Headlines – Week of May 15, 2011

May 24, 2011

Dropping Prices and Rising Rents Boost Affordability

According to the web site Trulia, it is cheaper to buy a home than to rent one in 39 of the nation’s 50 largest cities.

Trulia’s rent vs. buy index compared the median list price with the median rent on two-bedroom apartments, condominiums and townhomes listed on Trulia.com as of April 1, 2011, in the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. While 72 percent of the cities favored buying in the previous quarter’s report, 78 percent favored buying in this latest report.

Full Press Release

The Ins and Outs of the Suburbs

According to data from the 2010 Census, almost 85 percent of the nation’s 308.7 million people live in metropolitan areas, and more than half are in ever-expanding suburban rings that encircle major cities.

The data shows a new pattern emerging this century in which most of the growth is happening on opposite ends of the suburban expanse – in older communities closest to the city and in the newer ones that are the farthest out.

The data was analyzed by Robert Lang, an urban sociologist at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Close-in suburbs in the 50 largest metropolitan areas added 6 million people from 2000 to 2010, an 11.3 percent increase. The nation grew 9.7 percent in the same period.

At the same time, less populated suburbs on the outer edge grew even faster. They gained 6.7 million, a 24.5 percent increase.

The numbers show that a resurgence in urban lifestyles spilled over from cities into their nearby suburbs,

America’s suburban landscape has four distinct rings, Lang’s research shows:

Inner suburbs. Many developed in the 1920s and 1930s along streetcar lines. Because they’re close to cities and usually have extensive public transportation, they have gained in appeal as gas prices have soared. They’re most attractive to the young, the childless and immigrant families.

Key examples are Arlington and Alexandria, Va., suburbs of Washington, D.C., and sections of Tampa’s Hillsborough County and San Antonio’s Bexar County – all double-digit gainers since 2000.

Mature suburbs. The next ring out from inner suburbs, these communities began their growth in the 1970s and 1980s and are filling out: Jefferson County in the Denver metropolitan area or Chicago’s DuPage. On the whole, these suburbs grew the slowest from 2000 to 2010, adding 3.5 million people, a 7.8 percent increase.

Emerging suburbs and exurbs. Despite the housing bust and foreclosures that hit new subdivisions the hardest, these communities along the outer ring of suburbia ended the decade with phenomenal growth.

St. Croix, Wisconsin’s fastest-growing county, has become a bedroom community to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area in neighboring Minnesota.

The county gained more than 21,000 residents in the past decade, a 34 percent increase to 84,345.

How the suburban landscape will transform this decade is up for debate. Wendell Cox, a principal at Demographia, a public policy and demographic firm in the St. Louis area calls the return-to-the-city movement “a false alarm” and believes that suburbanization will continue.

Others say the outer suburbs will never see a return to the growth seen in ‘07 and ’08.  “Do people really want to live that far away?”

Full Article

Six States with the Highest Startup Rates

According to a recent report from the Kauffman Foundation, Americans launched businesses at the highest rate in 15 years in 2009 and 2010.  The record pace was sparked by widespread layoffs, government incentives, or just a plain can-do spirit.

Here are six states with the highest startup rates.

1. Nevada (tie with Georgia)

Startup Rate: 510 per 100,000 adults*

Nevada is one of the best places to start and run a business as the state passed some of the most aggressive pro-business legislation in the country.  Startup fees are low and Nevada has no personal or business income tax.

Nevada’s weak labor market with the U.S.’s highest unemployment rate has also helped spur a spate of startups, since being out of work often encourages people to become more entrepreneurial.

New entrepreneurs are able to take advantage of cheap office space created during Nevada’s construction boom in 2000 to 2007.

2. Georgia (tie with Nevada)

Startup Rate: 510 per 100,000 adults*

Georgia ties with Nevada for No. 1, thanks to large numbers of young innovators who stayed or moved to the business-friendly Peach State.

Each year, Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, Emory University and other schools produce droves of entrepreneurial-minded graduates. Other bright minds come from Harvard University’s Business School, which has one of its largest alumni chapters in Atlanta.

Georgia’s universities do a good job supporting its students and professors in their new ventures as the state’s universities offer courses on entrepreneurship, have business incubators, and help students connect with investors and successful business owners.

A modest cost of doing business, aggressive laws that protect entrepreneurs and a robust venture capital community also have helped create a vibrant startup community.

3. California

Startup Rate: 470 per 100,000 adults*

California boasts a culture of innovation, many college and business school graduates, and the second highest unemployment rate in the country.

Some of the most successful technology companies in the world (Apple, Google and Facebook) got their start in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.

