Table of Contents 2014

Other Articles

  • 10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Nails

    A complaint by a Mexican-owned company in Missouri prompted a world-wide investigation that revealed some interesting facts about the nails we use.

     
  • Home Builders Named to Inc. 5000 List

    Inc. magazine's ranking lists the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

     
  • Jacksonville Market Slowing as Higher Prices Constrain Demand

    Metrostudy released results of its 2Q14 survey of the Jacksonville housing market, which showed slowing new home construction since the second half of 2013.

     
  • Power Shift: Buyers Get an Upper Hand As Supply Expands, Motivation Intensifies

    Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson sees two profound market dynamic shifts that should play a catalytic role in the present and near-future housing market: The first is a slowdown in home price growth. The second is a shift in pricing power from sellers to a more balanced market. Add...

     
  • Discounts Are What's Rising in Phoenix

    Arizona Republic staffer Catherine Reagor reports on how incentives are driving what pace there is to speak of while the Phoenix economy and job market treads water. Reagor's piece includes a litany of discounts, give-aways, and inducements builders are trying to reel in buyer business.

     
  • Multifamily For-Rent, For-Sale Market Rolls

    National Association of Home Builders research economist Rose Quint notes that the NAHB Multifamily Production Index (MPI) posted a gain of five points to a reading of 58 for the second quarter. It is the 10th straight quarter with a reading of 50 or above.

     
  • Builder Discounts Are What's Rising in Phoenix

    Arizona Republic staffer Catherine Reagor reports on how incentives are driving what pace there is to speak of while the Phoenix economy and job market treads water. Reagor's piece includes a litany of discounts, give-aways, and inducements builders are trying to reel in buyer business.

     
  • Frankel Breaks Ground Near Houston's Exxon Hotbed

     
  • What's next for Fannie and Freddie?

    By the end of the year the Federal Housing Finance Agency will have to have a new set of housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As a result, the agency is looking ahead and planning its housing goals for 2015 through 2017.

     
  • In Florida, Return of the Condo-Hotel?

    Wall Street Journal staffer Craig Karmin reports on a re-trend (paywall): A luxury hotel operator is trying to revive a failed condo-hotel project in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hoping that a formula that faded during the economic downturn can make a comeback.

     
  • Interest Rates on New Homes Stay Stable

    On August 28, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that, overall, mortgage interest rates were flat in July. National Association of Home Builders economist Paul Emrath looks at how that broad data applies to new-home loan interest rates.

     
  • For Foreign Students, Small Cities Are a Big Draw

    Wall Street Journal staffer Jon Hilsenrath taps into a new Brookings Institution study that spotlights how small cities are among the biggest beneficiaries of a wave of foreign students studying at U.S. universities (paywall).

     
  • Bank Settlement Probes Gain Momentum

    National Mortgage News staffer Victoria Finkle reports that the Justice Department's recent $16.6 billion deal with Bank of America over crisis-era mortgage fraud has raised fresh questions over a perceived lack of transparency in the settlement process.

     
  • Bank Liquidity Rules Seen Cooling Demand for Municipal Bonds

    Bloomberg/ BusinessWeek staffer William Selway reports that regulatory changes aimed at heading off another financial crisis may curb purchases of municipal bonds by banks, potentially undermining demand from the biggest buyer in the $3.7 trillion market.

     
  • Minimum-Wage Debate Gets 15 Minutes of Labor Day Fame

    Wall Street Journal staffer Eric Morath reports that the White House and union leaders are using Labor Day reinvigorate efforts to raise the minimum wage (paywall).

     
  • Boomer Bucket List

    New York Times contributor David Wallis reports that more retired Americans are getting rid of their homes and traveling, with 360,000 of them receiving Social Security benefits at foreign addresses.

     
  • Cash or credit? Most people use cash for small purchases

    MarketWatch contributor Priya Anand taps into new age-specific spending behavior data from CreditCards.com. Andand reports that most people pull dollars rather than plastic out of their wallets for small purchases. Not so, GenYers, who risk having their accounts hacked by swiping instead of...

     
  • The Plight of the First-Time Buyer Recent Grad

    MarketWatch staffer Quentin Fotrell counts the ways that the ladder to home-ownership has gotten so much steeper for debt-laden graduates.

     
  • Near Future May Be Spooking Consumers

    Consumers continue to regain confidence, but they may be concerned about the near future. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index increased for the fourth consecutive month to 92.4 in August. But the expectations for the next six months remained unchanged.

