Real Estate Daily News Buzz is designed to give news snippets to readers that our (yet to be award winning) editors thought you could use to start your day. They come from various business perspectives, real estate, government, the Fed, local news, and the stock markets to save you time. Here you will find the headlines and what the news buzz for the day will be.
On Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 102.75 points, or 0.6%, to 17,879.55. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 13.11 points, or 0.6%, to 2,066.55. The NASDAQ composite rose 28.46 points, or 0.6%, to 4,755.81.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell $2.12 to close at $66.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $2 to close at $70.54 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 6.9 cents to close at $1.812 a gallon. Heating oil fell 5.8 cents to close at $2.154 a gallon. Natural gas fell 13.3 cents to close at $3.874 per 1,000 cubic feet.
CORE LOGIC: US HOME PRICES ACCELERATED IN OCTOBER
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose at a faster year-over-year pace in October than in September, snapping a seven-month slowdown. Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices increased 6.1% in October compared with 12 months earlier. That was up from September’s year-over-year increase of 5.6%. Still, home values are rising more slowly than they were earlier this year, when 12-month gains were averaging nearly double their current pace. The price momentum began to tail off in the middle of the year as home values in more cities and states neared the record highs last seen shortly before the Great Recession began in late 2007. Higher prices have reduced affordability, especially because the incomes of many would-be buyers have yet to match their pre-recession levels. Lending standards also remain comparably tight.
GOLDWATER INSTITUTE FILES SUIT TO PROTECT TEACHERS’ RIGHTS TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST STATE POLICIES
Phoenix – Tuesday, the Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of Tucson teacher Brad McQueen, who was retaliated against by employees of the Arizona Department of Education for speaking out against the Common Core State Standards. For years, Mr. McQueen was paid to serve on several committees of teachers who advised the state department of education on issues related to standardized testing. When he spoke out against the Common Core and its accompanying standardized test earlier this year in a newspaper article, he was removed from the committees (even those that had nothing to do with the Common Core), notes were made in his file at the department that could impact future employment opportunities, and he was disparaged in official department emails. The Goldwater Institute lawsuit claims that Mr. McQueen’s First Amendment rights have been violated and seeks to have him reinstated to the committees unrelated to the Common Core and to have his record cleared of information about his opposition to the Common Core. The lawsuit, McQueen v. Huppenthal, was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court.
DEFLATION LOOM AS EUROPES’ ECONOMIC BUGBEAR
LONDON (AP) — It’s the D-word that’s pushing the European Central Bank into a corner. But it’s not debt — Europe’s main economic problem in recent years — that is driving speculation the ECB will switch on the printing press to help the economy. It’s deflation. At first glance, deflation, which is generally defined as a sustained drop in prices, sounds good — getting goods cheaper surely warms the heart of any consumer. The problem lies when prices fall consistently over time, as opposed to temporary declines, which can give economic activity a boost. The recent sharp fall in the oil price, for example, is expected to help growth. Longer-term deflation encourages people to put off spending and can prove difficult to reverse because it requires altering people’s expectations. It can lead to years of economic stagnation, as in Japan over the past two decades, or at worst, into something more pernicious, such as the Great Depression of the 1930s.
PROMOTIONS, GAS PRICES BOOST US AUTO SALES
DETROIT (AP) — American shoppers passed on the malls and headed to the car dealerships over Thanksgiving weekend. Black Friday promotions — coupled with falling gas prices, low-interest loans and hot new vehicles — drove U.S. auto sales higher in November, kicking off what’s expected to be a strong holiday season. Subaru and Chrysler led the major automakers with sales increases around 20% on strong demand for their small SUVs. It was Subaru’s best November ever and Chrysler’s best November in 13 years. General Motors, Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen also reported gains. Sales fell at Ford, Hyundai and Nissan. According to a National Retail Federation survey of 4,000 shoppers, sales were down 11% to $50.9 billion over the four-day holiday compared to a year ago. A move by retailers to discount merchandise in the days and weeks before Thanksgiving appeared to cut down on store traffic over the holiday weekend.
THANKSGIVING DEALS SHIFT S.KOREA SHOPPING HABITS
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea does not celebrate Thanksgiving, but the hot deals at U.S. online retailers during the holiday season are changing the shopping habits of South Koreans who are aggrieved at marked-up prices of locally made and imported goods at hometown stores. The volume of goods ordered by Korean shoppers from websites overseas has surged in recent years and sales are forecast to set a record high this year above $1 billion. It remains small compared with retail sales within South Korea, which are forecast at $243 billion this year, but is expanding at a faster rate.