California also has a significant number of immigrants, who were more than two times as likely as Americans to start businesses. Immigrants, especially those who came to the U.S. for economic reasons tend to be more risk-taking, a key component to entrepreneurism. And because of language and credential barriers, it’s often easier for them to start a business than find a job.

4. Louisiana

Startup Rate: 460 per 100,000 adults*

A bright spot from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina is the high entrepreneurial activity it sparked in Louisiana. After the hurricane hit, causing billions of dollars worth of damage, the state and federal government began offering an array of economic incentives to clean up and rebuild.

The federal Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005, also known as the GO Zone Act, offered tax incentives, while the Small Business Administration provided loans. Louisiana launched a multimillion grant program for small businesses.

Buildings had to be rebuilt, levies reconstructed and areas cleaned up. That demand, along with a swell of startup initiatives, launched a lot of new businesses.

The state’s tax incentives for the film and television industry have also played a role. Today, Louisiana is considered a top location for movie-making, which has brought more production companies to the region, and in turn supported new catering and trucking ventures. A strengthening economy also encouraged people to start companies.

5. Colorado (tie with Vermont)

Startup Rate: 450 per 100,000 adults*

Colorado’s “independent-minded, can-do culture” is one reason for the state’s high rate of entrepreneurship.

The region has fewer multinational corporations than other states which means less competition and more opportunity for startups.

The state is also giving new business owners a hand with a range of economic incentives.

Colorado’s high unemployment rate of 9.3% may have fueled some of the state’s startup activity, since high unemployment often prompts people to start new businesses.

6. Vermont (tie with Colorado)

Startup Rate: 450 per 100,000 adults*

Vermont ties with Colorado for fifth place among states with the highest startup rates.

The Green Mountain State is home to everything from village shops to home businesses, artists, adventurers, writers, philosophers and passionate people of all trades.

Vermonters tend to be entrepreneurial and fueling that entrepreneurialism is a stagnant economy that doesn’t breed many new jobs.

Full Article

Posted by Scott R. Lodde

Headlines – Week of May 8, 2011

May 17, 2011

Florida Population – Census summary 2010

According to the 2010 Census, Florida’s population was 18,801,310 on April 1, 2010, an increase of 2,818,486 since April 1, 2000.

The period from 2000-2010 was the fourth consecutive decade to see the Florida population grow by more than 2.8 million residents. Florida’s numeric population increase during the past decade was the third largest of any state, trailing only Texas and California. Its percent increase (17.6 percent) was the eighth largest in the nation.

Among counties, only Monroe and Pinellas counties saw a population decline over the decade, while 65 of Florida’s 67 counties logged an increase.

Twenty-four of Florida’s 67 counties grew by more than 20 percent, and 52 beat the national growth rate of 9.7 percent.

The fastest growing counties were Flagler, Sumter, Osceola and St. Johns.

The slowest growing counties were Hardee, Gadsden, Madison, Escambia, Monroe and Pinellas.

The largest county is Miami-Dade, with a population of 2,496,435. Its population grew by 10.8 percent since 2000

In terms of numeric population growth, the largest increases occurred in counties located in central and south Florida. Orange, Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Lee each grew by more than 150,000 residents during the decade. Three other counties – Broward, Pasco, and Polk – grew by more than 100,000.

More than 94 percent of Florida’s population lived in metropolitan areas in 2010. Approximately 55 percent of Florida’s residents currently live in incorporated cities and towns, compared to less than 50 percent in 2000.

Nine new cities and towns were established during the decade and one (Cedar Grove) lost its official status as an incorporated place.

Click HERE to see a map showing the total population by county for Florida.

Click HERE to see a map showing the percent change in the population by county.

Click HERE to download the 52-page “Florida Population: Census Summary 2010”.

Vacation Home Rentals a Growing Trend

According to an article in the Dayton Daily News vacation home rentals are becoming a growing trend as more travelers choose to rent a house, condominium, apartment or villa rather than stay in a traditional hotel room.

According to a 2010 survey by Radius Global Market Research, there are more than 6 million vacation properties in the United States and Europe that are rented to travelers every year. These vacation rentals generated more than $85 billion in rental income in 2010.

Families are the core of the vacation home market.  Some of the factors driving the growth include travelers’ desire for value, space, privacy, flexibility and amenities. A four-bedroom home in Orlando, with a private pool, can be found on VacationRentals.com for less than $100 night, less than many area hotel rooms. Vacation rentals become an even better value if you share the expenses with extended family or friends.

As an example of this growing trend, the HomeAway network of rentals (which includes HomeAway, Vacation Rentals By Owners (VRBO) and VacationRentals.com) had more than 527,000 listings worldwide in 2010, an increase of more than 200,000 from 2008.

The Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) — which includes more than 600 property management and associate members in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean — now represents approximately 150,000 vacation properties.

Discover Vacation Homes, a VRMA initiative, puts travelers in touch with local realtors, familiar with the area. And sites like VRBO enable travelers to rent directly from owners. Tourists unfamiliar with the region or even the language can ask owners for help with directions, restaurant recommendations or simple translations.

Full Article

Florida Biotech Industry Outpaces Nation

According to a study by the University of Florida, while the biotechnology industry has weakened across the U.S., Florida has seen a 21 percent jump in the number of biotech companies since 2008 and a surge in investment.

Updated numbers from the Florida BioDatabase, maintained by UF’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator in Alachua, show 29 new companies opened during the last three years for a total of 165 in Florida. The BioDatabase considers a biotech company as one having a true research and development core that helps fuel the innovation of new products for Florida’s growing biomed industry.

According to one expert, Florida has the key ingredients for growth including a strong research base and an increasing trend in venture capital funding.

Bloomberg News and Ernst & Young recently reported the nationwide U.S. biotechnology sector lost 15 to 25 percent of public companies and 5 to 10 percent of privately held companies in the last three years.

The rate of growth in total investment funding for the biomedical industry in Florida far outpaced the national scene with investment dollars in 2010 increasing 37 percent over 2009 to $158 million, while life science funding growth nationwide has remained relatively flat over the past year.

Florida’s biomedical industry is off to a strong start in 2011 with the level of investment dollars at more than $75 million in the first quarter representing nearly 50 percent of total funding in all 2010, according to data collected for the Florida Biodatabase. Moreover, venture capital funding comprises over half this amount and consists of three deals valued at a total of $40 million.

Florida continues to establish itself with more than a dozen world-class research centers and key academic institutions.

The University of Florida was named by the Milken Institute as the top performing public institution at transferring its research to the marketplace; and the Scripps Research Institute is one of the largest private, nonprofit biomedical research organizations in the world.

Other significant institutes that have added to recent growth include Sanford Burnham, Torrey Pines, Max Planck, M2GEN, Miami Institute for Human Genomics, OHS Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, SRI International and Draper Labs, along with key research centers at all of the major public universities in Florida.

For more information on the Florida BioDatabase click HERE.

For more information on the Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator click HERE

Posted by Scott R. Lodde

Headlines – Week of May 1, 2011

May 9, 2011

10 Cities Where It’s Cheapest to Buy

Based upon information provided by Realtor.com, the best housing deals are found in the Midwest. The region boasted the most number of cities to make it to the top of the list where median list prices for March were the lowest.

Nationally, the median list price for March was $199,500, which is down 0.25 percent year-over-year.

But in markets like Detroit, the median list price is less than half the national average.

Click HERE to see the Realtor.com list of the cities with the lowest median list price in March

The following is the list of Florida cities:

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

Median list price: $154,900
*Down 7.79 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 176

West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL

Median list price: $238,900
*Down 4.06 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 234

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Median list price: $179,900
*Even year-over-year
Median days on the market: 99

Miami, FL

Median list price: $250,000
*Up 4.06 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 234

Orlando, FL

Median list price: $174,900
*Down 0.05 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 195

Fort Myers-Cape Coral, FL

Median list price: $229,000
*UP 24.12 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 194

Sarasota-Bradenton, FL

Median list price: $264,900
*Up 1.88 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 242

Jacksonville, FL

Median list price: $99,000
*Down 13.84 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 189

Naples, FL

Median list price: $389,000
*Up 2.4 percent year-over-year
Median days on the market: 225

Hurricane Storm Surge Threatens Florida Cities

A recent report issued by CoreLogic indicates the potential exposure to storm surge property damage in 10 major U.S. city areas. The 2011 CoreLogic Storm Surge Report finds that many properties located outside FEMA flood zones are at risk for storm surge damage.

In a hurricane, high winds and low pressure cause water to build up inside the storm. When the hurricane passes onto land, water rushes in, and can do significant damage beyond that caused by high winds and rain. The study identified three Florida city areas in which storm surge is a major threat: Miami-Dade, Jacksonville and Tampa.

The study looked at hurricane probabilities, geographic features offshore, population density and population. Projected exposure to storm surge damage for the 10 geographies is:

• Long Island, NY – $99 billion
• Miami-Dade, FL – $44.9 billion
• Virginia Beach, VA – $44.6 billion
• New Orleans, LA – $39 billion
• Tampa, FL – $27 billion
• Houston, TX – $20 billion
• Jacksonville, FL – $19.6 billion
• Charleston, SC – $17.7 billion
• Corpus Christi, TX – $4.7 billion
• Mobile, AL – $3 billion

The majority of homes at risk for storm surge damage are located outside FEMA-defined flood zones.

