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Archive for the ‘housing and real estate’ Category

A Look at the End-of-Life Financial Situation in America

May 21, 2015 Comments off

A Look at the End-of-Life Financial Situation in America
Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute

  • This report takes a comprehensive look at the financial situation of older Americans at the end of their lives. In particular, it documents the percentage of households with a member who recently died with few or no assets. It also documents the income, debt, home-ownership rates, net home equity, and dependency on Social Security for households that experienced a recent death.
  • Significant findings include that among all those who died at ages 85 or above, 20.6 percent had no non-housing assets and 12.2 percent had no assets left. Among singles who died at or above age 85, 24.6 percent had no non-housing assets left and 16.7 percent had no assets left.
  • Data show those who died at earlier ages were generally worse off financially: 29.8 percent of households that lost a member between ages 50 and 64 had no assets left. Households with at least one member who died earlier also had significantly lower income than households with all surviving members.
  • The report shows that among singles who died at ages 85 or above, 9.1 percent had outstanding debt (other than mortgage debt) and the average debt amount for them was $6,368.
  • The report also shows that the importance of Social Security to older households cannot be overstated. For recently deceased singles, it provided at least two-thirds of their household income. Couple households above 75 with deceased members received more than 60 percent of their household income from Social Security.

Gen Y and Housing: What They Want and Where They Want It

May 19, 2015 Comments off

Gen Y and Housing: What They Want and Where They Want It
Source: Urban Land Institute

Contrary to popular belief, most Millennials are not living the high life in the downtowns of large cities, but rather are living in less centrally located but more affordable neighborhoods, making ends meet with jobs for which many feel overqualified, and living with parents or roommates to save money, according to a new report from ULI. Still, despite their current lifestyle constraints, most are optimistic about the odds for improving their housing and financial circumstances in the years ahead.

Release: Urban sprawl costs US economy more than $1 trillion per year

May 5, 2015 Comments off

Release: Urban sprawl costs US economy more than $1 trillion per year
Source: Global Commission on the Economy and Climate/Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Urban sprawl costs the American economy more than US$1 trillion annually, according to a new study by the New Climate Economy. These costs include greater spending on infrastructure, public service delivery and transportation. The study finds that Americans living in sprawled communities directly bear an astounding $625 billion in extra costs. In addition, all residents and businesses, regardless of where they are located, bear an extra $400 billion in external costs. Correcting this problem provides an opportunity to increase economic productivity, improve public health and protect the environment. The report identifies specific smarter growth policies that can lead to healthier, safer and wealthier communities in both developed and developing countries.

NIST Releases Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Public Review

April 27, 2015 Comments off

NIST Releases Draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Public Review
Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today issued a draft guide to help communities plan for and act to keep windstorms, floods, earthquakes, sea-level rise, industrial mishaps and other hazards from inflicting disastrous consequences.

NIST is requesting public feedback on the draft Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure, which Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Acting NIST Director Willie May unveiled during a workshop at Texas Southern University in Houston today.

The official first version of the guide will be released this fall and updated periodically as new building standards and research results become available and as communities gain experience using the guide and recommend improvements.

Increasing Concentrations of Property Values and Catastrophe Risk in the US

April 24, 2015 Comments off

Increasing Concentrations of Property Values and Catastrophe Risk in the US (PDF)
Source: Karen Clark & Company

Residential, commercial, and industrial property values in the US continue to increase faster than GDP growth and the general rate of inflation. According to KCC estimates, insured property values increased by nine percent from 2012 to 2014.

In aggregate, building values now exceed $40 trillion, and when contents and time element exposures are added in, estimated insured property values swell to over $90 trillion. Along with increasing values, there are highly concentrated pockets of exposure, particularly in regions vulnerable to natural catastrophes.

For example, tier one counties along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts account for over 17 percent of total exposure at $16 trillion. Six counties have over $1 trillion of exposure each and on a combined basis, account for more than 12 percent of the US total. One county—Los Angeles—accounts for over three percent of exposed property values.

One implication of increasing concentrations of property value is the higher probability of megacatastrophe losses. A major storm or earthquake has not occurred in a densely populated metropolitan area such as Galveston-Houston, Miami, or Los Angeles for decades.

This study shows that when a large magnitude event occurs in specific concentrated areas, the losses will be multiples of the PMLs (Probable Maximum Losses) the insurance industry has been using to manage risk and rating agencies and regulators have been using to monitor solvency. Insurers typically manage their potential catastrophe losses to the 100 year PMLs, but because of increasingly concentrated property values in several major metropolitan areas, the losses insurers will suffer from the 100 year event will greatly exceed their estimated 100 year PMLs.

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CRS — Farm Credit System (February 3, 2015)

April 22, 2015 Comments off

Farm Credit System (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

The Farm Credit System (FCS) was created to provide a permanent, reliable source of credit to U.S. agriculture. When Congress enacted the Federal Farm Loan Act in 1916, credit often was unavailable or unaffordable in rural areas. Many lenders avoided farm loans due to the inherent risks of agriculture. Statutory authority is in the Farm Credit Act of 1971, as amended (12 U.S.C. 2001 et seq.). Comprehensive changes were enacted in the Agricultural Credit Act of 1987.

The FCS is authorized by statute to lend to farmers, ranchers, and harvesters of aquatic products. Loans may also be made to finance the processing and marketing activities of these borrowers, for home ownership in rural areas, certain farm- or ranch-related businesses, and agricultural, aquatic, and public utility cooperatives.

FCS is a commercial for-profit lender and is not a lender of last resort. Borrowers must meet creditworthiness requirements similar to those of a commercial lender. FCS has “young, beginning, and small” (YBS) farmer lending programs, but without targets or mandates.

The FCS holds nearly 41% of the farm sector’s total debt (slightly higher than the nearly 40% share of commercial banks) and has the largest share of farm real estate loans (46%).

New Estimates of Value of Land of the United States

April 15, 2015 Comments off

New Estimates of Value of Land of the United States (PDF)
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Land is an important and valuable natural resource, serving both as a store of wealth and as an input in production. Previous attempts to measure the value of land of the United States have focused on indirect measures, inferring values based on the difference between the market value of real property and the replacement value of structures, and have not counted the entirety of the land area of the United States. Instead, this paper takes hedonic estimates of land prices in various locations and interpolates these values to a mosaic of parcels, census tracts, and counties of various sizes in the contiguous (lower 48) United States plus the District of Columbia. Estimates suggest that this 1.89 billion acres of land are collectively worth approximately $23 trillion in 2009 (current prices), with 24% of the land area and $1.8 trillion of the value held by the federal government.

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