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ISSUE # 59

CIC Info Bytes 02/16/23

CIC Info Bytes are frequent, succinct updates providing educational and engagement opportunities that help your community thrive!  Please forward and share this newsletter with your peers, neighbors and colleagues so they can connect and join.

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CIC Info Bytes Newsletter 02/16/23 - PRINT EDITION


TAKE IT: 2023 Condo Questionnaire

The Condo Questionnaire is a detailed survey with anonymized results disseminated solely to participants for the benefit of their association.

Board (Directors) & Officers


Board (Directors) & Officers information has been part of Decision-Making 101 for quite some time and now has its own home for ease of reference.


Positive change isn’t arbitrary.  Homeowners and volunteer leaders need to pay attention, remain properly informed, and get engaged to deliver results.  Condo Connection is here to deliver practical information that helps you make a difference.

Communicating effectively requires an accurate picture.  Don’t confuse sound bites with due diligence.  Become an expert and help us make an even bigger impact by:

View the latest COVID-19 coverage

Woman receives 30 months in prison for stealing funds from Fort Wayne neighborhoods

Clayton McMahan | CBS 15 Fort Wayne | 02/08/23

Owners asked to pay $175,000 each toward Miami condo 40-year recertification CBS Miami | 02/07/23

Bayfront Miami condo tower embroiled in legal battle over major assessment Katherine Kallergis | The Real Deal | 02/14/23

Michael Burnbaum | Washington Post | 02/06/23

“Community solar, very simply put, allows residential customers and even commercial customers — whether you’re a homeowner, tenant, condo dweller or whoever you are — to essentially subscribe to a local solar farm,” he says.

How to run your house on clean electricity, no solar panels required

Emma Foehringer Merchant | The Washington Post | 02/09/23

Vertical solar panels could save farm land and transform agriculture

Ameya Paleja | Interesting Engineering | 02/10/23

A Ukrainian entrepreneur built vertical solar panels for balconies

Derya Ozdemir | Interesting Engineering | 07/19/22 


Condominiums ARE one form of affordable housing.  As of December 2022, the average condominium unit sales price in Seattle trailed single family home sales prices by $451,000.

“The housing market is the most interest-rate sensitive part of any economy, so it’s a very good lead of where the rest of the economy could be in quarters to come,” said Schroders fund manager James Ringer.  Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/01/23

No matter what happens, it is likely to be a slow year for the housing market. Housing activity remains down sharply from a year ago, when the Fed began to lift its benchmark rates to curb inflation. That pushed up mortgage rates at record speed, forcing buyers and sellers out of the market. Home sales fell for most of the past year, quickly snuffing out a boom from the height of the pandemic.  Housing Market Shows Signs of ThawingBen Eisen | WSJ | 02/06/23

…it's worth being watchful for signs of housing stabilization and recovery. Yesterday, Mike Simonsen, CEO of Altos Research, noted that per his data homebuyers are already "defying expectations" and already-tight inventory is already dropping yet again.

Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/14/23

CoreLogic updates its home price risk assessment for 392 U.S. housing markets

 — Lance Lambert | Fortune | 02/04/23

Age Is Just a Number—Except When You’re Applying for a Mortgage

 — Robyn A. Friedman | WSJ | 02/09/23

Property Taxes Are Going Up; Here's How to Lower Your Bill

Veronica Dagher | WSJ | 02/05/23

Homelessness by the NumbersDavid Horsey | Seattle Times | 02/03/23

30 People Tell Us What Homelessness is Really LikeNYT | 02/11/23

Officially called the Point-in-Time Count, the annual tally of those who live outside or in homeless shelters takes place in every corner of the country through the last 10 days of January, and over the past dozen years has found 550,000 to 650,000 people experiencing homelessness. The endeavor is far from perfect, advocates note, since it captures no more than a few days and is almost certainly a significant undercount. But it’s a snapshot from which resources flow, and creates a shared understanding of a common problem.

The 2023 count will provide a crucial understanding of the legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic and the success of government efforts in blunting its effects. Last year’s count — 582,462 — showed homelessness was essentially flat from two years ago, a fact that Jeff Olivet, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, attributed to widespread eviction moratoriums, billions in rental assistance and an expansion of federal housing vouchers that fortified the safety net. The question for this year, Mr. Olivet said, is “whether we were able to flatten the curve and even start pointing downwards.”

