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Have Distressed Neighborhoods Recovered? Evidence from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Have Distressed Neighborhoods Recovered? Evidence from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Board

During the 2007-2009 housing crisis, concentrations of foreclosed and vacant properties created severe blight in many cities and neighborhoods. The federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) was established to help mitigate distress in hard-hit areas by funding the rehabilitation or demolition of troubled properties. This paper analyzes housing market changes in areas that received investments during the second round of NSP funding, focusing on seven large urban counties. Grantees used NSP to invest in census tracts with high rates of distressed and vacancy properties, and tracts that had previously received other housing subsidies. The median NSP tract received quite sparse investment, relative to the overall housing stock and the initial levels of distress. Analysis of housing market outcomes indicates the recovery has been uneven across counties and neighborhoods. In a few counties, there is some evidence that NSP2 activity is correlated with improved housing outcomes.

National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Member Safety Report

March 25, 2015 Comments off

2015 Member Safety Report
Source: National Association of REALTORS®

This report contains the results of a survey of REALTORS® which asked about:

  • How safe or unsafe they feel
  • The root causes of any unsafe feelings
  • Steps or procedures they follow to ensure safety
  • What methods of self-defense they use

The goal of the report is to measure and understand the scope of the problem, so that real estate professionals can develop the resources, programs, and technologies they need to keep themselves safe.

Selling Into the Sun: Price Premium Analysis of a Multi-State Dataset of Solar Homes

March 19, 2015 Comments off

Selling Into the Sun: Price Premium Analysis of a Multi-State Dataset of Solar Homes
Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Capturing the value that solar photovoltaic (PV) systems may add to home sales transactions is increasingly important. Our study enhances the PV-home-valuation literature by more than doubling the number of PV home sales analyzed (22,822 homes in total, 3,951 of which are PV) and examining transactions in eight states that span the years 2002–2013. We find that home buyers are consistently willing to pay PV home premiums across various states, housing and PV markets, and home types; average premiums across the full sample equate to approximately $4/W or $15,000 for an average-sized 3.6-kW PV system. Only a small and non-statistically significant difference exists between PV premiums for new and existing homes, though some evidence exists of new home PV system discounting. A PV green cachet might exist, i.e., home buyers might pay a certain amount for any size of PV system and some increment more depending on system size. The market appears to depreciate the value of PV systems in their first 10 years at a rate exceeding the rate of PV efficiency losses and the rate of straightline depreciation over the asset’s useful life. Net cost estimates—which account for government and utility PV incentives—may be the best proxy for market premiums, but income-based estimates may perform equally well if they accurately account for the complicated retail rate structures that exist in some states. Although this study focuses only on host-owned PV systems, future analysis should focus on homes with third-party-owned PV systems.

The Wealth Report – 2015

March 11, 2015 Comments off

The Wealth Report – 2015
Source: Knight Frank

The Wealth Report provides the global perspective on prime property and wealth. This annual publication includes performance data for 100 key global luxury property markets as well as the results of The Wealth Report Attitudes Survey and Knight Frank’s Global Cities Index.

free registration required2
(name and email address)

EU — Energy Union: What Think Tanks are thinking

March 9, 2015 Comments off

Energy Union: What Think Tanks are thinking
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The European Commission launched a blueprint on 25 February for an Energy Union that would ensure the free flow of gas and electricity across the European Union, diversify energy supply and move the bloc towards a low carbon economy in what is hoped to be a major shake-up aimed to create growth, job and enhance security.

Presenting its Energy Union Strategy, one of ten priority projects of President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission said it wanted to improve energy infrastructure to better share supplies and integrate renewables, end regulated pricing, increase the number of liquefied natural gas terminals and enforce existing law on competition. Energy efficiency in buildings and transport, as well as smart grids, should help keep energy demand from outpacing supplies. Research and innovation should make Europe a world leader in clean energy technologies. EU heads of state and government are due to discuss the energy union at their meeting on 19-20 March.

This note offers links to a selection of recent commentaries, studies and reports, authored by some of the major international think tanks and research institutes, which discuss the prospects for, and ways to create, a single energy market within the European Union.

One- and Two-Family, Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2010-2012)

March 7, 2015 Comments off

One- and Two-Family, Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2010-2012)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

One- and Two-Family Residential Building Fires (PDF)

  • An estimated 239,100 one- and two-family residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 1,950 deaths, 8,575 injuries, and 5.4 billion dollars in property loss.
  • One- and two-family residential building fires accounted for 65 percent of all residential building fires.
  • Cooking, at 34 percent, was the leading reported cause of one- and two-family residential building fires reported to the fire service. Nearly all one- and two-family residential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (89 percent).
  • In 52 percent of nonconfined one- and two-family residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of fire origin. The leading reported causes of these larger fires were other unintentional, careless actions (16 percent); electrical malfunctions (15 percent); and intentional actions (12 percent).
  • Smoke alarms were not present in 23 percent of nonconfined fires in occupied one- and two-family residential buildings. This is a high percentage when compared to the 3 percent of households nationally lacking smoke alarms.

Multifamily Residential Building Fires (PDF)

  • An estimated 103,800 multifamily residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 405 deaths, 4,350 injuries, and 1.2 billion dollars in property loss.
  • Multifamily residential building fires accounted for 28 percent of all residential building fires.
  • Small, confined fires accounted for 70 percent of multifamily residential building fires.
  • Cooking was the leading reported cause of multifamily residential building fires (71 percent); nearly all multifamily residential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (95 percent).
  • In 31 percent of nonconfined multifamily residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of origin. The leading reported causes of these larger fires were exposures (12 percent); intentional actions (11 percent); other unintentional, careless actions (11 percent); and electrical malfunctions (11 percent). In contrast, 51 percent of all other nonconfined residential building (excluding multifamily building) fires extended beyond the room of origin.

Energy Codes for Ultra-Low-Energy Buildings: A Critical Pathway to Zero Net Energy Buildings

March 5, 2015 Comments off

Energy Codes for Ultra-Low-Energy Buildings: A Critical Pathway to Zero Net Energy Buildings (PDF)
Source: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

A zero net energy (ZNE) building is a home or commercial building that on average produces as much energy as it uses, achieved through energy efficiency and renewable technologies. Building energy codes can help us transition to ZNE construction for new residential and commercial buildings by 2030. We will need to expand the scope of codes to capture all building energy uses, address whole building systems instead of focusing on individual components, and shift our focus from building design to actual building energy use by adopting outcome-based codes. We should also ensure ZNE performance post-occupancy by considering the impact of building occupants and operators and by incorporating future-proofing measures. By addressing these areas, we can establish the foundation for ZNE by 2030 while providing energy savings and related benefits in the interim. Complementary policies, targeted research, market transformation, and the coordination of efforts and advocacy will help us achieve these goals.

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