New Construction upturn, rent-to-own housing, and your brackets
Plenty of economists and executives have fallen on their faces predicting a resurgence in housing in the past five years. But while the jury is still very much out for the overall market, there is reason to feel hopeful about new construction.
Bank of America says it has begun a pilot program offering some of its mortgage customers who are facing foreclosure a chance to stay in their homes by becoming renters instead of owners.
In today’s technological age, do business cards still serve a purpose? The Los Angeles Times thinks not. Younger people are shunning paper business cards as lame and wasteful and social media is the new replacement.
About 85 million people manage their professional networks with LinkedIn. Some 77 million smartphone users have downloaded the Bump app, which allows them to bump their phones together and instantly exchange contact information. Others carry a personalized quick-response code that smartphones can scan like a hyperlink. And, of course, there’s always Facebook, email and digital business cards. If they do take a paper card, some said they use a smartphone app to snap a picture of it and instantly digitize the card’s information. Then they toss it into the nearest trash can.
It’s something to consider when prospecting Generation Y clients.
Prepare yourself: on July 1, as many as 8 million college students will see their interest rates on federally subsidized student loans double, from 3.4% to 6.8%.
Are you more worried about your basketball brackets than your bottom line this month? March Madness can take over your life (and work) if you let it. Lifehack lists 5 tips to enjoy the madness while getting your work done.
So you undoubtedly heard the fairy tale about the turnip princess as a child. Or the one where the maiden escapes the witch by transformering herself into a pond. No? Well, probably that’s because researchers in Germany have discovered a trove of over 500 new fairy tales locked away in a vault in Bavaria. They were gathered in the mid-19th century by a contemporary of the brothers Grimm from the folktales of Bavarian peasants. Widely admired in his day, the collector Von Schönwerth’s work has mostly faded into obscurity. With this new find maybe we’ll be sharing the tale of the miserly farmer and a money-mill.
Short sales on the rise, urbanization as the answer, and Samoa skips a day
The robo-signing scandal that slowed the foreclosure process to a crawl appears to have increased lender interest in short sales.
More than 50 percent of the world’s population now live in cities – and there is no end of urbanization in sight. As opposed to the conventional wisdom, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser believes urbanization to be a solution to many unanswered problems, such as pollution, depression and a lack of creativity.
Brazilians are becoming more and more important in the South Florida economy. The Brazilians’ money has helped resuscitate the real estate market in Miami. Foreigners account for more than half of all property sales in Miami, and condominium towers that once sat empty are quickly selling out.
Felix Salmon writes on his Reuters blog about the comparison between Sears and Apple stores. One is a glorious success, the other a slow dying dinosaur. The difference? Beyond having products that people crave, you can look at how the two companies invest in their retail spaces. It’s a stark contrast.
You haven’t even thrown the box away from your new iPad 2 yet, but the 3rd generation might be on its way sooner than expected. Inc. unwraps the details.
Perhaps not on-the-job, but after hours… an iPhone app helps Manhattan sip on spirits whilst charging the phone. We’re ready for such technology to grace the pubs of Chicago.
If you were planning to celebrate your Dec. 30th birthday in Samoa, forget it. The island nation is moving to the other side of the international date line this week and will go directly from thursday to saturday.
Housing declines dragging down broader economy, visas for int’l buyers, and why you might suck at twitter
The New York Times had an article that diagnoses our national economic gloom to be a result of falling housing prices. The story cites a 2007 CBO review that calculates that:
people reduce spending by $20 to $70 a year for every $1,000 decline in the value of their home. This “wealth effect” is significantly larger for changes in home equity than in the value of other investments, such as stocks, apparently because people regard changes in housing prices as more likely to endure.
In these belt-tightening times, money from a permit to drill for natural gas on your property would sure be welcomed by most. But before you sign, realize that it could cause you to default on your mortgage. Banks are beginning to scrutinize these leases, wondering if at the end they are going to be stuck with a toxic waste site that they can’t sell.
More on a story from last week’s WWR blog entry: two Senators are preparing to introduce a bill that would give residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy houses in the U.S. Overseas buyers spent $82 billion buying up U.S. homes in the 12 months ended in March, up 24 percent from a year earlier.
Gmail is getting a new look.
First Class mail goes up by a penny on January 22 to $0.45.
Social Media expert Chris Smith offered a Twitter webinar this week with enlightening and useful take-aways on how to improve one’s Twitter presence. Jeff Turner shares a nice write-up of the event and gives reasons why you might suck at twitter.
New iPhone 4S on sale, some customers notice yellow tint to screen.
