News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. June 12, 2015

Linking ≠ endorsement.

Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Obama Suffers Major Setback as Congress Rejects Trade Deal

2) What's Really Going on With the Trade in Services Agreement | The New Republic

3) Why the US Is Guaranteed to Have Another Real Estate Crisis

4) Photo Storage Showdown: Google Photos vs. Apple iCloud vs. Amazon Prime vs. Dropbox vs. Flickr | TIME

5) Dealing with Downpours: Apartment Landscape Maintenance after Excessive Rainfall | Property Management Insider

6) The Decade Behind – NYTimescom [Paul Krugman's confessions and ours too]

7) Notes on Walmart and Wages (Wonkish) – NYTimescom [efficiency-wage effects]

8) New Standards Introduced for Industrial Maintenance Technicians | Education / Training content from IndustryWeek

9) Beveridge curve [unemployment, job vacancies, and the skills gap, etc.]

10) The unemployment rate is higher than it should be — and that might be a good thing

11) Weekly mortgage applications jump as rates surge

12) ST. LOUIS: Man sentenced to prison for arson that killed teenage son | National | SanLuisObispo

13) Elizabeth Warren shames both parties on college affordability – POLITICO [debt-free college]

14) China the Responsible Stakeholder by Barry Eichengreen – Project Syndicate

15) Iceland: Hayek Got It Right | Steve H. Hanke

16) Real Estate Matters: Warning signs for investors | WINK NEWS

17) Runaway North Texas home prices spark fears of another price bubble | Dallas Morning News

18) Why The Real Estate Frenzy Won't End Anytime Soon – CBS Denver

19) TREASURIES-US yields reach 7-month highs on Bunds, supply | Reuters

20) Kaspersky Finds New Nation-State Attack—In Its Own Network | WIRED

21) Tool: Commercial Linkage Fees* [to create affordable housing for workers in new developments]

22) Seattle's affordable housing gamble | Jon Talton | The Seattle Times

23) Hidden Holes in Your Homeowners Insurance Policy – US News

24) SF Fed Sees Involuntary Part-Time Workers Remaining Elevated – Real Time Economics – WSJ

25) China pushing 'build now, pay later' model to emerging world | Alicia García-Herrero at Bruegelorg

26) Number of US job openings jumped to a 15-year high in April

27) China's Central Bank Lowers 2015 Growth and Inflation Forecasts – Real Time Economics – WSJ

28) Solution to soaring rents tougher than $15 wage, city officials find | The Seattle Times [more on linkage fees]

29) Jobs boom triggers rebound in housing – The Washington Post

30) Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

31) Calculated Risk: BLS: Jobs Openings increased to 5.4 million in April, Highest on Record

32) What's swelling the ranks of involuntary part-timers – CBS News

33) De Blasio Reveals Plan for 'Worst Financial Crisis' in NYCHA History | Observer

34) National Alliance to End Homelessness: Section 8 Voucher Funding and Reform

35) Section 8 (housing) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

36) The Secrets and Lies of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – In These Times

37) Minimum Wage Mythbusters – US Department of Labor

38) A full-time minimum-wage job won't get you a 1-bedroom apartment anywhere in America [at 30% of wages] – Vox

39) IMF quits Greek talks; EU tells Tsipras to stop gambling | Reuters

40) Has Merkel thrown Greece a lifeline? | The BRICS Post

41) The Brooklyn Real Estate Bubble Will Never Pop: Gothamist

42) Land bank ready to scoop up city's tax-foreclosed properties again | MLivecom

43) Lenders Hungry For Commercial Real Estate Deals Up Capital Flow CBG PRU REIS – Investorscom

44) You can now invest in real estate, even if you're not Donald Trump – Jun. 12, 2015 [Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act]

45) Philadelphia Auctions Off Hundreds of Seized Tax-Delinquent Properties – CBS Philly

46) Housing Market 2015: Despite Real Estate Rebound, Millions Of Minority Homeowners Are Still Underwater

47) Ask a Real Estate Pro: Buyer wants mortgage from seller – Sun Sentinel

  1.    Obama Suffers Major Setback as Congress Rejects Trade Deal

    Hallelujah! Sanity and democracy prevailed.

