Professional Real Estate Services
News & Views
 

Posted 7/21/17 - “Housing costs put California in crisis mode”

I use, for this News and Views, the exact title of an article in the Las Vegas Sun, 7/20/17 which is from the New York Times News Service.

“A full-fledged housing crisis has gripped California, marked by a severe lack of affordable houses and apartments for middle-class families. The median cost of a home here is now a staggering $500,000, twice the national cost. Homelessness is surging across the state.

In Los Angeles, booming with construction and signs of prosperity, some people have given up on finding a place and have moved into vans with makeshift kitchens, hidden away in quiet neighborhoods. In Silicon Valley – an international symbol of wealth and technology – lines of parked recreational vehicles are a daily testimony to the challenges of finding an affordable place to call home. …

Officials say the combination of a booming economy and the lack of construction of homes and apartments have combined to make this the worst housing crisis here in memory. . . .

We have cities around California that are happy to welcome thousands of workers in gleaming new tech and innovation campuses, and are turning a blind eye to their housing need.”


I conclude, move to Las Vegas. We have a balance of housing and jobs which compares favorably vs. California.

Do you now live in California? So did I for most of my life – both in Northern and Southern. I am delighted I moved to Henderson, NV in the Las Vegas metro area..

Comments?
 

Posted 7/9/17 - “Promising the Moon L.A. drowning in retiree costs”

the Las Vegas Review-Journal, 3/1/17

"As the Los Angeles Times reported last week, Los Angeles is on the hook for more than $1.1 billion in employee pensions and health care. That amounts to nearly 29 percent of the city’s general fund. In 2002, it was less than 5 percent.

So, how did this happen?

At the beginning of the past decade, the Times found, the city’s political leaders promised public sector workers early and healthy retirements, and that the stock market – not taxpayers – would foot the bill. As the paper points out, however, the city’s investment gains didn’t pan out, leaving private-sector workers, many of whom are struggling to fund their own retirements, to cover the guaranteed payouts [for government employees.]

Civilian [government] employees in most of California, including Los Angeles, can retire at 55 and receive more than half of their salary for life. Police officers and firefighters can retire at 50 and get up to 90 percent of their highest salary guaranteed. Without major reform, the people of Los Angeles will be stuck with the annual billion-dollar pension bill – a bill that’s gone up by $18 billion since just last year."

 

Posted 7/1/17 - Forced to accept early retirement in California? Upset at CalPERS or CalSTERS? (The California Public Employees Retirement System and the California State Teachers Employment System)

Then migrate to Nevada!

I have heard, numerous times, the sad stories of those who have been pushed into retirement earlier in age than they wanted to. Having been advanced in responsibility, in salary, and in age over their careers, they were replaced with young employees who had limited experience and were paid much less.

Then, I read this online from Fox News 12/20/16 (I have only adjusted paragraphing.):

For the first time in its 85-year history, the California Public Employees Retirement System, CalPERS, is drastically cutting benefits for public retirees. Starting January 1st, four retired City of Loyalton public employees will have their pensions cut 60 percent. For 71-year-old Patsy Jardin, that means her pension will drop from about $49,000 a year to a little more than $19,000. In an interview with the FOX Business Network, Patsy asked, “How am I going to make it now? What am I going to do?”

Fellow Loyalton retiree John Cussins is asking the same question since his pension will also drop 60 percent, to $1,523 a month. “It’s not cheap to live here when you’ve got to go on a 100-mile trip just to go to a hospital or a doctor to get your groceries and things and stuff,” he said. “Now, not to have that money we’re going to have to skimp on everything we got.” John worked about 22 years for the City of Loyalton, Patsy worked there for 34 years.

Both of them thought their pensions were safe when they retired since the city had always paid its CalPERS bills in full. But three years ago, the City Council in Loyalton voted to leave CalPERS in order to save money. At that time, CalPERS informed the city its pension accounts were only 40 percent funded despite the fact Loyalton had paid all its previous bills.

“The City of Loyalton defaulted on their retirees,” CalPERS Deputy Executive Officer Brad Pacheco said. “They made a bad decision and those retirees are going to suffer for it.”

John and Patsy say CalPERS cares more about the 3,000-plus cities towns and municipal entities that pay into the fund than the people the pension fund is supposed to cover in retirement.

