News Alerts. Sept. 25, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

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  1. CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: The Poverty Rate: Income and Consumption Estimates News Alerts. Sept. 25, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    This is good news, but let’s not rest on our laurels.

    There is an official poverty level of income, which is adjusted for the number of people in a household, and anyone who lives in a household with less income is officially in poverty. The Census Bureau Report explains: “The official poverty definition uses money income before taxes and tax credits and excludes capital gains and noncash benefits (such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and housing assistance). The thresholds do not vary geographically. … The official poverty thresholds are updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U).”

    Meyer and Sullivan offer a number of different ways of adjusting these official poverty measures.

    … it’s worth knowing that the U.S. has made progress in terms of the existing poverty line–when using more appropriate standards of well-being like consumption or broader definitions of income.

    Read the source article …

  2. Only fools ignore bubble trouble News Alerts. Sept. 25, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    This is a very thoughtful article on the Australian housing market.

    What gives me pause is that national house price growth now looks to be running at three times wages. In Sydney the gap is even greater. And what is unprecedented is that the housing upswing coincides with the cheapest mortgage rates ever. In the boom of the early 2000s, discounted home loan costs troughed at 6.15 per cent, or 100 basis points higher than current rates.

    Capital gains exceeding incomes is OK, for a period. But with the major banks leveraged 80 times across their $1 trillion home loan books, one-third of all new mortgages approved with loan-to-value ratios greater than 80 per cent, nearly 40 per cent of loans accepted on an “interest only” basis, 20 per cent of borrowers fixing at historically low rates for only a few years, and the household debt-to-income ratio not far from its highs, there is little room for error.

    Read the source article …

  3. IRS finally provides guidance on building repairs vs. improvements | Inman News News Alerts. Sept. 25, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    … if an expense is classified as an improvement, it must be capitalized a little at a time over many years — 39 years in the case of commercial buildings. If it’s a repair or maintenance, it can be currently deducted in a single year.

    Obviously, business property owners prefer expenses to be classified as repairs (or maintenance) so they can deduct the whole amount in a year. The IRS often prefers the opposite.

    Until Sept. 13, the IRS had produced no useful regulations describing how to determine whether something was a repair or an improvement. Instead, business property owners and the IRS itself had to rely on a hodgepodge of court decisions and IRS rulings that sometimes conflicted with each other.

    Now, for the first time ever, we have very highly detailed guidance on this issue that the IRS is bound to follow.

    Read the source article …

  4. Real Estate Investment For The Masses: Crowdfunding Or Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)? News Alerts. Sept. 25, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    It cannot be overstated. Be careful.

    “Real estate is a tangible entity where somebody can actually verify that it exists. It’s a lot easier to do due diligence,” Korn told IBTimes. “That sort of discrete entity is tailor-made for crowdfunding, because people want to focus on the project, and not worry about the overall credit quality of the parent company, or their other investments.”

    Will they make you an Additional Insured? If not, should you walk away?

    Read the source article …

  5. Facing Heat From E-Commerce, Retailers Re-Thinking Traditional Warehouse Supply Chains – CoStar Group News Alerts. Sept. 25, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    With online competitors such as grabbing an ever-larger share of total shopping sales, traditional retailers have been forced to re-evaluate how they merchandise their products — and also how they get them into the hands of consumers.

    Retailers deeply invested in networks of bricks-and-mortar distribution centers are re-evaluating and in some cases making major changes to their hub-and-spoke supply chains in the face of sophisticated and highly automated next-day or even same-day fulfillment and delivery sought by nimble online-only merchants.

    Such adjustments may be crucial as retailers move to adopt omnichanneling, the system of marketing and selling products to shoppers on multiple platforms, including web sites, mobile devices, television and radio, direct mail and even social media, in addition to physical storefronts.

    The rapidly changing retail-supply landscape is creating opportunities for real estate service providers. Case in point is a new joint venture launched by Jeff Binswanger, president of the Philadelphia-based Binswanger, and David Birnbrey, co-CEO of The Shopping Center Group.

    “There are retail experts and there are distribution experts, but nobody has been able to put those two specialties together,” Binswanger President Jeff Binswanger tells CoStar. “It’s now more important than ever that these facilities be located near consumers. That’s not the typical industrial site selection strategy. We’re trying to bring a different platform, technology and knowledge that’s not in the market.”

    Read the source article …

  6. Kynikos’ Jim Chanos: Every Three to Four Years China Doubles its Debt Relative to its GDP, Still Short China (CNBC Video)

    Jim Chanos of Kynikos’ Associates is still bearish on China….:

    Remember, in China, GDP is counted on production, not final sales. [Emphasis added] So you build something, and it sits unsold. It counts as GDP growth, and that’s an important point. The other thing I would point out, and what Fitch warned about again today (see my previous post), is the massive credit growth that is coupled with this GDP growth. We estimate that for the last five years, China’s new debt has grown about 35% of GDP each and every year; and, I keep pointing out to people that if your GDP is growing 10% nominally, 7.5% real, 2.5% inflation, and credit growth is 25 points higher than that, or 35%, that basically, using that old rule of 72 we all learned in high school math, you’re going to double something as a percent every three to four years. So every three to four years at the current rate, China is doubling its debt relative to its GDP. It’s already about 200-plus percent right now. So [in] another three or four years, we’ll be worse than Greece. These are staggering kinds of numbers; and at some point, that has to end.

    If he’s right about the math and if other reports are correct that China has not really reined in the corruption and other excesses, it’s only a matter of time before China implodes.

    The source article …

  7. Architecture industry still on the rise – Memphis Business Journal News Alerts. Sept. 25, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    A leading indicator:

    Demand for architecture services continues to increase, according to the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index.

    The index score increased to 53.8 in August, compared to 52.7 in July. It is the second month in a row the index has increased.

    Read the source article …

  8. 10-Step Energy Management Action Plan for Property Management Companies | Property Management Insider [cached] News Alerts. Sept. 25, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    This is an excellent article to motivate you to find where to cut energy costs.

    It has been calculated that more than $9 billion of energy costs in the multifamily industry could be saved through energy management. That’s a veritable pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow. And when you consider that the second or third-largest line item for the typical property management company is energy and utility related, it’s a wonder that more property management companies are not actively engaged in some sort of energy management program.

    But where do you start? An energy management program can be made up of a few large returns, or many small efforts, that produce very big changes in your energy cost bottom line. To help get you started, here is my 10-step energy management action plan for your property management company. Keep in mind that these steps aren’t just for your apartment communities. Put it to use on your regional and home offices as well.

    Read the source article …