News: Real Estate, Risk, Economics. Feb. 3, 2016

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Table of Contents
(Click to sections below.)

1) Foreign Investors Plan to Buy More US Apartment Properties

2) The City Council Moves to Make LA Properties More Pet-Friendly – Los Angeles Magazine

3) County targeting hundreds of properties

4) EUROPP — Debunking myths: Why austerity and structural reforms have had little to do with Ireland's economic recovery

5) Bank of Japan adopts negative interest rates — what does this mean for real estate? | The Investor

6) China Unleashes New Steps to Control Financial Risks, Outflows – Bloomberg Business

7) Statement by Asst Sec for Econ Pol, Karen Dynan, Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association

8) Economist's View: Economics is Changing

9) China announcing 400,000 steelworker job cuts – World Socialist Web Site

10) Hoverboard Fire in San Leandro; 10th in California, 42nd Nationwide | NBC Bay Area

11) West Texas Wildfire Destroys 7 Homes

12) Felony arson charged in Toulon man's house fire – News – Journal Star – Peoria, IL

13) Record Number of False Convictions Overturned in 2015 – The New York Times

14) Google Fiber to be free for select affordable housing residents | Computerworld

15) Buy-to-let investors 'to sell 500,000 properties' as confidence plummets – Telegraph

16) EquityMultiple Paradigm Shift: Real Estate Investing Through Technology – Crowdfund Insider

17) London property: Parents fear soaring house prices and rents will force their children from city

18) This London Real Estate Map Shows Prices Rising in the Suburbs and Peaking in the Center – CityLab

19) Crippled EU is no longer the 'anarcho-imperial monster' we once feared – Telegraph

20) Economists Prove That Markets Are Unnecessary – Evonomics

21) Middle Class Political Economist: New OECD tax agreement improves transparency — but the US doesn't sign and the US press won't tell you UPDATED

22) Half A Loaf, Financial Reform Edition – The New York Times

23) Economist Proves That Learning Economics Makes You Selfish – Evonomics

24) Prologis, which runs warehouses, is a huge leader is solar energy. Huh?

25) Japan's savers won't play ball as BOJ turns negative | Reuters

26) Biggest Apartment Buildings NYC | Property Taxes NYC

27) MHN Editor Picks IBS 2016 – YouTube

28) [Signs of a potential US recession coming] Dollar dips – YouTube

  1.    Foreign Investors Plan to Buy More U.S. Apartment Properties

    Even without Canadian investment, the total volume of investment from other foreign countries in U.S. apartment properties grew 81 percent in 2015 compared to the year before.

    Add your comment.


  2.    The City Council Moves to Make L.A. Properties More Pet-Friendly – Los Angeles Magazine

    Jim Clarke, executive vice president of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, told KPCC that he is amenable to working with a task force, but that he also recognizes the validity of landlords' reluctance to allow pets. "Pets create damage," Clarke said. "Scratches on wooden floors, carpet that's been soiled by pet urine."

    Dogs can bring noise (barking). Statistically, breeds also vary greatly concerning unexpected aggression. You'll notice that the article mentioned "small dogs" when it referred to Denver's pet-friendliness.

    Add your comment.


  3.    County targeting hundreds of properties

    Hundreds of the estimated 4,000-plus empty and abandoned properties in the city of Muncie are owned by the Delaware County commissioners.

    And they want to get rid of them, either by demolishing them or putting them in the hands of new owners and back on property tax rolls.

    Add your comment.


  4.    EUROPP — Debunking myths: Why austerity and structural reforms have had little to do with Ireland's economic recovery

    Aidan Regan:

    It has been a truly remarkable few years for Ireland and the European Union. In the space of five years Ireland has gone from being the basket case of the European Monetary Union to its number one success story. Economic growth is now the strongest in the Euro area, and according to the most recent data, this growth is having a real impact on employment. The dominant narrative among policymakers in the EU is that other peripheral states of the Eurozone should follow the Irish adjustment back to the market.

    This leads to two important questions. First, what explains this remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Ireland? Second, why are other Eurozone countries that pursued a similar adjustment still struggling to recover? In reality, the Irish recovery has nothing to do with austerity induced cost competitiveness and everything to do with a State-led enterprise policy to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) from the United States.

    It is, fundamentally, about strategic political decision-making, and economic coordination rather than market competition. If the European Commission is serious about generating the conditions for economic and employment growth in the Euro area it needs to rethink its textbook approach to supply-side "structural reform". It needs a State-led industrial and enterprise policy.