For a full copy of the storm report click HERE

Homeownership Rates Continue to Decline in First Quarter

According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. homeownership rate fell to 66.4 percent in the first quarter, down from 67.1 percent a year ago.

The current rate is the lowest since the end of 1998 and off from a pace of 69.2 percent during the housing boom.

The rate was highest in the Midwest at 70.4 percent, followed by the South at 68.5 percent, the Northeast at 63.9 percent and the West at 60.9 percent. People aged 65 and up had the highest homeownership rate at 81 percent, while those younger than 35 had the lowest rate at 37.9 percent.

Full Report

Posted by Scott R. Lodde

Headlines – Week of April 24, 2011

May 6, 2011

Best ‘Shrinking’ Place to Live

According to a recent article at CNNMoney.com, several U.S. cities that are losing population still make great places to live and raise a family. The city of St. Petersburg, FL makes the list at number three.

The article noted that the city was once booming but by 1980 it had been largely built-out and the population mostly stagnated, with pretty much zero population growth ever since. “St. Pete is close to some of the best beaches in the United States, and there are lots of activities, with theater downtown, plays in the park and Indy car racing.”

Here are the top four cities on the list.  The others on the list include: Barnstable, MA, Wheeling, WV, Parkersburg, WV, and Battle Creek, MI.

1. Ocean City, NJ
Population 2010: 14,699
Drop since 2000: 4.4 percent

2. Williamsport, PA
Population 2010: 30,496
Drop since 2000: 4.6 percent

3. St. Petersburg, Fl
Population 2010: 244,760
Drop since 2000: 1.4 percent

4. Eureka, CA
Population 2010: 25,602
Drop since 2000: 2 percent

Full Article

Judicial versus Non-judicial States

A Wells Fargo report comparing foreclosure time frames in judicial and non-judicial states revealed some interesting nuggets. Among the 30 states with non-judicial foreclosure, the average time to foreclose fixed-rate conduit loans has increased from 6.9 months in 2008 to 11.3 months in 2010. During the same timeframe, states with judicial foreclosure periods increased from 8.7 months to 12.4 months.

To foreclose in judicial state, a lender must prove that the mortgagor (borrower/homeowner) is in default. Once the lender has exhausted its attempts to resolve the default with the homeowner, the next step is to contact an attorney to pursue court action. The attorney contacts the mortgagor to try to resolve the default. If the mortgagor is unable to pay off the default, the attorney files a lis pendens (lawsuit pending) with the court. The lis pendens gives notice to the public that a pending action has been filed against the mortgagor. The purpose of the action is to provide evidence of a default and get the court’s approval to initiate foreclosure.

Non-judicial foreclosures are based on deeds of trust that contain the power of sale clause. The clause enables the trustee to initiate a mortgage foreclosure sale without having to go to court. The trustee is typically required to issue a notice of default and notify the trustor (borrower/homeowner) accordingly about the default status. If the trustor does not respond, the trustee then initiates the steps for conducting the mortgage foreclosure sale of the home.

RealtyTrac has put together a chart which compares all state foreclosure timelines.  To review this chart click HERE.

Bank’s failure sign of trouble still ahead

On April 15th, the FDIC reported that six additional banks were closed. That makes a total of 34 in 2011, compared to 50 at this point last year. The new banks seized were in Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, and Mississippi.  Five of the six banks are located in the southeast and commercial real estate loans comprise fully 75% of their non-performing loan portfolios, with construction loans being 50% of the total non-performing loan portfolios.

In addition to the above failures, the FDIC also closed another bank based in Central Florida, an indication that the state’s community banks are still reeling from the real estate slump and recession.

Winter Park-based First National Bank of Central Florida closed on April 29th by regulators.

The failure cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. fund nearly $43 million, was the fourth in Florida this year – and the third in Central Florida. Orlando-based First Commercial Bank failed in January, and Sunshine State Community Bank of Port Orange in February. The fourth bank, Cortez Community in Brooksville, was closed down Friday and, like First National, acquired by Premier American.

It is expected that dozens of other troubled banks statewide could fail by year’s end according to banking consultants.  They expect more failures but not as many as 2010 when 59 institutions in Florida were closed by the FDIC.

According to Bauer Financial, an independent financial-ratings firm in Boca Raton, the banks with the lowest safety-and-soundness ratings included Coastal Bank (Cocoa Beach), Fidelity Bank of Florida (Merritt Island), Friends Bank (New Smyrna Beach), Independent Bankers Bank (Lake Mary) and Sunrise Bank (Cocoa Beach). Each received a zero, Bauer’s lowest rating.

Full Article

Posted by Scott R. Lodde

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