JULY 30, 2014 – Dionne Searcey, NY Times | The United States economy rebounded heartily in the spring after a dismal winter, the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday, growing at an annual rate of 4 percent from April through June and surpassing economists’ expecations.In its initial estimate for the second quarter, the government cited a major advance in inventories for private businesses, higher government spending at the state and local level and personal consumption spending as chief contributors to growth. Economists, who had been hoping for a full reversal of the first quarter’s decline, were cheered by the second quarter’s numbers. The consensus forecast for G.D.P. was 3 percent.
WASHINGTON 07/09/2014 — The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that it planned to stop adding to its bond holdings in October, in a sign of its confidence that the economy is gaining strength even as the central bank gradually withdraws its support.
via New York Times Fed, Confident in Economy, Details End of Bond-Buying Program – NYTimes.com.
Housing starts exceeded one million for first time since last year and housing permits were over one million for a third consecutive month. The increases were almost entirely in multifamily rental construction.
Multifamily construction soared 40% to 423,000 starts, the highest since January 2006 and permits also rose 20% to 478,000, the highest in almost six years. Multifamily starts were particularly strong in the Midwest where they more than doubled from an unusually low 42,000 to 100,000.
BY Margaret Chadbourn, Reuters
(MAY 15, 2014) – A Senate panel on Thursday approved legislation to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and redesign the U.S. mortgage finance system, but sparse support among Democrats means the measure is unlikely to make it into law.
BY Patti Domm, CNBC
[MAY 14, 2014 ]Global bond yields are in a deep slide, taking the 10-year U.S. Treasury to a level not seen since October—well before the Fed began winding down its easy money program.
The common themes are accommodating central bankers and concerns about growth. In the U.S. a short position in Treasurys continues to support the market as investors are forced to cover with each notch higher in price and lower in yield. Yields were lower across the curve, but the 10-year yield broke below a range that it has held since the end of October, touching a low yield of 2.52 percent.
via International Living Future Institute
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden’s mission is to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants, advance sustainability and human and environmental wellbeing through action and research, and to celebrate its historic glass houses. The mission of the organization is evident in the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL). A restored brownfield is now a productive place that takes what it needs from what is available to it, and provides a healthy environment for life to thrive. True to the Phipps mission, the ongoing work at the CSL is based on recognizing vital and positive connections between people, plants, beauty, health, and focuses on awakening children to nature and encouraging sustainable, healthy lifestyles.
In a matter of months, five projects—two residences, a government office and a pair of educational facilities—achieved Net Zero Energy Building Certification through the Living Building Challenge. This recent flurry of certifications supports an assertion commonly voiced at our Net Positive Conference in February: the future of Net Zero buildings isn’t on the horizon; it’s already here. Learn more about the following certified projects via our case studies:
Zero Energy House, Auckland, New Zealand
American Samoa EPA Office, American Samoa
Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservancy & Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA (also pursuing Living Certification).
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
NEW YORK TIMES
[MAY 2, 2014] The American economy picked up steam in April, as employers added 288,000 jobs while the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, the lowest level since September 2008.
After a sharp slowdown in job growth in December and January, and a modest improvement since then, economists had been forecasting a healthy gain for April as consumer and business activity rose in tandem with temperatures in many parts of the country.
But the good news was tempered by a drop of 806,000 in the number of Americans in the labor force, pushing the labor participation rate down sharply. And despite the fall in joblessness, average hourly earnings were flat.
via Brandon Turner, BiggerPockets.com
[April 24,2014] “On today’s episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast, we sit down and chat with a real estate investor who wasn’t seeing a lot of action in his business – until a friend challenged him to take his investing seriously and start treating it like a business….Our guest today, Tim Gordon, accepted the challenge…”
By Sarah Borchersen-Keto
[APRIL 24, 2014] Starwood Capital Group Chairman and CEO Barry Sternlicht is expressing confidence that the single-family rental housing sector has the potential to become a major REIT asset class, but he acknowledges that investors remain skeptical.