Like Loyalton, CalPERS is far from fully funded, only 65 percent. That means right now CalPERS has 65 cents for every dollar that it needs to provide pension benefits for almost two million people. Some of them are still working and not yet receiving pension benefits. The rest are retired and drawing funds from CalPERS.

Pacheco, the CalPERS spokesperson, told FOX Business network the pension fund is healthy but in a negative cash flow position. “We are paying out more in benefits than we are taking in in contributions,” he said.

CalPERS pension debt is roughly $164 billion and mostly likely will grow larger in coming years.

For several decades, CalPERS predicted its investments would earn a 7.5% return. Pension funds call that return on investment a “discount rate”. A higher “discount rate” like 7.5% allows politicians to avoid raising taxes or cut spending to meet their obligations to public employees.

A lower “discount rate” requires cities to pay more each year into the pension fund to keep it solvent. CalPERS is actually considering cutting its “discount rate” to just 6.4% to reflect what it expects to be smaller returns in the future. That will require cities, towns and other municipal entities in the CalPERS system to pay more money to cover their employees. Some may have to raise taxes to do it. Others may opt to leave CalPERS just as Loyalton did.

But those that leave may be shocked to learn their pensions are less than fully funded. That’s why Patsy Jardin thinks CalPERS is using her plight to send a message to other California public employees and cities, that despite tight budgets, dropping CalPERS may come with consequences. She said: “I just think they are setting an example out of the four of us, I really do. I just think we are the ones who are going to pay for this, for all retirees.”

Turn your anger into a solution to California’s low payment to you by migrating to Nevada where, contrary to California, there is no earnings tax, no inheritance tax, much lower cost of living and good and growing employment opportunities for people your age. Let me help you with the migration process. I, too, migrated from my birth state of California.
Contact me:brucericks@awarebuyers.com or 702 592 7418.
 

Posted 6/18/17 - "Median price of single-family home reaches $250,000 in May"

in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, June 18, 2017

“GLVAR reported the median price of existing single-family homes sold during May through its Multiple Listing Service increased to $250,000. That was up 0.4 percent from April and up 9.1 percent from May 2016. . . . At the current sales pace, . . . Southern Nevada has less than a two-month supply of existing homes available for sale. A six month supply is considered a balanced market. “We’re dealing with a housing shortage, and our housing supply has been getting tighter every month,” said David J.Tina (GLVAR President) . . . “so buyers need to be aggressive and move quickly when they find a home they like.”
 

Posted 6/5/17 - Retail Sales: Another Sign of Nevada’s Strengthening Economy

By Jeremy Aguero, Consultant
Applied Economics
Appearing in the Las Vegas Review Journal, 5/28/17

“The nation’s best personal income growth, the second fastest population growth and the third-fastest job growth are just a few of the welcome signs of Nevada’s continued economic expansion and stability. Those signs tell us that more Nevadans are working and have more wealth, and that many new residents are moving here from across the United States and abroad in search of the opportunities our state provides. . . . In Clark County, where the majority of state retail sales take place, total taxable retail sales grew 4.1 percent to $40.3 billion in the 12 months through February. . . .

Nevada is in the midst of an economic revival that again has it sitting at or near the top of the nation in many key measures. As these trends continue, we can expect them to carry over into taxable retail sales as a reflection of the growing confidence among our state’s consumers.”
 

Posted 5/30/17 - An Observation – not necessarily a recommendation

An article by Paula Span, the New York Times News Service, in the Las Vegas Review Journal 5/13/17 is titled: “More older couples and ‘shacking up’ in US.”

Excerpts: “The number of people over 50 who cohabit with an unmarried partner jumped 75 percent from 2007 to 2016, the Pew Research Center reported last month – the highest increase in any age group. ‘It was a striking finding,’ said Renee Stepler, a Pew Research analyst. We often think of cohabitators as being young.’ . . . Most still are. But the number of cohabitators over age 50 rose to 4 million from 2.3 million over the decade, Stepler found, and the number over age 65 doubled to about 900,000.” In later life, however, cohabitation – like remarriage – brings companionship and wider social circles, not to mention sexual intimacy, at ages when people might otherwise face isolation. Financially, pooling resources in a single household often improves elders’ economic stability, especially for women, who are at higher risk of poverty.”

It does tend to explain the popularity of the Singles Club at Sun City Anthem.
 

Posted 5/18/17 - Where to stay when you visit Sun City Anthem?

Want a suggestion? Of course, there is no shortage of hotel choices in Las Vegas. I suggest one you may have not considered.