    In a stunning blow to President Barack Obama and the Republican leadership in Congress on Friday, the House of Representatives rejected legislation needed to eventually pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a major economic treaty with America's Asian allies.

    If Mr. Obama wants his deal passed and if he thinks it is so great for the American people, let him reveal its contents in full to all of us.

    This is not supposed to be a government of, by, and for major corporations but of, by, and for the American people. Smart, major corporations will side with us on this.

    Add your comment.


  2.    What's Really Going on With the Trade in Services Agreement | The New Republic

    Corporatism versus democracy, that's what the T-treaty trinity represents.

    Social, cultural, and even public health goals would be sidelined in favor of a regime that puts corporate profits first. It effectively nullifies the role of democratic governments to operate in the best interest of their constituents.

    Unsurprisingly, this has raised far more concern globally than in the United States. But a completed TiSA would go through the same fast-track process as TPP, getting a guaranteed up-or-down vote in Congress without the possibility of amendment. Fast-track lasts six years, and negotiators for the next president may be even more willing to make the world safe for corporate hegemony.

    We're for democracy, not corporatism. How about you?

    Add your comment.


  3.    Why the U.S. Is Guaranteed to Have Another Real Estate Crisis

    The reality of market economies is one of boom and bust. As prosperous as the booms can be, that reality also implies that that the U.S. will experience another bust — even in real estate. In fact, I'd argue that it's not a question of if. It's a question of when.

    How can I be so confident, especially at a time when the country is still reeling from the hard lessons learned in the financial crisis and great recession? Because that exact scenario has happened time and again throughout U.S. history.

    However, there's a difference now. It's called the Internet. If the Internet isn't bottled up, people will have vastly more information to counter the "business cycle" ideology. Even the young students in economics are rightly clamoring for and winning in colleges a radical shift in how economics is taught and what is taught as economics. The genie is out of the bottle.

    How will those who want to benefit from a crash they plan put that genie back in the bottle?

    Add your comment.


  4.    Photo Storage Showdown: Google Photos vs. Apple iCloud vs. Amazon Prime vs. Dropbox vs. Flickr | TIME

    Real-estate-photo storage?

    Google, Apple, Amazon, Flickr and Dropbox all offer ways to store your photos online. But which is the best for you?

    Add your comment.


  5.    Dealing with Downpours: Apartment Landscape Maintenance after Excessive Rainfall | Property Management Insider

    We found this article to be quite informative.

    Landscapes are one of a property's most important first impressions, but those that are saturated as a result of non-stop heavy thunderstorms can be damaged by mowing or look shaggy because of excessive growth.

    Add your comment.


  6.    The Decade Behind – NYTimes.com [Paul Krugman's confessions and ours too]

    Paul Krugman's confessions:

    Euro crackup: For the most part, I think my analysis of the euro area's economy and its problems was pretty good (but see below). But I vastly overestimated the risk of breakup, because I got the political economy wrong — I did not realize just how willing euro elites would be to impose vast suffering in the name of staying in. Relatedly, I didn't realize how easy it would be to spin a modest upturn after years of horror as success.

    We were also wrong but for the exact opposite reasons.

    We somewhat underestimated the risk of breakup. Unlike Paul, we thought the elites would return to Keynesianism much more readily and be vastly more willing to help fellow EU/Eurozone members so things wouldn't breakup and every nation would get back on track as quickly as possible. It's the same mistake we made about the US. We had thought there might be high inflation but not for the reasons the libertarians thought. We thought too much stimulus might be applied (like twenty times what was actually applied). Of course, the aftermath of a 20-fold increase in stimulus would have been vastly better and easier to deal with than what we've suffered through since the 2008-9 crash.

    Add your comment.


  7.    Notes on Walmart and Wages (Wonkish) – NYTimes.com [efficiency-wage effects]

    Here's another by Paul Krugman. We include it because while we knew it intuitively, we didn't know the term "efficiency-wage effects."

    Walmart reports that its recent wage hike is paying off via reduced turnover, which produces cost savings that offset the direct expense of the higher wages. In other words, efficiency wage theory is vindicated.

    Add your comment.


