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May 18, 2014

Bank of England governor warns housing market is biggest threat to UK economy

Bank of England governor warns housing market is biggest threat to UK economy

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mark Carney in 2010.
Image: World Economic Forum.

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The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that the state of the housing market in the United Kingdom is the current biggest domestic threat to the country’s economy, due to lack of house building, and regulatory issues.

In an interview to be aired on Sky News today, he said the housing market is the “biggest risk” to the economy and has “deep, deep structural problems”. Of house building he said: “There are not sufficient houses built in the UK. To go back to Canada, there are half as many people in Canada as in the UK, twice as many houses are built every year in Canada as in the UK and we can’t influence that.”

“We’re not going to build a single house at the Bank of England. We can’t influence that. What we can influence […] is whether the banks are strong enough. Do they have enough capital against risk in the housing market?”

Carney also said the Bank of England would look into the procedures used to issue loans and mortgages to see if they were being granted appropriately: “We’d be concerned if there was a rapid increase in high loan-to-value mortgages across the banks. We’ve seen that creeping up and it’s something we’re watching closely.”

Kris Hopkins responded to Carney on behalf of the government, saying the government “inherited a broken housing market, but our efforts to fix it are working”. “We’ve scrapped the failed top-down planning system, built over 170,000 affordable homes and released more surplus brownfield sites for new housing. We’ve also helped homebuyers get on the housing ladder, because if people can buy homes builders will build them. Housebuilding is now at its highest level since 2007 and climbing. Last year councils gave permission for almost 200,000 new homes under the locally-led planning system and more than 1,000 communities have swiftly taken up neighbourhood planning. It’s clear evidence the government’s long-term economic plan is working.”

Earlier this month, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development called on the UK government to “tighten” access to the ‘Help to Buy‘ scheme introduced by George Osborne and the coalition government in 2013. ‘Help to Buy’ has also recently been criticised by three former Chancellors of the Exchequer — the Conservatives Norman Lamont and Nigel Lawson, and former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling. Darling said: “Unless supply can be increased substantially, we will exacerbate that situation with schemes like Help to Buy.”



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February 18, 2013

Venezuela opens granite processing facility in Bolívar

Venezuela opens granite processing facility in Bolívar

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File photo of government-built houses in La Guaira, Venezuela.
Image: Wilfredor.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Venezuela’s government has opened a granite processing plant in the state of Bolívar, with the intention of providing about 25% of the granite required nationwide.

Ricardo Menéndez, vice president of the Productive Economic Area, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has yearned for the creation of this project to empower Venezuelan construction. Granito Bolívar is reportedly the most modern Venezuelan granite plant, not consuming community water or electricity, and is also the largest, with a daily capacity to supply enough material for use in construction of about 820 houses.

Menéndez said, “These granite blocks are the natural resources of our country, are the wealth we have as a country and often [some] simply decided to remove this richness from our country and take them to other countries”((es)).

According to Menéndez, with the help of a state plan, Venezuela intends to exploit its 40,000 million cubic meters or more of granite reserves, generating a set of factories. “[T]he central theme is that these plants, all these factories, are for the construction of socialism; that means using our potential, develop the value chain within the country and of course that yields benefits from the point of view of the production system’s organization…. [Granito] Bolívar is not only the vision that historically we had of exposing richness, but the industries, basic industries we have, that level of our workers in the basic industries and in addition the development of the potential we have in the state”((es)).

For the construction of the plant, supplied by 23 quarries, the government of Bolívar provided about 30 million bolívares (US$4.7 million) and the national government 2.3 million (US$3 million). Bolívar reportedly has reserves of about 40,000 million tons of red, black, pink and white granite, sufficient for domestic demand for 200 years.



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February 16, 2013

Venezuela opens facility for processing granite at Bolívar

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The company has a daily production capacity of 20,000 square meters of granite, which is equivalent to about 820 homes daily.
Image: Wilfredor/Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Venezuela‘s government opened a granite processing plant in the state of Bolívar with the intention of providing 25% of the granite that is required nationwide.

