Weekly News (July 31, 2019)

This week’s Interest Rate

     30 Y Rate: 3.750%/  15 Year Rate: 3.250%/ 10 Y Treasury: 2.065%/  Prime Rate: 5.5%


Mayor of Palisades Park, NJ requested suspension of police chief to town council

(The Korea Times  7/30, The Record 7/31)

  • It is found by outside consultant Hillard Heintze that there is no written policy for hiring, promotion, punishment, etc. and, therefore, police force were not treated fairly.  Mayor Christopher Chung was shocked by the findings and requested that police chief Mark Jackson should be suspended.  He mentioned that Chief Jackson can be fired at worst case.
  • Jackson did not conduct department meeting for 3 – 4 years which caused no communication among police force.  Over all it is reported that mismanagement rooted from connection between police and political power in town.
  • Mayor mentioned he will conduct re-structuring police organization by hiring outside director.
  • During this turmoil, it is reported a Palisades Park policeman(William Duarte, provisionary officer, 27) was arrested and charged for drunken driving early this month.  Fort Lee police found him passed out in his car in front of Linwood Ave home.


Queens, NY is facing economic down turn

(The Korean  Daily  7/30)

  • NY representative Ron Kim published a report of economic trend in Flushing, College point, Whitestone, Murray Hill, observing for a period of 2017 – 2019.  Among other problems, housing issue is the biggest one.  The report pointed out that about 100 families are evicted every day in NYC.  Queens is not an exception and residents are facing difficulty to find affordable rental place because rent is increased continually.
  • Ron Kim’s office alone helped about 2000 people to move into City operated apartment and Senior housing for last two and a half year. (about 40,000 applicants for 143 available apartment /84,000 applicants for 231 unit apartment)
  • On top of the situation, English translation is another burden to helping these people.


Office building in Murray Hill neighborhood in Manhattan sold at $9.5M ($894/sf)

(The NYT  7/31)

  • This 10,625 sf , office story office building in Murray Hill has a marble lobby, and a main conference room, executive suites, offices and private roof deck.  Buyer is Artemis Partners, a private equity firm.
  • Located at 32 E 39th Street between Park Ave and Madison Ave in Manhattan, NY.


Amazon is looking for warehouse in Queens, NY

(The Korea Times 7/31 )

  • Recently it was reported Amazon is looking for a warehouse in Sunset Park in Brooklyn on The Korea Times dated 7/26/2019.  They are looking for another warehouse at 55-15 Grand Ave in Queens.  This warehouse (700,000 sf) was purchased by RXR Realty and LBA Realty last year at $72M.
  • Amazon announced there is no decision and no lease agreement at this moment.


US Economy in 2nd half in 2019 will be continued with mild recovery

(The Korea Times  7/29)

  • In 2019, buying conditions are slightly improved from last year due to the facts that price increasing is slow down and interest rates is going down.  Millennium gen emerge as strong buyer group and this trend will be continued for the 2nd half of the year, according to Forbes.
  • Generally buying conditions are good, it is too early to say it is “buyer’s market”.  Still seller’s influence exists in the market.  It is neither the time to delay buying, nor the time to hurry buying.
  • NAR reported that millennium gen represents 37% of buyers and 20% of sellers and they will be main drive for the 2nd half.
  • “Starter homes” inventory rose 3.5% and “Trade-up” inventory rose 4.8%, but in general low priced home are not enough in the market.
  • Home price went up continually and, early 2018, it went over the price before the crises.  It is too early to expect any price down in the near future, experts say.
  • Interest rates will be kept low for the 2nd half and, some experts say it will go down.


IRS started warned virtual currency users for not paying tax properly

(The Korea Times  7/29)

  • WSJ reported on 7/26 that IRS sent out warning letters to over 10,000 virtual currency users that income through virtual currency transaction should be reported and there will be fine and punishment if they did not include income out of those transactions.
  • March last year, “Coinbase” has released the transaction details of 13,000 virtual currency users according to order of Federal Court.  Those users made income of over $20,000 in average during 2013 – 2015.
  • According to Korean CPAs, many Koreans are included in these 10,000 received a warning letters from IRS.
  • In the past, IRS levied tax on oversea property 8 years after retroactively.


Spanish home buyers are increased greatly, US census reported

(The Korea Times  7/24)

  • According to NAHREP, Hispanic population is 17.6% (56.6M) in US, but it took 63% of new home buyers for last 10 years.  Hispanic home owning rate is increased by 3.3% for last 4 year since 2015.  WSJ reported Hispanic buyers will become leading position in residential market in the future.  Hispanic home owning rate is 47.4% in 1Qt. 2019 while white home owning rate is 73% in US.
  • Hispanic buyers are various from new home buyers to Boomerang buyers.  The reason of Hispanic home buyers are 1. Income growth, Low interest rates.  3. Increasing market understanding.
  • They are facing similar difficulties : enough income, but enough down payment and not enough house to buy.  They think this is good time to buy and feel FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).   A mortgage broker in Las Vegas reported that Hispanic borrowers are 80% and 70% are first home buyer among them.
  • Hispanic and African American were the most growing home buyers group through sub-prime mortgage before the crises and they were the most foreclosed group after crises.
  • Hispanic’s foreclosure was 2.5 times than white group and African American were 2 times than white.


More Americans sign contracts to buy homes in June

(The Record  7/31)

  • NAR reported its pending sales index rose 2.8% to 108.3 in June, up from 105.4 in May, making the second straight month of growth.  Pending sales is up by 1.6% from their pace a year ago.  Sales has been helped by lower interest rates.  Pending sales is a measure of home purchases that are usually completed a month or two.


Buying through Realogy allows $5000 Amazon credit to buyer

(The NYT  7/24)

  • On Tuesday (7/23/2019) Amazon said that they are working with Realogy, nation’s largest real estate brokerage company and owner of Century 21, Coldwell Bankers, Better Homes and Gardens, Corcoran Group, Sotheby’s International Realty, etc to create TurnKey, service that will help a prospective buyer find real estate agents.
  • First, Amazon people screen the prospective home buyers.  If qualified, they Amazon will give the lead to real estate agents.  For above $700,000 home closing, buyer will get maximum of $5000 worth of Amazon product or service like cleaning, home furniture assembly, etc. (It will not be a cash bonus)
  • The partnership is a way of using Amazon to find home buyers and help it’s brokers separate the closers from lookie-loos by rebating a portion of its commission, in the form of free Amazon stuff, to anyone who actually buys a home.
  • Two years ago, Amazon briefly had a “Hire a Realtor” page on its website, but took it down after it was spotted by a real estate trade publication.

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