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December usually slowest month for housing market | North Salem Realtor

  • December is usually the slowest month for the housing market, but this season is not so normal. Some unique dynamics may make this December one of the better times to both buy and sell a home.
  • First and foremost, mortgage rates are turning what was a red-hot market into a lukewarm market, and that is motivating buyers more than usual.
  • Rates are now about a full percentage point higher than they were a year ago, hovering now just below 5 percent. They are expected to move higher in 2019, however.
H/O: Winter Housing market Chicago suburb  1
A real estate agent shows a home in a Chicago suburb.
Photo: Larry Collins

December is usually the slowest month for the housing market, but this season is not so normal. Some unique dynamics may make this December one of the better times to both buy and sell a home.

First and foremost, mortgage rates are turning what was a red-hot market into a lukewarm market, and that is motivating buyers more than usual. That’s because home prices ran up so far so fast during the recent historic housing shortage, that higher rates are having an outsized impact.

Real estate agent Lynn Fairfield of Re/Max Suburban held an open house Sunday in suburban Chicago, and rates were front and center in the living room conversations.

“I see more people buying right now because they’re afraid rates will be higher in 2019,” said Fairfield.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed spiked this past fall, after flatlining over the summer. Rates are now about a full percentage point higher than they were a year ago, hovering now just below 5 percent. They are expected to move higher in 2019, however.

Combine that with strong home price appreciation over the past two years, and some buyers, especially first-timers, have now hit an affordability wall. That is why sales of both new and existing homes have been weaker for several months, but that also presents an opportunity for buyers. Prices are finally starting to ease — or, at least, the gains are shrinking.

Prices are usually lower in the winter months, in fact 18 percent lower in the Chicago area on average than at the peak of the market in June, according to Re/Max. So add higher rates to that, and sellers will have to be more flexible this year. The sky is no longer the limit. Not even close.

“The housing market always lets up a little in the fall, when kids are back in school and the home shopping season wraps up for the holidays,” said Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “But this fall and winter are shaping up to be more favorable for those buyers who have struggled to get into the housing market for several years amid red-hot competition.”

Zillow is seeing a sharp increase in the share of properties with price cuts, even in overheated markets like Seattle, Las Vegas and Boston.

H/O: Winter Housing market Chicago suburb 
Real estate agent Lynn Fairfield, with RE/MAX Suburban, shows a home in a Chicago suburb.
Photo: Larry Collins

Of course the number of new listings are the lowest in December, as a new home is not traditionally a holiday gift, and anyone with children doesn’t want to move during the school year.

“Though the holiday season is not going to give you plenty of options to choose from, there are reasons why you should NOT put your home search on hold for the holidays,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. “Chief among them, December is the best time of year if you want to avoid competitions.”

Views per property are 21 percent lower in December than they are during the rest of the year, according to Realtor.com.

While supply and competition may both be at their low point, motivation is at its high point, for both buyers and sellers.

“That buyer has to move. Either they have a lease expiring Jan. 1, or they have saved enough money for their down payment, so they are motivated to buy,” said Fairfield. “A lot of people are more motivated price-wise from the selling standpoint too, because they too want to get to their next location.”

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https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/03/december-usually-slow-for-home-sales-but-that-might-change-this-year.html

Mortgage rates fall | North Salem Real Estate

So far this year, the 30-year-fixed has averaged 4.53%, compared to 3.99% in 2017

Rates for home loans tumbled as turmoil rocked global financial markets, but any reprieve in rates may come too late for would-be home buyers or refinancers.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.81% in the November 21 week, down 13 basis points, mortgage liquidity provider Freddie Mac said Wednesday. That’s the biggest weekly decline since January 2015 and the lowest level for the popular product since early October. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.24%, down 12 basis points during the week. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 4.09%, down from 4.15%.

Those rates don’t include fees associated with obtaining mortgage loans.

Fixed-rate mortgages follow the U.S. 10-year Treasury noteTMUBMUSD10Y, +0.00%  , although with a slight delay. As a global stock sell-off has raged over the past week, bonds have been the best house in a bad neighborhood. The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond touched a six-week low Monday. Bond yields decline as prices rise, and vice versa.

Meanwhile, this week has brought a raft of fresh information on the housing market, little of it cheery.

Sales of already-owned homes perked up in October, but are still lower than the year-ago selling pace by more than 5%. Home builders broke ground on more — but not enough — homes. And one fresh data point bears watching: mortgage applications for newly-constructed houses are plunging, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. As the chart above shows, they’re now lower than year-ago levels by double digits.

