Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Thursday, February 23, 2012, 1:01 PM
[Source: Columbia University]
Not talking about underwater mortgages here, but water, as in underwater. Think Irene. The Atlantic Cities has an interesting piece on the impact of climate change on Manhattan.
Food Water for thought (sorry).
No attempt to be alarmist here, but I do find the topic fascinating.
Manhattan could see a drastic uptick of so-called 100-year floods, or those with storm surges around 6.5 feet, according to a new MIT study. These mondo deluges could occur as often as every 3 to 20 years by the end of this century, blasting over the island’s seawalls into businesses and subways and causing the kind of mass evacuations last seen with Hurricane Irene.
If the storm-of-the-century happens every decade, then I think the 100-year naming methodology has to be rethought.
MIT postdoc Ning Lin, lead author of the study, says knowing the frequency of storm surges may help urban and coastal planners design seawalls and other protective structures.
Planning in advance is always a good thing.
New York City in Line for Dozens of ‘100-Year Floods’ Every Century [TheAtlantic Cities]
Climate Time Machine [NASA/CIT]
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 9:32 PM
Ok, so Irene has left the building but so has most of our electrical power. As of this post, my town in CT is down to 39% remaining without power (includes my house) and 25% of homes in the entire state are without power – that’s 310,661 homes or less than 1/10 the number that watched the Weather Channel during Irene.
We were blessed with at least 2 national market reports this week which I examined over at MRIS Blog:
S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index: S&P/Case Shiller: Seasons Don’t Exist In Housing Market?
The S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index was released today reflecting the average of April-May-June closings which likely went to contract as early as January-February-March when the housing market began to wake up after a post-tax credit slumber in the second half of 2010. [read more]
NAR Pending Home Sale Index: NAR pendings released today (RBI release was 19 days ago); Fell 1st time in 3 months
The NAR released its national pending home sales index on re-sales today covering the same period (warning: gloat) we released the RealEstate Business Intelligence‘s RBI Pending Home Sales Index for Washington, D.C. Metro and Baltimore Metro back on August 10th. [read more]
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Saturday, August 27, 2011, 11:52 AM
As I wait to be battered by the impending visit by (Hurricane) Irene and returning from a mini-vacation, but I was struck by the latest results of the latest Mortgage Banker Association seasonally adjusted rate index:
The seasonally adjusted gauge of loan requests for home purchases tumbled 5.7 percent to its lowest level since December 1996, the MBA said. Refinance demand also sagged as interest rates rose, with the refinance index slipping 1.7 percent.
Mortgage rates are at the all-time low, yet mortgage applications are down. Why? Part of the decline is likely because consumers have become jaded with low rates since they have been so low for so long. These are seasonally adjusted numbers so the decline is not due to the typical August slow down.
I feel strongly that the decline in mortgage purchase applications is largely due to the S&P US downgrade of several weeks ago which roiled (my new favorite word) financial markets across the planet. Consumers don’t like the unknown and they are waiting for a sign of better times. It doesn’t mean people aren’t buying homes. What it means is that fewer people are buying homes. If this becomes sustained or rises, lower sales levels will lead to additional price declines.
I think I’ll focus on the weather right now.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, August 23, 2011, 6:16 PM
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, August 23, 2011, 3:30 PM
Over the past decade I’ve had to evacuate my office in Manhattan due to:
- 2001: 9/11
- 2002: A fire and building collapse across the street
- 2003: An electrical fire in our building (previous office)
- 2004: The NYC blackout – no power in the city for 24+ hours
- 2009: Smoking/oil smell in our building
- 2011: 5.8 earthquake
Plus assorted fire drills and false alarms.
Today’s 5.8 earthquake that was about 87 miles south of DC shook our office building in Manhattan.
Sometime around 1:50pm EST, I had finished my lunch and started to feel lightheaded as I was writing on my laptop. Was thinking that my orange spicy chicken takeout was disagreeing with me.
I went to stand up and was wobbling so I sat down. Seemed like a good 30 seconds where it felt like the entire building was swaying quite a bit. Felt like we were on top of blades of tall grass. I stood up again and saw others in my office get up from their desk asking, “did you feel that?” followed by “It’s an earthquake!”
We started to leave the office and heard my sister admonishing our staff to stop appraising and walk down the 16 flights of stairs to the street (hard working loyal appraisers to the end). Could feel other shocks in our decent down the stairwell.
No cell service.
We began asking if it was just our building or if the others on the sidewalk were from other buildings. They were from other buildings. Got word that this had happened all around us and felt better.
Texted my wife and parents to see if they felt it and to let them know we were fine. No tremors at our home in Connecticut, but got notes from friends in the area including Long Island and as far away as Massachusetts and Michigan who had felt the tremors.
One of our appraisers came rushing back from his inspection when he got this message from his wife who also works for us, although she didn’t send it. Hopefully that person is ok.
Waited a little longer and then went back to work. Well, actually, to write this post.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 1:07 PM
I was using my iPhone this morning to check the status of my pending iPad 2 order and got this message – a sobering reality check.
I’ve been watching the news from Japan in horror of the past few days. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose family, friends, a home and all possessions in the blink of an eye.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Thursday, February 12, 2009, 2:07 AM
It was close to 60 degrees in Manhattan yesterday which reminded me I neglected to post Ed Glaeser’s fascinating commentary in the Economix Blog of the New York Times called Revenge of the Rust Belt.
