Info Bytes 03.16.23
CIC Info Bytes are frequent, succinct updates that provide educational and engagement opportunities to help your community thrive!
>>> Subscribe to receive CIC Info Bytes updates by email <<<
>>> Join us on Reddit at r/HOA <<<
ISSUE # 61
CIC Info Bytes 03/16/23
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.
All 60 CIC Info Bytes issues are available online and indexed from the omnibox search.
Please join us on Reddit: r/HOA + r/f*ckHOA. 100% free. Zero corporate moderation!
Omnibox website search. See upper-right hand corner of your screen!
LAST CHANCE! TAKE THE 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.
Deferred Governance is THE PROBLEM
Deferred maintenance became the talk of many common interest communities (CICs) following June 2021’a tragic partial collapse of a condominium building in Surfside, Florida. Despite a flurry of new government regulation (heavily focused in Florida) and hundreds of articles in myriad publications discussing the circumstances surrounding the collapse and steps that properties can take to avoid the same fate, many CICs are still in limbo. Building infrastructure is one of a handful of puzzle pieces that the industry of businesses primarily serving CICs knows how to quantify. Governance is not.
Deferred governance is a silent and underappreciated foe. The Surfside Board of Directors had years to act. Deferred governance is attributable to several causes including, but not limited to lack of awareness, lack of accountability, lack of urgency, rehashing reasonable policy and project decisions and reinventing the wheel by failing to codify due diligence in writing.
Last, but certainly not least, deferred governance rears its head whenever unilateral decision-making occurs. There is never an appropriate time for one volunteer to substitute their own decision-making and priorities for those of the Board. Individuals can help provide support functions. The Board provides governance functions. Always!
Two of our most recent blog articles highlight governance challenges exacerbated by lack of proactive leadership, omnipotence and unilateral decision-making. The proof is in the doing.
TLDR: buyer beware. Avoid remorse by scrutinizing contracts before signing.
Grove buyers paid, but can’t move into their dream homes — Linda Robertson | Miami Herald | 03/12/23
Home ownership is getting less affordable.
Landlords and tenants are going to battle across America.
The housing slowdown is having knock-on effects for municipalities that operate homeless shelters.
‘It’s legal, there’s just no precedent’: the first US town to demand a rent decrease — Wilfred Chan | The Guardian | 03/08/23
Skagit and other counties may close homeless shelters due to drop in mortgage fees — Scott Greenstone | KNKX Public Radio | 03/05/23
Housing affordability is at the lowest level in over a decade — Megan Henney | FOX Business | 03/06/23
I’ve lived in New York for 13 years and earn $64,000. Why am I being evicted now? — Joe Kloc | The Guardian | 03/08/23
Just how much new construction is necessary to meet our region’s housing shortage? King County would need to see nearly 17,000 new homes built every year for the next two decades to keep up with demand, according to new state projections.
And clearing the way for private developers to build thousands more market-rate homes will not be enough to meet that need. More than half of the new homes need to be affordable to people making less than 50% of area median income, or $45,300 for a single person in King County, the state Department of Commerce said Thursday.
The need for new housing spans the entire state. All told, Washington will need 1.1 million new homes over the next 20 years, or about 55,000 per year, according to the projections.
That’s a higher level of building than the state has seen in recent years. In the last decade, Census data shows Washington has added an average of about 35,000 housing units per year. In 2021, the state added about 43,000 units.
King Co. needs 17K new homes every year to address housing shortage — Heidi Groover | Seattle Times | 03/03/23
King County's goal to convert hotels into housing for homeless falls short — Michelle Esteban | KOMO News | 03/07/23
Real-estate investors shy away from the now-risky 'BRRRR' method — AJ LaTrace | Business Insider | 03/05/23
Why Aren’t Housing Prices Crashing? — Ben Carson | A Wealth of Common Sense | 03/03/23
Housing rebound: Home prices will enter growth cycle akin to 1980s-90s — Filip De Mott | Markets Insider | 03/03/23
The median age for first-time homebuyers in the US is now the highest on record, and housing prices are at their least affordable in four decades. This dynamic may push would-be buyers into new construction, since existing homeowners have few incentives to give up their low-rate mortgages. On the commercial front, the work-from-home revolution has helped land major office landlords in default, raising fears of more to come as the pandemic reshapes offices, city centers and your commute.