CHINA’S CARBON GOAL A TOUGH SHELL IN COAL COUNTRY
TANG COUNTY, China (AP) — The black slabs of coal came in by the truckload through this dusty valley in northern China, slated to power cement and steel plants, heat the houses of poor farmers and even grill skewers of lamb and beef. Just a few dozen miles from the capital of Beijing, in Hebei province, coal use has long been a way of life here, with countless house-sized mounds of it dotting the forest floor. Yet the soot-covered residents of Tang County said they see change coming as Chinese leaders pledge to cut back on the kind of rampant coal use that has made this country the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
RUSSIA WARNS OF RECESSION NEXT YEAR
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian government has acknowledged that the country will fall into recession next year, battered by the combination of Western sanctions and a plunge in the price of its oil exports. The news caused the stock market to drop and pushed the ruble to a fresh record low against the dollar. The economic development ministry on Tuesday revised its GDP forecast for 2015 from growth of 1.2% to a drop of 0.8%. Russian households are expected to take hit, with disposable income seen declining by 2.8% against the previously expected 0.4% growth. Russia’s economic outlook is at the mercy of the global market for oil, a key export that finances the bulk of the state budget. Sanctions over Moscow’s role in eastern Ukraine are making things worse, hurting Russian banks and investment sentiment in particular.
MORE US CEOs PLAN TO BOOST HIRING IN THE NEXT 6 MONTHS
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief executives at the largest U.S. companies expect sales to keep growing in the next six months and also plan to step up hiring. The Business Roundtable said Tuesday that 40% of its member CEOs plan to hire more workers, up from 34% in the third quarter. Nearly three-quarters project their sales will rise, roughly the same as the previous quarter. The findings suggest that slowing growth overseas hasn’t caused large corporations to pull back on their hiring plans. That bodes well for the government’s report on November job gains, to be released Friday. Still, the CEOs say they are less likely to invest in new facilities or equipment: 13% say they plan to cut such spending, up from just 10% in the previous quarter.
US CONSTRUCTION SPENDING UP 1.1% IN OCTOBER
WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly built homes and schools boosted U.S. construction spending in October to the highest level since May. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that construction spending rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in October, after having slipped 0.1% in September. Fueling the gains in October was a 1.8% increase in spending on single-family houses. A similar boost in building schools led to a 2.3% increase in government construction spending. Meanwhile, private construction of power plants and commercial centers slipped in October.
CYBER MONDAY GETS STRETCHED, CRIMPING SALES
NEW YORK (AP) — Cyber Monday deals are being stretched out this holiday season, crimping sales on the day itself. Retailers from Target to Amazon have been offering online deals since the beginning of November, and are promising “cyber” deals all week. That seems to have put a dent in Cyber Monday sales. Sales were up, according to estimates. But they weren’t as strong as some were expecting. IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark reported that online sales rose 8.5% compared to 2013. That still makes it the busiest U.S. online shopping day of the year so far — a title the date has held since 2010. But it was less stellar growth than last year’s Cyber Monday, when online sales jumped more than 20%.
FRIDAY DEADLINE FOR 20th ANNUAL DOWNTOWN PARADE OF LIGHTS
The 20th Annual Downtown Parade of Lights will take place on December 20, 2014 at 6:30 p.m., illuminating the merriment of the season and the streets of the historic Armory Park neighborhood. Before the parade, get in the spirit of the season at Armory Park with a holiday festival starting at 4 p.m., and the Mayor’s Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. If ever there were a time to participate, this is it! If you’re making your list and checking it twice, then you already know that your last chance to be in the holiday parade is this Friday, Dec. 5th. Join fun and festive floats from local small businesses, individuals, community organizations, neighborhood and youth associations to showcase Tucson’s unique holiday spirit at this sparkling, cheerful event. All entries are eligible to win cash prizes up to $500. A panel of judges will award the prizes to the best display or ensemble in each of five categories before the parade, allowing each winning entry to proudly display a banner for their award-winning float along the parade route. The deadline to enter the parade is Dec. 5th, and no late entries will be accepted. Signing up is easier than ever. With new online registration, you can become a part of the Downtown Parade of Lights in just a few simple clicks. For a photo gallery from previous parades, route information, volunteer opportunities, and entry form, visit http://www.downtowntucson.org/visit/parade-of-lights/.
CITY SUBMITS PROMISE ZONE APPLICATION
TUCSON – The City of Tucson, in collaboration with Pima County and the City of South Tucson, has submitted an application for the Obama Administration’s Promise Zone competition. Promise Zone communities work together with the federal government to promote economic opportunity and accelerate economic growth in high-poverty areas by receiving preferred access to certain competitive federal investments, federal staff to help implement goals, and five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to recruit and manage volunteers. At least eight urban, rural, or tribal communities are expected to be named Promise Zones from this second round of designees. Read the White House news release: http://1.usa.gov/1vdApzy
BABY ELEPHANT PHOTO CONTEST ENDS THIS WEEK
TUCSON – The Reid Park Zoo’s Facebook photo contest to find the best picture of Nandi, the baby African elephant, ends Thursday. Enter your photo for a chance to win a behind-the-scenes tour of the Zoo. On a related note, the BuzzFeed website ranks Nandi 34th in its “37 Cutest Baby Animals Photos of 2014.” Enter the Facebook photo contest (and view entries): http://on.fb.me/1ze2eMm; Reid Park Zoo website: http://bit.ly/1dJgCDh; BuzzFeed list of cute animal photos: http://bzfd.it/15NLZgc