Economic and Job Growth Pushing Housing Slowly Toward ‘Normal’ Levels

first_imgHome / Daily Dose / Economic and Job Growth Pushing Housing Slowly Toward ‘Normal’ Levels  Print This Post Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Share Save Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The housing market is slowly but surely inching closer to normal levels with the help of economic and job growth.According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI) released Thursday, markets in 75 of the approximately 360 metro areas nationwide have returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in the second quarter of 2015. This is an increase of 13 markets year-over-year.“The markets are gradually improving and economic and job growth continue to strengthen, which bodes well for housing for the remainder of the year,” said Tom Woods, NAHB chairman and a home builder and developer from Blue Springs, Missouri.The NAHB reported that the index’s score increased on point to .92, which means that the nationwide average is at 92 percent of normal economic and housing activity. Although this increase may seem marginal, this one point rise up places the market closer to the one point goal, indicating that it has returned to normal. In addition, 66 percent of markets have shown improvement year-over-year.“Of the three elements in the LMI (house prices, permits, and employment), house prices have had the broadest recovery, with 345 markets returning to or exceeding their last normal level,” said David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist. “Meanwhile, 64 markets have met or exceeded their normal employment levels. The housing permit level has made the least progress toward normality, with only 26 markets at or above their last normal level.”The index found that Baton Rouge, Louisiana continues to top the list of major metros on the LMI, with a score of 1.47, 47 percent better than its last normal market level. Other major metros leading the list include Austin, Texas; Honolulu, Hawaii; Houston, Texas; and Oklahoma City. Rounding out the top ten are San Jose, California; Los Angeles, California; Charleston, South Carolina; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Nashville, Tennessee. Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Subscribe Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Tagged with: Housing Market Jobs NAHB National Association of Home Builders U.S. Economy About Author: Xhevrije West Xhevrije West is a talented writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas. She has worked for a number of publications including The Syracuse New Times, Dallas Flow Magazine, and Bellwethr Magazine. She completed her Bachelors at Alcorn State University and went on to complete her Masters at Syracuse University. The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Housing Market Jobs NAHB National Association of Home Builders U.S. Economy 2015-08-06 Brian Honeacenter_img August 6, 2015 1,853 Views The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, News Economic and Job Growth Pushing Housing Slowly Toward ‘Normal’ Levels The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Related Articles Previous: Green Tree Servicing to Merge With Ditech Mortgage Next: New York AG Highlights Success of Home Retention Programslast_img read more

Big Brother: Stress in the Stacks

first_imgBack in those halcyon pre-Oxford days, the library was a place one might  quite easily walk past every day for twenty years and never enter. Local libraries entertain a smattering of blue-haired old women seeking out the latest Mills or Boon and a couple of over-eager children with a lack of social life; they have never been exactly one for pulling in the masses. At university, though, things change. Much as we hate to admit it, the Bodleian is quite simply the place to be.With its grand total of 38 libraries, and over 6.5 million books kept in those mysterious, Harry Potter-esque caverns stretching under Broad Street alone, the academic reasons for paying the odd visit to an Oxford library seem pretty obvious. What magnetic force, however, has us working there non-stop is a rather more difficult egg to crack. Is it simply the rather sadistic pleasure we get in seeing that it’s not only we who are desperately attempting to struggle through Ulysses before Monday morning? Or is it a staged mating ritual in which sitting opposite someone in the library provides the perfect opportunity for that inter-college branching the club situation can’t always provide?  There’s certainly an element of voyeurism involved in library working; more than one of us has whiled our morning away wondering if the girl sitting on the far corner got her coat from Topshop, or debating whether the student opposite’s use of colour pens could benefit one’s own work ethic. At the same time, however, the library forces us to work without the temptations inherent in working in one’s rooms; it is, at least theoretically, rather more difficult in a library to a) spend half your day on facebook b) have a massive tantrum about one’s workload or c) talk to one’s current flame on the phone for an hour (though all, I will declare from eyewitness evidence, have been managed by certain individuals within library premises at least once.)From that first anxious trip to the intimidating industrial-sized photocopier, to that tentative attempt to negotiate the purgatory of telnet and make a stack request, Oxford libraries are certainly – for the novice at least – a habit which is at first hard to understand. By the end of your first year, however, be assured that you will return home as a hardened library snob, happy to march into your local library and express contempt over their lack of copies of whatever obscure text is on your summer reading list. Now, isn’t that a nice thought?last_img read more