     
  • Fix Up or Buy New? Here's How the Options Shake Out

    These tips can help homeowners decide between renovating their current home and purchasing another.

     
  • Rent Spiral Awakens Hunt for Inflation Hedge

    U.S. investors are back in the hunt for inflation protection for the first time in two years as rising housing costs - particularly for rent - suggest inflation may finally be waking from its post-recession slumber.

     
  • Recovery's Job Gains Tilt in Men's Favor

    USA Today staffer Paul Davidson reports that job growth has accelerated this year but women are falling behind. Women have accounted for 45% of employment gains over the past 12 months, even though they held 49% of the nation's 131 million jobs in July,

     
  • Rust Belt Resilience

    Wall Street Journal staffer Nancy Keates reports that, long maligned for crime, corruption and pollution, the city of Cleveland is now home to luxury apartments, warehouse lofts and a new burst of optimism (paywall).

     
  • Where in the U.S. It's Most--and Least--Expensive to Raise a Child

    NerdWallet staffer Divya Raghavan crunched the numbers to rank U.S. cities by their respective costs to parents of young children, tieing the ranking to housing, education, child care and other expenses.

     
  • At Mid-Year: Is Housing's Sneeze the Economy's Cold?

    Forbes contributor John S. Tobey looks at recent no-growth new-home sales trends, and asks the question of whether housing's apparent stagnation reflect a slowdown spreading into the general economy. Deja vu all over again? Or, a negative head fake.

     
  • Victim or Survivor?

    As encouraging as some of the housing recovery's signs are, visibility into what's next and what's ahead is mightily limited. So, we're slow to move in some areas, particularly as regards adding human and financial capital. To address those pain points, we're excited to introduce Survivor or...

     
  • When It Comes to Acquisition, Development, Construction Loans, It's Haves and Have-Nots

    Wall Street Journal staffer Kris Hudson keys into Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data that indicates construction lending posted the largest gain of its yearlong recovery in the second quarter, signaling that the real-estate industry's rebound is gaining steam, albeit slowly (paywall). The only...

     
  • McVaugh Launches Royal Oaks Courtyard Villas in Houston's Westchase

    Houston Business Journal staffer Paul Takahashi reports that after three years of planning, Houston-based McVaugh Custom Homes broke ground on Royal Oaks Courtyard Villas, a new gated community in Houston's Westchase district.

     
  • Jobless Claims Stay Beneath the 300k Mark

    The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits fell below 300,000 for the fourth time in six weeks, suggesting little likelihood that a brightening outlook for the labor market will dim anytime soon.

     
  • Fannie Mae Plans to Sell DC HQ

    Fannie Mae plans to sell its Washington, D.C., headquarters building within the next three years as it consolidates several office locations, according to an e-mailed statement.

     
  • Church and Real Estate

    Wall Street Journal staffer Stefanos Chen reports on a German study from the University of Hamburg Department of Economics and Social Sciences that shows a 4.8% price bump for homes on the market that are a certain distance to any place of worship (paywall).

     
  • 2014 Best and Worst States for Business

     
  • A Tale of Two Metros: Detroit and Minneapolis

    Wall Street Journal columnist Josh Mitchell looks at two contrasting metro areas--Detroit and Minneapolis--observing that economic diversity is turning out to be a key ingredient of a healthy and durable regional economy (paywall).

     
  • Condo Owners in Tampa Take Their Case to the Governor

    CNBC's Diana Olick reports that Tampa area condo owners, who say developers are forcing them to sell to make way for rentals, are asking Gov. Rick Scott for help.

     
  • Is the Banks' 'Pound of Flesh' for the Mortgage Mess Enough?

    ProPublica and New York Times columnist Jesse Eisinger leads a debate on whether individuals should face criminal charges in the wake of the huge settlements banks have made with Federal investigating agencies admitting wrongdoing that led to the financial crisis.

     
  • FICO Tweaks Could Score in Credit Applicants' Favor

    HousingWire's Trey Garrison reports on a note from MGIC that says that FICO scores will ignore debts that have been paid off or settled, and a lesser weight will be assigned to medical bill collections, which account for about half of all unpaid collections on consumers' credit reports.

     
  • Pending Home Sales Rise 3.3% In July to 11-Month High Point

     
  • America's Safest, Riskiest Cities for Drivers

    Allstate Insurance Company today released its tenth annual "Allstate America's Best Drivers Report®." The report, based on Allstate claims data, ranks America's 200 largest citiesi in terms of car collision frequency to identify which cities have the safest drivers.