  8.    New Standards Introduced for Industrial Maintenance Technicians | Education / Training content from IndustryWeek

    We're including this as a follow-up to our previous links-post: http://propertypak.com/2015/06/09/news-r eal-estate-risk-economics-june-9-2015/#0 6091541 and http://propertypak.com/2015/06/09/news-r eal-estate-risk-economics-june-9-2015/#0 6091562

    There's a huge need for industrial maintenance technicians, but few programs to train them. An industry consortium just rolled out new standards to change that.

    Add your comment.


  9.    Beveridge curve [unemployment, job vacancies, and the skills gap, etc.]

    We suggest you at least read the introductory paragraphs here:

    A Beveridge curve, or UV-curve, is a graphical representation of the relationship between unemployment and the job vacancy rate (the number of unfilled jobs expressed as a proportion of the labor force). It typically has vacancies on the vertical axis and unemployment on the horizontal. The curve is named after William Beveridge and it is hyperbolic shaped and slopes downwards as a higher rate of unemployment normally occurs with a lower rate of vacancies. If it moves outwards over time, then a given level of vacancies would be associated with higher and higher levels of unemployment, which would imply decreasing efficiency in the labour market. Inefficient labour markets are due to mismatches between available jobs and the unemployed and an immobile labour force.

    The position on the curve can indicate the current state of the economy in the business cycle. For example, the recessionary periods are indicated by high unemployment and low vacancies, corresponding to a position on the lower side of the 45 degree line, and likewise high vacancies and low unemployment indicate the expansionary periods, above the 45 degree line.

    Add your comment.


  10.    The unemployment rate is higher than it should be — and that might be a good thing

    Now, armed with the "skills gap" info, read this article from May 19, 2015.

    Prepare yourselves, readers. We're going to get wonky today.

    Last week the government released the latest data in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). It allows us to see how trends like job openings, job seekers, layoffs, hires, and voluntary quits are behaving, thus providing a more informative picture of how and where the economy is recovering. (Or not.)

    The most interesting thing the JOLTS data helps with is something called the Beveridge Curve.

    What the US needs, among other things, is high-skills training concerning sectors where job-skills gaps exist. The training should be government funded via money-financed fiscal spending (debt-free/bond-free currency).

    Add your comment.


  11.    Weekly mortgage applications jump as rates surge

    While higher rates make home buying more expensive, sharp moves higher often have the immediate effect of getting potential buyers off the fence, before chilling the overall market in the longer term. That is especially true now, in light of rising bond yields and the Federal Reserve's expected interest-rate hike.

    "…before chilling the overall market in the longer term." Right. Those who might be able to afford the larger, more expensive houses being offered and who really think rates will go up to stay, made the move to buy. Higher rates, however, will not pay down student debts or raise wages or fill the skills gap or construct more affordable housing. What they will do is slow the economic recovery out of the fear of inflation even when the Phillips Curve is debatable.

    Add your comment.


  12.    ST. LOUIS: Man sentenced to prison for arson that killed teenage son | National | SanLuisObispo

    A man who admitted scheming with his ex-wife in setting a string of arson fires to bilk insurers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars was sentenced Monday to nearly six years in federal prison for his role in a 2001 blaze that killed their teenage son.

    Add your comment.


  13.    Elizabeth Warren shames both parties on college affordability – POLITICO [debt-free college]

    We covered this "debt-free college" movement in our last links post. It's so great that we'll be covering it until it becomes the law of the land.

    Progressive hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday hammered both Republicans and Democrats in an urgent call to make college more affordable.

    By the way, the way to pay for debt-free college is via debt-free money (no issuing bonds to issue money).

    Not only would we make college free going forward, we pay off every student loan out there.

    College would be free right on through grad school too. It would be 100% based upon grades (doing the work). You do the work, you're in!

    For those not cut out for college but who would benefit more from technical or vocational training, that would be debt-free too.

    Add your comment.