‘I can’t afford to sell because I don’t want to lose that rate’: 3% mortgage rates will loom large... — Alena Botros | Fortune | 03/02/23
More than 40% of all US mortgages were originated in 2020 or 2021, when the first years of the pandemic drove borrowing costs to historic lows and triggered a refinancing boom. That’s good news for all the homeowners who locked in cheap loans—but not so great for the Fed as it seeks to cool the economy. — David Rovella | Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 03/03/23
— Victoria Cavaliere & Ian Fisher | Bloomberg Weekend Reading | 03/04/23
In the US, buyers and developers are juggling environmental concerns with the higher costs of sustainable luxury…In the sales market, developers are less convinced... “Time is money”...
What would you pay for a sustainable home? — Zoe Dare Hall | Financial Times | 03/10/23
We covered ADU trends in our December 15, 2022 edition of CIC Info Bytes. Are SFRs by another name just as sweet? Probably moreso…
Seattle is now building more ADUs than single houses — Daniel Beekman | Seattle Times | 03/08/23
Seattle 2022 ADU Annual Report
What’s love got to do with it? More Gen Z couples are shacking up, with the need to save money and fight inflation increasingly proving the tipping point—as well as love. More than 11% of Americans aged 18 to 24 live with a romantic partner who’s not a spouse. That’s about 3.2 million people, roughly 650,000 more than before the pandemic.
Gen Z Couples Are Shacking Up at Record Rates — Augusta Saraiva and Paulina Cachero | Bloomberg | 03/15/23
New apartments in 2022 measured 887 square feet on average across the country, a 30-square-foot drop from a year earlier, according to a new report from RentCafe. — Sami Sparber and Kavya Beheraj | Axios | 03/14/23
Housing costs 'dominant factor' in Feb. inflation data as rents show signs of cooling — Dani Romero | Yahoo! Money | 03/14/23
Supersize Apartments Are Back in Demand (06/29/21) >>> National Apartment Size Shrinking (03/03/23)
New apartment construction to match 50-year high — Jacob Knutson | Axios | 08/22/22
What you should know about heat pumps in the Pacific Northwest — Hal Burnton | Seattle Times | 03/06/23
Getting a heat pump? Check out these financial incentives — Hal Burnton | Seattle Times | 03/06/23
What Is a Heat Pump and Why Does Elon Musk Want to Put One in Your Home? — Olivia Rudgard | Bloomberg | 03/03/23
Study shows payback times for heat pumps could plunge by 2030 — Beatriz Santos | PV Magazine | 03/03/23
Look at all that rejected (unused) energy!
With Heat From Heat Pumps, US Energy Requirements Could Plummet By 50% — Michael Barnard | CleanTechnica | 03/14/23
A sweeping new climate law in New York City aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from large buildings 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. Starting next year, buildings that exceed emissions limits will face steadily escalating fines.
The law was designed to propel buildings to swap gas and oil for cleaner electric heating. But the costs and logistics of that shift can be extremely challenging. And that has turned New York City into a laboratory of sorts, forcing change and innovation as property owners scramble to avoid huge penalties. A Huge City Polluter? Buildings. Here's a Surprising Fix [hint: carbon capture] — Brad Plumber | NYT | 03/10/23
As Millions of Solar Panels Age Out, Recyclers Hope to Cash In — Jon Hurdle | Yale Environment 360 | 02/28/23
Going to “Zero” Is Expen$ive
Looking forward: racing to “zero” leads to: 1) a lack of practical solutions + 2) lawsuits.
Emitting greenhouse gases in WA? Here’s who will need to pay up to pollute — Isabella Breda | Seattle Times | 02/26/23
Lawsuit seeks to block state building code requirements for heat pumps — Hal Bernton | Seattle Times | 03/02/23
Craig Hart is troubled by a multimillion-dollar puzzle: How to get his condo building to conform with the city’s sweeping new climate law before potentially steep penalties begin next year.
“I’ve been looking at every option I can think of, and I don’t know what to do,” said Mr. Hart…
Now, months before compliance begins, a mix of real estate interest groups are lobbying to delay the process or carve out exemptions, claiming that the requirements are too burdensome for residential boards with limited funding. But environmental groups warn that weakening the law could imperil its goals at a time when climate change is already endangering the city.
