National / International News

Housing's bad month, via the letter 'L'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:55

Some pretty lackluster news from the housing market today.

Construction spending rose a measly .1% in February. Part of that was because of the wild weather we saw this winter, but economists say that only accounts for part of the lacklusterness. It seems we’re not building or buying homes like we used to. Pending home sales fell in February to their lowest level in more than 2 years. The housing market made big gains last year, but so far 2014 isn’t looking so hot. 

The reason?

Brought to you by the letter "L" (and the number "3").

L is for Labor: The lackluster labor market means people don’t want to make big investments, like buying a house, says Susan Wachter, professor of real estate and finance at Wharton.  "Jobs and affordability of mortgages are the two fundamental drivers of the housing market and they’re both weak right now."

L is for Loans: Namely, it's not easy to get a loan these days. Nicolas Retsinas teaches real estate at Harvard Business School. "The bread and butter of the housing market is first time homebuyers. They continue to have increasing difficulty getting a mortgage, accessing credit."

Those loans have to be a little larger because of the third L...

L is for Lumber: "Costs have been going up. The cost of lumber’s been going up," says Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS. He says demand from China and other elements have lifted lumber prices, making building less lucrative for builders and a lot costlier for buyers.

L is also for : Undeveloped or ripe for development real estate is getting expensive too, especially in urban areas.

And let's not forget the L for Lousy Weather: The winter freeze clamped a lid on the housing market on most of the Eastern Seaboard this year, and sales in the West and South just weren't enough to make up for it.

All of this is a big deal for the overall economy, says Newport, because it is (I know, you may be going into acute sugar shock at this moment) an economic...

L for Lynchpin: "Basically, the housing market has been sideways for the past six months and that’s very disappointing, because housing is supposed to be one of the key lynchpins that will get the economy back on track."

That's largely because it creates a lot of Lucrative construction jobs.

Housing is having a bad month, thanks to the letter "L"

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:55

Some pretty lackluster news from the housing market today.

Construction spending rose a measly .1% in February. Part of that was because of the wild weather we saw this winter, but economists say that only accounts for part of the lacklusterness. It seems we’re not building or buying homes like we used to. Pending home sales fell in February to their lowest level in more than 2 years. The housing market made big gains last year, but so far 2014 isn’t looking so hot. 

The reason?

Brought to you by the letter "L" (and the number "3").

L is for Labor: The lackluster labor market means people don’t want to make big investments, like buying a house, says Susan Wachter, professor of real estate and finance at Wharton.  "Jobs and affordability of mortgages are the two fundamental drivers of the housing market and they’re both weak right now."

L is for Loans: Namely, it's not easy to get a loan these days. Nicolas Retsinas teaches real estate at Harvard Business School. "The bread and butter of the housing market is first time homebuyers. They continue to have increasing difficulty getting a mortgage, accessing credit."

Those loans have to be a little larger because of the third L...

L is for Lumber: "Costs have been going up. The cost of lumber’s been going up," says Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS. He says demand from China and other elements have lifted lumber prices, making building less lucrative for builders and a lot costlier for buyers.

L is also for : Undeveloped or ripe for development real estate is getting expensive too, especially in urban areas.

And let's not forget the L for Lousy Weather: The winter freeze clamped a lid on the housing market on most of the Eastern Seaboard this year, and sales in the West and South just weren't enough to make up for it.

All of this is a big deal for the overall economy, says Newport, because it is (I know, you may be going into acute sugar shock at this moment) an economic...

L for Lynchpin: "Basically, the housing market has been sideways for the past six months and that’s very disappointing, because housing is supposed to be one of the key lynchpins that will get the economy back on track."

That's largely because it creates a lot of Lucrative construction jobs.

Film star Crowe meets archbishop

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:39
Hollywood actor Russell Crowe has paid a visit to the Archbishop of Canterbury to discuss "faith and spirituality".

US in talks on Israeli spy Pollard

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:31
Talks are under way on the status of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, in an effort to save Middle East peace talks, the White House says.

Not An April Fools' Joke: Russians Petition To Get Alaska Back

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:27

After Crimea, is Alaska next? A petition on the White House website calling for just that has more than 37,000 signatures.

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Dance Music Legend Frankie Knuckles Dies At 59

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:18

The iconic DJ is credited with helping popularize the style of mixes and remixes known as house music. The cause of death is still unknown, but he suffered from diabetes.

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Ebola outbreak in Guinea 'limited'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:15
The deadly Ebola outbreak in Guinea is limited geographically, says the World Health Organization - contradicting an assessment by a medical charity.

Norwich players to reimburse fans

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:06
Norwich City's players will reimburse the admission price for their fans who travelled to their 3-0 loss at Swansea.

Conservative Media Watchdog: Univision, Telemundo Favor Liberals

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:02

The Media Research Center says its survey shows that news stories on the nation's Spanish-language television networks are dominated by partisans on the left — and conservatives should be concerned.

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English programmes in Wales 'eroded'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-01 11:01
The BBC's English language television programming in Wales has been "eroded" in recent years, says the corporation's director general.
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