Ricardo Menéndez, vicepresident of Productive Economic Area, said that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has yearned for the creation of this project to generate all productive chains of construction of the country. Granito Bolívar is the most modern granite plant of Venezuela (which does not consumes the water or electricity of the local community), and the largest one, with a daily capacity to produce enough material for the construction of 820 houses.

Cquote1.svg These granite blocks are the natural resources of our country, are the wealth we have as a country and often [some] simply decided to remove this richness from our country and take them to other countries. Cquote2.svg

—Ricardo Menéndez

According to Menéndez, with the help of a state plan, it is intended to exploit the resources of 40,000 million cubic meters of granite reserves of the country and generate a set of factories. “The central theme is that these plants, all these factories, are for the construction of socialism; that means using our potential, develop the value chain within the country and of course that yields benefits from the point of view of the production system’s organization. [Granito] Bolívar is not only the vision that historically we had of exposing richness, but the industries, basic industries we have, that level of our workers in the basic industries and in addition the development of the potential we have in the state.”

For the construction of the plant, consisting of 23 quarries, the government of Bolívar contributed with 30 million bolívares (US$4.7 million) and the national government gave 2.3 million. Bolívar has reserves of red, black, pink and white granite, with a total of 40,000 million tons. The raw material for this plant is enough to supply domestic demand for 200 years.



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August 13, 2009

Westchester County, NY to build affordable housing for non-whites

Westchester County, NY to build affordable housing for non-whites

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

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In a settlement, hailed by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a “historic civil rights settlement,” the county government for Westchester County, New York has agreed to spend US$51.6 million to build 750 affordable housing units that will primarily be offered to non-white minorities.

Minority distribution in Westchester County per the 2000 United States Census.
Image: Westyschuster.

The settlement is the result of a federal lawsuit filed by the Anti-Discrimination Center of Metro New York (ADC) against the county under the False Claims Act, which alleged that the county was negligent in its oversight of federal funds that it received from HUD for community development which stipulated that it “affirmatively further fair housing.” The ADC suit which claimed $180 million in damages, also said the county failed to build affordable housing and reduce segregation in some of the more affluent communities.

Prior to the settlement, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Westchester had failed to analyze the effect of race in relation to access to fair housing when it applied for HUD funds.

The county redistributed the federal funds to town and village governments, and the court concluded it did so without ensuring that guidelines were being followed or considering where the affordable housing was being placed.

Westchester County admitted no wrongdoing and says it has “for many years considered the impact of race on affordable housing,” according to County Executive Andrew Spano.

Westchester County will also pay $8.4 million as a fine to the federal government and $2.5 million to cover legal expenses of the ADC.

630 of the 750 housing units must be built in communities which are less than 3% black and less than 7% Hispanic. The county will be required to market the homes “aggressively” to minorities, though federal law prevents them from being offered exclusively to certain races.

Cquote1.svg This is consistent with the president’s desire to see a fully integrated society Cquote2.svg

—HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims

The case is a landmark for HUD and the way that the Obama administration will use the government agency. “This is about expanding the geography of opportunity for families who may have been limited in their housing choices. The agreement we announce today demonstrates Westchester County’s commitment to make sure its neighborhoods are open to everyone, regardless of the color of their skin,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “This agreement signals a new commitment by HUD to ensure that housing opportunities be available to all, and not just to some.”

“This is consistent with the president’s desire to see a fully integrated society,” said HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims. “Until now, we tended to lay dormant. This is historic, because we are going to hold people’s feet to the fire.”

It is not yet decided where the affordable housing will be placed, but Westchester County has a number of towns and hamlets which qualify under the stipulated racial requirements, including Chappaqua, which is noted as the official residence of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton.

“Some constituents have had strong reactions, but that’s just based on what they read in the papers and what the headlines are,” said County Legislator Peter Harckham. “But there are no details yet to get excited about.”

“I certainly approve of nondiscriminatory policy for housing,” Alan Harrow, a resident of Somers, told The Journal News. “Looking at it from my own point of view, I moved into this very rural area, and if there’s suddenly a large housing development and 200 families there, it’s probably something I won’t really welcome.”



