News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. June 2, 2015

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Affordable housing for everyone helps all of us – Greensboro News & Record: Columnists

2) Chart: Affordable housing for everyone helps all of us – Greensboro News & Record: Columnists

3) Greece victim of EU official monstrosity, says Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras | City & Business | Finance | Daily Express

4) Approximately 300 properties headed to sale for nonpayment of taxes – Herald Mail Media: Local News

5) House prices in shock fall, but experts still fear bubble – 9newscomau

6) The Tide Is Turning For Spain's Real Estate Market – Forbes

7) Tony Abbott wants the impossible: House prices to rise and affordability to improve

8) Fischer Says Bankers Should Be Punished for Financial Crimes – Bloomberg Business

9) A Primer On The Debt Supercycle

10) Manufacturing activity rises in May

11) The heat and the death toll are rising in India. Is this a glimpse of Earth's future? | World news | The Guardian

12) Spike in REOs Pushes Foreclosures to 18-Month High in April – YouTube

13) Redmond apartment fire starts with loud bangs, screams | KOMO News

14) Why invest in the US? – YouTube

15) Are We Demanding Enough From Multi-Family Housing? – YouTube

16) The 2014 plunge in import petroleum prices: What happened? : Beyond the Numbers: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

17) IMF Economists: Stop Obsessing Over Debt – Real Time Economics – WSJ

18) Supreme Court hands defeat to struggling homeowners – MarketWatch

19) Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Overview | Nolocom

20) Montclair moving forward with addressing abandoned properties – News – NorthJerseycom

  1.    Affordable housing for everyone helps all of us – Greensboro News & Record: Columnists

    Greensboro, NC: By Beth McKee-Huger:

    Let's think together about the public, philanthropic and business investments we can make in our children's lives by making housing safer and affordable for those with the lowest wages or on fixed incomes. There are lots of ways to help.

    Of course, we've been writing often that constructing more affordable housing would lower prices and rents. It won't serve the landlord community well if rental housing becomes more and more unaffordable. It's better to take less profits and have stable communities for all economic classes than it is to reap huge profits while watching society disintegrate, which will cost more for everyone in the longer run.

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  2.    Chart: Affordable housing for everyone helps all of us – Greensboro News & Record: Columnists

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  3.    Greece victim of EU official monstrosity, says Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras | City & Business | Finance | Daily Express

    And they thought Yanis Varoufakis was too real.

    …the issue of Greece does not only concern Greece; rather, it is the very epicentre of conflict between two diametrically opposing strategies concerning the future of European unification."

    Mr Tsipras said that the strategy of EU creditors who insist on austerity means "the complete abolition of democracy in Europe, the end of every pretext of democracy, and the beginning of disintegration and of an unacceptable division of United Europe."

    It's really democracy versus the Austrian School of Economics.

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  4.    Approximately 300 properties headed to sale for nonpayment of taxes – Herald Mail Media: Local News

    …Bidders must pay at least the opening bid on properties, which is the amount of taxes owed on the day of the sale, Hershey said. The opening bid includes taxes owed to the county, city or municipality, fees, and in some cases, liens on the properties.

    Property owners can redeem, or reclaim, their properties if they pay the buyers for the taxes paid, although property owners must pay the buyers 6 percent interest, plus any other fees that might be incurred by the purchasers

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  5.    House prices in shock fall, but experts still fear bubble – 9news.com.au

    Australia:

    House prices across the nation have fallen according to the latest figures, as one of the country's most powerful economists has warned of a price bubble.

    Treasury Secretary John Fraser told a Senate inquiry today that a housing bubble was "unequivocally the case in Sydney".

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  6.    The Tide Is Turning For Spain's Real Estate Market – Forbes

    The Spanish economy is rising slowly. The wealthy are buying real estate.

    It was the Cinderella of European real estate, but Spain is now poised to have a ball. The Iberian country's economy is back in full swing and the investors that once shunned it for its toxic mix of high unemployment, troubled banking sector and free-falling real estate values are now staging a return.

    "…back in full swing…"? That's quite an overstatement considering Spain's unemployment rate, etc.

