Info Bytes 03.02.23
CIC Info Bytes are frequent, succinct updates that provide educational and engagement opportunities to help your community thrive!
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ISSUE # 60
CIC Info Bytes 03/02/23
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.
All 60 CIC Info Bytes issues are available online and indexed from the omnibox search.
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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.
Time investment is 10 to 20 minutes
Questions range from management to staffing to vendors to insurance
You can save your work and pick up where you left (if signed into a G-account)
Results will be delivered circa mid-March in a tidy Looker Studio dashboard.
Quick reference Dollar$ & $ense Article Library helps you locate content.
We’ve added an active shooter section to our Emergency Preparedness page. ‘Run, hide, fight’ is still the standard, but its efficacy is under fire.
This unfortunate homeowner posted their stinky situation on Reddit.
#1 - Who puts a commode in the middle of the family room?!
#2 - We’re thrilled to see homeowners benefiting from free content on our Rules page!
WSCAI invited its members to a $15 virtual luncheon in March where Bellevue PD and the King County Sheriff’s Office will share crime prevention information.
We have all those handouts and tips (and more!) here for free.
Looking for something more interactive? Many police and sheriff’s departments have free programming you can schedule for your community.
PARKING KILLS: Homeowner shoots, kills man parked in driveway near Everett — FOX 13 | 02/28/23
TLDR: Sham elections and getting robbed.
Frustrated South Florida community teams up, fights back against property mgmt… — Amy Viteri | Local10 | 02/16/23
N.B. Common interest communities often neglect to amend their governing documents to adopt ‘poison pill’ provisions that limit hostile takeovers.
Florida Holdouts Against Condo Termination Duel With Real-Estate Firms — Deborah Acosta | WSJ | 02/20/23
Their Retirement Plan Did Not Include Being Forced to Sell Their Condo — Anne Kodé | NYT | 02/24/23
TLDR: Living by a golf course isn’t all it’s CRACKED up to be.
Golf Course Living Is Paradise—Except for the 651 Balls Pelting Your House and Yard — James Finelli | WSJ | 02/21/23
TLDR: Too noisy? There may be a variety of solutions…
My Neighbors Are Always Chatting Outside My Door. Make Them Stop! — Ronda Kaysen | NYT | 02/25/23
TLDR: Renewable energy projects have an infrastructure problem.
…proactive planning is rare, since utilities, state officials and businesses often argue fiercely over whether new lines are necessary — and who should bear the cost.
“The hardest part isn’t the engineering, it’s figuring out who’s going to pay for it,” said Aubrey Johnson, vice president of system planning at MISO.
If the United States can’t fix its grid problems, it could struggle to tackle climate change. Researchers at the Princeton-led REPEAT project recently estimated that new federal subsidies for clean energy could cut electricity emissions in half by 2030. But that assumes transmission capacity expands twice as fast over the next decade. If that doesn’t happen, the researchers found, emissions could actually increase as solar and wind get stymied and existing gas and coal plants run more often to power electric cars.
Massachusetts and Maine offer a warning, said David Gahl, executive director of the Solar and Storage Industries Institute. In both states, lawmakers offered hefty incentives for small-scale solar installations. Investors poured money in, but within months, grid managers were overwhelmed, delaying hundreds of projects.
“There’s a lesson there…You can pass big, ambitious climate laws, but if you don’t pay attention to details like interconnection rules, you can quickly run into trouble.”
The U.S. Has Billions for Wind and Solar Projects. Good Luck Plugging Them In — Brad Plumber | NYT |02/23/23
Global CO2 hit a record last year as fossil fuels fought back… — Bloomberg The Open Newsletter | 03/02/23
Great news source: NYT Real Estate Page
Fannie Mae: The housing market just pulled a head fake — Lance Lambert | Fortune | 02/24/23
These 124 housing markets are weathering the home price correction (so far) like it’s 1981 — Lance Lambert | Fortune | 02/28/23
Is Now a Good Time to Sell Your Home? — Veronica Dagher | WSJ | 02/26/23
The US housing market shrunk. By a lot. After peaking at $47.7 trillion in June, the total value of homes declined by $2.3 trillion, or 4.9%, in the second half of 2022. That’s the largest drop in percentage terms since the 2008 housing crisis. — Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 02/22/23
TLDR: Florida and other states are home to billions in overvalued property.
The researchers found that coastal property owners and homeowners in states that have inadequate or nonexistent flood disclosure laws, such as Florida, where there are no disclosure laws and homes are overvalued by $50 billion, were particularly vulnerable to overvaluation. They also found that a large share of overvalued homes are in areas that FEMA says aren’t currently at significant risk of flooding, a signal that flood maps need updating. The study’s authors told Grist that states need to gauge and clearly communicate flood risk to homeowners regardless of whether their home is located in one of the agency’s “special flood hazard areas,” where flood insurance is mandatory for most mortgages.
Homes in Flood Zones Are Overvalued by Billions, Study Finds — Zoya Teirstein | Grist; republished by Gizmodo | 02/17/23
Evidence continues to grow that the housing market has stabilized, despite the surge in mortgage rates.