It also brought to mind a Steven Wright favorite of mine:
It doesn’t matter what temperature the room is, it’s always room temperature.
But I digress
Glaeser correlates population trends with January mean temperature. As a nation, the sun belt continues to see population growth and the midwest continues to see population contractions.
Pittsburgh has its Steelers because high transport costs made it costly to move coal. Prodigious amounts of energy were needed to work the metals, like iron and steel, which were the hard core of the Industrial Revolution. Since moving vast amounts of coke or coal was expensive, Andrew Carnegieâ€™s steel factories were close to Henry Frickâ€™s coking furnaces, which were close to Pittsburghâ€™s vast coal seam.
Over the course of the 20th century, transport costs plummeted. The real cost of moving a ton of goods a mile by rail declined by more than 90 percent. Manufacturing left cities, the Rust Belt and America altogether. Every one of the old industrial cities declined greatly. The city of Pittsburghâ€™s population fell from 677,000 in 1950 (its peak) to 334,000 as of the last census, and apparently less than 300,000 today.
The advantage a market like Phoenix has in the long run, despite the sharp declines in housing, is the potential for more affordable housing because of the unrestricted capacity to build and expand.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Wednesday, September 3, 2008, 12:39 PM
There is a lot of controversy, inconvenient truths and discussion about going “Green” (no, not Favre signing with the Jets). One of the key elements of discussion is the economic impact of climate change.
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s economic letter, discusses a paper on Regional Variation in the Potential Economic Effects of Climate Change by Butsic, Hanak, and Valletta.
Here’s an interesting chart in the Fed posting covering the increase in temperature:
The continental US has a 100 degree F range of temperatures on some days. The impact will be greater in areas already on the edge of tolerance.
One of the key bases for variation in the potential impact of climate change across geographic areas is the starting point from which climate change occurs: climate warming may have little or no impact within a range of temperatures, but the impacts may grow rapidly as temperatures rise above that range. This nonlinear or “threshold” pattern implies that climate change effects will be most pronounced for areas that are already near critical temperature boundaries. This principle is best illustrated by some examples from recent research on the potential economic effects of climate change.
Shifts in agriculture production are most pronounced, not much impact on mortality rates. The article zeroes in on winter sports and it’s impact on resort housing.
Some markets are hurt more significantly than others. My take away is that the issue can’t be looked at as a matter of degrees (no pun intended) of impact. There appears to be some sort of tipping point to which the study suggests market prices are hurt significantly in different regions depending how stressed they are by temperature ranges already.
ergo, coastal flooding
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, September 2, 2008, 12:01 AM
I turned on the TV this morning to catch an update on the hurricane in New Orleans, hoping it was better. Thank goodness no deja vu, the storm appeared to be less intense than originally feared. I flipped the channels and saw Geraldo Rivera holding an anemometer counting off the wind speed. It reached 70mph, and thought, this is simply perverse.
Despite all the coverage and worry, the FDIC has reported only 10 bank failures so far this year. Granted, there were only 3 in 2007, 4 in 2004, 3 in 2003, 12 in 2002, 4 in 2001 and 2 in 2000, but from all the coverage, I would have expected 50 by now. Of the failures this year, Indymac was the only biggie.
The watch list has grown from 90 to 117 (and Indymac wasn’t on the watch list).
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, insures bank deposits of up to $100,000 at nearly 8,500 of the nation’s banks and also keeps a watch list of banks that it considers in trouble.
Thanks to a collapsing housing market and a weak economy, a growing number of banks are struggling to stay afloat, with not enough cash on hand to cover losses from bad loans.
At the beginning of the year, 90 banks were on the FDIC watch list. There are now 117, FDIC chairwoman Sheila C. Bair announced at a news conference this afternoon. That is the highest number in five years, but some analysts expect the list to grow even more in coming months.
This is supposed to be one of the biggest financial catastrophes in US history, no? In the 1980s FDIC removed nearly 2,000 institutions and S&L from the face of the earth. I remember the unbelievable stuff we saw as appraisers, performing workouts for RTC and FDIC in the early 1990s. Incredible stupidity abound.
Because it’s not all about the traditional banks…
It’s about the investment banks and the investors. Banks were able to shift the risk to third parties via securitization.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Sunday, April 20, 2008, 3:57 PM
My assistant is a beekeeper so I have been especially attuned to the strange disappearance of more than 1/3 and perhaps as much as half the US bee population over the past year. For reasons unknown, the bees are flying away from their hives and not coming back.
There was a very good New York Times article by John Lelnad this weekend called Floridian Is the One to Call When Bees Move In that linked the Florida foreclosure problem and vacant housing with bee hives. As properties sit idle, bees take over, but the property owners, if one can be found, are reluctant to pay for their removal.
Foreclosed houses around the country have been colonized by squatters, collegiate revelers, methamphetamine cooks, stray dogs, rats and other uninvited guests. Mr. Councell, 35, only has eyes for bees.
I find it interesting how the bees represent a second occupant of an reo property and they are not able to remain either.
Make sure you watch the video embedded in the story.
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