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July 17, 2009

Chicago’s Sears Tower renamed Willis Tower

Friday, July 17, 2009

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On July 16, 2009, the largest skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois was officially renamed Willis Tower. Willis Group Holdings became a major tenant of the building in March, 2009. As part of the deal whereby they agreed to lease 140,000 square feet of the building, they were given the naming rights to the tower, which had been known as the Sears Tower since its opening in 1973. It is the largest skyscraper in the United States and was for a time the largest skyscraper in the world; though it has since been surpassed.

Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly the Sears Tower. Picture taken in 1998 by Soakologist.

Sears, Roebuck and Company owned the building from its conception until it sold it in 1994. It is currently owned by American Landmark Properties of Skokie, Illinois. Sears had mostly moved out of the building by 1992, and closed its last offices there by 1995. However, they retained the naming rights until 2003. Since no deal had been worked out to rename the building by that date, it retained the Sears Tower name until Willis Group Holdings negotiated the naming rights as part of their lease on the building. The naming rights did not cost Willis any additional money, and they will retain those rights until at least 2024.

Willis Group Holdings is a London-based insurance company, incorporated in Bermuda. They are leasing 140,000 square feet of the building at a rate of $14.50 per square foot, and are consolidating their five Chicago-area offices to the new space.

Though lettering on the building had been changed on July 15, the official change did not occur until July 16, during a private ceremony involving 500 Willis employees and invited guests. The date and time name change was kept quiet until the actual lettering was changed, though the change was anticipated for several months. The tourist areas to the building, which includes a 103rd floor observation deck, will retain its current name, Skydeck Chicago.

The renaming has received some criticism from columnists in local papers, such as the Chicago Tribune, as Willis has almost no name recognition in the Chicago area. Several local residents have expressed their displeasure in the renaming, including one who started the website www.itsthesearstower.com. Chicago Historical Society senior curator John Russick has stated of the name change, “The Sears Tower has been an icon here for the last quarter of a century. For the generation that grew up calling it the Sears Tower, it’ll be hard for people to shift and start calling it something else.”


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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Chicago\’s Sears Tower renamed Willis Tower

Chicago’s Sears Tower renamed Willis Tower

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Friday, July 17, 2009

United States
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Flag of the United States.svg

On July 16, 2009, the largest skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois was officially renamed Willis Tower. Willis Group Holdings became a major tenant of the building in March, 2009. As part of the deal whereby they agreed to lease 140,000 square feet of the building, they were given the naming rights to the tower, which had been known as the Sears Tower since its opening in 1973. It is the largest skyscraper in the United States and was for a time the largest skyscraper in the world; though it has since been surpassed.

Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly the Sears Tower. Picture taken in 1998 by Soakologist.

Sears, Roebuck and Company owned the building from its conception until it sold it in 1994. It is currently owned by American Landmark Properties of Skokie, Illinois. Sears had mostly moved out of the building by 1992, and closed its last offices there by 1995. However, they retained the naming rights until 2003. Since no deal had been worked out to rename the building by that date, it retained the Sears Tower name until Willis Group Holdings negotiated the naming rights as part of their lease on the building. The naming rights did not cost Willis any additional money, and they will retain those rights until at least 2024.

Willis Group Holdings is a London-based insurance company, incorporated in Bermuda. They are leasing 140,000 square feet of the building at a rate of $14.50 per square foot, and are consolidating their five Chicago-area offices to the new space.

Though lettering on the building had been changed on July 15, the official change did not occur until July 16, during a private ceremony involving 500 Willis employees and invited guests. The date and time name change was kept quiet until the actual lettering was changed, though the change was anticipated for several months. The tourist areas to the building, which includes a 103rd floor observation deck, will retain its current name, Skydeck Chicago.