Mr. Hart, for one, is not sure where he will find the money to get his century-old condo into compliance. Should he add solar panels and heat pumps to a roof already due for a $650,000 replacement? Install an updated fossil-fuel-burning boiler system that will still fall short as requirements become stricter in coming years? What about a laundry list of other costly repairs and renovations?...
In May, a group of residential property owners, including Mr. Friedrich, sued the city to prevent the enforcement of Local Law 97, claiming that the penalties are too burdensome and target the wrong buildings, among other arguments. The case is ongoing.
What’s Holding Up New York’s Climate Progress? Apartment Buildings
— Stefanos Chen and Winston Choi-Schagrin | NYT | 03/10/23
Condo Connection's financial coverage is indexed to our Dollar$ and $ense page dedicated to all things CIC finance.
Americans’ Outlook for Personal Finances Is Getting Gloomier
— Alexandre Tanzi | Bloomberg | 03/07/23
In 2023, cash is far from trash — that’s the verdict of the 404 professional and retail investors who took part in the latest MLIV Pulse survey. Against a backdrop of uncertainty over continued Fed rate hikes and a looming recession, cash looks like a safe haven — particularly with yields on short-term Treasury bills high enough to beat the classic 60/40 portfolio of stocks and bonds for the first time since 2001. “We’re encouraging people that it’s okay to hold cash, that it’s not just a lead weight on your ankle weighing you down,” said Leo Kelly, chief executive officer at Verdence Capital Advisors. — Kristine Aquino | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 03/06/23
Holding Cash Will Be a Winning Strategy in 2023, Investors Say — Suzanne Woolley | Bloomberg | 03/05/23
Sovereign debt is paying handsomely, but it isn’t beating inflation.
Junior debt issued by banks, normally one of the riskiest types of fixed-income in the US and Europe, has become a haven to some investors.
Its short duration is seen as a way to avoid losses suffered in longer-term bonds as the surge in rates erodes the value of the future income.
Preferred securities sold predominantly by US banks have returned 5.2% so far this year, while European banks’ own version is up 2.8%, according to ICE BofA indexes. Global investment-grade bonds, meanwhile, have almost erased all gains.
Risky Is Now Safe in Bond Market Upset by Soaring Inflation — Tasos Vossos | Bloomberg | 03/07/23
US banks are being forced to do something they haven’t done for 15 years: fight for your money. After years of earning next to nothing, depositors are discovering a trove of higher-yielding options like Treasury bills and money market funds as the Federal Reserve ratchets up benchmark interest rates. The shift has been so pronounced that deposits at commercial banks fell last year for the first time since 1948, with net withdrawals hitting $278 billion. So in a bid to stem those outflows to better paying options, banks are grudgingly lifting their rates from rock-bottom levels, particularly when it comes to certificates of deposit. More than a dozen US lenders including Capital One are now offering an annual percentage yield of 5% on one-year CDs, a rate that would have been unspeakably high two years ago. Even the big banks are feeling the heat: At Wells Fargo, 11-month CDs now pay 4%. — Natasha Solo-Lyons | Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 03/06/23
US Banks Are Finally Being Forced to Raise Rates on Deposits — Alex Harris, David Caleb Mutua and Paige Smith | Bloomberg | 03/06/23
Inflation and Monetary Policy
The ECB raised rates another 50bps to a 3% target.
European Central Bank hikes rates despite market mayhem, pledges support if needed — Silvia Amaro | CNBC | 03/16/23
Inflation is still a thing and rate hikes are up in the air.
Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 5.5% last month from a year ago. Prices overall are up 6% from last year.
Fed Rate Pause Is a Tough Call After Inflation Reaccelerates — Steve Matthews | Bloomberg | 03/14/23
Will the Federal Reserve’s attempts to protect small U.S. banks mean it holds back on raising rates at the next meeting?...Goldman Sachs economists said on Sunday night they no longer expected the Fed to increase rates on March 22, its next meeting. They had previously expected a quarter-point increase. The economists said they still expected rate hikes in May, June and July, ultimately pushing U.S. interest rates to 5.25% to 5.5%. — Matthew Thomas | WSJ | 03/12/23
Jerome Powell told lawmakers this week that the central bank was ready to speed up the pace of monetary tightening should inflation keep running hot. The US job market is too strong for the Fed Chair’s taste, keeping wage-growth elevated.
