Weekly News (March 3, 2021)

This week’s Interest Rate (9th Week)

(By Fairway Home Loan/ Time Mortgage)

   30 yr fx(%)  15 yr fx(%) FHA(%) 10 yr Tr Y (%)
A year ago      3.375       2.875     3.250          1.651
A month ago      2.625       2.290     2.490          1.105
Last week      2.875       2.375     2.500          1.359
This week      2.875       2.500     2.875          1.419


 Prime Rate:3.0% / Ref IR: 0.00- 0.25% .

  • Interest rates went up last during two weeks, but it is kind of stabilizing.  The trend could be upward for next quarter.
  • 2021 Conventional loan limit: Conforming: $548,250/ Conforming high balance: $882,375


Palisades Park, NJ wasted thousands of dollars

(Record, Korea Times, Korea Daily   3/3)

  •  The 56-page NJ comptroller’s report, released Tuesday, alleges profligate spending by the employees of this Bergen county borough and claims top officials didn’t know about it, or didn’t care to stop it.
  • Among the investigation’s findings:  The business administrator received taxpayer dollars to defend himself from a federal investigation of his private business. /The CFO works mostly from home and does not document his time. /Council members approved dubious expense reports. /The deputy business administrator uses a municipal vehicle and gets a $250 monthly car allowance. /Employees used borough-paid fuel cards to gas up personal vehicles. /Employees self-report their sick time, leaving financial officials with no way of knowing how much sick time has been used.
  • Its business administrator David Lorenzo’s employment contract comes under specific criticism.  The recent contracts have no limitations on sick leave payouts, and he received payouts of about $9,200 in 2018 and $9,500 in 2019.  Also it allows him to accrue vacation time beyond the state’s one-year cap.  Under the terms of his current contract, he is entitled receive a $160,000 total payout for sick and vacation leave that NJ prevents him from getting. Also he is promised terminal leave that calculated based on his entire tenure in Palisades Park which includes 13 years when he was a councilman making less than $2,000 annually.


5 story building in Murray Hill, Manhattan sold at $8.7M ($966/sf)

(NYT   2/10)

  • The residential building at 121 E 37th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues contains 11 free-market apartments, most of which are one-bedrooms.
  • It was built in 1920 and last changed hands in 2016.
  • Buyer is Kay-Medix and the broker was Shinya Sangu of Relo Redac.
  • Seller was PR 121 East 37 and the broker was Michael Sherman od the Manhattes Group.


New York state will use various testers to fight against real estate discrimination

  (Korea Daily  2/27)

  • The Governor Cuomo said that prohibiting discrimination for sale or lease real estate properties is not a recommendation, but a law to enforce. In order to find out criminal activities, Home and Community Renewal in the state government will use various “Testers” in NYC, Long Island, Westchester, Central New York, Western New York, etc.
  • The target includes rental apartment landlords, real estate agents/brokers, building and home owners who sell own properties, mortgage companies and brokers.


Pandemic boosts Drive-Throughs

(WSJ   3/3)

  • Real estate investors take note as chain restaurants adapt to weather Covid-19 crisis.
  • Chains such as Chick-Fil-A, McDonald and Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants said they are enjoying a sales uptick at stores with drive-through lanes, which becomes more popular during the pandemic.
  • Shake Shack, who has never offered drive-through option, is building its first drive-through this year in Orlando, FL.
  • Real estate with drive-through lanes was a hot commodity even before the pandemic, but demand has become more pronounced, a vice president at commercial real-estate-services firm CBRE who focuses on restaurants.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill is expanding 200 locations this year, with many offering customers the option to pick up digital orders via drive-through.  Starbuck said in December that it expects to open about 800 stores annually, particularly in suburban locations with drive-through.

LG Electronic becomes a partner for “Net Zero” project with NAHB

(Korea Times  3/3)

  • NAHB has built a carbon neutral (Net Zero) house in FL, which is a part of “New American Home 2021” project.
  • LG Electronic provided many appliances and facilities: LG “NeON”, a solar panel on the roof/ LG Signature brand kitchen appliances such as refrigerator, dishwasher, Induction wine cooler cell/ LG Air Conditioner/ High efficient combined laundry units, etc.


Korean prefers Real Estate investment over stocks

(Korea Daily   3/2)

  • Among 4,562 participants in the survey, more than 50 % people answered they are preparing the retirement even though a half of them feel that it is not enough. Eight years ago, 28% answered they are preparing the retirement.
  • The survey reveals people prefer stability over profitability this time same as in 2012, while people in the surveys in 2003, 2006 preferred profitability.
  • The investment preference: Real Estate: 33%, Stock: 21%, Gold: 12%, Mutual Funds: 7%, Saving Paln: 7%, Insurance products: 6%, CD: 5%, Cryptocurrency: 2.4%, Bonds: 2.0%.
  • The preference for the desired retirement investment: Real Estate → 24%, IRA → 16%, Stock → 14%.


New UI application reduced to 730,000

(Korea Daily  2/27)

  •  As Coronavirus spreading curtails, US employment market is getting better: the number of new UI application between 2/14 – 2/20 was 730,000, which was reduced 111,000 from the last week.
  • This was the lowest number since the 3rd week of March in 2020.  Currently the number of people who receive various government aids are 19M.


The Biden Administration’s Housing Proposals

(Record 2/19)

  •  According to Terrie O’Connor, after difficult months for urban real estate, experts are feeling Biden’s proposals for tax policies and federal funding will bolster the real estate market and will bring more stability to a market.
  • Biden is likely to remove SALT cap-limitations on itemized deductions for home mortgage interest and state and local taxes.  Since property taxes tend to be higher in suburbs outside of big cities, a repeal of the SALT cap would benefit homeowners throughout like New Jersey area.
  • Biden also propose a $15,000 tax credit for first-time buyers.  This would be an added supplement to those who have been unable to purchase homes due to rising prices, lack of inventory or personal financial problems.
  • Biden proposes earmarking $640B over the next 10 years to provide fair and affordable housing.  Of this, $100B would go into an affordable housing fund that would provide incentives to develop and rehabilitate low cost housing where there are shortage.
  • Administration plans would include the expansion of the Section 8 housing choice voucher program, the largest federal program for low income renters.  Section 8 would become an entitlement ensuring vouchers to all who are eligible where currently only one in five eligible households receive assistance with waiting times up to two years.
  • Biden Admin plans to bring back Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing  (AFFH) rule which requires towns and cities that receive HUD funding to create plans to eliminate housing discrimination.
  • US is facing a housing shortage.  Experts on both sides of the aisle are calling for a ban on single family housing that is felt to drive up home prices and restrict the number of new construction units that can be built per acre.  Biden’s admin would seek to allocate $65B for state housing authorities to build and restore in low income area, which would benefit housing in urban locations.
  • The president has said he will eliminate the 1031 exchange for real estate investors making over $400,000 in annual income and will use that income to finance child and elderly care.



Others/Tech News :  “Lucid”(EV model) Motors challenges Tesla EV    

– Lucid Motors will go to public through a SPAC deal
– LUCID CEO Peter Rawlinson is a former Testa executive
– Lucid struck a deal with LG Chem to supply battery cells
– Exterior is designed by Jenny Ha (Former Audi designer)


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