582,462 and CountingNYT | 02/03/23

One Solution to the Housing Crisis: Just Make People Rich 

Ginia Bellafante | NYT | 02/11/23

Opponents of the Water Street project have repeatedly pointed out that a series of proposals submitted in the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s were all rejected by the landmarks commission on the grounds that in each case whatever was suggested created a visual confusion about the district’s outlines. But the argument that the commission should be bound to precedent ignores the altered realities of an increasingly alienating housing market that has escalated to a humanitarian emergency. In November roughly 67,000 people were sleeping in the city’s homeless shelters every night, more than six times the population in 1983. How do we weigh the view from the Brooklyn Bridge against that?

In Affordable Housing v. Parking Lot, a Judge Chooses the Lot 

Ginia Bellafante | NYT | 01/27/23

See how many all-cash buyers snagged houses in your neighborhood

Emmanuel Martinez, Kevin Schaul & Hamza Shaban | WaPo | 02/09/23


Landlords say New York City’s new laws will force dramatic changes. Unlike energy codes of the past, one of the key laws, which restricts pollution, doesn’t merely apply to new construction: Existing buildings, no matter how small or how old, must gradually comply and retrofit as well, potentially at eye-watering cost.

…landlords will be forced to look into an uncertain future and face stark choices.

New Skyscraper, Built to Be an Environmental Marvel, Is Already Dated

Ben Ryder Howe | NYT | 02/14/23

N.B. Like NYC, the Seattle BEPS will require existing buildings to retrofit *at any cost.*

Liftbuild nears completion on remarkable "top-down" skyscraper Loz Blain | 02/06/23

Millennium Tower Quake Safety Questions Linger Despite New Building Support 

Jaxon Van Derbeken | NBC Bay Area | 02/07/23

A Size Comparison of Existing and Planned Skyscrapers

Lori Dorn | Laughing Squid | 02/03/23

Sorry, Dogs: The Lobby Is Off-Limits Sara Maslin Nir | NYT | 02/03/23

How to safely dispose of hazardous household materials 

Melanie D.G. Kaplan | Washington Post | 01/31/23

L.A.’s ‘Green Alley’ Experiments Are WorkingAlissa Walker | Curbed | 02/01/23

…But then the government subsidized construction of new housing downtown and the conversion of commercial buildings into apartments. Instead of spiraling downward, Lower Manhattan thrived. Similar measures, with a big infusion of state and federal money, might greatly ease the damage from remote work, he said.

“In a best-case scenario, we remove 30 or 40 percent of the office stock in New York City, turn it into wonderful housing… There are impediments to such a scenario, including the prohibitive costs of converting offices to apartments and zoning restrictions that bar residential construction…”  The Prophet of Urban Doom Says New York Still Has a Chance

 — John Leland | NYT | 02/08/23

Over the past quarter century Nathan Berman has developed a savant-like mastery of a peculiar trade in New York City property development: converting out-of-fashion office buildings into residential towers.  “Right now, I bet you every major developer has a feasibility study on their desk on residential conversion…”

Turning offices into condos: New York after the pandemic

 — Joshua Chaffin | Financial Times | 02/13/23

Some cities confront it head on: ‘Downtown … is not coming back’ 

Danny Westneat | Seattle Times | 02/11/23

The Death of Downtown Research Brief Chapple et. al. | School of Cities | Jan 2023

The Future of Downtowns The Volcker Alliance | 01/19/23

City planners are questioning the point of parking garages 

Kevin J. Krizek & John Hersey | Ars Technica | 02/01/23

Three years into the pandemic, business leaders and city officials around the world are still trying just about everything to lure employees back into offices and revive local economies. But in a number of cities across the US, Fridays at the office are dead. Mondays aren’t much better, and returning to pre-pandemic work schedules looks like a lost cause.

That is being felt very keenly in  Manhattan, where workers are spending at least $12.4 billion less a year due to about 30% fewer days in the office, according to a Bloomberg News analysis using exclusive data from Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom’s WFH Research group.  Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/13/23

Energy Use: A Burning Debate

Natural Gas: Fasten Your Seat Belts

Jinjoo Lee | WSJ | 02/11/23

Gas stove makers have a pollution solution. They're just not using it. 