The Grandview at Las Vegas is the multi-tower building adjacent to South Point Resort - fronting on Las Vegas Boulevard South and backing to the I-15. From California, exit the I-15 at Cactus and proceed a short distance north or exit Silverado Blvd. and proceed south past South Point.

It is a Diamond Resorts timeshare property that usually has extra rooms not filled with timeshare prospects – so you can rent while avoiding a time share promotional presentation but make hat clear when you call for reservations and ask the price. The 1 br. and 2 br. rooms are VERY spacious – much larger than the standard hotel and fully outfitted with kitchen, refrigerator, washer/dryer, etc., plus the living room sofa can convert to an extra bed. You have the choice of 3 pool areas.

If you are willing to endure the timeshare presentation you can get free lodging, but trust me, the presentation is aggressive.

South Point Resort is just across the common driveway from Grandview, with Numerous good restaurants and a large gaming floor, movie theatre and bowling lanes.

The Grandview at Las Vegas, 9940 Las Vegas Boulevard South, email: grandview@dmresorts.com; phone 702 966 4700.

I can easily pick you up there and show you the community centers, the exercise facilities and the resale homes at SCA.
 

Posted 5/15/17 - Comparison of home prices at Sun City Anthem and Sun City Summerlin

I hope you follow transaction activity for Sun City Anthem (SCA) and Sun City Summerlin (SCS) by going to my website section “Recent Transactions” for each community. It is updated about every 10 days. For each community it shows new listings, those entering contract or having been withdrawn, and list price changes. It is a good, quick summary. I not only create it: I use it.

In the report dated “through 5/22/17” for SCA and “through 5/23” for SCS. I note major differences between the two in average prices. SCS has 2 listings under $200,000 while SCA has none. SCS has 37 current active listings between $200,000 and $300,000 while SCA has only 4. This is a huge difference. Both communities have many amenity facilities and many clubs. In this way they are similar, so that does not explain the difference.

Why the price difference? Here are possibilities:
 
1) There are more attached townhomes in SCS. These tend to have smaller units at lower prices (while having an extra HOA charge over the base HOA dues for all. For this, they have some greater services.)

2) About 45% of the migrants to Las Vegas are from California, and most of those from Southern California – the greater Los Angeles basin and inland. SCA, in Henderson, is accessed by the first exit from Interstate 15 for those driving from So. CA. SCS is another 25 minutes north on I-15 to its exit.

3) SCA homes have less average age than SCS. Del Webb brought his market experience from the greater Phoenix area to first build SCS from 1990 to 1999. As this community was selling out its 8,000 homes, he went south but still within Greater Las Vegas to the portion of Henderson being developed by the Greenspun family – owners of the Las Vegas Sun. In the foothills of Henderson, Del Webb built the 7,144 home community SCA from the years 2000 to 2007.

4) With SCA being in the foothills, its center is about the same elevation as the 1,149 ft. Stratosphere Tower. Remember, the official temperature for Las Vegas is measured at McCarran Airport – surrounded by concrete and asphalt which bounces up the summer sun while SCA absorbs the sun due to it landscaping primarily of rocks and grass - real and artificial. Since SCS is about at the elevation of official Las Vegas with temperatures modified to the west by Red Rock Canyon, it tends to be hotter in summer than SCA.

5) The Greenspun family developed “The District” a shopping/dining/movie theater area with Green Valley Ranch Resort at one end and Whole Foods at the other. Next to that is a municipal Henderson Pavillion (with covered and lawn areas), the library, and a multigeneration center This area, at Green Valley Ranch street and the i-215, serves as “downtown” for SCA.


SCS lacked a downtown within Summerlin, the 9,000 acres that Howard Hughes purchased and where Del Webb bought his acreage on the north portion of Summerlin.

HOWEVER, this lack has been more than changed. Recently, the Howard Hughes Corporation developed a MAJOR commercial center only a few blocks south of SCS, anchored by Red Rock Casino, Resort, and Spa. “Downtown Summerlin” is the new urban core of the community, encompassing nearly 400 acres next to the I-15 exits between Charleston Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. The first phase, a 106-acre outdoor fashion, dining and entertainment destination, spans 1.4 million square feet. This development is bringing in migrants from other states to SCS and increasing its home resale prices. However, I believe SCS prices are still undervalued.

So, I encourage you to look at both of these two best 55plus communities in Las Vegas. Let me help you.