— Joe Weisenthal | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 03/02/23
How Empty Land in the Arizona Desert Gets Turned Into Homes
— Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway | Bloomberg Odd Lots Podcast | 03/02/23
ARTICLE: How Empty Land in the Arizona Desert Gets Turned Into Homes
COOL: Common interest communities with air strips and houses with hangars.
$4,000/month to live in a residential airpark: 'All I have to do is taxi out and take off — Celia Fernandez and Erin Black | CNBC | 02/18/23
Finding solutions to homelessness is both challenging and expensive.
Plan to reduce homelessness in downtown Seattle picks up after slow start — Greg Kim | Seattle Times | 02/28/23
Ambitious New Plan … to Spend Billions a Year on Homelessness… Realistic or Necessary? — Erica C. Barnett | PubliCola | 02/15/23
Group calls $12B plan to end homelessness in Seattle region 'infeasible,' 'incomprehensible'
— Marc Stiles | Puget Sound Business Journal | 02/15/23
Housing is increasingly unaffordable across the United States.
It’s hard to put a ribbon on mortgage rates over 6% in the US—double where they were last year—but lenders are trying. Some are offering to buy down interest rates temporarily or will cover the costs of future refinancing. And while the market did shrink in value in the second half of last year, the total value of US houses in December was still 6.5% higher than a year earlier. For those homeowners who secured ultra-cheap 3% loans, they can now “invest essentially risk-free at 5% or more” in Treasuries, Conor Sen writes for Bloomberg Opinion.
— Bloomberg Weekend Reading | 02/25/23
That 3% Mortgage Just Keeps Getting Better — Conor Sen | Bloomberg | 02/23/23
Historically, existing-home sales far outpace purchases of new homes. It’s hard to identify a recent year in the housing market that could be called normal, but in 2017 around 5.5 million existing homes were sold in the US compared with around 600,000 new homes — that would make the existing-home market roughly nine times bigger than the market for new homes.
There are 85 million owner-occupied housing units in the US, so generally it’s easier to find an existing home to buy than a newly built one, particularly in the parts of the country that no longer do much in the way of building.
For Many Homebuyers, It’s New Construction or Nothing — Conor Sen | Bloomberg; reprinted by The Washington Post | 02/27/23
Absentee owners are crowding the housing market, data shows — Jasmine Cui | NBC News | 02/24/23
Home sales plummet in South Florida. Why do prices keep rising as housing market deflates?
— Michael Butler and Rebecca San Juan| Miami Herald; reprinted by MSN | 02/22/23
Buildings and cities are fascinating, don’t you agree? Much prior coverage as well.
How these buildings made Turkey-Syria’s earthquake so deadly — VOX | 02/14/23
Wooden Skyscrapers Are on the Rise — Eric Niiler | WSJ | 04/11/22
The largest office-to-condo conversion in New York City history will get its first residents next month, just as developers and policymakers turn their attention to repurposing more commercial buildings. And guess where it’s located? Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 02/23/23
Does the future of downtown Seattle involve new housing, less office space? — Chris Daniels | KOMO News | 03/01/23
Office Landlord Defaults Are Escalating as Lenders Brace for More Distress — Peter Grant | WSJ | 02/21/23
Wealthy individuals, family offices and closely held companies spent a combined $455 billion last year on commercial real estate, according to Knight Frank’s 2023 Wealth Report. They were the most active buyers in the sector annually for the first time, the London-based broker said in the report, released Wednesday. That’s a stark contrast from institutional investors, who pared their share of the $1.1 trillion market for offices, logistics sites and rental housing. “Private buyers are taking advantage of the ongoing repricing of assets and stronger currency positions,” Alex James, Knight Frank’s head of private client advisory, said in a statement.
— Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 03/01/23
World’s Rich Take Advantage as $1 Trillion Property Market Craters — Benjamin Stupples | Bloomberg | 02/28/23
‘15 Minute Cities’
Is Seattle a 15-minute City? — Nat Henry | February 2022
Where the ‘15-Minute City’ Falls Short — Feargus O'Sullivan | Bloomberg CityLab | 03/02/21
The 15-minute city meets human needs but leaves desires wanting. Here’s why
— Carlo Ratti and Richard Florida | Bloomberg CityLab | 11/11//21
How ‘15-minute cities’ turned into an international conspiracy theory — Laura Paddison | CNN | 02/26/23
Fossil Fuel: A Burning Debate
As Heat Pumps Go Mainstream, a Big Question: Can They Handle Real Cold? — Elena Shao | NYT | 02/22/23
Everything you need to know about the wild world of heat pumps — Casey Crownhart | MIT Technology Review | 02/14/23
Condo Connection's financial coverage is indexed to our Dollar$ and $ense page dedicated to all things CIC finance.