    Ireland has done well in spite of austerity. However, Aidan Regan didn't address the degree to which FDI was forthcoming because such investors actually believe the austerity/structural reforms narrative or because they back the narrative ideologically in order to keep the government from reining in "free markets" too much.

    Add your comment.


  5.    Bank of Japan adopts negative interest rates — what does this mean for real estate? | Real Estate Investment Opportunities | News, Insights, Research | The Investor

    Nicholas Wilson:

    It is likely that lending margins will also sharpen across the entire curve as dormant capital begins to look for a new home in a positive yield environment — so the all in cost of debt will continue to fall.
    Banks will likely become even more aggressive in their lending appetite in order to put latent excess capital sitting in central bank reserves to better use. An expansion of the asset purchase program would likely have just continued to push bond sale proceeds into central bank reserves, so these measures were adopted more to incentivise bank lending and more importantly to ease buying pressure on the yen (following safe haven investors buying yen due to global market volatility). The yen has depreciated 2.2% already since the announcement on Friday to 121.1 to the USD.

    The BoJ has been way to timid. People still piled into the yen.

    Add your comment.


  6.    China Unleashes New Steps to Control Financial Risks, Outflows – Bloomberg Business

    Moving to plug one popular way for moving money out of China, the currency regulator is imposing restrictions on buying insurance products overseas, people with knowledge of the matter said Tuesday.

    Add your comment.


  7.    Statement by Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Karen Dynan for the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association

    Karen Dynan:

    Because of the substantial growth in the U.S. energy industry in recent years, the cuts in investment and employment in response to lower oil prices have weighed more heavily on the overall economy than in the past; even so, the available evidence suggests that declines in oil prices are still a net positive (albeit a smaller one) for our economy.

    Incoming data have been mixed on whether nominal compensation growth is picking up in response to tighter labor market conditions. Average hourly earnings rose 2.5 percent over the twelve months ending in December, a notable increase from gains averaging 2 percent from 2011 through 2014. On the other hand, the Employment Cost Index for private-industry workers showed compensation rising 1.9 percent and wages rising 2.1 percent over the past year, roughly in line with gains of recent years. Both data sources indicate that nominal compensation growth is still well below the pace recorded in the decade prior to the recession. However, low consumer inflation means that the as-yet limited gains in nominal compensation have translated into meaningful increases in purchasing power. These increases—along with the robust expansion of payrolls—should support household spending in the quarters ahead.

    What's the rate of saving?

    Add your comment.


  8.    Economist's View: Economics is Changing

    Mark Thoma has written a great, concise blog post comparing the economics circles he was running in 20 years ago versus today: same circles, different questions.

    I hear frequently that economics needs to change, and it has, at least in the questions we ask.

    I don't mean to suggest that economics is now on the right track. The old guard is still there, and still influential. But it's hard to deny that the questions we are asking have gone through a considerable evolution since the onset of the recession ….

    Let it be said that I never bought into the libertarian-capitalist view. I always thought that at the very least, social democracy was vastly superior. The problem with the regulations back in the 1960's was that they weren't well designed and/or the agencies required to implement and enforce them weren't funded very well. Much of that was deliberate on the part of the right-wing seeking to thwart progressivism at every turn.

    Let's also add the Public Banking Movement, money-financed fiscal policy, sovereign (debt-free) currency, and the guaranteed living-income.

    Add your comment.


  9.    China announcing 400,000 steelworker job cuts – World Socialist Web Site

    So, Mark Thoma has pointed out the change in the questions being asked in mainstream economics in the US. That narrative has gone from libertarian to New Keynesian (and even Post Keynesian).

    Well, let's expand the questions to include those from the still taboo Trotskyists. It makes sense to look at the full spectrum of ideas.

    US Steel, the second largest steel producer in the United States, reported a $1 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2015, for a total loss of over $1.5 billion for the year. The steelmaker reports that its production has fallen to less than 70 percent of capacity. Over the past year it has laid off thousands of steelworkers and idled several mills.

    The massive layoffs among Chinese steelmakers underscores the reactionary nature of the United Steelworkers' union campaign to blame Chinese steelworkers for the decline in US steel production and resultant layoffs. Behind the nationalism and chauvinism being pushed by the USW is support for the war drive of the US government against China.

    Steelworkers in China, the US, Japan, India and everywhere around the globe are facing the same problems, brought about not by the workers of other countries but by the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist system.

    In place of nationalism, chauvinism and war, workers need an international socialist policy that unites the workers of the world in a common struggle to defend jobs and living standards.

