U.S. housing starts climbed 18.6% in Jan.

WASHINGTON (AP) – March 8, 2019 – U.S. housing starts jumped 18.6 percent in January, as builders ramped up construction of single-family houses to the fastest pace in eight months.

The Commerce Department said Friday that January ground breakings occurred at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million. Home construction rebounded sharply from December, when the annual rate was just 1.04 million.

Most of the new construction came from single-family houses, which were being built at the strongest rate since May 2018. Still, overall housing starts in January were slightly below the 2018 total of 1.24 million as the pace of apartment construction slowed.

The housing market was hurt for much of 2018 by rising mortgage rates, which made it costlier to purchase a home. But average rates have declined since early November and the average 30-year rate was 4.41 percent this week, providing a possible boost for home buying this year.

Permits for construction, an indicator of future activity, improved 1.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.35 million. The permits suggest additional apartment construction in the coming months, as that segmented accounted for the gains. Single-family permits fell 2.1 percent in January to an annual rate of 812,000.

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12M consumers may get July credit-score boost

 

WASHINGTON – June 22, 2017 – The three largest credit-reporting agencies will begin cleaning up credit reports in July, which could help lift the credit scores of about 12 million consumers.

In a survey by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), one in four people say they spot errors in their credit reports, most commonly concerning tax liens and civil judgments.

Up to half of tax lien data on a credit report is inaccurate or incomplete, says Eric J. Ellman, senior vice president for public policy and legal affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association. Civil judgments – which means a court has ruled a person owes money – also tend to be ripe with errors or omissions on a credit report, experts say. Consumers can dispute the errors, but the process can be cumbersome.

Beginning July 1, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will automatically exclude tax lien and civil judgment records from credit reports if they are missing a person’s name, address, Social Security number or date of birth. Claims that do contain this key information, however, will remain on credit reports.

Six percent of Americans with a credit score – or 12 million – likely will see their score go up once the new policy takes effect. About 11 million could see an increase of about 20 points.

“A lot of people who have liens or judgments against them already have crummy credit to begin with,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage resource website. “A 10- or 20-point increase isn’t going to make a difference for a lot of borrowers.”

But borrowers who are on the cusp of qualifying for a home loan may stand to benefit the most. For example, Gumbinger says, a would-be buyer with a credit score of 570 who receives a 10-point uptick may be able to qualify for an FHA loan. FHA loans require a minimum 580 credit score.

Source: “Have a Bad Credit Score? It Could Soon Get Better – But Is It Enough to Buy a Home?” realtor.com® (June 22, 2017)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Affordable housing: Americans want help getting in

WASHINGTON – June 22, 2017 – Most Americans and Canadians say their nations aren’t doing enough to address and solve affordable housing needs, according to Habitat for Humanity’s Affordable Housing Survey. Escalating costs remain a top barrier preventing families from accessing decent homes with affordable mortgages, the survey says.

“In many ways, housing is an invisible crisis,” says Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “There are still too many families without access to safe, secure and affordable housing. This survey highlights the value all of us place on a decent place to call home and underscores the critical need to increase access to affordable housing.”

Owning a home is a key rung on the ladder of economic advancement. What happens if that rung remains elusive for many?

According to the survey, nine out of 10 Americans say owning a home is one of their greatest achievements in life. Also, 68 percent of U.S. renters say owning a home is one of their chief goals, according to the survey. PSB, on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, surveyed 1,000 people in the U.S. and Canada to gauge their perceptions of, and challenges to, affordable housing.

Ninety-one percent of American homeowners credited owning a home with making them more responsible, and 44 percent said it helped them build a nest egg. Forty-one percent say homeownership has given them stability.

But homeownership remains out of reach for many. Nine out of 10 Americans and Canadians say it’s important to find solutions to the lack of affordable housing. At 59 percent, concerns regarding U.S. affordability in particular easily topped other housing issues like safety (16%) and quality (11%).

One major barrier to homeownership cited among survey respondents: the high cost of rent. Eighty-four percent of survey respondents said the high cost of rent was preventing them from buying, followed by 75 percent who said obtaining a mortgage was proving to be a big barrier.