It’s possible more new-home buyers are making their purchases with cash as interest rates rise. But it’s just as likely that the tumble in applications is an early warning sign on new-home sales in the coming months. If so, that would mean trouble for the housing market — and the economy.

Only about 1.86 million Americans now have an “interest rate incentive” to refinance, data provider Black Knight said earlier in November. And refis made up the smallest share of all mortgage applications since December 2000 this past week, the Mortgage Bankers said. Housing market conditions may be easing enough for motivated buyers to catch a break, and there may be brief windows in which some homeowners can grab a refinance. But if Americans aren’t watching, or aren’t ready to pounce, those opportunities may slip by.


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https://www.marketwatch.com/story/mortgage-rates-slide-the-fastest-in-four-years-but-it-may-be-too-late-for-the-housing-market-2018-11-21

Millennials drive homeownership rate increase | North Salem Real Estate

The homeownership rate increased slightly in the third quarter, driven primarily by a jump in first-time homebuyers.

The homeownership rate increased to 64.4% in the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is up slightly from 64.3% in the second quarter and from 63.9% in the third quarter of 2017.

Click to Enlarge

Homeownership Rate Q3

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

This increase was driven primarily by first-time homebuyers as more Millennials opted out of renting and entered into the homeownership market.

“Led by another surge in owner household formation, homeownership rates are up again, but those gains are not driven by those who experienced the housing crash and lived to tell about it,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow director of economic research and outreach. “First-time home buyers drove the market this year.”

“The homeownership rate of the 45 to 55 age bracket dropped quarter-over-quarter, while the under 35 age bracket continues to rally,” Olsen said. “Their homeownership rate is up a whopping 1.2% since Q3 2017 to 36.8%.”

Homeownership among those under age 35 increased from 35.6% in the third quarter 2017 and 36.5% in the second quarter this year to 36.8% in the third quarter 2018, the report showed.

Meanwhile, those ages 35 to 44 years dropped from 60% in the second quarter to 59.5% in the third quarter. This is still up slightly from 59.3% in the third quarter 2017. Those ages 45 to 54 years also saw a decrease, falling from 70.6% in the second quarter to 69.7% in the third. This is also still up from 69.1% in the third quarter of 2017.

Older generations also saw an increase in their homeownership rate. The rate for those ages 55 to 64 increased from 75.1% the previous quarter and 75% the previous year to 75.6% in the third quarter. Those ages 65 years and older saw an increase from 78% in the second quarter to 78.6% in the third quarter this year, however this is down slightly from 78.9% in the third quarter of 2017.

“Today’s report shows that more people are choosing homeownership over renting, and a large part of that story is the historically large number of first-time homebuyers,” said Tian Liu, Genworth Mortgage Insurance chief economist. “In the past two years, first-time homebuyers have purchased at least 1.9 million homes each year. That is more than the pace of household formation over the same period, meaning that the transition from renting to own is the more powerful driver of housing demand.”

“That has also been an important and often overlooked reason for the rapid rise in home prices, as more buyers came into the market,” Liu said. “Paradoxically, the rise of first-time homebuyers, which has pushed home prices up, also is slowing home sales today. These events caused the homeownership rate and home sales to diverge this quarter.”

The Hispanic homeownership rate saw a quarterly drop as it fell from 46.6% in the second quarter to 46.3% in the third quarter. This was still up slightly from 46.1% in the third quarter of 2017.

Among whites, the homeownership rate increased from 72.5% in the third quarter of 2017 and 72.9% in the second quarter this year to 73.1% in the third quarter of 2018. Blacks also saw an increase from last quarter, rising from 41.6% to 41.7%, however the rate dropped from last year’s 42%.

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https://www.housingwire.com/articles/47259-millennials-drive-homeownership-rate-increase-in-q3?utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20HousingWire%20Daily&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=67103596&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_pUkX9OvEYkaBpJ1jmUzH1E6CDF1CW5tJ2zdACxjVFaOimvN7qzgg3CY5GZ8vTRjO9elaur9WodJE-ofZoDFiWSfnEPA&_hsmi=67103596

Even Warren Buffett overpriced his home | North Salem Real Estate

Homeowners on the West Coast typically won’t have much trouble off-loading their properties in today’s market. Unless, apparently, they’re Warren Buffett.