The renaming has received some criticism from columnists in local papers, such as the Chicago Tribune, as Willis has almost no name recognition in the Chicago area. Several local residents have expressed their displeasure in the renaming, including one who started the website www.itsthesearstower.com. Chicago Historical Society senior curator John Russick has stated of the name change, “The Sears Tower has been an icon here for the last quarter of a century. For the generation that grew up calling it the Sears Tower, it’ll be hard for people to shift and start calling it something else.”



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October 14, 2008

Chula Vista, California becomes model for blight control laws in the US

Chula Vista, California becomes model for blight control laws in the US

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A recently developed residential neighborhood in Chula Vista, California.
Image: Catalan.

The San Diego, California suburb of Chula Vista has responded to the recent housing crisis with an aggressive blight control ordinance that compels lenders to maintain the appearance of vacant homes. As foreclosures increase both locally and throughout the United States, the one year old ordinance has become a model for other cities overwhelmed by the problem of abandoned homes that decay into neighborhood eyesores.

Chula Vista city code enforcement manager Doug Leeper told the San Diego Union Tribune that over 300 jurisdictions have contacted his office during the past year with inquiries about the city’s tough local ordinance. Coral Springs, Florida, and California towns Stockton, Santee, Riverside County, and Murietta have all modeled recently enacted anti-blight measures after Chula Vista’s. On Wednesday, 8 October, the Escondido City Council also voted to tighten local measures making lenders more accountable for maintenance of empty homes.

Cquote1.svg Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements. Cquote2.svg

—Jolie Houston, land use attorney

Under the Chula Vista ordinance lenders become legally responsible for upkeep as soon as a notice of mortgage default gets filed on a vacant dwelling, before actual ownership of the dwelling returns to the lender. Leeper regards that as “the cutting-edge part of our ordinance”. Chula Vista also requires prompt registration of vacant homes and applies stiff fines as high as US$1000 per day for failure to maintain a property. Since foreclosed properties are subject to frequent resale between mortgage brokers, city officials enforce the fines by sending notices to every name on title documents and placing a lien on the property, which prevents further resale until outstanding fines have been paid. In the year since the ordinance went into effect the city has applied $850,000 in fines and penalties, of which it has collected $200,000 to date. The city has collected an additional $77,000 in registration fees on vacant homes.

Jolie Houston, an attorney in San Jose, believes “Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.” Traditionally, local governments have resorted to addressing blight problems on abandoned properties with public funds, mowing overgrown lawns and performing other vital functions, then seeking repayment afterward. Chula Vista has moved that responsibility to an upfront obligation upon lenders.

Cquote1.svg That kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors. Cquote2.svg

—Marc Carpenter, real estate agent

As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States during recent years, Chula Vista saw 22.6% growth between 2000 and 2006, which brought the city’s population from 173,556 in the 2000 census to an estimated 212,756, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Chula Vista placed among the nation’s 20 fastest growing cities in 2004. A large proportion of local homes were purchased during the recent housing boom using creative financing options that purchasers did not understand were beyond their means. Average home prices in San Diego County declined by 25% in the last year, which is the steepest drop on record. Many homeowners in the region currently owe more than their homes are worth and confront rising balloon payment mortgages that they had expected to afford by refinancing new equity that either vanished or never materialized. In August 2008, Chula Vista’s eastern 91913 zip code had the highest home mortgage default rate in the county with 154 filings and 94 foreclosures, an increase of 154% over one year previously. Regionally, the county saw 1,979 foreclosures in August.

Professionals from the real estate and mortgage industries object to Chula Vista’s response to the crisis for the additional burdens it places on their struggling finances. Said San Diego real estate agent Marc Carpenter, “that kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.” Yet city councils in many communities have been under pressure to do something about increasing numbers of vacant properties. Concentrations of abandoned and neglected homes can attract vandals who hasten the decline of struggling neighborhoods. Jolie Houston explained that city officials “can’t fix the lending problem, but they can try to prevent neighborhoods from becoming blighted.”