    Frankly, there's a great deal of truth in that. Where I differ with it concerns the classism inherent in Marxism, not to mention the violent revolutionary aspects. I really don't want to live under a dictatorship of the proletariat headed up by a dictatorial one-party "communist" system.

    As for class struggle, I do believe there is such. What I'm saying is that we shouldn't be "worker" centric. We should rather have democracy in the workplace (managers would be elected by their peers and based upon merit) along with community ownership of the means of production.

    As I've said many, many times, I'm looking for real democracy.

    Add your comment.


  10.    Hoverboard Fire in San Leandro; 10th in California, 42nd Nationwide | NBC Bay Area

    A plugged-in hoverboard charging in a family home likely started a weekend fire in the Bay Area — the fourth such blaze since before Christmas and the 48th to be investigated by the federal government in the United States.

    … Firefighters … have not definitively determined the cause of the fire. But Knowles said investigators found a hoverboard located in the area where the fire started, and that the machine is the most likely culprit.

    Add your comment.


  11.    West Texas Wildfire Destroys 7 Homes

    An official says a wildfire destroyed seven homes in a rural area near the West Texas town of Eula.

    Add your comment.


  12.    Felony arson charged in Toulon man's house fire – News – Journal Star – Peoria, IL

    Richard E.D. Petty, 31, faces felony charges of arson and insurance fraud because he "knowing[ly] damaged" his home at 219 N. Culbertson St. "by means of fire" Nov. 11, court documents allege.

    Add your comment.


  13.    Record Number of False Convictions Overturned in 2015 – The New York Times

    … three men were cleared of setting a fire in 1980 in Brooklyn that caused the death of a mother and her five children. The sole eyewitness in the case was deemed unreliable, and advances in arson science showed that the fire was most likely an accident.

    Add your comment.


  14.    Google Fiber to be free for select affordable housing residents | Computerworld

    I hope they track outcomes. The data should show that the children do better academically and elsewise. Of course, much will depend upon what the parents encourage the kids to do while on line. I think gaming should certainly be of a limited type, limited in terms of time spent, and limited to only after "homework" and other important things are done (like playing safely outside on nice days).

    If they aren't already, Google should include, among other software, parental-control software and lessons on its usage and security.

    Add your comment.


  15.    Buy-to-let investors 'to sell 500,000 properties' as confidence plummets – Telegraph

    It's what I said when this plan was first announced.

    … controversy stems from the fact that companies holding more than 15 properties look set to avoid many of the penalties.

    The research also found that nearly half of investors feel the Government is trying to squeeze out smaller landlords while protecting wealthy landlords with many properties.

    Add your comment.


  16.    EquityMultiple Paradigm Shift: Real Estate Investing Through Technology – Crowdfund Insider

    Crowdfund Insider: How would you describe a typical EquityMultiple investor?

    Charles Clinton: Smart! There's a misconception within the real estate industry that crowdfunding is "dumb money".

    We haven't found that to be the case at all.

    People are still doing more due diligence because they retain a memory of the Great Recession.

    Add your comment.


  17.    London property: Parents fear soaring house prices and rents will force their children from city

    The capital is building around half the level of new homes that it needs to meet demand.

    Add your comment.


  18.    This London Real Estate Map Shows Prices Rising in the Suburbs and Peaking in the Center – CityLab

    London landlords looking to make a killing in real estate should avoid the city center and head for the suburbs—that is, if they're not already too late.

    Add your comment.


  19.    Crippled EU is no longer the 'anarcho-imperial monster' we once feared – Telegraph

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:

    The refusal to accept the emphatic verdict of the people crystallized a long-simmering suspicion that the Project had escaped democratic control.

    You can say THAT again.

    Add your comment.


  20.    Economists Prove That Markets Are Unnecessary – Evonomics

    Steve Keen:

    Hmmm. O.K.A.Y… So economists are willing to assume (1) that people keep such detailed notes on relative prices that they notice that the same pattern of relative prices as we have today (say, February 3 2016) occurred 15 years earlier (which is the rough length of the cycle in the relative price of milk cow to non-milk cows in the USA); and (2) that this pattern is perfectly regular (which it's not since, like most such cycles, it's a "complex system" that has a-periodic cycles—they repeat but never at the same magnitude or frequency) so that (3) they can stick to their toy model in which all processes converge to equilibrium, rather than to deal with the real world where they don't.

    Love it.

    Add your comment.