  14.    China the Responsible Stakeholder by Barry Eichengreen – Project Syndicate

    No question, China is feeling its oats and asserting itself more forcefully. Where China's actions threaten its neighbors, as with its territorial claims in the South China Sea, they should be strongly sanctioned and resisted. But where its policies promise economic benefits for other countries, as in the case of infrastructure finance through the AIIB and the Silk Road initiative, they should be encouraged. This is equally true of initiatives like renminbi internationalization, which will integrate China more deeply into the global economy, giving it a bigger stake in the stability of the international system.

    "…a bigger stake in the stability of the international system"? A bigger stake or a bigger stick?

    Historically, China has been about being a center insulated from outside aggressors. Does it still have that same mind-set, or is it interested in global hegemony the way the US has been?

    The promise of China "opening up" to Western democratic ideals hasn't happened. Will it soon enough?

    The Chinese Communist Party must fall first (or become Marxist in name only). However, we don't hear a thing from the Chinese people about a new democracy movement there.

    Perhaps if the economy crashes, the Party will crash with it and be replaced by a multi-party democracy.

    Add your comment.


  15.    Iceland: Hayek Got It Right | Steve H. Hanke

    "Hayek Got It Right"? No he didn't. Much of Hayek's ideology is what got Iceland into trouble in the first place. Proper regulations would have seen to it that those problems never started.

    Add your comment.


  16.    Real Estate Matters: Warning signs for investors | WINK NEWS

    The housing market in Southwest Florida has been hot for the past three years. Now it's about to get blistering according to a report released last week that predicted that Naples —Marco Island will have a 41 percent gain in home prices over the next three years.

    Is this really good news or is it a warning sign for real estate investors?

    Add your comment.


  17.    Runaway North Texas home prices spark fears of another price bubble | Dallas Morning News

    Dallas housing costs are still affordable in an area that's seeing robust job growth, said Stan Humphries, chief economist for online home marketing firm Zillow.

    "Dallas home value appreciation rates may make it feel like another housing bubble, but the reality is that homes are still really cheap there relative both to incomes and to the alternative of renting," Humphries said. "I can completely understand why people see high appreciation rates and think about price bubbles.

    "The reality, though, is that bubbles can be better seen by looking at affordability relative to historical levels or, alternatively, home prices relative to rental prices," he said. "In both these measures, Dallas is not currently in the midst of a price bubble."

    Add your comment.


  18.    Why The Real Estate Frenzy Won't End Anytime Soon – CBS Denver

    When the recession hit in 2008, workers were idled. Many sought jobs elsewhere and trade labor thinned out. Now, there aren't enough workers to do the job.

    "It's very difficult for builders to get homes built because of the lack of framers, roofers, electricians, plumbers," said Covert.

    The industry would love to build more. They're having difficulty getting lots and building is coming farther and farther out. But with labor shortages, higher land costs and higher tap fees, it's taking as much as twice as long and more to build a new home.

    Covert thinks builders could sell 15,000 to 16,000 new homes this year; about 9,000 thousand will be built.

    That means there's nothing to ease demand.

    You have to train people on the job!

    Add your comment.


  19.    TREASURIES-U.S. yields reach 7-month highs on Bunds, supply | Reuters

    Analysts said these higher U.S. yields should entice some investors to own new issues of Treasuries and corporate bonds, but those worried about a further rise in yields may refrain from purchasing them for now.

    Watch the mortgage rates go up mistakenly. It will slow things down. The Fed needs to open its eyes and to keep them open. Inflation isn't the prime issue right now. The recovery is.

    Add your comment.


  20.    Kaspersky Finds New Nation-State Attack—In Its Own Network | WIRED

    This is why people buy cyber insurance.

    Researchers at Kaspersky Lab in Russia have discovered yet another new nation-state attack attributed to members of the infamous Stuxnet and Duqu gang. But this time the perpetrators were hiding in plain sight—inside the security firm's own networks.

    Admittedly, this attack is aimed above the typical real-estate investor level, but that doesn't mean such investors are immune to even fairly sophisticated attacks.

    Add your comment.


  21.    Tool: Commercial Linkage Fees* [to create affordable housing for workers in new developments]

    Commercial linkage fees are a form of impact fee assessed on new commercial developments or major employers based on the need for workforce housing generated by new and expanding businesses. Revenues generated by the fee are then used to help fund the development of affordable housing opportunities within accessible commuting distance to the employment center.

