Housing & the recovery, tweeting, and real estate advice from Vanilla Ice
The collapse in housing construction was caused by overactive building, right? Only partly. While single-family construction soared during the boom, multi-family construction remained relatively stable before falling even further with the downturn. The Atlantic looks at current household formation statistics, population growth, and construction data and postulates that a housing construction boom may just be around the corner.
NPR posts three interactive maps on foreclosure, unemployment and household income using current data that can be drilled down to the county level. And on Friday, NPR’s Morning Edition ran an interesting piece on shadow inventory, foreclosed properties or properties in the foreclosure pipeline that will further impact the recovery for several years.
Post tweets with hot hash tags and you might find yourself being followed by twitter bots, programs that automatically follow real users based on keywords. Wired discusses what to do if you’re followed by bots (hint: don’t follow back).
The family that tweets together, goes a bit bonkers together. Says the son: “I try to refrain from reading [mom's] blog because then we don’t have anything to talk about.”
Libraries are getting short-changed in the Great Recession. While it’s easy to cut their funding, libraries serve a valuable role in connecting people to jobs, improving schools and helping to build community. Support your local library!
If you can stand all the pop-up ads, Time has an interesting collection of photos from a behind-the-scenes book on the filming of Jaws.
Just in time for the summer music festival season: a shirt that charges your mobile phone based on sound.
Underwater mortgages impacting bail bonds, Twitter on the skids, and some really great hats
I never knew how expensive a bail bond can be (guess that’s a good thing), but now they are becoming even harder to get as bondsmen are less willing to take homes as collateral. The Wall Street Journal has the story (free for now).
As the one responsible for the care and feeding of our Field Guide to Wind Farms and their Effect on Property Values I know how divisive seemingly innocuous topics can be. What appears good from afar can be anything but that up close. But wind farms aren’t the only green energy seen as impacting property values. The New York Times reports on the growing murmurs of discontent in New Jersey over solar panels in suburbia.
Fortune has a really interesting article on the revolving door that is Twitter’s executive office. Rather than having a founder with his thumb firmly planted where he wanted to go (a la Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Bill Gates), the creators of Twitter left much of its evolution to users. And now after several departures and a return, they’re trying to figure out how to make it pay.
Skype for Android now offers calls on 3G regardless of carrier.
Hopefully our wet and cold spring is almost behind us, but in case we have one or two more stay-at-home weekends, Yahoo has info on how to start streaming movies off Netflix.
Looking for a way to support US companies in a challenging financial era? ABC News has compiled a list of websites selling American-made products, ranging from golf clubs to baby clothes, furniture to camping gear, toys to pet supplies and more.
Did you go to the Royal Wedding? No wonder your twitter stream dried up. Westminster Abbey was tweet (and apparently WC) free. But weren’t those hats something?
Govt. shutdown and REALTORS®, spring cleaning, and radiation in bananas
What would a government shutdown mean for REALTORS® and their clients? NAR’s own Government Affairs group gives the details.
Spring cleaning is for more than just your sweaters and your dirty windows. The Next Web gives advice on cleaning out your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
While eating a banana might not be a good way to compare radiation exposures, it still shows how blown out of proportion our fear of nuclear energy is.
You might be familiar with the Japanese term ‘karoshi‘ – literally ‘death from overwork’. Well, it doesn’t just happen in Japan. A recent study finds that people who work an average of 11 or more hours per day have a 67 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack or dying from heart disease than people who work a standard seven- to eight-hour day and those who work between 10 and 11 hours per day have a 45 percent higher risk.
And what to do if you are all stressed out? WiseBread offers 99 free or inexpensive ways to relax including yoga, drinking peppermint tea, gardening, making bread, and much more.
I hate April Fools pranks. Maybe because I’ve been on the receiving end of too many mean ones. Anyway, Fox News rounds up some of the internet April Fools jokes from this year.
Luxury property, Twitter for Business, and Google’s latest Gmail improvement
Who bought a California estate for $100 million dollars? Yuri Milner did, according to the Wall Street Journal. The French-style mansion has an indoor and outdoor pool, a ballroom, a tennis court and a wine cellar.
Mr. Milner’s deal for the home offers a stark contrast to the national real-estate market. Housing data show that prices continue to fall, and economists have forecast further declines between 5% and 10% for much of this year. While the high end has not been immune to deep discounting and distress sales, industry watchers say it has been relatively insulated, Luxury buyers often pay cash, allowing them to bypass tighter lending restrictions.
You’d think for that kind of money, it would at least come with landscaping.
Amy Hoak of MarketWatch discusses how the disaster in Japan “likely caused a flight to quality by worried investors, moving more money from riskier investments into safer U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities.” The average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.05% for the week ending February 10, and by the week ending March 17, had dropped to 4.76%. This is likely a temporary effect as the shock of events wears off investors.