     
  • Markets Where Price Appreciation is in Rapid Cool Mode

    RealtyTrac chief economist Daren Blomquist puts commentary atop data that finds that U.S. residential properties sold at an estimated annual pace of 4,634,513 in July, down 3% from the previous month and down 12% from a year ago.

     
  • SoCal is a Top Destination for Chinese Home Buyers

    Orange County Register staffer Jeff Collins posts on the critical role Chinese home buyers have played in the Southern California new-home marketplace (paywall).

     
  • AD and C Loan Stock Gains 16% in Last 12 Months

    National Association of Home Builders economist Robert Dietz delves into data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to look at the slowly improving availability of acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) loans. Here's Wall Street Journal staffer Kris Hudson's take on this...

     
  • Americans: Plastic's Fantastic

    Washington Post staffer Jonelle Marte reports on J.D. Power research that indicates that consumers have grown more comfortable with plastic--and they're smarter about how they use it.

     
  • Old Man On Campus

    Kids and teens have company heading back to school: More adults over age 35 are returning to the classroom. Here's why.

     
  • New Jobs, Where They Are, How To Get Them

    Designer, developer, data scientist are all predicted to be in-demand jobs in the coming year. How to land one? Fast Company contributor Lydia Dishman writes, not the way you think.

     
  • What We Want in a Smart Home

    Greentech Grid's Jeff St. John taps into the findings from a new study by Lowes which asked 2,000 U.S. residents to rank their expectations of what a “smart home” of the future should look like.

     
  • Woes and the Middle Class

    Vox's Ezra Klein spotlights two scary charts that depict the plight of the American middle class, one that illustrates this: A new US Census Bureau report shows that the median household's net worth fell from $106,591 in 2005 to $68,839 in 2011.

     
  • Freddie Mac: Rates Hold the Line at 4.1%

    Mortgage rates barely moved due to mixed news on the housing market heading into the holiday weekend, with the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.10% for the week ended Aug. 28.

     
  • Mortgages Fuel Banks' Ability to Narrow Loan Loss Gap

    MarketWatch staffer Ruth Mantell reports that banks recently reported the smallest losses on loans since before the recession started, led by fewer charge-offs for mortgages.

     
  • Nothing Fancy, Just 4 Great Small Plans

    It’s exactly what it sounds like: four not-too-big plans that your buyers will love. Look for relaxed layouts, flexible spaces, and lots of storage.

     
  • KC Fed Jobs Index--Favored by Yellen--Surges to Six-Year Peak

     
  • Q2 Economic Mojo is Better Than Thought Earlier

    The U.S. economy rebounded more strongly than initially thought in the second quarter with a bigger chunk of the growth driven by domestic demand in a bright sign for the future. Gross domestic product expanded at a 4.2% annual rate instead of the previously reported 4.0% pace, the Commerce...

     
  • New Houzz Survey Reveals User Design Preferences

    'Houzzers' say they're roughly halfway to their dream homes and looking to overhaul, reports REMODELING's Tim Reagan. You'll be pleased to note 20% of Houzz users want to start from scratch with a new home.

     
  • 10 Best College Towns 2014

    Livability.com selected the best college towns from each Football Bowl Subdivision conference, then ranked the top 10. Take a look at how these cities stacked up and find out which place took the No. 1 spot in the Livability.com fifth annual college towns list.

     
  • Workers Wage a Real Wages Battle

    Compared with the first half of 2013, a new report by the Economic Policy Institute finds real pay down 1.6% for workers with a college degree and down 2.7% for those with advanced degrees

     
  • Brooklyn's Booming

    Bloomberg/ BusinessWeek staffer Prashant Gopal looks at the rapid gentrification of once-tough Brooklyn, N.Y. neighborhoods, including Crown Heights by people who can no longer afford chicer spots like Fort Greene.

     
  • Evergreen Communities Plans 1-Acre Lot West Sacramento Neighborhood

    Sacramento Business Journal staff writer Ben van der Meer reports on Evergreen Communities' plans for Myers Ranch, a 16-home subdivision planned in West Sacramento, Calif., on one-acre lots. The community will appeal to buyers who both want a larger houses and low energy bills.

     
  • The Nation's Top Cities for Educational Attainment Rate of Their Workforce

    New Geography contributors Richey Piiparinen, Charlie Post, and Jim Russell tap a new report from the Center for Population Dynamics at Cleveland State University that ranks metro areas by the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds in their labor force with a graduate or professional degree.

     
  • Affordability is Relative by Location

    CityLab staffer Kriston Capps looks into the meaning and deficiencies of a measure called "location affordability," which can make major metro areas look like a bargain. They are, for the "typical" well-heeled household.

