I’ve been watching for nearly 50 days with mounting frustration BP’s obvious lack of prudence, Haliburton’s gross equipment failure, Tony Haywards’s obnoxious comment “I’d like my life back” and finally the dead oil coated birds washing up on shore. It occurred to me the villians, schmucks, and horrors of this situation have all the makings of a high dollar Hollywood disaster film. What we need is a trio of super heros (Pitt, Clooney, and Cruise please) to fly in repleat with oil resistant spandex and some bad attitudes to kick some A%#. The irony is we’d probably walk out of the movie disappointed because we’d be thinking “uh right, like that could happen.”
Beyond the environmental and economic impacts, what makes this so frustrating is it has happened before and we (the American people) seem to not be learning from their mistakes. The XTOC oil spill in 1979 caused over 120 million gallons of oil leak to in to the Gulf for 10 months and the leak was never capped and did not quit leaking for some time after the relief well had been drilled. Roughly 1/3 of the Gulf has been affected by the 36 million gallons of oil to have leaked thus far from Deep Water Horizon and 4 states are seeing oil reach their shores with at least a two more months of oil leak likely. Of course, we have all heard of the Exxon Valdez of which the economic and environmental impacts are still being felt. I can keep going there have been lots.
The Question Is..
Since this is a Real Estate journal, it begs to question how will this event affect our industry? Already, we are hearing stories of vacation cancellations all along the coast. How much is BP willing to pay up? That tool Tony Hayward keeps throwing out words like reasonable and neccessary, which to me means as little as they can get a way with. Insurance isn’t going to step in and the odds of there being some major devaluation in property, loss of jobs, and tourism revenue in states already hard hit by natural disasters and the real estate bubble is pretty high according to this study out of Central Florida. I guess my question is how could it not affect us?
What can we do besides rant and throw darts at BP’s Logo?
First of all get informed about the size an scope of the spill. Don’t automatically assume you can’t visit some of your favorite beach locations this summer, many are being stigmatized and have no oil and they need our patronage. Third, volunteer in Lousiana and Florida because they need our help and it’s a worthy cause. Finally, if you have a better idea for containment than sending the bat signal than please submit it here at gulfclean.org, a wonderful crowd sourced social media era website dedicated to finding clever solutions from the wonderful pool of innovators in our country.
Please indulge my soap box
I personally think anyone whose ever chanted “drill, drill, drill” or becried big government having too much oversight, needs to don their hazmat suits and head to the coast. All you folks out there who complain that the investment in clean technology and alternative energy is to expensive, impractical, and adding to our federal deficit, where do you stand now? Do you honestly think American tax payers will not be asked to absorb the brunt of the cost and impact of this spill? Do you think Tony freaking Hayward is going to give up any of his salary and bonuses? We will get through this, that I am confident but my question is, when are we (as in the American people) going to learn from their mistakes and demand better?
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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