analysis of why leaders go along with the usurers.

    Even Paul Krugman here talks about low borrowing rates for government, as if the US needs to borrow before it spends. It doesn't.

    Why are people such as Mr. Krugman so good and then stop absolutely short of saying what the whole world needs to hear, learn, and act positively upon: Governments don't need to borrow and shouldn't!

    When such people do finally get around to saying it, why do they say it as if it's new and only started with Ph.D. economists, which it didn't?

    Add your comment.


  31.    Scottish nationalist landslide – YouTube

    This is actually a bigger deal than Cameron's win.

    The FT's Mure Dickie reports from Edinburgh on the Scottish National party's success in the UK general election and its newfound influence on Westminster politics.

    Add your comment.


  32.    Multifamily Outperforming Private Single Family Construction – YouTube

    The National Association of Home Builders announced that month-over-month construction spending dropped for both private single-family homes and multifamily buildings. However, the data also revealed that, year-over-year, the pace of both types of construction have increased and that, within that trend, the increase in multifamily construction spending is outpacing that of private single family home construction spending by about 3 to 1. I'll get the details from NAHB Economist Rob Dietz, on this episode of Big Money Real Estate. For a link to the NAHB data, click here. And check out my Intentional Investor Series to learn everything you need to know to become a successful investor in real estate.

    Add your comment.


  33.    Rental discrimination across world's major cities – YouTube

    This is "Russia Today" (RT) being honest about "Strictly Slavs."

    What's your internal policy on race and religion, etc.? Do you follow the anti-discrimination laws? Who would answer that he or she doesn't without being anonymous?

    Residents with non-European names face trouble finding housing.

    Add your comment.


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