Beer Blog: Westbrook Brewing White Thai

first_imgI’m in the Mood for ThaiIt’s rare that my wife and I see eye to eye. I like science fiction television heavy on half-naked women. She likes documentaries. I like Chinese food, preferably eaten by the pound from a buffet, she likes $19 cheese plates.Never is our relationship more contentious than when it comes to choosing a beer. She likes beers you put slices of oranges in. I’m a strictly “hold the fruit” kind of guy. So I was shocked when we were visiting Charleston recently and I bought a six pack of Westbrook Brewing White Thai. Westbrook takes a Southeast Asian spin on the standard Belgian witbier style (haters of fusion cuisine beware: it’s about to get weird) that substitutes the standard coriander and orange spices in witbiers with ginger and Sorachi Ace hops, a lemony hop variety developed by Japanese brewers in the ‘80s. Yeah. Ginger and lemon. Sounds weird but Westbrook doesn’t play a heavy hand with the spicing, so White Thai comes off as just a little bit different than other witbiers on the market.My wife likes witbiers, I like different. Finally, something we can both agree on. Maybe I’m being hyperbolic, but finding a six pack of beer that we can both kick back and enjoy is better than marriage counseling. Well, it’s cheaper, anyway.Thanks Westbrook.Follow Graham Averill’s adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at daddy-drinks.comlast_img read more

Raise could thwart reform

first_imgWhen Los Angeles’ powerful teachers union struck a deal last week for a 6 percent raise, it dealt a major blow to the authority of L.A. Unified’s new superintendent, casting doubt on his ability to fulfill his promised reforms, local education leaders say. Just three months after taking the helm as superintendent, retired Navy Adm. David Brewer III finds himself forced to cut $200 million from his budget to pay for the raises – money needed to fulfill his own visions of reform that include reducing the dropout rate, getting more kids into college and curbing school violence. Brewer’s situation is similar to that of his predecessor, Roy Romer, whose plans were thwarted when he had to find money to fund an 11.5 percent average salary increase. That deal, in which some teachers got more and some got less, was struck shortly after Romer was hired in 2000. And he insisted that he – not the teachers union – is in control of the district and that he will not let the $200 million in budget cuts derail his own plans to improve student achievement. “What you really want to do is transform this district in its existing financial construct,” he said. “The district is in control of this, and not the union.” A.J. Duffy, president of the 48,000-member UTLA, said the contract agreement will give Brewer impetus to streamline the bureaucracy. He suggested that Brewer start by eliminating the eight mini-districts serving the far-flung district. “If he cuts $200 million of fat, which is bureaucratic nonsense rather than programs, then he and I are going to be very, very collaborative and we’ll be able to accomplish a lot together as partners,” Duffy said. The contract is for three years, but the district and the UTLA agreed on only the first year’s raise. The two remaining years will be negotiated after the March 6 school board election, when four of the seven seats could change hands. Timely talks The UTLA’s second- and third-year salary demands will depend on how much state funding is available, Duffy said, and whether the union believes there’s fat in the budget. Observers say the upcoming elections, Romer’s retirement last year and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s effort to seize control of the district contributed to the UTLA being able to secure such a generous first-year raise. “It’s probably the best time for the union to be in negotiations: when they have an untested, very green superintendent who doesn’t have his people, agenda and policy in place, and a school board reeling because of the attacks of last year and so concerned about getting the right mix and right majority (after the election),” said Jaime Regalado, director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. Sources close to the negotiations say the board – particularly President Marlene Canter – felt pressure to reach a contract before the election, before a scheduled strike-authorization vote, and before Villaraigosa could take advantage of labor strife to step in as a mediator. No pressure But Canter emphatically denied that she felt unduly pressured and said the board simply wanted to stay focused on teaching and learning. “I wanted to be able to resolve issues and move on to other issues. I think it was a good deal, it was a fair deal,” she said. “This was really a success for everyone, including the district, to resolve this effectively and efficiently.” The contract, which still must be formally approved by the board and UTLA members, bumps the average teacher salary from $60,162 to $63,772 the first year, retroactive to July. Providing full health benefits for teachers and retirees, the deal will cost taxpayers $300 million this year. The district also will phase in smaller class sizes at specific lower-performing schools, which will cost about $343 million over three years. School board member David Tokofsky also sees similarities between Brewer’s quandary and the one Romer faced. “By leaving a $200 million hole over the next two years, the superintendent has to concentrate as much on finding that revenue or cuts as he does on laying out his vision for the next five years,” Tokofsky said. “That can be horribly distracting and time-consuming and to the detriment of improved student learning.” Although Brewer had worked with unions during his 30-year naval career, he was ill-prepared for the political nuances of L.A.’s education system and the clout of UTLA, education leaders say. “He’s a well-meaning guy who came into a situation and walked into something that was possibly more complex than he had anticipated,” Duffy said. Regalado conceded that Brewer might have political difficulties initially but said the experience could serve him well in the long run. “He’s not experienced in running a school district, he’s not experienced in the kind of politics that drives urban politics and urban school districts, and he was brought into a situation with a civil war,” Regalado said. “But it’s a plus for Brewer to get something accomplished like this, even if it leaves him with some bags empty, having to find the money and having to come back to negotiate salaries once again.” Brewer’s challenge, Regalado said, will be to “carve out his own territory” in a district facing a challenge by Villaraigosa, the growing popularity of charter schools and potential political upheaval if a new school board majority is seated. “It’s going to be difficult because of the stature of the other players,” Regalado said. “I’m not sure he can’t overcome it. We don’t know enough about this person yet.” [email protected] (818) 713-3722160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “You can look at it two ways,” said charter schools executive Caprice Young, who served on the school board during Romer’s tenure. “One is that cutting $200 million out of that operating budget requires such a deep change in the way that LAUSD does business that it gives (Brewer) an opportunity to make major reforms and major changes. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to do that when you have some money and a cushion,” she said. “The other way to look at it is: He comes in and, instead of building, has to tear down.” Brewer said his staff has already identified some $100 million to be eliminated from the budget that takes effect July 1 but refused to offer specifics. He also said he plans to hire a consultant to conduct a performance audit and recommend ways to reduce bureaucracy and make the district more efficient. last_img read more