HAVE YOUR SAY
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Does Chula Vista’s solution save neighborhoods or worsen the financial crisis?
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CEO Robert Klein of Safeguard, a property management firm, told the Union Tribune that his industry is having difficulty adapting to the rapidly changing local ordinances. “Every day we discover a new ordinance coming out of somewhere”, he complained. Dustin Hobbs, a spokesman from the California Association of Mortgage Bankers agreed that uneven local ordinances are likely to increase the costs of lending. Hobbs advised that local legislation is unnecessary due to California State Senate Bill 1137, which was recently approved to address blight. Yet according to Houston, the statewide measure falls short because it fails to address upkeep needs during the months between the time when foreclosure begins and when the lender takes title.



Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Chula Vista, California becomes national model for blight control laws

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A recently developed residential neighborhood in Chula Vista, California. Image: Catalan.

A recently developed residential neighborhood in Chula Vista, California.
Image: Catalan.

The San Diego, California suburb of Chula Vista has responded to the recent housing crisis with an aggressive blight control ordinance that compels lenders to maintain the appearance of vacant homes. As foreclosures increase both locally and throughout the United States, the one year old ordinance has become a model for other cities overwhelmed by the problem of abandoned homes that decay into neighborhood eyesores.

Chula Vista city code enforcement manager Doug Leeper told the San Diego Union Tribune that over 300 jurisdictions have contacted his office during the past year with inquiries about the city’s tough local ordinance. Coral Springs, Florida, and California towns Stockton, Santee, Riverside County, and Murietta have all modeled recently enacted anti-blight measures after Chula Vista’s. On Wednesday, 8 October, the Escondido City Council also voted to tighten local measures making lenders more accountable for maintenance of empty homes.

Chula Vista, California becomes national model for blight control laws
Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.
Chula Vista, California becomes national model for blight control laws

—Jolie Houston, land use attorney

Under the Chula Vista ordinance lenders become legally responsible for upkeep as soon as a notice of mortgage default gets filed on a vacant dwelling, before actual ownership of the dwelling returns to the lender. Leeper regards that as “the cutting-edge part of our ordinance”. Chula Vista also requires prompt registration of vacant homes and applies stiff fines as high as US$1000 per day for failure to maintain a property. Since foreclosed properties are subject to frequent resale between mortgage brokers, city officials enforce the fines by sending notices to every name on title documents and placing a lien on the property, which prevents further resale until outstanding fines have been paid. In the year since the ordinance went into effect the city has applied $850,000 in fines and penalties, of which it has collected $200,000 to date. The city has collected an additional $77,000 in registration fees on vacant homes.

Jolie Houston, an attorney in San Jose, believes “Lenders will respond when it costs them less to maintain the property than to ignore local agency requirements.” Traditionally, local governments have resorted to addressing blight problems on abandoned properties with public funds, mowing overgrown lawns and performing other vital functions, then seeking repayment afterward. Chula Vista has moved that responsibility to an upfront obligation upon lenders.

Chula Vista, California becomes national model for blight control laws
That kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.
Chula Vista, California becomes national model for blight control laws

—Marc Carpenter, real estate agent

As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States during recent years, Chula Vista saw 22.6% growth between 2000 and 2006, which brought the city’s population from 173,556 in the 2000 census to an estimated 212,756, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Chula Vista placed among the nation’s 20 fastest growing cities in 2004. A large proportion of local homes were purchased during the recent housing boom using creative financing options that purchasers did not understand were beyond their means. Average home prices in San Diego County declined by 25% in the last year, which is the steepest drop on record. Many homeowners in the region currently owe more than their homes are worth and confront rising balloon payment mortgages that they had expected to afford by refinancing new equity that either vanished or never materialized. In August 2008, Chula Vista’s eastern 91913 zip code had the highest home mortgage default rate in the county with 154 filings and 94 foreclosures, an increase of 154% over one year previously. Regionally, the county saw 1,979 foreclosures in August.

Professionals from the real estate and mortgage industries object to Chula Vista’s response to the crisis for the additional burdens it places on their struggling finances. Said San Diego real estate agent Marc Carpenter, “that kind of measure will add additional costs to banks that have been hit really hard already and ultimately the cost will be transferred down to consumers and investors.” Yet city councils in many communities have been under pressure to do something about increasing numbers of vacant properties. Concentrations of abandoned and neglected homes can attract vandals who hasten the decline of struggling neighborhoods. Jolie Houston explained that city officials “can’t fix the lending problem, but they can try to prevent neighborhoods from becoming blighted.”