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  7.    Tony Abbott wants the impossible: House prices to rise and affordability to improve

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants the housing market to do the impossible, and he's in the majority.

    "As someone who, along with the bank, owns a house in Sydney, I do hope our housing prices are increasing," Mr Abbott said on Monday.

    "I want housing to be affordable but nevertheless, I also want house prices to be modestly increasing."

    He wants house prices to rise, but not too much.

    Effectively, he wants the impossible — house prices to rise forever and affordability to improve.

    The question is how the get wages and salaries up to afford inflating prices. That would have to be done without causing a wage-price spiral that wouldn't overheat the economy. Prices for other things would have to drop enough to offset housing price increases enough.

    There would be strong, competing interests either way. Ironing out the losses in profits in parts of the non-housing sector could prove quite difficult. Who would want to produce more?

    Why advantage the real-estate sector over other parts of the economy?

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  8.    Fischer Says Bankers Should Be Punished for Financial Crimes – Bloomberg Business

    We bet many are surprised by Stanley Fisher's comments. Some will suggest he's being disingenuous and that his real interests lie with those bankers to whom he's referring and that those bankers know it.

    Frankly, we think he thinks foolish bankers should be driven from the industry so as to save the industry.

    Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said bankers who have engaged in wrongdoing should be punished, and he chided the industry for pushing back against financial regulations adopted to prevent another conflagration.

    "Individuals should be punished for any misconduct they personally engaged in," Fischer said in a speech to bankers Monday in Toronto. While massive fines are being imposed on banks, "one does not see the individuals who were responsible for some of the worst aspects of bank behavior, for example in the Libor and foreign-exchange scandals, being punished severely."

    He also mentioned the secular stagnation versus debt supercycle debate.

    The debt supercycle idea suggests that governmental spending (fiscal spending/debt) ends up breaking the system and causing a huge economy-wide reset larger than the crash that caused the Keynesian spending to stimulate the economy.

    We aren't buying it concerning the current US situation. Fiscal spending is actually not up relative to historical trends.

    If anything, we need to spend more because the private sector still hasn't deleveraged enough. Too many people are saving of necessity and proper fear of another downturn.

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  9.    A Primer On The Debt Supercycle

    The Supercycle reached an important inflection point in the recent economic and financial meltdown with the authorities reaching the limit of their ability to get consumers to take on more leverage. This forced the government to leverage itself up instead. Once fiscal policy is pushed to the limits of sustainability, the Debt Supercycle could come to a violent end.

    "Once fiscal policy is pushed to the limits of sustainability…." We aren't even remotely close to that, quite the opposite.

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  10.    Manufacturing activity rises in May

    Manufacturing activity picked up modestly last month in a sign that a recent slump in the sector may be easing.

    The index had fallen in recent months as a strong dollar made US exports more expensive and oil producers scaled back drilling because of low crude prices. Also, a labor dispute at West Coast ports had snarled factory shipments.

    Lower gas prices make consumers and businesses better able to afford manufactured goods and make transporting commodities and products less expensive for manufacturers and others.

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  11.    The heat and the death toll are rising in India. Is this a glimpse of Earth's future? | World news | The Guardian

    50 degrees Celsius = 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

    India is struggling to cope with one of the deadliest heatwaves to hit the subcontinent. And its attempt to do so is raising a question for the whole planet — how can humans cope with the kinds of temperatures that scientists fear may become ever more common?

    In only 10 days, the death toll is reported to have reached around 1,800, a 20-year high. The brunt of the burden has fallen on the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where 1,300 people have died, the highest loss of life due to heat the state has known, according to officials. By comparison, 447 people in the state died from the heat last year.

    It's extremely unfortunate, but things have to become dire before the people clamor enough that oil companies and others lobbying politicians on behalf of AGW-denial just won't work anymore. By then, the steps humanity will have to take to fix things will have to be that much more dramatic.

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  12.    Spike in REOs Pushes Foreclosures to 18-Month High in April – YouTube

    REO's up but not good deals:

    The number of foreclosure filings in the U.S. topped 125,000 in April, according to real estate data and analytics firm, RealtyTrac.