— Victoria Cavaliere and Ian Fisher | Bloomberg Weekend Reading | 03/11/23
After Fed Chair Powell’s testimony to US lawmakers roiled markets globally, investors are taking stock of the fallout. There’s “a reasonable chance” the US central bank will have to raise its key rate to 6% and keep it there for some time, Rick Rieder, chief investment officer for global fixed income at BlackRock said. Meanwhile, Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder of Citadel and Citadel Securities, said the setup for a US recession is unfolding and that the Fed needs to raise rates further to combat “traumatic” levels of inflation.
— Kristine Aquino | Bloomberg 5 Things to Start Your Day | 03/08/23
America’s $52 Billion Plan to Make Chips at Home Faces a Labor Shortage — Shawn Donnan | Bloomberg | 03/08/23
On day two of his testimony to lawmakers, Jerome Powell stressed that no decision has been made on the size of this month’s Fed rate increase. Still, Citi joined the institutions upping bets on a 50 bps boost.
The policy decision will hinge on incoming jobs and inflation reports, Powell told a House committee.
Hotter data = hotter action: “We’d be prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes,” he said, but cautioned that’s a big, data-dependent “if.”
Today’s labor data came in strong ahead of Friday’s payrolls report, with more workers added in February than expected and job vacancies falling less than forecast. One for the hiking hawks.
Also taking to flight: construction workers. One Montana firm said it now has to jet in staff by private plane.
The undercurrent remains the same: The Fed is likely to take rates higher than previously anticipated. Stocks wobbled but ended higher.
Bloomberg The Close | 03/08/23
Powell Softens Tone and Says March Rate Hike Size Is Not Yet Decided — Jonnelle Marte | Bloomberg | 03/08/23
How are your Investments Insured?
The full faith and credit of the United States of America guarantees you’ll get your principal and interest on all Treasury Bills, Notes and Bonds (US government debt).
N.B. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is UNLIMITED.
The US government guarantees trillions of dollars of debt obligations.
FDIC insurance guarantees you’ll get your deposits back, up to $250,000 per financial institution account (unless the US Federal Government fails – unlikely).
SIPC coverage is offered AND funded by member institutions.
SIPC protects brokerage accounts of each customer up to $500,000 in securities, including a limit of $250,000 on claims for cash awaiting reinvestment. Money market funds held in a brokerage account are considered securities.
While it is highly unlikely that major banks and brokerages will become insolvent, there are still pending SIPC claims from Bernie Madoff’s 2008 ponzi scheme.
Excess of SIPC coverage is provided by major brokerages like Fidelity Investments.
Excess of SIPC coverage is only used when SIPC coverage is exhausted.
Excess of SIPC protection does not cover
investment losses in customer accounts due to market fluctuation
other claims for losses incurred while broker-dealers remain in business.
Total aggregate excess of SIPC coverage available from Fidelity's is $1 billion.
There is no per-account dollar limit on coverage of securities, but there is a per-account limit of $1.9 million on coverage of cash awaiting investment. This is the maximum excess of SIPC protection currently available in the brokerage industry.
Investing wisely requires attention to various forms of risk. Operating a common interest community (CIC) necessitates a keen awareness of cash flow needs. Investing is never “safe” if you don’t have access to cash when you need it.
Selling principal-guaranteed securities before their maturity date is often subject to penalties and/or principal loss (or gain). Warren Buffett’s latest Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter advises investors to “avoid behavior that could result in any uncomfortable cash needs at inconvenient times, including financial panics.”
If you want to learn about interest rate risk, look no further than SVB. California regulators made the decision last Friday, March 10, to shutter the bank and transfer its assets to the FDIC. What was the problem? SVB’s sale of $21B of principal-guaranteed long-term US Treasury bonds (at a loss of $1.8B) triggered doubts about its ability to satisfy redemptions. Those doubts manifested into a self-fulfilling prophecy as a “run on the bank” (an avalanche of $42B in redemption requests on March 9) overwhelmed SVB’s ability to operate.