The safest investment in the world is paying more than anytime since 2007. But you’re still going to lose money unless there’s a historic slowdown in inflation. Treasury Bill Rates at 5% Are No Bargain — Aaron Brown | Bloomberg Personal Finance | 02/17/23
Inflation-linked bonds disappoint even as they deliver on their promise
— James D. Bruce | Financial Times; reprinted by Economic Gazette | 02/17/23
You Can Use Your Tax Refund to Buy I Bonds, but Should You? — Ann Carrns | NYT | 02/17/23
N.B. THE THEME of the following coverage should sound familiar.
Banks Score Big Profits on How Little They Pay You
Interest rates are soaring on seemingly everything these days—that is, except the money you squirreled away in your bank account. When it comes to that nest egg, the needle has been somewhat slower to move. Meanwhile, banks have been scoring monster profits on the widening gap between what they charge borrowers and what they pay you. Not a new story by any stretch, but it’s attracting the ire of politicians from London to Seoul at a time when high inflation is stoking cost-of-living crises. While the backlash has yet to reach critical mass, there are signs political and regulatory pressure is starting to have an impact.
— Natasha Solo-Lyons | Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 02/27/23
As interest rates soar on seemingly everything except deposits, banks are scoring big profits on the widening gap between what they charge borrowers and pay to savers. That’s attracting the ire of politicians from London to Seoul at a time when rampant inflation is stoking cost-of-living crises and forcing central banks to constrict economic growth. — Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/28/23
Certificates of deposit are one of the oldest, safest bank products around, but investing in shorter-term CDs right now just isn’t worth it, Alexis Leondis writes in Bloomberg Opinion. — Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 03/01/23
Bank CDs are an Insult to America’s Savers — Alexis Leondis | Bloomberg | 03/01/23
Higher Rates for Me, Not for Thee
There are a bunch of different ways that benchmark interest rates affect the average person, but perhaps the most visible (other than through mortgage rates) comes via the rate of return on your savings account. At the moment, the average interest rate on US bank accounts is just 0.23% according to Bankrate.com, which is a lot lower than benchmark rates that now sit at 4.5-4.75%. So why the discrepancy? LISTEN to the latest episode of Odd Lots. — Tracy Alloway | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/23/23
Inflation and Monetary Policy
The Fed won’t be able to get US inflation down to its 2% target without “crushing the economy,” economist Mohamed El-Erian said on Friday, but he added the central bank is unlikely to change that goal post—at least officially. “You need a higher stable inflation rate. Call it 3 to 4%,” El-Erian said. “I don’t think they can get CPI to 2%...but that’s because 2% is not the right target.” — David Rovella | Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 02/17/23
It’s a Richcession, Not a Recession — Justin Lahart, et. al. | WSJ | 02/17/23
As US inflation receded over the past few months, some economists warned that the situation might get sticky—the kind where inflation seems to retreat only to gum up the works again. This week, that scenario seemed to arrive...
— Victoria Cavaliere | Bloomberg Weekend Reading | 02/18/23
Investors now expect the major central banks to raise rates much more than they were thinking just at the start of this month. They are still underpricing the risk of how much more tightening is to come… — Ven Ram | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/21/23
Bonds came into this week in a funk after those sizzling hot January jobs numbers for the US. Things got worse after a slew of signals that inflation will remain sticky boosted expectations that central bank rates are going up and staying up in Europe, the US and even Australia. The global tightening wave that was supposed to have peaked is instead gathering strength as policymakers repeat the mantra that they need to stay strong to tame inflation. Data around the globe offers them plenty of reasons to be vigilant…
— Garfield Reynolds | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/17/23
To retire comfortably, you need somewhere between $3 million and $5 million — that’s according to 553 professional and retail investors worldwide who shared their views in the latest MLIV Pulse survey. Inflation and rising borrowing costs drove the average US 401(k) retirement account down 20% last year, and respondents were not as sure about whether they’d ultimately have enough saved to maintain their lifestyle in retirement. “While inflation appears to be cooling off, it increases the amount of funds that a person needs to have in retirement,” said Christine Benz, Morningstar’s director of personal finance and retirement planning. — Kristine Aquino | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 02/21/23
TLDR: Despite the general acceptance of nudity in Spain, their Supreme Court ruled that HOAs in the country cannot require nudity in common areas:
Nudity is “a perfectly respectable and legitimate personal choice,” the ruling said, “but its practice cannot be demanded without a basis.”
In particular, the court said the plaintiffs could not be prevented “arbitrarily, by acts of force, through the hiring of private security services” from using the shared facilities.
Enforced nudity in Spanish holiday home complex was wrong, court rules — Victoria Bisset | The Washington Post | 02/18/23
‘A place of suffering:’ Spanish Supreme Court upholds forced community nudism appeal — José María Brunet | El País | 02/17/23
The Supreme prevents an urbanization from imposing nudism … to access the pool — admin_l6ma5gus | Pledge Times | 02/16/23
Does your residential community allow cameras mounted to the outside of the front door? There’s not much you can do about a camera that works through the door viewer / peephole, but rules and regulations can govern exterior accouterments.
Can My Neighbor Point a Video Doorbell at My Apartment Door?
Ronda Kaysen | NYT | 02/18/23
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