     
  • AD&C Loan Vice-Grip Eases

    National Association of Home Builders economist Rob Dietz comments that builders and developers continue to report easing credit conditions for acquisition, development, and construction (AD&C) loans.

     
  • Reuters Poll of Economists Points to Home Sales Mojo

    Reuters staffer Jason Lange reports on a Reuters poll that shows that stronger job creation in the United States is making economists more optimistic about the outlook for home resales--albeit at flat price appreciation rates--over the next two years.

     
  • Working Part-Time While Wanting A Full-Time Job

    Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta research economists John Robertson and Ellyn Terry give a thorough going-over to data on people working part-time for economic reasons (PTER), which means people who want full-time work but have not yet been able to find it.

     
  • More People Pay Their Mortgage On Time

    Calculated Risk post-man Bill McBride notes that Freddie Mac reported that the Single-Family serious delinquency rate declined in July to 2.02% from 2.07% in June. This is the lowest level since January 2009, but it should be below 1%.

     
  • Best Cities for Working Parents

    NerdWallet analyst Divya Raghavan crunched the numbers to find the best cities for working parents, based on affordability, child care costs, school quality and the community..

     
  • A Single-Family For-Rent Play for the Little Guy

    HomeUnion wants to level the playing field for smaller investors, helping them compete with institutional giants to identify bargain-priced single-family rental properties in markets around the country, and then buy and manage them from afar.

     
  • Consumers Have Confidence But Not Lots of Cash

    For consumers, good cheer hasn't translated to stronger spending. As has been the case throughout most of this recovery, the spirit is willing but the wallet is weak.

     
  • Record Number of Foreign Students at U.S. Universities

    NerdScholar does a research country-by-country census of the origins of the United States college and university foreign students.

     
  • Apps Up 2.8% On Interest Rate Draw

    Mortgage applications increased 2.8% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 22, 2014.

     
  • A Look at Income Inequality, Hour by Hour

    Wall Street Journal staffer Josh Zumbrun looks at a new study by the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, breaks down Labor Department data on hourly earnings to show income disparity even at the level of hourly wages (paywall).

     
  • We're Spending Quality Time Together, And You'll Like It

    Richard Reeves, a Brookings Institution fellow in Economic Studies and editor-in-chief of Social Mobility Memos, demonstrates social mobility performance in a variety of charts and tables in the essay. This one in particular shows how today's parents with college degrees or better spend more time...

     
  • GenX Stands for Big Debt

    Fortune's Chris Matthews taps into a Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis study that says millennials may owe more in student loans than any American generation, but their Generation X elders are actually the most in debt.

     
  • SummerHill Homes Lands Los Gatos Nuns' Tract

    Silicon Valley Business Journal staffer Nathan Donato-Weinstein reports that the Sisters of the Holy Names have sold the roughly 10-acre Los Gatos, Calif., site to local home builder SummerHill Homes. The company plans to build 17 homes there at prices starting at $3.5 million.

     
  • Would a Housing Fix Also Fix Inequality?

    CNN/Money contributor Ben Hecht-- president and CEO of Living Cities--writes that most wealth in the U.S. is gained from the appreciation of home values over time. But the recent recession raised the barrier to home ownership--especially for minorities and low-income people

     
  • Vet Centric: Military to Get Home Loan Backing

    Wall Street Journal staffer Nick Timiraos reports that the White House announced a new partnership Tuesday with five large banks and mortgage companies that is designed to make it easier for members of the military to lower their mortgage payments when they're called to active duty (paywall).

     
  • Title Wave: MERs Challenges Shot Down

    HousingWire's Trey Garrison reports that the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota issued rulings in three cases that are favorable to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.

     
  • Private Insurance Fee Proposal Could Raise Mortgage Costs

    Wall Street Journal staffer Joe Light reports that proposed requirements for an obscure, but widely used, corner of the mortgage market would protect Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from another financial crisis but could end up raising mortgage costs for thousands of borrowers, according to a report by...

     
  • Maxxeon WorkStar 2000 Technician's Floodlight

    This rechargeable work light has a rotating head and can be placed upright, hung from a retractable hook, screwed to a tripod, or attached to metal with magnets.

     
  • To Build a Business That Lasts, Think Like a Redwood

    What a 2,000-year-old tree can tell you about prospering for the long term.

     
  • Horton’s Emerald Projects Court Active Adults in Florida

    D.R. Horton announced two amenity-rich projects to capture the adult active demographic in Florida.

