Terrifying Practices Rock The US Property Market

I guess we’d all kind of hoped that after everything that happened six years ago we’d have learned our lesson with ‘jumbo loans’ and subprime mortgages. But unfortunately, some people are starting to believe that history is already repeating itself.

Just a little over half a decade that a housing bubble nearly tipped the globe over, the prices of homes in Florida and California have already ascended at a very dangerous rate. The climb is so steep that the real estate listing company, Trulia, has classified a significant chunk of the property in these two cardinal states as being overvalued. Although Florida and California paint a gory image, the other parts of the country can be seen as less bleak or even less shiny, depending on the side of the fence you are sitting.

housing crisisHowever, what obtains in America is quite different from what has been observed in other countries of the world. Not too long ago, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman dropped the bombshell – Sweden was in the grip of a property bubble. The Swedish picture is far from rosy as housing prices have said to increase 300% over the past decade. But the government of Sweden does not seem to agree with Krugman, they argue that the cataclysmic combination of poor oversight, astronomical government debts and a very low savings rate that wrecked the American economy in 2008 is not present in their relatively frugal Scandinavian homeland.

If the Swedes have managed to explain their way out of the condition, the same does not apply to the United Kingdom and Canada. In these two countries (particularly in London in the former), the fears of increasing housing prices are just too palpable. In the maple country, the fear is so tangible that some Canadians are already panicky, preparing for an imminent crash later this year. But concerning the Canadian situation, Nouriel Roubini, the economist Nostradamus who predicted the US 2008 crisis years before time said that the Canadian nation really has not much to worry about since their banks are in a much better shape to absorb devastating shocks, than those of the Yanks.

But of all the scary real estate industry monsters abroad, none is as scarily vast as that of China. The Chinese property market is clearly overheating, and this is further encouraged by the steady flow of cheap credit and the practice of valuing assets like apartments over the saving of raw cash.

Some days ago in Shanghai, one of the most respected voices in the Asian real estate sector, Pan Shiyi, the CEO of Soho China described the local market as a ‘Titanic’ that is coasting off to a devastating end. He further stressed that the outcome of such a monumental collapse will not hit only the real estate market but also have fatal ripple effects on the banking sector. All over the globe, from markets in Asia to those of Europe and even North America, not a few are watching with apprehension.

Here in Naples, Florida the real estate market has been looking like it’s making a comeback, but many believe that this is short-lived and is caused by investers. For instance, in the Heritage Bay development in Naples, there have been several condos sold recently for over $200k. The problem with this is, those same condos would have been worth over $300k just a few short years ago. Heritage bay single family homes, however have managed to maintain their value a little better. Even while many homeowners who bought before the bubble are now sitting on negative equity, that’s not typically the case in Heritage Bay.

Danger Ahead: Real Estate Experts Say Price Spike Heightens A Bubble

bubbleIf the predictions and projections of some real estate analysts are to be trusted, then the much-dreaded bubble might just be in the offing. At the four-day National Association of Real Estate Editor’s annual conference, this was the crux of the matter, and the analysts felt free to make use of the much-feared ‘B-word’.

Although the general belief is that many homes across the country are actually under priced, like in Southwest Florida, that has not stopped the investors from making moves to that will eventually shift the prices up to a level that cannot be maintained anymore.

Even if investors get to close just 10% of the sales across the nation nowadays, they were able to take many homes in distress during the recession. This is now the time for them to reduce some of those accumulated real estate load. For some of them, the method to do this is to sell these homes among themselves at prices that are increased to elevate the values of their portfolios.

But even though this looks really clean and straightforward, it is having some unintended consequences. For instance, artificially induced double-digit jumps in the prices are now being recorded. It may show a sign of recovery but this is false. Jack McCabe, a real estate consultant based in Deerfield Beach in Florida, echoes this same view. McCabe is more direct and blunt: ‘I see trouble ahead.’

In places like the counties of Lee and Collier, the prices of homes have skyrocketed since the recession. In fact, in The Dunes subdivision of Sea Grove, home prices have exploded to an all-time high. However, an April report released by RealtyTrac, a research firm based in California shows that they are below the peak levels that they recorded during the housing boom.

According to the report, the median home prices in Collier County were decreased 38% from a $390,000 peak in May 2006. As for Lee County, the prices were 44% below their median high of $256,000 as recorded in January 2007. The experts claim that for a condition of recovery to be sustainable, the homes have to be within the reach of the average buyer.

There are also other factors that have to be considered in the picture. As a result of the influx of foreign investments, hedge funds and very wealthy buyers interested in expanding their portfolios, there is usually very little left for the average buyers to haggle over. Whether a bubble will burst soon or not, time can only tell.

911 Text Messaging Launched In Collier County

911Technology is rapidly changing and transforming our world and Florida’s Collier County is surely keeping up with the latest trends and innovations. On Monday, Sheriff Kevin Rambosk made an announcement, which disclosed that the Sheriff’s Office of Collier County is the very first agency or outfit in all of Florida to implement the text-to-911 feature from cellular phones.

This new development will surely improve the relationship between members of the general public and the security agencies. Over time, this will lead to a much more productive between the two parties. But what is the new feature all about? The Text-to-911 was one of the two innovative Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) programs that are all centered round various forms of technology.

These programs are aimed at ensuring public safety as launched by Sheriff Rambosk. The CCSO is unique in the sense that it is the pioneering public safety agency in Florida to have the text-to-911 enhancement. The Federal Communications Commission has validated this.

Upon taking a closer look at the programs, one sees that they are not just pioneering and revolutionary but that they actually have very functional purposes for the benefit of the entire populace. It is also a very good illustration of how new technologies can be put to use in such a way that the various sectors of the society can all be linked and synced together with seamless harmony, all in a bid to achieve a common goal.

And when a path as this one is followed, it can only get better for the society as a whole. For the subscribers of Verizon in Collier County, they will have the advantage of being the first to have the ability to make use of the text-message to 911. As for the customers of the other networks, they will only be able to do so when their carriers are able to support the service.

The Sheriff also shed light on the agency’s new Community Video Watch Partnership (CVWP). This program allows the residents and owners of businesses in the neighborhood who possess exterior video security cameras to have them registered with the CCSO’s website. In a situation whereby a crime was recorded in the neighborhood, a deputy may get across to them and request that they review their video to ascertain whether anything of significance and pertaining to the crime in question was recorded.

The good thing with this arrangement is that as technologies are improved upon by the day, the costs of the video surveillance systems have also reduced, which translates to the fact that more and more people are now able to afford these security systems. This also creates more opportunities for the residents and the law enforcement agents to have more grounds for collaborative exercises leading to an improved overall security profile for the entire community. In the words of Sheriff Rambosk, this is another way the community can collaborate with the law enforcement agents in order to keep Collier County safe. He said ‘I believe the safest communities are those in which law enforcement and the residents work together.’