Girls, boys soccer teams in NCS playoff action this weekend

first_imgQuite a few local soccer teams will get their postseason started this weekend as the thick of the California Interscholastic Federation-North Coast Section Fall Soccer Championships gets under way on Saturday.Division I boysFortuna (19-1-2) The Fortuna boys soccer team enters postseason play as a No. 3 seed, the highest of any boys team in the H-DNL, after putting together another near-flawless season with the reigning NCS boys fall soccer coach of the year, Daniel Holmes, at the helm. …last_img

Don’t write off Bhajji yet, says Kumble

first_imgHarbhajan Singh’s comeback at the World T20 was a mixed bag. He took four wickets against England, but was thrashed for 20 runs in two overs by the Australians.The attack by David Warner, coupled with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to stick to a seven batsmen- four bowler policy, saw Harbhajan sitting out of India’s remaining matches.But India’s highest Test wicket- taker Anil Kumble feels it would be foolish to count Harbhajan out. “You can never discard Harbhajan. He has more than 400 Test wickets to his name and he is only 31 or 32, which is the right age for a spinner to mature,” he said, on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Tenvic Sports Academy at Ryan International School, Rohini.The chairman of the BCCI technical committee had words of praise for new spin spearhead R Ashwin.” Ashwin has matured a lot in the few matches he has played. On the international front, I think Graeme Swann is going great and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal is also doing wonders,” Kumble said.Another issue that has been a cause of much debate in Indian cricket of late is how long Sachin Tendulkar will carry on. The maestro himself told a TV channel that he will reassess his career in November as he thinks there is not much cricket left in him. Kumble, a former India captain, felt that that it would be tough for the team without Tendulkar. ” I can’t think of Indian cricket without him. I want to see him play,” he said.”It is never easy to call it a day when you are playing for so long.”advertisementlast_img read more

High food costs becoming dominant issue in North

first_imgAPTN National NewsWhat do the only Inuk in the NHL, the Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic, the chief of the most remote community in the Yukon and the premiers of all three territories have in common?They’re all worried about the high cost of food in the North.APTN National News reporter Kent Driscoll has this report from Iqaluit.last_img