Whether you’re a Twitter novice or pro, it’s always good to keep up on Twitter tips for business success.
If you’ve ever felt left out of Facebook’s ‘in a relationship with’ option, which allows users to show the world that they’re taken and proud, you might be able to escape the bizarre societal shame with the help of Cloud Girlfriend. Yahoo has the details.
Bachelor Builds Slide Between His NYC Apartments. Because he can.
Finally, Google announces it’s latest email advance just in time for the start of April: Gmail Motion
Helping Japan, cooking in compost, following positivity, and discovering the sorrows of the mega-wealthy
Charity Navigator has compiled a list of charities helping Japan with their rankings. This organization has provided a listing of giving tips, including avoid newly-formed charities and give to an established charity that has worked in Japan, do not send supplies, be inspired by social media, but still do your homework and avoid telemarketers (and scammers).
If nothing else, the earthquake in Japan has brought the necessity of disaster preparation to everyone’s mind. The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management has compiled detailed information for preparing and coping with emergencies. Learn how to protect your family, property and pets, and what to do in case of earthquakes, fire, flooding and terror.
March is traditionally corned beef and Guinness month, but do you know it’s also strawberry festival time down in Florida? Or that there’s a whole fair devoted to maple syrup (that we’ve just missed, doh!)? Check out these March regional food festivals to break free from the winter blues.
What better way to cook all your March food festival finds than in your backyard…in garbage. Your backyard compost pile produces enough heat to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner…eventually. Houselogic rounds up various compost cooking ideas. I don’t know that I would want to cook a turkey for 18 hours in sawdust though…
Are we predisposed to view living on the north side as being better than the south? A recent study mentioned in today’s Chicago Tribune says that most people to associate north with a better standard of living. As some of the researchers were from Pennsylvania I’m assuming this is a national study and not local to Chicago, but the article isn’t clear. If I can find a link to the actual report I’ll include it later
Web recommendation engine Hunch has looked at the different types of people using various email services and come to the conclusion that there are some dramatic differences.
Just a different people use different email services, who you follow in Twitter can say a lot about you. According to a recent social science study, happy people tend to tweet to each other while the unhappy tend to follow other unhappy folks. Take a look at who you’re following: is it just a bunch of “woe is me” or are people actually feeling good?
If your Twitter feed is more dark clouds than sunshine, maybe it’s because you’re following the rich. Atlantic Monthly reports on a recent study on the super wealthy which concludes most of them are unhappy:
Among other woes, the survey respondents report feeling that they have lost the right to complain about anything, for fear of sounding—or being—ungrateful. Those with children worry that their children will become trust-fund brats if their inheritances are too large—or will be forever resentful if those inheritances (or parts of them) are instead bequeathed to charity. The respondents also confide that they feel their outside relationships have been altered by, and have in some cases become contingent on, their wealth. “Very few people know the level of my wealth, and if they did, in most cases I believe it would change our relationship,” writes one respondent.
NAR’s annual conference and expo will take place this November in Anaheim, CA. In preparation, we found some interesting then-and-now shots of Disneyland showing some of the changes the park has seen in its last 56 years. I didn’t know the gondola ride was gone. It was always fun going through the Matterhorn, hearing the screams of the bobsledders below.
Yet another Top 10 list: America’s Dirtiest Cities, courtesy of the American Lung Association via Forbes. Hint: If you live in California, your town probably made the list (7 out of 10!).
Fox Business News writes about the recent trend of parents buying condos or investment property for their kids in college. It saves on dorm fees or off-campus rent while providing a safe home close to campus. With a few roommates to split the bill, the mortgage costs can be covered. Another trend is the upswing in alumni and retirees buying near the campus.
Just in time for the Holiday Shopping Season – 10 Online Shopping Traps that Catch Even Smart Shoppers
Twitter is a great marketing/communications resource for small business, but it’s easy to lose control of the conversation. BNet talks to a social media expert for advice on Avoiding a Twitter Chernobyl.
PCWorld recently listed Five Free Tools for Small Businesses that aren’t the fly-by-night, sign your life (or email address) away freebies that are everywhere. Suggestions include Dropbox (which we’ve covered before) and Linux.
Thinking of buying a house in China? Well, you can only buy one.
Launching your own start-up is sometimes as easy as just getting a good idea and seeing where it goes. A recent article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek profiled a couple of entrepreneurs in grad school who started a line of stationary for the Forgetful Gentleman.
And finally, on a lighter note, Vanity Fair has been running an infrequent series over the years called “My Desk”: basically what the workspaces of some celebrities look like. The photo slideshow is an interesting view on how people work (or want you to believe they work).