Thursday, October 15, 2020

New York coronavirus exodus fuels Maine real estate boom

New York coronavirus exodus fuels Maine real estate boom

"Prospective renters and buyers were desperate, according to brokers on the front lines. “People have called and said, ‘Get me any house in Maine,’ ” said Gwyneth Freeman of Better Homes & Gardens, The Masiello Group. A strong economy and low interest rates made 2019 a historically good year for Maine real estate, resulting in 40 percent less inventory in 2020. When frantic out-of-staters began looking to escape the pandemic, housing demand exceeded supply, pushing prices up and accounting for a large volume of closed sales."

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By gorey.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Real estate prices are about to drop 10%

Real estate prices are about to drop 10%

"The wholesale disruption of COVID-19 is taking a toll on the real estate market. A new survey suggests that offices will remain under capacity for months, retail and hospitality will continue to struggle, and, despite some increases in single-family home values, real estate across the board will see its value fall around 10% next year. These are some of the main findings of “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021,” a new report from the Urban Land Institute and PwC."

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I've been wondering whether or not the industry would start to get nervous about the impact of COVID on real estate markets and prices. Here's a large-scale study based on interviews with professionals that sees significant negative impacts, except perhaps in suburban residential property.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Inside the climate battle quietly raging about US homes | US news | The Guardian

Inside the climate battle quietly raging about US homes | US news | The Guardian

"On one side are the city and state officials trying to go greener, and on the other are real estate developers and the natural gas industry. The International Code Council, which like the World Series largely concerns Americans, met this week on updating the baseline codes that most states and cities adopt for new buildings. The council is reviewing about two dozen proposals that would, for example, require builders to install electrical outlets near gas stoves that may one day be replaced with electric ones; and to wire enough power to garages where people may one day want to plug in electric cars...With the stakes high, climate advocates last year launched a campaign to make sure that more climate-minded officials – the ones that set energy and environment rules, in addition to those who enforce code – were involved in the normally obscure process."

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The real estate development industry is accustomed to having veto power over major building code changes, which is why they are so freaked out over having people with more of an environmental orientation involved in making the rules.

Monday, September 21, 2020

DOJ Designates New York City as an “Anarchist Jurisdiction” – NBC New York

DOJ Designates New York City as an “Anarchist Jurisdiction” – NBC New York

"New York City is one of three places that "have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities," leading to its designation as an "anarchist jurisdiction," the Justice Department said Monday. Rather than idle words, the designation has potential financial consequences. President Trump issued a memo earlier this month directing the DOJ to identify jurisdictions that, in its view, were not enforcing the law appropriately. Designated cities could lose their federal funding. Trump's order gives the director of the Office of Management and Budget 30 days to issue guidance to federal agencies on restricting eligibility for federal grants for the cities on the DOJ list. Such grants make up a huge portion of NYC's already strapped annual budget -- more than $7 billion in fiscal 2021 alone, or 7.5% of the city's projected total revenue."

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The only anarchist jurisdiction in this country today is the White House.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Placer County CA homeless people find a house in the suburbs | The Sacramento Bee

Placer County CA homeless people find a house in the suburbs | The Sacramento Bee

"As cities around the country struggle with a growing homeless population and few solutions beyond temporary homeless shelters or single-occupancy hotels, Placer County has been placing some of its homeless population on quiet suburban streets. It’s an attempt to fully integrate formerly homeless people into the community without the extreme costs of building permanent affordable housing...In interviews with The Bee, neighbors also said the existence of the home could threaten their property values, and that erratic behavior, loitering, drinking and smoking in public are unwelcome in their neighborhood.

But for the formerly homeless people who occupy the homes, they’ve found a new sense of comfort without the hassles of living in shelters, on church doorsteps, or the street."

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Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link.  This is a difficult issue for suburbanites, who tend to believe that they have moved away from social issues such as homelessness. But doing it this way is much less expensive than building new housing for the homeless: "The unique arrangement in Placer County contrasts starkly with the extraordinary per-person costs of developing new housing for homeless people in California. At the Capitol Park Hotel downtown, for example, development costs will reach more than $445,000 per unit for apartments that are tiny — about 250 square feet. With the program in Placer County, six people live in each of the four houses — purchased for about $600,000 each — a significantly lower per-person cost than new affordable housing developments."

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

The Fed Now Owns Nearly One Third of All US Mortgages

The Fed Now Owns Nearly One Third of All US Mortgages

"The Fed has snapped up $1 trillion of mortgage bonds since March. It bought around $300 billion of the bonds in each of March and April, and since then has been buying about $100 billion a month.  The Fed now owns almost a third of bonds backed by home loans in the U.S.  Buying the securities has pushed mortgage rates lower, with the average 30-year rate falling to 2.91% as of last week from 3.3% in early February. Morgan Stanley analysts pointed out in late March that the buying was running at eight times the pace seen in prior episodes of Fed purchasing under programs known as quantitative easing."

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Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Californians are buying their own fire trucks on Craigslist - SFGate

Californians are buying their own fire trucks on Craigslist - SFGate

"One seller is hoping to get $15,000 for a 53-year-old Ford 150 fire truck.  He confesses that he "was told the pump needed some seals," but suggests that "with these lightning complex fires going on, maybe you could use it." Over the last few years, as wildfires have become more common, there has also been a rise in a small but growing number of wealthy residents hiring private firefighting crews to watch over their acres. Cal Fire has discouraged attempts to defend one's own property during an evacuation order. “People don’t understand the veracity of these fires that we’ve been dealing with the last five or so years,” Cal Fire Fire Captain Scott McLean told SFGATE. “They’re very unpredictable and you can’t project what the fire’s going to do.”

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The ultimate in privatization. You buy your own fire truck and hire your own firefighting crew.