Pinch must read this blog! Henry Fountain of the NYT takes on cow poop in the Science Section. Way to go, c’uz – I’ll expect a nice note of gratitude later.
Daily Archives: December 28, 2009
Though the cheapest houses on the market may not get much cheaper, more-expensive homes still have further to fall, which will likely slow the broader housing recovery.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home-price indexes for October are due on Tuesday morning. Economists estimate the index tracking prices in 20 major cities was down 7.7% from a year ago.
That would mark the smallest year-over-year decline since November 2007, but would also leave prices slightly lower than in September, ending a four-month string of month-to-month improvements. That might cause some anxiety about the housing recovery.
Despite recent signs of a bottom, many observers expect home prices to fall an additional 10% before the bust ends.
The worst of the subprime-mortgage defaults has likely passed, most analysts agree. That could explain why low-end homes are decreasing as a percentage of total foreclosures, while middle- and high-end homes are taking bigger shares, according to Zillow.com data.
That shift suggests price declines will prove more pronounced in middle and higher-end housing brackets, which haven’t yet fallen as far as the broader market. In San Francisco, high-end prices are down just 25% from their peak, compared with 39% for the broader regional market, according to Case-Shiller data.
Monthly payments for adjustable-rate mortgages, which helped many buyers afford more-expensive homes, could rise next year, either due to payment resets or rising interest rates. That trend threatens more defaults on higher-priced properties, which would weigh on prices.
44 Grahmpton, purchased for $5.125 in 2006, listed again at $6.995 in ’07 (with a lot of improvements) and finally dropped to $4.995 this past July, has a contract.
181 Milbank West, a condo that failed to sell at $3.150 back in ’05 and ’06, sold for $2.135.
42 Lockwood Avenue in Old Greenwich listed at $2.495, sold for $1.9.
20 Heronvue, a spec house, has rented for $12,000 per month. I’m not sure that’s going to help its builder all that much.
19 Willow, another spec house but this one in Riverside, priced at $3.695, is reported as “pending” which means, sort of a contract but with one or more contingencies unmet.
Meet the carbon tort.
Across the country, trial lawyers and green pressure groups—if that’s not redundant—are teaming up to sue electric utilities for carbon emissions under “nuisance” laws.
A group of 12 Gulf Coast residents whose homes were damaged by Katrina are suing 33 energy companies for greenhouse gas emissions that allegedly contributed to the global warming that allegedly made the hurricane worse.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and seven state AG allies plus New York City are suing American Electric Power and other utilities for a host of supposed eco-maladies. A native village in Alaska is suing Exxon and 23 oil and energy companies for coastal erosion.What unites these cases is the creativity of their legal chain of causation and their naked attempts at political intimidation. “My hope is that the court case will provide a powerful incentive for polluters to be reasonable and come to the table and seek affordable and reasonable reductions,” Mr. Blumenthal told the trade publication Carbon Control News. “We’re trying to compel measures that will stem global warming regardless of what happens in the legislature.”
Mull over that one for a moment. Mr. Blumenthal isn’t suing to right a wrong. He admits that he’s suing to coerce a change in policy no matter what the public’s elected representatives choose.