Archive for January, 2008

Fed rate moves


?Federal Reserve surprised the markets with a 0.75-point reduction last week?according to?Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and according to Hassett’s commentary?on is a reduction in the rate that size?had never happened?before. Ever since the Fed began announcing changes in its policy stance in February 1994, it has been rare for the central bank to move between regularly scheduled Open Market Committee meetings. Yet even in those moments when it did take emergency action, the Fed never reduced rates by as much as it did on Jan. 22 2008.The raw economic data today are a little better than they were in 2001, and a little worse than they were in 1998. Equity markets, on the other hand, are much worse than they were in 2001, and even worse than they were in 1998. Since actions in similar periods under similar conditions proved, in retrospect, to be propitiously timed, it is easy to justify more aggressive action this time around. One can even say with confidence that Feds of the past would, faced with today’s data, almost surely have acted in a similar manner. Kevin Hassett,? is an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona in his bid for the 2008 presidential nomination


NHAB Restore better balance to the supply-demand equation

I read?an interesing story recently about??the decline last month in new housing starts.The ?numbers for single-family housing starts are right on the money in terms of what we????ve been forecasting and what our members have told us in recent surveys,??? said Brian Catalde, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from El Segundo, Calif.? ???Builders are acting appropriately to manage the number of units coming on the market and help restore better balance to the supply-demand equation.???

???The 14.2 percent decline in overall housing starts for the month of December was due primarily to a 40 percent drop-off in the multifamily sector, which tends to display significant month-to-month volatility,??? noted NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. ???On a quarterly basis, multifamily production actually has held up relatively well since the peak in the early part of 2006.???Meanwhile, housing permits were down, by lesser margins, in three out of four regions in December. The Midwest posted a 10.6 percent decline, the South posted a 7.8 percent decline, and the West posted an 11.6 percent decline in overall permits for the month, while the Northeast registered a 1.6 percent increase.

On an annual basis, year-end figures from the Commerce Department indicate that overall housing starts declined 24.8 percent in 2007 to 1.35 million units. Single-family starts were down 28.7 percent for the year to 1.05 million units, while multifamily starts were off by 8.4 percent to 308,000 units. Overall permit issuance for new homes and apartments declined 25.2 percent in 2007 to 1.38 million units, with a 29.4 percent decline on the single-family side to 973,000 units and a 12.5 percent decline on the multifamily side to 403,000 units.
If your considering building and need an excellent resource be sure to check out the NAHB? consumer resources. Everything you need to know about? financing, building, maintaining or remodeling your home is right here. This section guides you through every stage of homeownership and helps you understand more about home building and the environmental and community growth issues facing our neighborhoods. Whether you????re a current or prospective home owner, teacher, student or just an interested consumer ???? there????s something here for everyone.

Some people may judge you by your shoes

At the end of a very long open house I had just finished securing all the windows and doors and was headed toward the door. The seller had requested all shoes off before entering the home. I went to the spot where my shoes were and they were gone. I looked everywhere and no shoes, I couldn????t imagine where they were. I left bewildered.

When I got home I received a call from someone who had attended the open house with her son. As they left their car, the son called to his mother to ask if she would like him to bring in her shoes. “WHAAAAT shoes, honey?” It seems he had retrieved my shoes for his mother. Some people judge you by your shoes, if you have no shoes, who are you?

Shoulder Banded Snails:Jumping Enviormental High Hurdle

Recently I was asked what was one of the more?”interesting real estate disclosures sellers on the central coast are required? to make. I know all disclosures do have their purpose but one of my most favorites is the Morro Shoulder Band Snail. Living on the beautiful Central Coast we have endangered species due to the wide open coastal spaces that still exist here. Responding to a court order, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?announced that it is designating about 2,566 acres of mostly state-owned land in western San Luis Obispo County, California, as critical habitat for the endangered Morro shoulder band snail, a native California species commonly known as the banded dune snail. The Service has also released the final economic analysis for the snail.
“As an endangered species, the Morro shoulder band snail is already protected wherever it occurs,” said Michael J. Spear, manager(at the time)?of the Service’s California-Nevada Operations Office. “The critical habitat designation will inform both the public and other Federal agencies about the snail’s habitat needs and ensure that proper consultation occurs before actions have a detrimental impact on essential habitat.”
Critical habitat identifies specific geographic areas that are essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and may require special management considerations. However a designation does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or other special conservation area. It does not allow government or public access to private lands and does not close areas to all access or use.
Critical habitat for the snail is contained in three units. They are:

  1. Morro Spit and West Pecho: This unit encompasses lands managed by Monta??a de Oro State Park (Dunes Natural Preserve) and the City of Morro Bay (north end of spit);
  2. South Los Osos: This unit is bounded on the north and east by residential development in the community of Los Osos and agricultural fields, and includes the lower slopes south of Highland Drive; and,
  3. Northeast Los Osos: This unit includes undeveloped areas between Los Osos Creek and Baywood Park and is divided by South Bay Boulevard.


Bernake says he ready to take action

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, left no doubt Thursday that the nation’s central bank will continue to ease credit conditions to fight a slowdown in economic growth

Top Fed officials, in recent statements and minutes of Fed meetings, have disagreed on the urgency for more cuts in interest rates. But after Bernanke’s speech in Washington, the decision seemed clear.

“In light of changes in the outlook for and the risks to growth, additional policy easing may well be necessary,” he said. “We stand ready to take substantive additional action as needed to support growth and to provide adequate insurance against downside risks.”

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