    The Puget Sound Regional Council is the regional transportation, economic development and growth management planning organization for central Puget Sound.

    We have advocated that if local existing housing is insufficient, then new developments always include housing for those who will work to service the development.

    Add your comment.


  22.    Seattle's affordable housing gamble | Jon Talton | The Seattle Times

    Jon Talton:

    Seattle's City Council wants to take on housing affordability as its next breakthrough cause. The stakes are much higher than with the $15 minimum wage.

    When Seattle embarked on the $15 minimum wage policy, I wrote that the city was prosperous enough to take the chance. The immediate predictions of doom — closed restaurants, ruined franchise owners, laid-off low-skill workers — haven't come true. As to the long-haul, it is too soon to tell. But I am skeptical that it will prove ruinous. It will help many.

    But it won't fix the problem of affordable housing in the city for many low-wage workers.

    Add your comment.


  23.    Hidden Holes in Your Homeowners Insurance Policy – US News

    The last thing you want to hear after your home has been flooded or a hurricane knocked down your gutters is that your insurance policy won't cover the damage. And yet, that is what many homeowners are surprised to hear, even after dutifully paying for their policies for years. Common policy holes — often laid out in fine print — can leave homeowners paying for costs out of pocket. Here are some common surprises that come up for homeowners:…

    Should you be surprised when you've been reminded by your agent or broker to read the full policy? More importantly, your agent or broker should have posed the right questions so you'd know all the types of coverages available and whether you'd like to apply for them. Naturally though, it's up to you to agree to go over such matters rather than reject going into such details. The agent/broker can only ask.

    That's not really completely fair to the typical homeowner though, who usually only consults the policy when a problem or claim arises. It's completely reasonable that the typical homeowner forgets what his or her coverage includes or excludes. Also, some policy language can be difficult to interpret, and no agent or broker can always be certain exactly how a various legal authority will also interpret a given policy.

    Now, if your agent or broker never recommended to you anywhere to always read your policy or if he or she didn't go over your exposures to various risks of loss for which coverage may be available, those are different matters entirely.

    Add your comment.


  24.    SF Fed Sees Involuntary Part-Time Workers Remaining Elevated – Real Time Economics – WSJ

    High levels of part-time workers have long called into question how strong the job market recovery has been.

    The problem is, according to a paper published Monday by the San Francisco Federal Reserve, that question won't be going away any time soon. In new research written by staffers Rob Valletta and Catherine Van Der List, the bank says the number of those forced to work part-time jobs "may remain significantly above" the levels seen before the Great Recession for some time to come.

    That's another argument against the Fed raising rates until price inflation really kicks in, such as at 3+%.

    Add your comment.


  25.    China pushing 'build now, pay later' model to emerging world | Alicia García-Herrero at Bruegel.org

    …China does offer more flexibility than other lenders. In some cases, it accepts commodities rather than cash as repayment. This may be more attractive to emerging economies. Geopolitical considerations may also lead China to accept more lenient conditions if circumstances warrant it.

    But while Chinese terms may be more lenient, borrowers should also be aware of potential pitfalls.

    There is often a lack of transparency surrounding the financial conditions of Chinese loans, which means recipient countries could find it difficult to judge whether they've been given a good deal.

    Second, and more importantly, there are no guidelines setting quality standards of infrastructure projects financed by the AIIB or the other two initiatives.

    "…lack of transparency surrounding the financial conditions of Chinese loans…"? What nation would borrow without knowing the conditions? Any such nation would have to be very hard up.

    Add your comment.


  26.    Number of US job openings jumped to a 15-year high in April

    U.S. employers advertised the most open jobs in April than at any time in the 15 years that the government has tracked the data, a sign that this year's steady hiring will likely continue.

    … Total hiring in April fell to 5 million from 5.1 million. The disparity between more openings and flat hiring suggests employers are being picky about new hires. Many companies say they are having difficulty finding qualified workers.

    They may not be offering high enough wages. …

    More quitting and more total hires can help push up wage gains. That's because people typically quit when they have a new job lined up, usually for higher pay. And when firms move to fill more open jobs, particularly as the unemployment rate declines, they typically have to offer more pay to attract workers.