HAVE YOUR SAY
Does Chula Vista’s solution save neighborhoods or worsen the financial crisis?
Add comment – View comments

CEO Robert Klein of Safeguard, a property management firm, told the Union Tribune that his industry is having difficulty adapting to the rapidly changing local ordinances. “Every day we discover a new ordinance coming out of somewhere”, he complained. Dustin Hobbs, a spokesman from the California Association of Mortgage Bankers agreed that uneven local ordinances are likely to increase the costs of lending. Hobbs advised that local legislation is unnecessary due to California State Senate Bill 1137, which was recently approved to address blight. Yet according to Houston, the statewide measure falls short because it fails to address upkeep needs during the months between the time when foreclosure begins and when the lender takes title.


Sources

  • Emmet Pierce “Blight-prevention law emerges as a national model”. SignOnSanDiego.com, 12 October 2008
  • Kelly Bennett “San Diego Home Prices Continue Slide”. voice of sandiego.org, 1 October 2008
  • “Chula Vista (city), California QuickFacts”. U.S. Census Bureau, 25 July 2008
  • “US sunshine cities grow fastest while Detroit loses top ten place”. City Mayors Statistics, 2005
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 28, 2008

UK house prices have fallen 10.5% this year, says Nationwide Building Society

Thursday, August 28, 2008

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  • 20 February 2009: European Court of Human Rights orders UK to compensate Islamist
  • 20 February 2009: Sheffield pub is CAMRA’s Pub of the Year
  • 18 February 2009: Helicopter ditches in the North Sea; all 18 on board rescued
  • 18 February 2009: Two nuclear submarines collide in the Atlantic Ocean
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After dropping 1.9% in July, house prices in the United Kingdom are now falling at the fastest rate since 1990, according to Nationwide Building Society.

Residential homes in Oldham, England.
Image: Jeremy Sutcliffe.

The average price of a home has dropped by £20,000 down to £164,654, losing 10.5% of its value in 2008. Property values fell by 1.9% in the past month, and 1.5% in July. In another study, it was revealed that house prices have been steadily falling since October last year.

Nationwide’s chief economist, Fionnuala Earley said that activities in the housing market had recently been “very subdued”, although there are signs of increased interests in home sales, possibly due to the appeal of lower house prices.

The Bank of England stated there has been an increase in the number of people taking out a fixed rate mortgage as opposed to a variable rate loan. Further research by Nationwide has concluded that mortgage approvals also fell by 65% last month.


Sources

  • “House prices dip 10.5% in 12 months”. The Press Association, August 28, 2008
  • Aislinn Simpson “House prices falling at fastest rate in nearly 20 years”. The Daily Telegraph, August 28, 2008
  • Miles Costello “Nationwide says house prices falling fastest in 18 years”. Times Online, August 28, 2008


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 20, 2007

U.S. develops parks above highways

Filed under: AutoArchived,Real estate,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

U.S. develops parks above highways – Wikinews, the free news source

U.S. develops parks above highways

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Freeway Park in Seattle

In big cities, finding land for new parks is less of an expedition than an all-out land-rights battle with property owners. But some cities across the U.S. have found a slightly easier way to add to their greenspace. By utilizing the state’s air rights to the space above freeways that run below at ground level, cities can acquire 5 or 10 acres of parkspace essentially for free, such Freeway Park which occupies 5.5 acres above a freeway in downtown Seattle.

Of course, this free “land” is actually nothing more than open air above a freeway, requiring cities to pay the high construction costs of capping the roadway with land.

Such projects are currently being planned in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Dallas and San Diego. A recent article in Governing Magazine looks at more than two dozen highway deck parks that have been built or are under construction in the U.S. The article finds that even though the price of constructing parks on top of freeways can rise upwards of $500 per square foot, property values and local development boom once they are completed.

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