SVB’s Silicon Valley Bank became the biggest US lender to fail in more than a decade following a run by depositors. California state watchdogs took possession of the bank and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as receiver. — Bloomberg Evening Briefing | 03/10/23
Why Did Silicon Valley Bank Collapse? — Andrew Ross Sorkin | NYT | 03/11/23
Regulators to Hold Auction for Silicon Valley Bank — Andrew Ackerman | WSJ | 03/12/23
Silicon Valley Bank Was Doomed by Smartphone Bank Run — Ben Foldy, Rachel Louise Ensign and Justin Baer | WSJ | 03/12/23
Treasury secretary rules out bailout for Silicon Valley Bank — Sam Fossum, Ramishah Maruf and Alayna Treene | CNN | 03/12/23
SVB Couldn’t Ignore Its Losses, But the Fed Can — Matt Levine | Money Stuff by Bloomberg | 03/13/23
WSJ Live Q&A About The Two Most Recent Bank Collapses | 03/13/23
The White House is avoiding one word when it comes to Silicon Valley Bank: “BAILOUT” — Bobby Allyn | NPR | 03/14/23
You could blame regulators or the auditors at KPMG, who gave SVB a clean bill of health when they looked into its portfolio just weeks before its historic collapse.
You could blame the phalanx of interests…who called to roll back midsize-bank regulations in 2018, potentially setting the stage for this catastrophic mismanagement…
Or you could blame venture capitalists. One week ago, SVB was technically insolvent but far from doomed. Without a massive run on its deposits, the bank likely would have puttered along as its long-term bonds matured. Surely, SVB had put itself in an awful position by tossing fresh cash into the Dumpster fire of the 2022 bond market. But actual bank death required one further step: Clients, led by the venture-capital community, had to turn on a trusted financial partner…
The End of Silicon Valley Bank—And a Silicon Valley Myth — Derek Thompson | The Atlantic | 03/13/23
[if you hit a paywall, try opening from Google News instead]
The Fed is said to be considering changes to its oversight of midsized banks and weighing rules that could bring capital and liquidity thresholds closer to strictures faced by the largest Wall Street firms. — Bloomberg The Open | 03/15/23
In Boyle v. Huff, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, found a wrongfully removed Board member was covered by the indemnification provision of his association’s governing documents. The association was found solely liable to provide indemnification.
We recently discovered two different nonprofit organizations that are working to make positive changes for homeowners and common interest communities. Please feel free to connect and support these causes! Check our HOA Fightclub and HRLNG.
US vs. Dorchester Owners Association, is the latest in a long string of cases that have found associations across the US guilty of discrimination in violation of the HUD policies and the Fair Housing Act.
The United States alleged in this case that the DOA discriminated on the basis of disability by failing to grant a reasonable accommodation to its no-pets policy to a HUD complainant, and alleged that DOA engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination and/or a denial of rights against a group of persons by adopting a discriminatory policy and refusing to grant reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities who need assistance animals.
The jury found that the Defendant had engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against persons with disabilities and had denied rights protected by the Fair Housing Act to a group of such persons…
HB1054 - Occupancy by Unrelated Persons will allow landlords in common interest communities to stuff up to 1 tenant per 50sqft.
Awaiting executive action by the Senate Law & Justice Committee. This bill
HB1199 - Licensed Child Care in Common Interest Communities will allow licensed child care centers to operate from any residential unit and/or home.
Awaiting executive action (and hopefully an amendment) by the Senate Law & Justice Committee on March 22, 2023.
HB1043 - Association Records in Common Interest Communities partially aligns records disclosure requirements for WA State CICs.
Awaiting public hearing on March 20 and executive action on March 22nd.
Please contact us if you’re aware of legislation to feature from YOUR state!
SUPPORT: Condo Connection is a volunteer effort that helps fill an incredible void for common interest communities and their homeowners. WE DO ASK for your general support every few months because providing this free resource is not a free endeavor.
We believe in transparency which is why we disclose our fiscal support. In total, Condo Connection has received about $1,800 of support throughout 2022. If that doesn’t sound like much, that’s because it isn’t. Thousands of people visit Condo Connection every month seeking insights and answers. Requests come in every week to provide more free resources, but very few people are willing to spend even $10.
YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS. Please consider supporting us if you and/or your community have benefited from our free resources. Your contributions enable expansion of Condo Connection's ad-free newsletter and website. You can donate, purchase a digital download, annual subscription or a festive digital gift card for you and your friends, neighbors, colleagues and community. You can also share this newsletter and web links and encourage folks you know to join our free listserv. YOU can take action to support value-added alternatives to CAI that prioritize the interests of CICs and their homeowners.
THANK YOU to all our supporters past, present and future!
+++ Have a question that you'd like to ask directly to your peers? Ask YOUR listserv! +++
Homeowners | Volunteer Leaders | Managers & Management Companies | Vendors