    Add your comment.


  27.    China's Central Bank Lowers 2015 Growth and Inflation Forecasts – Real Time Economics – WSJ

    Researchers with China's central bank have revised down their forecasts for the country's economic growth and consumer inflation for 2015, citing increased downward pressure on economic growth.

    They now forecast China's economy will expand 7%, slightly lower than a projection of 7.1% made six months ago….

    The central bank has cut interest rates three times since November to spur domestic demand and trim borrowing costs. Beijing has stepped up infrastructure spending, offered more tax breaks and reduced red tape to lift growth.

    Kick the can…extend and pretend…fudge the numbers…?

    Add your comment.


  28.    Solution to soaring rents tougher than $15 wage, city officials find | The Seattle Times [more on linkage fees]

    The fees are a bone of contention for the HALA Committee because they have serious opponents, including a group of property owners, developers, business associations and architects called the Coalition on Housing Solutions.

    The group claims that O'Brien's proposed framework would be illegal under state law because builders wouldn't receive any benefits in exchange for the fees.

    Furthermore, the group says, developers would pass the fees along to tenants by jacking up market-rate rents. That would render the city even more expensive.

    Jon Scholes, president of the Downtown Seattle Association, is on the HALA Committee. The association flatly opposes linkage fees.

    Opponents argue the fees would discourage new housing production.

    "The council passed a resolution last year because it's fun to put developers in the dunk tank," group spokesman Ryan Bayne said. "But what looks good on paper isn't necessarily going to work."

    The Coalition for Housing Solutions is hoping the HALA Committee will instead recommend that the city adjust its existing incentive-zoning policy, which awards extra floor area to builders when they help pay for affordable housing.

    Incentive zoning has been a disappointment thus far, failing to generate a game-changing number of affordable units amid a construction boom.

    Add your comment.


  29.    Jobs boom triggers rebound in housing – The Washington Post

    The resurgence of job growth in the United States is helping to power a rebound in the housing market, turning what was the hardest-hit industry during the recession into a highlight of the recovery.

    … Government numbers show that new residential construction jumped by 20 percent this spring….

    Alongside those gains is a pickup in job growth that started in 2014 and has yet to lose steam. … U.S. employers have not been on such a long hiring spree since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. …

    Still, there is room for improvement, ….

    About 2.5 million people have been out of work for six months or more, while nearly 7 million are in part-time jobs even though they would like full-time positions…. And though workers' average earning increased 8 cents in May, to $24.96 an hour, wage growth has been stuck around 2 percent for much of the recovery.

    Nationally, housing prices are rising at about double the rate of wage gains. Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin, attributed the increase primarily to a lack of inventory….

    Add your comment.


  30.    Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

    The number of job openings rose to 5.4 million on the last business day of April, the highest since the series began in December 2000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today [June 9, 2015]. The number of hires was little changed at 5.0 million in April and the number of separations was little changed at 4.9 million. Within separations, the quits rate was 1.9 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was 1.3 percent, both little different from the previous month.

    Add your comment.


  31.    Calculated Risk: BLS: Jobs Openings increased to 5.4 million in April, Highest on Record

    Bill McBride:

    Quits are up 11% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

    This is another solid report. It is a good sign that job openings are over 5 million – at an all time high, and that quits are increasing solidly year-over-year.

    Add your comment.


  32.    What's swelling the ranks of involuntary part-timers – CBS News

    Mark Thoma:

    Changes in the U.S. economy's industrial composition toward services combined with shifting demographics and changes in labor costs appear to have caused a permanent increase in the percentage of people forced to accept involuntary part-time employment.

    … Since the onset of the recession, the service industry — where involuntary part-time unemployment is generally higher — has been ascendant. Demographic factors have also increased the numbers of involuntary part-timers. Workers aged 25 or less are a large part of the voluntarily part-time employed, and the proportion of workers in this category is falling. This may cause employers to turn to other groups to fill part-time positions, which could be increasing the rate of involuntary unemployment.

    Tax rules that allow part-time workers to be excluded from some types of benefits that full-time employees receive and new technologies that reduce the cost of scheduling part-time workers have also increased the rate of involuntary part-time employment.