  21.    Middle Class Political Economist: New OECD tax agreement improves transparency — but the US doesn't sign and the US press won't tell you UPDATED

    This is a very good article.

    Kenneth Thomas:

    You'd almost think they're trying to keep us from finding out. But no, not exactly: The Financial Times was able to get Treasury Secretary Jack Lew himself to comment in its story on the MCAA. He said, "From a US perspective, there are elements of this that don't require legislation and we're looking to getting to work right away."

    That's certainly a clue: Some of the changes do require legislation, and getting that from the Republican Congress is not going to happen.

    Republicans have done such a good job at helping out domestic tax havens that the United States is now "The World's Favorite New Tax Haven," according to Bloomberg Businessweek ….

    Add your comment.


  22.    Half A Loaf, Financial Reform Edition – The New York Times

    On healthcare: Obamacare represents a huge step forward. The Sanders' plan would be vastly better.

    On financial reform: Dodd-Frank represents a huge step forward. The Sanders' plan would be vastly better.

    Add your comment.


  23.    Economist Proves That Learning Economics Makes You Selfish – Evonomics

    Adam M. Grant:

    Hearts of Darkness
    But maybe studying economics doesn't change people. It could be self-selection: Students who already believe in self-interest are drawn to economics.
    There is evidence for selection. In a study of over 28,000 students in Switzerland, 62% of economics students gave money at least once to help students in need, compared with 69% of non-economics students. These differences were already present before the students took a single economics course: students with lower giving rates were drawn to economics. As freshmen, before their first lectures, 71% of the students who chose economics contributed, compared with 75% of non-economists.
    But this doesn't rule out the possibility that studying economics pushes people further toward the selfish extreme.

    Business economics may be more devastating than other brands. When comparing students in political economics and business economics, economists found that "the willingness to contribute decreases dramatically for business students." This may be why the late Stanford professor Hal Leavitt lamented that business education distorts students into "critters with lopsided brains, icy hearts, and shrunken souls."

    … Nobel Prize-winning economist and philosopher Amartya Sen. Calling economists "rational fools," Sen observed: "The purely economic man is indeed close to being a social moron."

    Well, they don't teach Marxism or much more importantly, ….

    The article tries to add a few ideas for required subjects for economics majors.

    It is worth noting that many young people have taken up economics in an attempt to find out what went wrong and why. They have been demanding more economic history and other cross-disciplinary approaches, just what the article suggests and something I've always been all for.

    Add your comment.


  24.    Prologis, which runs warehouses, is a huge leader is solar energy. Huh?

    This is a great argument for net metering, but also notice that Prologis intends to develop energy-storage capabilities. Now that's one smart company when it comes to solar.

    Add your comment.


  25.    Japan's savers won't play ball as BOJ turns negative | Reuters

    Banks are unlikely, however, to follow Kuroda into negative territory. It would be too unpopular to charge savers, especially the elderly, for holding their money, finance professionals say.

    "There have been attempts in the past by banks to introduce charges on deposits, but they failed due to the backlash from retail and corporate clients," said Yoshinobu Yamada, banking analyst at Deutsche Securities in a note to clients.

    So, the banks better put the money to work by lending it out to those who will make it grow enough to justify paying interest on the loans.

    Where are the borrowers; and, if they don't exist, how do the banks create them?

    Add your comment.


  26.    Biggest Apartment Buildings NYC | Property Taxes NYC

    You knew the rent was too damn high, but what you didn't know is that it only takes 10 developments to net landlords over half a billion dollars in a single year.

    The top rental complexes in Manhattan, ranked by net operating income, brought in landlords $513 million in 2014, according to TRData's analysis of just-released data from the Department of Finance.

    Add your comment.


  27.    MHN Editor Picks IBS 2016 – YouTube

    This isn't a talkie, so start reading the short blurbs right away.

    Some of the materials and products look amazing.

    Add your comment.


  28.    [Signs of a potential US recession coming] Dollar dips – YouTube

    You'd think a falling dollar would bolster the Fed's decision to raise rates. You know: inflation. It will take more dollars to buy things. However, an economic slowdown edging into recession will typically have the opposite result: deflation.

    Isn't economics fun!

    John Authers reports on how the lacklustre data on the US services economy sparked a strong day for the crude oil price but pushed down the US dollar.

    I think some of the linkages are broken. Homo economicus isn't typical, especially when things are changing as rapidly as they are now. Try behavioral (mistake prone and lacking sufficient information and/or the means to properly digest and analyze it).

    Add your comment.


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