Many of the survey respondents said they’ve struggled to pay housing costs at some point in their life. Among U.S. respondents, 27 percent of respondents said they struggled to pay housing costs in their 20s; 22 percent in their 30s; 11 percent in their 40s; and 9 percent in their 50s.

Source: “Nine Out of 10 Americans and Canadians Call for Affordable Housing Solutions,” Habitat for Humanity (June 20, 2017)

© Copyright 2017 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Downtown Ft. Lauderdale Redevelopment

Sun Sentinel

The Stiles real estate firm is moving forward with plans to redevelop a stretch of downtown Fort Lauderdale with residential units, retail and a 25-story office tower.

Stiles is scheduled to meet with the city’s Development Review Committee on Tuesday to discuss 348 apartments and 25,222 square feet of retail at 212 SE Second Ave. Stiles last year paid $13.1 million for the Bank of America building on the site.

Meanwhile, the developer has started preleasing an office building on a neighboring parcel at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. as part of a previously announced deal with Broward College to replace its two aging buildings.

The 395,836-square-foot office tower, expected to open in the fall of 2020, would include about 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The office building would be the largest built in downtown Fort Lauderdale since Stiles developed 200 Las Olas Circle nearly a decade ago. AutoNation is that building’s signature tenant.

Office construction virtually ended following the Great Recession, and developers have been slow to propose new projects in the years since.

But market observers say the timing is right for a new building, pointing out the strong demand for space in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“I would say the lack of large blocks of contiguous space in downtown Fort Lauderdale could be hindering new business relocation,” said Peter Reed, of Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton.

Stiles executives did not return calls Monday. But Chairman Terry Stiles said earlier this year that the office building would revitalize the area “by bringing new and exciting entertainment and dining options to the ground level as well as open venues for gathering.”

City officials are trying to make the downtown corridor a live-work-play destination, and having retail within walking distance is a key component of that strategy, said Barry Wolfe, vice president of investments for Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale.

“To be living downtown and still having to drive everywhere, it becomes more challenging,” Wolfe said.

In an online brochure marketing the office tower, Stiles says it has built more than 4 million square feet on and near Las Olas Boulevard.

Projects include Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas City Centre, Plaza at Las Olas and Amaray Las Olas.

Amaray, a luxury apartment building at 215 S.E. Eighth Ave., sold this month for $133.5 million.

The Stiles real estate firm is moving forward with plans to redevelop a stretch of downtown Fort Lauderdale with residential units, retail and a 25-story office tower.

Stiles is scheduled to meet with the city’s Development Review Committee on Tuesday to discuss 348 apartments and 25,222 square feet of retail at 212 SE Second Ave. Stiles last year paid $13.1 million for the Bank of America building on the site.

Meanwhile, the developer has started preleasing an office building on a neighboring parcel at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. as part of a previously announced deal with Broward College to replace its two aging buildings.

The 395,836-square-foot office tower, expected to open in the fall of 2020, would include about 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The office building would be the largest built in downtown Fort Lauderdale since Stiles developed 200 Las Olas Circle nearly a decade ago. AutoNation is that building’s signature tenant.

Office construction virtually ended following the Great Recession, and developers have been slow to propose new projects in the years since.

But market observers say the timing is right for a new building, pointing out the strong demand for space in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“I would say the lack of large blocks of contiguous space in downtown Fort Lauderdale could be hindering new business relocation,” said Peter Reed, of Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton.

Stiles executives did not return calls Monday. But Chairman Terry Stiles said earlier this year that the office building would revitalize the area “by bringing new and exciting entertainment and dining options to the ground level as well as open venues for gathering.”

City officials are trying to make the downtown corridor a live-work-play destination, and having retail within walking distance is a key component of that strategy, said Barry Wolfe, vice president of investments for Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale.

“To be living downtown and still having to drive everywhere, it becomes more challenging,” Wolfe said.

In an online brochure marketing the office tower, Stiles says it has built more than 4 million square feet on and near Las Olas Boulevard.