    Add your comment.


  33.    De Blasio Reveals Plan for 'Worst Financial Crisis' in NYCHA History | Observer

    Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled…his administration's long-awaited "NextGeneration NYCHA" plan, designed to address what he called the "worst financial crisis" in the New York City Housing Authority's eight-decade history—and simultaneously construct 10,000 new low-cost apartments that will count toward his ambitious affordable housing agenda.


    NextGeneration also calls for NYCHA to finally place the 5,000 un-subsidized apartments it inherited from the city and state eight years ago onto federal Section 8 contracts.

    It will also enter 1,400 units in a development in Far Rockaway, Queens into HUD's controversial Rental Assistance Demonstration plan, which will remove the apartments from the usual federal subsidy streams and instead place them on Section 8 contracts—allowing NYCHA to mortgage the properties with private lenders and receive an array of tax breaks. The authority will place an additional 8,313 apartments in severe disrepair on Section 8 funds.

    Such moves, along with infill, are seen by some as major steps toward the privatization of public housing.

    What do you think of his plan? Is Section 8 sufficiently funded? See the nest link below.

    Add your comment.


  34.    National Alliance to End Homelessness: Section 8 Voucher Funding and Reform

    In his fiscal year (FY) 2015 Budget Proposal, the President recommended providing a significant increase to $20.045 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, including $75 million for approximately 10,000 new HUD-VASH vouchers, $108 million for new mainstream vouchers provided by the Section 811 Program, and $1.705 billion in administrative fees.

    Frankly, it's not enough, not even close.

    Add your comment.


  35.    Section 8 (housing) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. § 1437f), often called Section 8, as repeatedly amended, authorizes the payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords on behalf of approximately 4.8 million low-income households as of 2008[1] in the United States. The largest part of the section is the Housing Choice Voucher program which pays a large portion of the rents and utilities of about 2.1 million households. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development manages the Section 8 programs.[2]

    The Housing Choice Voucher Program provides "tenant-based" rental assistance, so a tenant can move from one unit of at least minimum housing quality to another. It also allows individuals to apply their monthly voucher towards the purchase of a home, with over $17 billion going towards such purchases each year (from ncsha.org analysis). The maximum allowed voucher is $2,200 a month.

    Section 8 also authorizes a variety of "project-based" rental assistance programs, under which the owner reserves some or all of the units in a building for low-income tenants, in return for a federal government guarantee to make up the difference between the tenant's contribution and the rent in the owner's contract with the government. A tenant who leaves a subsidized project will lose access to the project-based subsidy.

    The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have created a program called Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), or HUD-VASH, which distributes roughly 10,000 vouchers per year at a cost of roughly $75 million per year to eligible homeless and otherwise vulnerable U.S. armed forces veterans.[3] This program was created to pair HUD-funded vouchers with VA-funded services such as health care, counseling, and case managemen t.[4]

    Add your comment.


  36.    The Secrets and Lies of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – In These Times

    Wow! This nails it:

    "The government has created a perfect catch-22: The law prohibits us from talking about the specifics of what we've seen, allowing the president to criticize us for not being specific."

    … According to the White House press office, TPP "will help level the playing field for American workers" by "ensur[ing] the rights of workers to form unions and bargain collectively." AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, another cleared advisor, says he knows that TPP does no such thing. At a May 18 news conference, he said, "We can't tell you without going to jail because it's a classified document. But here's what I can tell you: What we have seen falls short—far, far, far short—of what it should be to protect workers' rights."

    This whole issue has revealed the most undemocratic process ever to get this much clear coverage.

    Add your comment.


  37.    Minimum Wage Mythbusters – U.S. Department of Labor

    Example:

    Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will cause people to lose their jobs.

    Not true: A review of 64 studies on minimum wage increases found no discernable effect on employment.

    Add your comment.


  38.    A full-time minimum-wage job won't get you a 1-bedroom apartment anywhere in America [at 30% of wages] – Vox

    There is no state in the union where a full-time, minimum-wage worker can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment for less than 30 percent of his paycheck (which is a standard measure of housing affordability).