The iconic investor and Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A, +0.16%   chairman struggled for more than 1.5 years to sell his home in the gated community Emerald Bay, near Laguna Beach, Calif. But he finally did so, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday — for nearly a third less than his original asking price.

Buffett purchased the house, which was built in 1936, for $150,000 in 1971 and put it on the market in February 2017 for $11 million, Bloomberg reported. Last month, he decided to lower the listing price to $7.9 million, after it continued to languish on the market.

The home sold below asking, at just $7.5 million.

The property’s listing agent declined to identify the buyer. “I feel very good about the couple who bought the house and hope their family gets as much enjoyment from it as our family did,” Buffett said in a statement following the sale.

The house has plenty of selling points, including a nearly 3,600-square-feet interior and ocean views. Some ads for the property have even played up the Buffett connection with listing photos that include his beloved Coca-ColaKO, -0.03%  and The Wall Street Journal (a newspaper that’s owned by News Corp., the same company that owns MarketWatch).

So why did it take this long for a buyer to bite? There are lessons for every homeowner:

Buffett priced it too high, even for a fancy property

For starters, it appears that Buffett stumbled on one of the most common pitfalls that can cause a home to linger on the market for much longer than anticipated: He overpriced it. The median price for homes in the same ZIP code as Buffett’s property is roughly $1.88 million, according to data from real estate firm Redfin. And homes in that area stay on the market for a median of 226 days. Homes in Emerald Bay are listed for a median price of $6.5 million, according to Realtor.com (Realtor.com is operated by News Corp NWSA, +0.91%  subsidiary Move Inc.)

So, even at the home’s new listing price of $7.9 million, it is still well above the median price for the area at a time when home prices are starting to waveracross the country.

It’s not unusual for more expensive homes to stay on the market longer because there’s typically a smaller pool of potential buyers out there, said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of communications at Attom Data Solutions, a real-estate data firm in Irvine, Calif. Still, the sheer length of time Buffett’s home has been up for sale suggests the list price doesn’t fit with buyers’ expectations. And the longer the house remains unsold, the more wary many buyers become.

Interest rates are on their way up, which makes buyers skittish

Other developments in recent months have also worked against high-end home sellers like Buffet though, Blomquist said. “Interest rates have ticked up,” he said. “This can really magnify the amount you’re paying. That’s one of the factors that has started to slow down some of the higher end markets.”

Additionally, the GOP-led tax reform package reduced the mortgage interest deduction and capped the property tax deduction at just $10,000. Property taxes for a multimillion-dollar home in a high-tax state like California could easily exceed that amount — and that could be making buyers more hesitant, Blomquist said.

There’s no shortage of homes for sale in Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach has also seen an increase in the number of homes on the market. Inventory there grew by 3% over the past year as of February. Nationally, home inventory has dropped 14%, according to Redfin. That makes the market more favorable to buyers, especially those in search of a bargain. In January, just 10% of properties in Buffett’s same ZIP code were sold above the list price, compared with 19% of homes nationally, according to Redfin.

If you’re looking to avoid some of Buffett’s mistakes, here’s what else to keep in mind.

Snoop around other homes for sale in the area — they’re your competition

If a home stays on the market too long, that alone could weigh on buyers’ minds. “They’ll think there’s something wrong with it,” Blomquist said. “That psychology builds on itself the longer it sits on the market.”

To avoid overpricing, experts suggest that sellers check what other homes in the area are selling for, and even consider asking a real-estate agent to show you the inside of those homes.

If your home isn’t selling, “Go see what they’ve got that you don’t,” said Mindy Jensen, the author of “How to Sell Your Home” and the community manager at real-estate website BiggerPockets.

In Buffett’s case, his home lacks many of the upgrades and amenities that buyers expect in Laguna Beach, Redfin RDFN, -2.19%  agent Max Black told MarketWatch in March. “At a price tag of $11 million, or just over $3,000 per square foot, luxury buyers will be comparing this property to other non-oceanfront homes with more upgrades that are priced in the $2,200 to $2,400 per square foot range,” Black said.

Don’t expect prospective buyers to have too much imagination

The listing for Buffett’s home shows personal touches that Buffett likes, but non-celebrities shouldn’t stage their homes this way, Jensen said. “Buyers have no imagination,” she said. “If they walk in and see you’ve got a bright green wall, they could say, ‘I hate that, so I won’t buy this house.’” Keep paint and finishes neutral, Jensen said. A few family photos are fine, but subtlety is good.

