Wright dog house, sleep patterns, and cost-effective new cars
So what do you do when you have a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but you forgot about the doghouse? If you’re a 12-year-old boy in the 1950s, you write to the famous architect and ask him for a design to match your parents’ house. Wright complied and the dog house was eventually built.
I must be getting old, because Google’s reported Terminator glasses seem like an awful idea to me. Augmented reality is the flavor of the moment and it has its place, but this sounds like information overload.
Everyone’s tightening their belts recently, including the Tooth Fairy. Delta Dental’s annual survey found that the average loot left was down by 17% from last year to $2.10 per tooth.
Have trouble staying asleep at night? No need to stress. In fact, a full eight hours might be unnatural.
Tis the season…for auto shows. And if you’re in the market for a new car, it’s important to look at not only the sticker price, but also the total cost of ownership. Forbes gives some general car choosing advice as well as what are the cheapest 2012 cars in different categories.
Tax time is nearing and once more rumors are circulating on the Internet and by e-mail that the health care reform law enacted two years ago includes a 3.8 percent transfer tax on real estate starting in 2013. That rumor is not true and NAR has material available to you to explain how that 3.8 percent tax works. It’s a tax on a very narrow band of investment income for high-wealth households (those who earn $250,000 in a joint return or $200,000 as an individual) that could come into play on the sale of a house if the sales gain is more than $500,000 for a married couple or $250,000 for an individual.
Even in the unlikely event the sales gain is more than that amount, the tax would only apply based on other considerations having to with the household’s income and tax situation. The bottom line is, the tax, which was imposed to help shore up Medicare, will only hit some portion of investment income.
A new visa program for overseas investors is slowly wending its way through congress. We’ve covered it before in the blog, but a member recently asked for an update . There hasn’t been a whole lot of recent discussion of this topic in the larger publications (NYT, WSJ, etc.), so we provided what we could locate in other sources. We also provided older articles and blogs that will provide context and opinion, as well as legislative information with summaries, actions, and committee assignments.
VISIT-USA Act Would Give Home Buyers a 3-Year Visa, (LawInfo [blog], Jan. 3, 2012)
VISIT USA Act Will Give Foreign Investors in Florida Real Estate a US Visa With $500K+ Purchase (JDSupra, Dec. 14, 2011)
United States: Give me your Gucci-clad masses; Visas for dollars (The Economist, Dec. 3, 2011)
Does the VISIT-USA Act Make Sense? (Yahoo News, Nov. 1, 2011)
Older articles/blogs offering context
Clarifying Elements of the VISIT-USA Act (Mike Lee, US Senator for Utah [blog], Oct. 20, 2011)
U.S. Travel Association Commends VISIT USA Act (U.S. Travel Association, Oct. 20, 2011)
Foreigners’ Sweetener: Buy House, Get a Visa (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, 2011)
Bill would encourage foreigners to buy U.S. homes (Los Angeles Times, Oct. 20, 2011)
Adopting retirement visa scheme would boost Florida market, say realtors (TheMoveChannel.com, Oct. 12, 2011)
H.R. 3341, The Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America (VISIT USA) Act (U.S. House of Representatives Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono, Hawaii)
Open Congress: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s1746/show
See this site for official bill summary, recent news coverage, and recent blog coverage
Last action: Nov 21, 2011: House Judiciary: Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. See more detailed actions at the New York Times site.
Committee Assignments: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-3341&tab=committees
Last action: Oct 20, 2011: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Committee Assignments: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-1746&tab=committees
America remains predominately a country of automobiles. Only an average of 3.5 percent of commuters get to work by bicycle or foot. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but a new report from the Alliance for Biking and Walking extolls the virtues of the two modes of transportation as being within the public interest:
Where bicycling and walking levels are higher, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes levels are lower. Higher levels of bicycling and walking also coincide with increased bicycle and pedestrian safety and higher levels of physical activity. Increasing bicycling and walking can help solve many serious problems facing our nation.
Other than updating policy issues and advocacy program, the report also ranks states and metro areas in terms of bicycling and walking levels. Oregon and Alaska are at the top of the list for cycling and walking respectively. In terms of cities, Boston tops the list in terms of walkers (13.9 percent of commuters walk to work) and Portland, OR is tops for cyclists (5.5 percent of commuters). The report also compares the US to other nations, looks at the income of bike commuters and pedestrians, and examines safety, funding and policies in place.
The full report is available at the above link as a PDF download.
Member Profiles in published form go back at least until the mid-1970s, but it’s a bit tough to make an apples to apples comparison. Back then only agents with a broker or broker associate license could call themselves REALTORS® and the surveys reflected this. And even after sales agents were added as REALTORS®, up until the early 1990s, member profile reports divide data between broker and agent. So it is hard to get an overall sense of the average member and how it compares to today. However, a quick glance at some statistics is useful.
A few things have changed dramatically. Back in 1975, only 18 percent of brokers and only 37 percent of broker-associates were women. In 2011, 50 percent of brokers are women and 63 percent of sales agents are women. 36 years ago, only 70 percent of REALTORS® had at least some college education. Today the figure is over 90 percent. And finally, although race wasn’t reported in the print reports until 1990 when 95 percent of all REALTORS® were white, membership today has broadened so that only 82 percent of members are white.
But on the whole the ‘median’ or average REALTOR® has stayed relatively stable since the early 1990s: Early 50s, earning a median gross income of $34,100, and living in her own home. Initially the influx of new members in the mid-2000s brought the average income down (the high was in 2003 at $52,200). As the Great Recession dug in, that number has stayed down.