    Add your comment.


  39.    IMF quits Greek talks; EU tells Tsipras to stop gambling | Reuters

    The International Monetary Fund dramatically raised the stakes in Greece's stalled debt talks on Thursday, announcing that its delegation had left negotiations in Brussels and flown home because of major differences with Athens.

    …sticking points remained pensions, taxes and financing.

    To clinch a deal, EU officials said Tsipras's government needed to offer alternative savings and tax measures to replace proposed pension cuts and tax rises he rejected as antisocial, to deliver a modest fiscal surplus before interest payments.

    It's not happening. We think they'll have to default. We think Germany's stubborn neoliberalism is the cause, very shortsighted, and morally wrong.

    Add your comment.


  40.    Has Merkel thrown Greece a lifeline? | The BRICS Post

    Germany is considering allowing Greece to receive incremental financial assistance from the IMF and European Central Bank in exchange for a much more manageable set of reforms for Athens to implement.

    "…more manageable…"? Such as?

    Add your comment.


  41.    The Brooklyn Real Estate Bubble Will Never Pop: Gothamist

    This is a fairly detailed article.

    In order to bring housing prices down in any significant way, Keenan told me, the city would need to massively expand its housing stock. That's especially true of Brooklyn, whose historic neighborhoods are largely made up of townhouses and not apartment buildings.

    A 2013 report Keenan co-authored estimates that 300,000 to 350,000 new units must be built to house the next generation of New Yorkers, nearly double the 200,000 affordable units that Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to build or preserve.

    Add your comment.


  42.    Land bank ready to scoop up city's tax-foreclosed properties again | MLive.com

    Real estate agents, developers and first-time home buyers are calling to find out when they are going to start listing the tax-foreclosed properties the land bank is buying from the city for the back taxes that are due….

    Add your comment.


  43.    Lenders Hungry For Commercial Real Estate Deals Up Capital Flow CBG PRU REIS – Investors.com

    Lenders are showing a healthy appetite for financing commercial properties as that market continues to grow, with rents rising and vacancies slipping, leading to tantalizing investment returns.

    Add your comment.


  44.    You can now invest in real estate, even if you're not Donald Trump – Jun. 12, 2015 [Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act]

    Starting June 19, everyday investors will be able to back real estate projects with Kickstarter-like crowdfunding initiatives.

    …people without real estate investing experience should exercise extreme caution.

    We completely agree with that.

    If you are bound and determined to invest this way, be sure to do your due diligence about the crowdfunder. Make sure they do their due diligence on all offered projects and that they are transparent. Read the so called fine print. Don't risk more than you can afford to lose. There are legal limits but still.

    What insurance coverage to they have? Is it adequate to pay all the project's investors in the event of errors or omissions?

    What other things should people watch out for?

    Add your comment.


  45.    Philadelphia Auctions Off Hundreds of Seized Tax-Delinquent Properties – CBS Philly

    More than 180 formerly delinquent properties may soon be generating taxes again, now that the City of Philadelphia has put them on the auction block.

    Some fixer-uppers attracted two or three bidders in the $7,000 range.

    Add your comment.


  46.    Housing Market 2015: Despite Real Estate Rebound, Millions Of Minority Homeowners Are Still Underwater

    …at 48, Foster is an underwater borrower: She owes more on her mortgage than her house is worth. Today, Zillow values her home at $47,825, more than $25,000 less than what she bought it for. Unable to move without taking a heavy financial hit, Foster is stuck paying far more than she should for a home she can barely afford to maintain.

    Recently, Foster won a principal reduction on her house; her mortgage is now at a more attainable $55,000. Her monthly payments also came down to more manageable levels. But, she concedes, the house remains underwater. "Why sell when you can just live in there until you fall down?"

    Add your comment.


  47.    Ask a Real Estate Pro: Buyer wants mortgage from seller – Sun Sentinel

    Yes, it is legal, but it generally is not a good idea. This is called a wraparound mortgage and is most commonly used by sophisticated real estate investors in certain scenarios.

    Most mortgages contain a "due on sale clause," which means that when a property is sold to a third party, the existing mortgage needs to be paid in full.

    Add your comment.


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