Some cosmetic changes can also help. Even if an entire kitchen renovation isn’t realistic, smaller improvements like fixing broken door knobs, or replacing outdated hardware on cabinets are good moves.

A fresh paint job is another easy upgrade, Jensen said. For example, homes with blue bathrooms, specifically lighter shades, sold for $5,400 more than expected, according to a paint color analysis from the real estate website ZillowZG, +1.05% “Paint is one of the cheapest things you can do to fix your house,” Jensen said.

Replacing the roof, on the other hand, isn’t likely to up the home’s value very much, relative to how much it will cost the seller.

Try some psychological warfare: Consider underpricing the home

If home sellers want to get their property off the market as quickly as they can, they’ll need to be aggressive with their pricing. And one sure-fire way of doing this is by pricing the property so it’s more affordable than other comparable listings.

Sellers should look for specific, psychological milestones when it comes to prices, Blomquist said. In other words, if the average listing price is $200,000, a seller may see more interest in the property if it’s priced at $190,000.

While this strategy is sure to speed the process along in nearly any market, in a competitive one it could also pay off — literally. “If people will flock to what they see as a bargain, they may bid up the price until it matches the desired sales price,” Blomquist said.

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https://www.marketwatch.com/story/warren-buffett-is-having-trouble-selling-his-home-how-to-avoid-that-same-fate-2018-02-28

Unmasking the Millennials | North Salem Real Estate

Zillow’s new Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends, authored by Stan Humphries, Chief Analytics Officer and Chief Economist, is a remarkably valuable 21st Century addition to the body of research profiling the changing face of residential real estate.

Its many jewels of new or intuitive findings regarding the mysterious Millennials, the generation that so far has defied expectations, are worth noting Here are some the brighter gems that might help to unmask the Millennials.

 Market domination. Millennials, ages 18-34, comprise 42 percent of all home buyers today, while an additional 31 percent of buyers are members of Generation X (ages 35-49). Baby Boomers (ages 50-64) and the Silent Generation (ages 65-75) together make up the smallest share of home buyers (26 percent), with only 10 percent of buyers over age 64.

Millennials buy later and buy up market.  Millennials are delaying many life milestones that precede homeownership, such as completing their education, getting married or starting families, and thus are renting deeper into adulthood.  When Millennials do become homeowners, they leapfrog the traditional starter home and jump into the higher end of the market by choosing larger properties with higher prices, similar to homes bought by older buyers. They pay a median price of $217,000 for a home, more than Baby Boomers, and just 11 percent less than Generation X. The Millennial median home size is 1,800 square feet, similar in size to what older generations buy. The modern-day starter home is nearly as large as the median home for move-up buyers and costs about 18 percent less.

 New homes are on the table. Younger buyers (50 percent of Millennials and 54 percent of Generation X) are significantly more likely than Baby Boomers or the Silent Generation (38 percent and 39 percent, respectively) to consider newly built properties. Nearly half (48 percent) of all buyers are considering new homes.

Millennials less likely to use agents. The older the buyer, the more likely that buyer is using an agent.  Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation rely most heavily on an agent or broker for real estate guidance, with 83 percent and 81 percent respectively citing them as a resource in their home search. Seventy-four percent of Generation X buyers report using an agent, followed by 70 percent of Millennials.  When they enlist an agent, they do so earlier in the home-search process, shop for a home faster than most older generations, and are more likely to stay in touch with an agent.

Do a better job of shopping for agents. The average number of agents all buyers consider hiring is 2.2.  Sixty-eight percent of the Silent Generation and 57 percent of Baby Boomers considered only one agent, compared to 44 percent of Generation X and 38 percent of Millennials considering just one agent. Millennials are particularly likely to evaluate an agent online, including reading online reviews (61 percent) and delving into past sales data (57 percent).

In an agent, Millennials want a partner, not a control freak. The process of finding or selling a home is much more collaborative for Millennials than for older generations. They bring all available tools to the process, including their smartphones, social media, and online networks. While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, Millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.

Definition of household is changing. Seventeen percent of younger Millennials  (ages 18-24) are shopping for a home with a friend or roommate, with an additional 51 percent shopping with a spouse or partner. Older Millennials (ages 25-34) are more like the average buyer, as 73 percent are shopping with a spouse or partner. Seventeen percent of younger Millennials (ages 18-24) are shopping for a home with a friend or roommate.