Projects include Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas City Centre, Plaza at Las Olas and Amaray Las Olas.

Amaray, a luxury apartment building at 215 S.E. Eighth Ave., sold this month for $133.5 million.

The Stiles real estate firm is moving forward with plans to redevelop a stretch of downtown Fort Lauderdale with residential units, retail and a 25-story office tower.

Stiles is scheduled to meet with the city’s Development Review Committee on Tuesday to discuss 348 apartments and 25,222 square feet of retail at 212 SE Second Ave. Stiles last year paid $13.1 million for the Bank of America building on the site.

Meanwhile, the developer has started preleasing an office building on a neighboring parcel at 201 E. Las Olas Blvd. as part of a previously announced deal with Broward College to replace its two aging buildings.

The 395,836-square-foot office tower, expected to open in the fall of 2020, would include about 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

The office building would be the largest built in downtown Fort Lauderdale since Stiles developed 200 Las Olas Circle nearly a decade ago. AutoNation is that building’s signature tenant.

Office construction virtually ended following the Great Recession, and developers have been slow to propose new projects in the years since.

But market observers say the timing is right for a new building, pointing out the strong demand for space in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“I would say the lack of large blocks of contiguous space in downtown Fort Lauderdale could be hindering new business relocation,” said Peter Reed, of Commercial Florida Realty Services in Boca Raton.

Stiles executives did not return calls Monday. But Chairman Terry Stiles said earlier this year that the office building would revitalize the area “by bringing new and exciting entertainment and dining options to the ground level as well as open venues for gathering.”

City officials are trying to make the downtown corridor a live-work-play destination, and having retail within walking distance is a key component of that strategy, said Barry Wolfe, vice president of investments for Marcus & Millichap in Fort Lauderdale.

“To be living downtown and still having to drive everywhere, it becomes more challenging,” Wolfe said.

In an online brochure marketing the office tower, Stiles says it has built more than 4 million square feet on and near Las Olas Boulevard.

Projects include Bank of America Plaza at Las Olas City Centre, Plaza at Las Olas and Amaray Las Olas.

Amaray, a luxury apartment building at 215 S.E. Eighth Ave., sold this month for $133.5 million.

8 Behaviors That Separate Ultra-Successful People From Everybody Else Ultra-successful individuals demonstrate some similar traits that set them apart from the ordinary.

by  Elle Kaplan, CEO & Founder of @LexionCapital A Premier Investment Management Firm. Self Made Entrepreneur, Financial Expert, Animal Lover, Midwestern Transplant & Dreamer.

Ultra-successful individuals demonstrate some similar traits that set them apart from the ordinary.

Success has nothing to do with timing, luck or inborn talent, but rather a way of thinking and doing things to create a lifestyle of positivity and prosperity.

So why just sit back and admire ultra successful people when you could become one yourself?

There’s no microwave-ready recipe for success, so these aren’t five-minute fixes. But if you take this advice, you’ll be following in the footsteps of the entrepreneurial greats.

Embrace these eight behaviors to put yourself on a winning path:

They are continuously learning.

“Anyone who stops learning is old whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays strong.” — Henry Ford

Success can quickly come to a screeching halt once you decide that you’re finished learning.

No matter how much you think you may know, there’s always something that you don’t (trust me), and those who are super successful actually enjoy this constant pursuit. So don’t settle with the knowledge you have.

Ever. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go back to school to get new degrees or learn a new trade, but keep consuming information and learning from those around you. This constant stream of knowledge will help you to stay on your toes and evolve in both your personal and professional life.

They surround themselves with other successful people.

You’ve heard it before, “show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Ultra successful people tend to surround themselves with individuals who help to keep them focused and motivated. It’s true, however, that those whom you spend most of your time with gradually shape your behaviors and your mindset.

In fact, studies showthat our friends and colleagues greatly impact the choices we make, both for the better and for the worse. For this reason, we should be cautious of who we surround ourselves with. So take some time to analyze your current crew, cut out negativity and dedicate time to those relationships that will have positive effects on your life.