     
  • Dallas Lot Deliveries Surge to Highest Level Since 2008

    Metrostudy reports Dallas-Fort Worth housing market second quarter lot deliveries exceeded new-home start pace for the first time since early 2008.

     
  • A New Fabrication Method for Spray-On Solar Cells

     
  • Price May Soon Narrow Between New and Resales

    Wall Street Journal staffer Kris Hudson reports on a persistent price gap between existing homes and newly built homes, giving the former an advantage over the latter in recent months. But some economists say that gap will soo will start to narrow (paywall).

     
  • Newmark Returns to Houston-area's Pearland with Shadow Ridge Neighborhood

    Houston Chronicle staffer Katherine Feser reports that Newmark Homes will build homes in Shadow Ridge, a new 22-acre enclave adjacent to Shadow Creek Ranch along FM 518 in Pearland. The Houston-based builder will offer homes starting from $250,000.

     
  • Top 20 U.S. Cities With the Best Quality of Life

    A new study by NerdWallet found that some U.S. cities seem to offer a better overall lifestyle than other places. NerdWallet analyst Shreekar Jasthi looked at income and health benefits, local economic strength, as well as work-life balance to find the best places for quality of life.

     
  • Weekley to Unveil High-Density Neighborhood in San Antonio

    San Antonio Business Journal staffer Tricia Lynn Silva reports that David Weekley Homes will break ground on the first of several high-density living projects planned for the San Antonio area this Friday. Part of the builder's Central Living line, the 46 homes in The Garden at Urban Crest will...

     
  • Naked Came the Home Buyer

    Tampa area Realtor Jackie Youngblood strips it down for her clients in a surprising market: nudist communities.

     
  • 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates Remain Steady

    Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages remained fairly steady this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 4.08%, up slightly from 4.06% at this same time last week.

     
  • Elizabeth Warren's War On Student Debt

    Rolling Stone writer Tim Dickenson reports on Senator Elizabeth Warren's fight for middle-class families with a legislative agenda focused on college affordability and student debt.

     
  • Homeowners and Renters … Together and Apart

    Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko analyzes how integrated or segregated renters and owners are in different metros, using a dissimilarity index, which is a measure of how evenly two distinct groups are distributed across a geographic area. What does the analysis tell us?

     
  • Slowing Prices: Silver Linings Playbook

    New York Times columnist Neil Irwin comments that the slow-down in home price increases is a sign are that prices are starting to align with local factors like job growth and housing policy, which is how the market should work.

     
  • Meals To Go ... A Slide-Away Kitchen

     
  • Closing a Mortgage Is Profitable ... Wow!

    Originating a mortgage is finally profitable again. After mortgage banker costs skyrocketed the past 6 quarters, well out of the realm of profitability, the latest Quarterly Mortgage Bankers Performance Report from the Mortgage Bankers Association reports the landscape shifted from losing money to...

     
  • Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households

    National Association of Home Builders economist Josh Miller comments on the Federal Reserve Board's recently-released Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households.

     
  • Obama Announces Partnership With Banks, Servicers to Help Military Families

    President Obama announced an initiative Tuesday with several large banks and mortgage servicers designed to make it easier for members of the military and their families to lower their mortgage payments.

     
  • Has Dodd-Frank Failed?

    HousingWire contributors, RealtyTrac's Daren Blomquist and Peter Miller, look at the four years that have passed since Dodd-Frank was enacted, asking whether Wall Street Reform has been a success or failure.

     
  • Wealth By the Numbers

    New Strategist Media editorial director Cheryl Russell takes a look at the Census Bureau, Detailed Tables on Distribution of Wealth and Debt, to break down median wealth in dollars, by age of householder.

     
  • The Rise of Ethno-Burbs

    Fast Company staffer Sydney Brownstone reports on a relatively new phenomenon--upwardly mobile suburbs with a non-white majority. In terms of income, education, and wealth, they're indistinguishable from mostly-white suburbs.

     
  • America's Best, Worst States for Women's Equality

    WalletHub analyst Richie Bernardo crunched the numbers to gauge the scope of gender-based disparities in each of the 50 U.S. states, doing so by examining 10 key metrics, ranging from the gap in the number of female and male executives to the disparity between women's and men's life expectancy to...

     
  • What to Know About Movers

     
  • Mood's a Swingin'

     
  • America's Fastest Growing Jobs

    24/7 Wall Street zeroes in on the jobs with the highest forecast rate of employment growth,with a review of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections program data for 2012 and 2022