Friday, April 27, 2012

Noodling for April

Today is April 27, 2012, can you believe the year is one third done, finished, caputski? I, for one, felt that was enough for a whole year, not just 120 days (more or less). So, without elaborating anymore, and after giving an Italian salute, let’s jump into the miscellaneous stuff that has recently crossed my desk.

Apple “Live Long and Prosper”:

Apple has decided that they not only need to build a spaceship in California, they are no longer good enough to eat with the hoi polloi. They now have to have their own restaurant, off campus, so that employees can talk shop without being overheard – all Spy vs. Spy stuff if you ask me. While I am a fanatic Apple fan and geek, I am beginning to think that they are getting stranger and stranger as their stock climbs. (Click Here)  

Smart Growth is Getting Dumber
One of the great blog sites is, while it doesn’t seem to carry a political agenda, it does, and quite often, present stories that scream, “The emperor isn't wearing cothes!” In an early April article, Ed Braddy wrote an interesting piece on Maryland’s attempts to thwart the free market by developing Priorty Funding Areas (PFAs) as a way to control “rampant” growth and those pesky Maryland citizens who are essential richer than someone else. The intent of this still draft planning concept is to make it so expensive to own a home in a low density community that they will be impossible to develop. And at the same time they have created a “new” planning term that changes “high density,” a notorious “man the battlements phrase,” to “compact development,” whatever that is. (GO HERE)  

Trust Me: This Home Will Save You Money
The Feds in their extreme willingness to help us save ourselves are now offering loans to insulate, duct tape cracks, put in solar, replace heating and cooling systems and replace windows, all in an effort to reduce energy consumption and save the world. The agencies involved are FHA and Fannie Mae (don’t they have enough on their plate destroying the American Dream). Yes they are dangling cheap money in front of the home owner to improve the house and by doing so add value to the product. But the seas are troubled when it comes to understanding the home buyer. These buyers expect these energy efficiencies in the house, and are not willing to pay extra as many home builders are finding out. And the lenders and appraisers are also saying this as well, "we are not going to add value to a property just because it has solar and better windows". They expect it to be standard. Like air bags in cars, they are no longer an option. (GO HERE)

Home Sales Up
This from Builder Magazine, and I quote:
"Contract signings on existing-home sales were up in March, rising 4.1% on a monthly basis, according to data released today from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The change brought NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index up four points to a reading of 101.4, 12.8% above its year-ago level." (GO HERE)  

And from this morning’s Wall Street Journal (and as always they are weeks behind this blog):
Bidding wars are starting for existing homes. And it’s in those states that had historic overbuilding, ah markets, ain;t they fun. This is the formula: No new homes divided by demand equals more money (NNH/D=$$$$). (GO HERE)

And lastly:
Cram Them In ‘till They Can’t Complain
One of my favorite demographers (everyone should have one), is Wendell Cox. He and Joel Kotkin have the uncanny ability to look at census numbers and “noodle” out tidbits and data that tend to glaze over most of us. Others use this data to justify their positions, Wendell just tells it like it is. In his second installment on California’s War on Suburbia,  and for a wealth of graphs and reality read his essay. (GOHERE)

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