They constantly seek out people smarter than them.

In today’s hyper-competitive business world, one might think that billionaires wouldn’t even give each other the time of day.

The opposite tends to be true, like with Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz, who said “Don’t be threatened by people smarter than you.”

Whether it’s meeting with a competitor to exchange information, or seeking out a mentor, the path to billionaire status involves constantly seeking out brighter and more talented people, rather than trying to squash them.

They learn how to lead different personalities.

For billionaire and hospitality titan Tilman Fertitta, one of the key secrets to success is being an adaptive people person. It’s what helped his company, Landry’s Inc., become one of America’s most powerful and far reaching restaurant corporations.

“People want to be led, but you’ve got to know how to lead different people,” Fertitta says. “I treat everybody differently depending on how I’ve evaluated that person. And if you do it that way in business, you’re going to be a lot more successful.”

Billionaires and success stories know that EQ, and the ability to respond to others’ emotions, is just as important as IQ. The good news: This is a skill you can develop today.

They’re flexible.

Every successful billionaire knows that there is a skill in knowing how to pursue excellence while maintaining flexibility. Staying nimble and open to new opportunities is critical to continuing success.

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet, finds that being flexible and ready to strike are key elements to succeeding in the entrepreneurial world. “You cannot plan innovation, you cannot plan invention. All you can do is try very hard to be in the right place and be ready.”

First business models rarely pan out, but billionaires don’t throw up their hands and accept defeat when that happens. They adjust. They adjust thousands of times if they have to, until opportunity strikes.

They don’t care about being understood by others.

To state the obvious, mega-moguls do not get to where they are by following the beat of someone else’s drum. Often times, rejection and being misunderstood are the norm.

As Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder of Oracle Corporation, says, “When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts.”

So don’t be discouraged to try something new. Perhaps you’ll get called crazy for it (I know I was when I started my own business), or perhaps you’ll find your way into an untapped market. You never know until you give your “crazy” idea a try.

They channel negative emotions.

“Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice.” — Stephen Covey

On our quest for success and happiness, it’s inevitable that things will not always go as planned. It’s important to remember that progress is largely driven by mindset. Negative thoughts and feelings can often be hard to shake, causing our ability to focus on a goal that much harder. The best thing to do is channel them into means of motivation.

Successful people know how to move on, to leave the past in the past and don’t allow themselves to get anchored. If you hold onto to your latest mistakes they will inevitably slow and bring you down. So instead learn from them, see challenges as opportunities (to even bigger challenges often), surround yourself with positivity and stop complaining.

They don’t take “no” for an answer.

“The only people who don’t tumble are those who never mount the high wire,” said Oprah Winfrey.

One thing all billionaires and big thinkers have in common is that they were told “no” at some point in their lives. The trick is to keep swimming against the tide.

Realize that “no” is just someone’s opinion, nothing more. The difference with these success stories is that they pushed forward past these bad experiences and rejections, and even used them as a springboard for success. They realize that no rejection is set in stone — it’s just one person’s (often flawed) viewpoint.

Call to action

Are there any other success behaviors you’d add to the list? Please leave a comment or give me a shout-out on Twitter!

Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com

LIFE LESSONS, PRODUCTIVITY, WISDOM, WONDER

Mortgage rates and applications, falling together……

Mortgage applications fell again last week, even as rates returned to their downward trend, according to mortgage application data for the week ending Aug. 24 released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Applications slumped 4.3 percent overall, on the back of a 6 percent decline in applications for mortgage refinances. Applications for purchases, however, jumped 1 percent.

The increase in mortgages for purchase coupled with the decrease in refinance applications dropped the refinance share of activity to 79 percent of total applications from 80 percent the prior week.

Average interest rates fell six basis points to 3.80 and five basis points to 4.06 percent for conforming 30-year fixed-rate loans and jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, respectively. Federal Housing Administration-backed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages had an average interest rate of 3.60, down from 3.62. Finally, 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rates dropped to 3.12 percent from 3.15 percent. — Adam Fusfeld