Jeff Brady | NPR | 02/04/23

Worried about your gas stove? This comic will show you other ways to cook. 

Allyson Chiu & Christine Suggs | The Washington Post | 02/10/23

“The ‘electrify everything’ movement is moving forward across the Northeast and in other parts of the country with a vengeance,” Richard Carrione, a consultant paid by the National Oilheat Research Alliance, wrote last fall in an industry magazine. “It will be incumbent on our industry to educate and activate Mainers about the pitfalls of electrification,” he wrote, signing off: “The battle has just begun. Stay tuned.”

Heat pumps are defying Maine’s winters and oil industry pushback

Anna Phillips | Washington Post | 02/07/23

Should you replace your gas stove with an induction cooktop? Here’s what you need to know 

Adele Peters | Fast Company | 01/24/23

Washing machines and fridges could be much cheaper to power by 2027

Steven Mufson | The Washington Post | 02/10/23 

Dollar$ and $ense Page

💵💰 DOLLAR$ & $ENSE 💰💵

Condo Connection's financial coverage is indexed to our Dollar$ and $ense page dedicated to all things CIC finance.

Dollar$ and $ense Page

Condo Connection's financial coverage is indexed to our Dollar$ and $ense page dedicated to all things CIC finance.

What explains the big disconnect between survey-based data (which has been down in the dumps) vs. actual measures of economic activity, which remain robust?  

Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/13/23

The US budget deficit is widening rapidly, raising the risk of the Treasury running out of cash earlier than expected amid a debt-ceiling standoff.  The excess of spending over receipts totaled $459 billion for the first four months of the fiscal year, which started Oct. 1. That’s a $200 billion increase over the same period a year earlier.

Bloomberg Evening Briefing 02/08/23

The consumer-price index, a widely used measure of inflation, moderated to 6.4% in January from a year earlier and down from 6.5% in December.  But housing costs – which make up 40% of the index – rose 0.7% for the month and increased 7.9% from a year ago. 

Today's CPI report revealed inflated cost of housing. What that means for rent, mortgages

— Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy | WSJ | 02/14/23

Fed officials stressed the need for further interest-rate increases to help tame inflation, but differed over how close they are to stopping after new data showed signs of persistent price pressures. Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said in a Bloomberg TV interview that “if inflation persists at levels well above our target, maybe we’ll have to do more.” Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan flagged the need to “remain prepared to continue rate increases for a longer period than previously anticipated.” Meanwhile, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said he believes policymakers will need to raise interest rates above 5% and possibly higher. Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/15/23

As the US enters the third year of the pandemic, its economy isn’t done throwing curve balls:

Missing Out

To see why, you have to understand so-called bank cash-sweep vehicles, which most big Wall Street brokerage firms use to handle the cash that comes into investors’ accounts.

Some Investors Are Missing Out on Higher Yields—and Don't Know It

Randall Smith | WSJ | 02/05/23

Community banks are struggling most to match the higher rates offered by Treasurys and money-market funds, losing customers to those products. Many lenders are regularly tapping FHLB advances, longer-term borrowings backed by high-quality securities, and to some extent the Fed’s emergency lending facility—the discount window—to get cash onto their balance sheet.  

Banks Borrow Unsecured Cash at Record Clip While Deposits Flee

Eric Wallerstein | WSJ | 02/05/23

Money Market Yields as of 02/13/23


That’s the beauty of bonds — investors can merrily clip coupons and collect a steady stream of income even if the debt doesn’t actually appreciate in price. That’s the bedrock of many of this year’s bullish fixed-income calls, with yields on Treasury bills at multi-decade highs.

— Katie Greifeld | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start your Day | 02/10/23

Fixed Income & Bond Yields as of 02/15/23

Governance Matters


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Support Ukraine

A Note About Ukraine

The people of Ukraine are undergoing tremendous displacement from their homes coupled with loss of life, tragedy and suffering.  Considering the global landscape can help us gain perspective in our daily lives.  CIC Info Bytes readers expressed their support for Ukraine last year.  Please voice your own support!