2015 House Trends, Retirement visas, iPhone carrier pricing and Household cleaning tips
If you had asked someone in the 1960s what the home of 2015 would look like, chances are they imagined something akin to The Jetsons’ home complete with Rosie the Robot and other space-age appliances that dressed and fed the family. But, rather than space-age technology, the biggest thing that is expected to change in future single-family homes is the size.
Florida’s property professionals believe that passing a retirement visa programme for overseas real estate buyers could generate 300,000 new jobs as well as bring new money into the Sunshine state’s housing market.
A builder in Montana is constructing a home made entirely of American products – nails, wood, bathtub, the works. It’s been challenging, but not as expensive as you might imagine.
Confused about iPhone plans from the various carriers? Who’s cheapest? It’s not as easy as that, of course. CNN Money tries to untangle the options in iPhone carrier pricing.
Cleaning the home is certainly a chore. Yahoo has guidance on how to keep it under control. The take away: incorporate daily cleaning tasks into your routine to make those big every-so-often major sweeps less major. Yahoo has another article this week on simple solutions to modern problems. How do you get stains out of tupperware? remove white rings from tables? clean a smelly coffeemaker?
Disney house, Facebook changes, and money matters
Notorious for copyright protection, Disney surprised a developer and architect in Utah when it agreed to allow them to build a replica of the house from the Disney-Pixar movie ‘Up’. According to the New York Times, although over 27,000 people have paid to tour the property, it’s still for sale. It can be yours for $400,000.
The Washington Post reports that Facebook is making some sweeping changes when it comes to how you share content with friends, and many look to be inspired by some of Google+’s more robust features.
In these tough times, the last thing we need is to replace a major appliance. Yahoo! Finance’s Financial Fit column tells how to prolong the life of some major appliances.
You’ve probably seen the commercial where a certain bank will round up purchases you make on your debit card and place them in your savings account for you (and therefore pocket a slightly higher fee from the merchant), but sometimes you need a more robust savings plan to build a rainy-day fund. Yahoo! Finance has some suggestions for building up your own nest egg.
Wired is impressed with Third Rail’s new iPhone 4 charging case.
Holding on to Friends and Followers, Obama’s plan for GSEs, America’s Broadband Map, and more on the new iPhone lite.
So you’ve got the followers, friends, and likes – how do you keep them happy? Mashable reports on a recent study on why consumers unsubscribe from Facebook, Twitter or email marketing. Top of the list: either too many posts or repetitive content. And it’s not always obvious that you’re losing subscribers: less than half of disgruntled fans will ‘unlike’ your page. The rest will just hide you from their wall or ignore your posts.
How can you reach out to Gen Xers? Leslie Mann discusses emerging methods of marketing, such as online video and lifestyle marketing. Event marketing, marketing on mobile devices and marketing to specific groups can also help you connect with younger buyers.
The sheer speed, rapidity, and exponential growth of the Internet went beyond the original creators’ dreams. The existing infrastructure is now nearing full capacity.
Large home appliances like refrigerators and dryers are typical examples of energy-hungry devices, but energy hogs don’t necessarily need to be large in size. Forbes reports on how small devices are also collectively sucking a lot of energy from the power grid.
The Atlantic Monthly says Obama Housing Policy Plan Stronger Than Anticipated with three alternatives to decreasing government involvement in the mortgage market over the next 10 years: Go entirely private, create a guarantee that only is competitive in times of crisis, and a housing market meltdown only backup.
FoxNews reports on the first public, searchable nationwide map of broadband Internet availability has just gone live. Called the National Broadband Map, the website was released by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration Thursday afternoon, revealing which providers supply the fastest Internet connectivity — and which communities are the most in need. The New York Times uses the announcement of the map as part of its story on the lack of broadband coverage in rural America.
The New York Times launches a fun interactive mapping site with data from Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. It starts with a map of New York City, but you can choose any zip code. You can browse local data and create demographic maps based on samples from 2005 to 2009 down to the census tract level. Data sets include housing values, race, income, and education.
With many housing markets are finally in at least tepid recovery, some areas of the country that thought they would avoid the crash altogether are finding it was just delayed in arriving. The New York Times reports on recent declines in Teflon markets like Seattle in its article Housing Market Looks Sickest in Cities That Once Seemed Immune.
CNN releases first details of Motorola’s Xoom tablet computer.
More on Apple’s new stripped down iPhone from the Wall Street Journal: The phone would be about half the size and cost of existing models and perhaps rely on cloud computing to cut down on memory requirements. Speculation is that the phone will be released this summer as part of a wider iPhone upgrade. As with all apple rumors, believe it when you see it.
Feb. 18 Addendum: Today’s New York Times is reporting that its sources say Apple is not making a smaller iPhone, but may make a more inexpensive version.