    The RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Activity Report for April, 2015 indicated that foreclosure filings jumped to their highest level in a year and a half after a dramatic jump in bank repossessions (REOs). REOs in April hit a 27-month high. Daren Blomquist, Vice President at RealtyTrac, is back with me on today's episode of Big Money Real Estate to help break down the numbers. Spoiler alert: There's good news to be found in the report, despite the intimidating foreclosure filing total.

    Here's a link to RealtyTrac's Foreclosure Activity Report for April, 2015: http://www.realtytrac.com/news/foreclosu re-trends/april-2015-foreclosure-activit y-report/

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  13.    Redmond apartment fire starts with loud bangs, screams | KOMO News

    REDMOND, Wash. – Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fast-moving fire at a Redmond apartment complex that appeared to start outside the building and work its way inside, accompanied by a series of loud bangs and the sound of a woman screaming.

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  14.    Why invest in the US? – YouTube

    Why is the US attracting international real estate investors? JLL's Head of International Cappital Group, EMEA, Matthew Richards, explains.

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  15.    Are We Demanding Enough From Multi-Family Housing? – YouTube

    Interview with Owen Kennerly, Kennerly Architecture & Planning

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  16.    The 2014 plunge in import petroleum prices: What happened? : Beyond the Numbers: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    This is the longest (though not needlessly verbose), most detailed explanation of the drop in oil prices we've seen to date.

    Whether the recent decline represents the bottom of the price trough is debatable. Market jitters can still lead to price volatility in the short term, even when market fundamentals, such as a drop in U.S. petroleum rigs, support price increases. What is certain, however, is that crude petroleum price indicators will continue to be followed closely throughout the rest of 2015 as markets try to ascertain the new equilibrium.

    What equilibrium?

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  17.    IMF Economists: Stop Obsessing Over Debt – Real Time Economics – WSJ

    It's akin to the argument proposed by Brad Delong, a University of California at Berkeley economist, who says government debt isn't yet high enough to jumpstart strong growth.

    On first blush, the argument may seem out of character for the IMF. But upon further review, it's actually in line with the fund's recent calls for governments around the world to spur growth by spending more on infrastructure.

    It's also in line with U.S. administration calls for more spending by Germany and other countries that can afford to stimulate economic expansion.

    "It's imperative for authorities in these other [European] economies to mobilize the tools they have available to support their economies," Nathan Sheets, U.S. Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, said Monday.

    If we would "money finance" as opposed to "bond finance" fiscal spending and if we would target the real economy with spending rather than propping up the "financial" markets, we could radically increase economic growth and wages at the bottom without a lick of inflation.

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  18.    Supreme Court hands defeat to struggling homeowners – MarketWatch

    Underwater homeowners who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection are still on the hook for secondary loans tied to their properties, the Supreme Court said Monday.

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  19.    Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Overview | Nolo.com

    In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee cancels many (or all) of your debts. At the same time the trustee might also sell (liquidate) some of your property to repay your creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also called "straight" or "liquidation" bankruptcy, is so named because the law is contained in Chapter 7 of the federal Bankruptcy Code. Here's an outline of Chapter 7 bankruptcy — who can file, the forms you'll need, how the process works, and what happens to your property and debts.

    How Your Secured Debts Are Treated

    If you've pledged property as collateral for a loan, the loan is called a secured debt. The most common examples of collateral are houses and automobiles. If you're behind on your payments, the creditor can ask to have the automatic stay lifted in order to repossess or foreclose on the property. However, if you are current on your payments, you can keep the property and keep making payments as before — unless you have enough equity in the property to justify its sale by the trustee.

    If a creditor has recorded a lien against your property because of a debt you haven't paid (for example, because the creditor obtained a court judgment against you), that debt is also secured. You may be able to wipe out the lien in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Get in-depth information on how your secured debts are handled in our legal area, What Happens to Your Debt & Property in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

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  20.    Montclair moving forward with addressing abandoned properties – News – NorthJersey.com

    Two years after an ordinance focusing on abandoned and vacant properties was implemented in the township and about two months after outside counsel was brought on to take a more aggressive approach in addressing problem properties, Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson said during the Township Council's May 19 meeting that he was not satisfied with the municipal government's actions to date.

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