Millennial are not sold on buying. Millennial buyers (71 percent) are the most likely to consider renting. As buyers age, their interest in renting declines. Just over half, 54 percent, of all Generation X buyers considered renting compared to about one-third (32 percent) of Baby Boomers.  Only 18 percent of those 65 years and older considering renting as well as buying.

Millennials social support in decision-making.  Millennials rely on their personal networks. They’re the generation most likely to turn to a friend, neighbor, or relative to share the details of their home search (58 percent, versus 52 percent of Generation X buyers, 42 percent of Baby Boomers, and 37 percent of the Silent Generation). Millennials seek input from friends, relatives, and neighbors 58 percent of the time, versus the Silent Generation, who poll friends just 37 percent of the time.

Millennial home buyers are more diverse. Fourteen percent of Millennial buyers are Latino/Hispanic, whereas roughly 11 percent of Gen X, 7 percent of Baby Boomers and 6 percent of Silent Generation buyers are Latino/Hispanic. Some 6 percent of Millennials are black/African-American, a smaller share than Gen X (9 percent) or Boomer (8 percent) buyers who are black/African-American.

They are more suburban than urban animals, and they buy locally.  Nearly half of Millennial homeowners live in the suburbs (47 percent), while one-third settle in an urban setting (33 percent), with eight in 10 adults under 25 living outside an urban core. While only 11 percent of buyers are moving out of state, it’s notable that older buyers are more likely to make these long-distance moves. While just 7 percent of both Millennials and Generation X are moving across state lines, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation make such moves 20 percent and 29 percent of the time, respectively.

Millennials aren’t just buyers. The biggest group of home sellers belongs to Generation X (38 percent). A quarter of home sellers is Millennials (26

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2016/11/unmasking-the-millennials/

Mortgage rates average 4.13% | North Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher for the sixth consecutive week.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.13 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 8, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 4.08 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.95 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.36 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.34 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.19 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.17 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.15 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.03 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The 10-year Treasury yield dipped this week following the release of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The 30-year mortgage rate rose another 5 basis points to 4.13 percent, starting the month 18 basis points higher than this time last year. As rates continue to climb and the year comes to a close, next week’s FOMC meeting will be the talk of the town with the markets 94 percent certain of a quarter-point-rate hike.”

Consumer confidence improved in December | North Salem Real Estate

Consumer confidence improved in December after the previous two months declines. The Consumer Confidence Index, recently released by the Conference Board, rose to 96.5 in December from 92.6 in November. Both subcomponents, the present situation and expectations indices, rebounded in December as well. The present situation index rose to 115.3 in December from 110.9 in November; the expectations index climbed up to 83.9 in December from 80.4 in November.

The figure below shows that the real GDP growth rate and consumer confidence are highly correlated over the past three decades. When GDP growth is negative, consumer confidence declines sharply; when growth resumes, consumer confidence increases as well. During the recent recession, as the real GDP growth rate dropped to -8.2%, consumer confidence fell to the historically lowest level in the early 2009. After that, the real GDP growth rate rebounded back to the positive levels and consumer confidence also slowly recovered. As the recovery from the Great Recession continues, consumer confidence is climbing up toward to the pre-recession levels.

Figure 1 December

The Conference Board also reports the shares of respondents planning to buy a lived-in home within six months. The shares of respondents planning to buy a lived-in home within six months fell to 3.4% in December, from 4.0% in November. The trends in the shares of respondents planning to buy a lived-in home within six months and the growth rate of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index (the dash lines) are very similar. When there is high demand for housing house price appreciation accelerates; when there is lower demand for housing house price appreciation decelerates.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/01/consumer-confidence-in-december-beyond-the-monthly-volatile-data/

Build a Zero-Waste Homestead | North Salem Real Estate

In your permaculture design, you want to shoot for a near-zero-waste system. That doesn’t have to happen overnight, but it is definitely a primary goal. If the systems you design are wasteful, they will forever be reliant on large quantities of external inputs to keep them running. Most lawns are like this. Without chemical fertilizers, city water, and gasoline to run the mower, they would very quickly cease to look the way they do.

Many of the external resources we rely on every day are nonrenewable (at least in a human timescale). Once we use them, they’re gone. Relying heavily on these resources for day-to-day operations means we are more susceptible to market fluctuations and supply chains, and thus less resilient. In an emergency the lawn can just grow and become weedy, but what happens when we rely heavily on external inputs for our food, water, and heat?

