Archive for ‘Housing’

September 6, 2011

Robbie George on American Exceptionalism

by Vince


Robbie George, a political science professor at Princeton, says nothing groundbreaking in his 2 and a half minute snippet from the Republican debate in South Carolina. He does, however, speak on behalf of our inalienable rights with much ignorance to what we as a nation have intentionally done to institutionally make fellow Americans unequal. Are American’s of color today given the same rights to education or even the same slate as a white American when they are born? To me, pontificating about our equality in a hagiographic manner while we face a type of apartheid in our schools and neighborhoods is a sad side effect of privileged conditioning and possessing blinders to much of our America.

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July 29, 2011

Are Recessions All That Bad?

by Vince

As I read over Ezra Klein’s post that described the recovery-less recovery (more found here), a few words and phrases stuck out to me.

As Wolfers suggests, these numbers solve the mystery in the labor market. This isn’t about confidence or uncertainty or regulations or any of the other bankshot explanations we’ve been using to explain why unemployment seems stuck even as the economy rebounds. The economy isn’t rebounding. Demand isn’t returning. And without demand, there can’t be jobs.

Emphasis from here on out is from me. In terms of demand, is it all that bad for a country to scale back it’s purchases, it’s expenditures, and possibly live more within their means? Banks, for one, are not giving out loans as easily. I found this out over the past week. With a proposed deal I negotiated with Wells Fargo, I would of been facing a 40% mortgage payment to income ratio. The banks today want that ratio to be between 20% and 30%. Five years ago, I could have easily gotten a loan with a 40% ratio. I speak on this based on friends and family who have in fact received loans before the Great Recession with roughly 40% ratios. Banks are being more careful, people are not selling because the housing bubble has burst, and those willing to make moves have to cross their t’s and dot their i’s to prove that they truly will make x in a given year, not just think or hope they will.

Meanwhile, we’re in an economic crisis in which the main problem is too little spending.

Cutting spending and budgets in a recession does hurt an economy but, again, too little spending is not inherently bad. If anything, this Great Recession has helped us feel the purchases we make (credit cards numb the feeling of purchases. We do not see the actual money come out of our wallets or purses but only flash a piece of plastic. We delay this feeling from hitting us until later on).

I stand by less spending and lower demand as good signs for simplicity and understanding our behaviors. Whether these signals are actually making cognitive connections with fellow Americans, I cannot say for sure.

One final note: yes, over 9% unemployment nationwide (with that 2-3x the case for minorities – cry me a river white America) is bad. I will not deny that reality.

June 3, 2011

Best Cities for Recent Graduates

by Vince

The Daily Beast has a list:

According to The Daily Beast’s second annual ranking of the best cities for recent college graduates, many of American’s most livable cities for those seeking low rents, cheap eats, good job prospects, and decent pay are not the traditional destinations of New York City or Los Angeles. Austin has a huge rental market, Savannah is packed with those in their early 20s, and Seattle bears a boast-worthy cost of living. In general, it seems grads should try to unpack their bags in the South, where cost of living is low, job growth is strong, and average earnings are high.

To put together the list of the top towns for recent graduates, we looked at the cities through the lens of the basics of quality of life: housing, employment, affordability, and relationships. The cities that land among the top 25 have relatively low unemployment, high average salary per capita, a low cost of living, a high portion of housing units devoted to rental properties, and a large population between ages 22 and 24. Figures were drawn from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, C2Er, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Census.

Corpus Christi, TX comes in 14th:

Population: 416,095
Percent of population between age 22-24: 4.3%
Cost of Living Index: 91.3
Percent of housing units for rental: 37%
Unemployment rate: 7.9
Average per-capita personal income: $36,558

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May 31, 2011

Interesting Chart on Home Values by Metro Area

by Vince

Can be found here. Check out who at the bottom of the alphabetical list actually had home values increases.