This chapter focuses on where leaks often appear in systems and how we can minimize them, thus eliminating waste. The idea is to integrate those surpluses (another name for waste considered from a different perspective) back into our systems in some way. For instance, if we produce compost, apples that go bad can’t really go to waste. If we apply the principle of efficient energy planning and the concept of next highest use, we don’t really waste energy. Overall, the goal is to manage the inflows and outflows of our systems. We aren’t going to create completely closed-loop systems (where nothing enters or leaves), but we want to get a lot closer to that than where we are right now. Ultimately, we want to be very conscious of how the outflows of our systems can be used as inflows. Any outflows we do end up with should not harm the environment nor our neighbors.

Types of waste to address in your design include human waste, greywater, food and yard waste, and heat. We have already explored some ways to turn food and yard waste into compost in the earlier chapter on soil fertility. We’ll look more closely at the other topics here.

Human Waste

The topic of managing human waste, also known as humanure, is pretty much considered taboo in Western culture. You don’t talk about it in polite company. However, it is imperative that we begin to take responsibility for the humanure we produce. Unfortunately, the centralized systems upon which many of us rely and conventional home septic systems do not score that well on their ecological report card. In many parts of the world, waste collected by municipal sewer systems is dumped into the ocean or injected into the groundwater. Even the municipal systems that are ecologically kinder often have enormous energy inputs. The amount of fresh, clean water wasted by these systems is staggering. Consider, for example, that the Colorado River no longer reaches the Gulf of Mexico, thanks partly to all the flush toilets in huge desert metropolises like Las Vegas and Phoenix.

 

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http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/self-reliance/zero-waste-homestead-ze0z1509zbay.aspx?newsletter=1&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=10.28.15%20MEN%20DIY%20eNews&utm_term=DIY%20eNews

Under Jeb Bush, housing prices fueled Florida’s boom | North Salem Real Estate

On the campaign trail, Jeb Bush has repeatedly emphasized his record overseeing Florida’s boom economy as the state’s governor. He says it’s an example of an economy that created a huge number of jobs and benefited the middle class — an example of what he could do as president. “I know how to do this,” he said in Maitland, Fla., on Monday.

But according to interviews with economists and a review of data, Florida owed a substantial portion of its growth under Bush not to any state policies but to a massive and unsustainable housing bubble — one that ultimately benefited rich investors at the expense of middle-class families.

The bubble, one of the biggest in the nation, drove up home prices and had many short-term benefits for the state, spurring construction, spending and jobs. But the collapse of the housing bubble as Bush left office in 2007, after eight years of service, sent Florida into a recession deeper than that in the rest of the country, and hundreds of thousands lost their homes.

“Who got hammered? Lower- and middle-class America,” said Marshall Sklar, a real estate investor who, like other well-off financiers operating in the state, has benefited from the wreckage.

Sklar recently won an online auction for a small stucco condominium in Boca Raton that a married couple had bought in 2004 for no money down. They borrowed against it as the state’s housing bubble inflated and then, like so many others, had to walk away heavily in debt when it burst.

After buying their busted dream, Sklar flipped it to a wealthy investor, banking a commission. His investor will probably earn a 12 percent return by renting out the condo. The value of the condo was redistributed upward, like so much of Florida’s housing wealth in recent years. “You took it out of the sheep and gave it to the wolves,” Sklar said after touring several houses he recently bought at bargain prices.

The story of this house and its owners is in many ways emblematic of much of the experience of Florida’s economy in the 2000s — a story that contrasts sharply with the record Bush recounts.

 

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/under-jeb-bush-housing-prices-fueled-floridas-boom-then-it-all-went-bust/2015/07/27/3cb40da2-2409-11e5-b72c-2b7d516e1e0e_story.html

CoreLogic: Cash sales once again trend lower in April | North Salem Real Estate

Cash sales once again trended down, accounting for 33.7% of total home sales in April 2015, down from 37.4% in April 2014.

This marks the 28th consecutive month of declines, with the year-over-year share falling each month since January 2013.

On a monthly basis, the cash sales share fell by 0.9 percentage points. Due to seasonality in the housing market, cash sales share comparisons should be made on a year-over-year basis.

To put this in perspective, CoreLogic said, “The cash sales share peak occurred in January 2011 when cash transactions accounted for 46.5% of total home sales nationally. Prior to the housing crisis, the cash sales share of total home sales averaged approximately 25 percent. If the cash sales share continues to fall at the same rate it did in April 2015, the share should hit 25 percent by mid-2017.”

Click to enlarge

Chart 1

Source: CoreLogic

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Chart 2

Source: CoreLogic