Bruce
 

Posted 4/18/17 - "A Marriage Proposal from California to Nevada"



By Joe Matthews, Syndicated columnist -
San Francisco Chronicle, and Connection California

This article appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/16/17

Dearest Nevada,

Marry me. And not in a chapel off the Strip. I, California, want a real grown-up marriage with you, Nevada.

Look how much we already have in common. I'm the Golden State. You're the Silver State. More than 90 percent of your people live within an hour of my eastern border. And one in five Nevadans was born in California. That may not seem like many, but only one in four Nevadans was born in Nevada.

Together, the two of us are a place apart from today's America. The United States is increasingly mean, judgmental and isolationist. But you and I prefer entertaining to judging. We can't get enough foreigners and tourists. We're both tolerant of deviancy and sin (though I can get a little uptight about greenhouse gases.)

All of which is why we'd both be better off as one merged state.

Right now, rich people and companies play us against each other, and we both end up poorer. Recently you – feeling needy and desperate – gave $750 million in taxpayer money to the owner of pro football's Oakland Raiders for a new stadium in Las Vegas. Building a football stadium is a terrible investment – a Stanford economist called it the worst stadium deal for a city he'd ever seen.

Before that, you gave billions in tax and other incentives to Tesla to locate a battery factory there. Deals like these leave us worse off – we lose a business, and you gain huge liabilities you can't afford.

It's similar to the problem of rich Californians avoiding income tax by establishing nominal residence in Nevada, which doesn't have them. You don't get a cut of their income and we lose money we need to educate our people.

Eliminating destructive economic competition between us is only part of what we could do for each other.

Look at you. Your economy has been lagging because it's far too reliant on tourism and real estate. But my extraordinarily diverse economy, which has been outperforming the rest of the country, could help support yours. You desperately need a better educated populace. If you married me, your kids could more easily go to my terrific public university systems.

In return, you'd bring me more of the young people that you've been better at attracting than me. Perhaps you could share your secret of how to build enough housing for young families. You also could inspire me to exercise the old pro-business libertarian ethos that helped me thrive, but has sagged in recent decades.

Politically, I see you as a natural ally in my biggest fight against the president of the United States. Donald Trump, more of an Atlantic City guy than a Vegas guy, wants to turn you into a nuclear dump by reviving the Yucca Mountain proposal. As for California, the president has called my elections massive frauds, and threatened to defund the entire state if I don't sign onto his xenophobic policies.

Trump fans with ties to Russia have encouraged the #Calexit movement to separate me from the United States. And Trump's buddy Nigel Farage, who led the Brexit movement is now working in California on a proposal to split me into pieces. Divide and conquer is what Trump wants. That's why you and I have to unite and fight back.

I can feel your hesitation. You may fear there'd be an imbalance in a marriage – I have 40 million people and you have fewer than 3 million. But don't worry; I'll take care of you. You'll find that you have the same great deal as the rest of inland California. You'll be subsidized by all the taxes paid by California's rich coastal people, while retaining the right to make fun of those same rich people's many excesses.

Remember, We've already done great things together – Burning Man (you host. I send my people), cleaning up Lake Tahoe, reviving Britney Spears' career. Las Vegas and Los Angeles – two entertainment capitals -- are more deeply involved than any two American cities across state lines. Vegas is the leading source of new out-of-state residents of L.A. (It's no accident that the great L.A. movie of this era, La La Land, turns on two Nevada-California drives – Emma Stone's return to her suburban Clark County home and Ryan Gosling's decision to pick her up there, and drive her back to L.A. for an audition.)

And I hate to go negative. But do you really have other options? Utah is an attractive neighbor, I'm sure, but she won't marry you unless you convert.

And if our marriage doesn't work? No worries. You and I are both no-fault divorce states. So we'd just go back to being friends.

Posted 4/18/17 - "Matchmaker, Matchmaker: Don't Make Me a Match"

By R. Bruce Ricks, April 16, 2017.

To: Joe Matthews, Connection California, innovation editor, Zocalo Public Square, a project of New America and Arizona State University.

Having written extensively on migration from California to Nevada, I respond of behalf of Nevada. I hope others do also.

First, my bonafides: I was born in Oakland, Ca, went to high school in Piedmont, CA, got BS, MBA and PhD degrees in finance and real estate at U. of California, Berkeley, was a professor at UCLA, Stanford and UCB. Married and divorced, I departed California in 2004 for a happy life in Henderson, the southern part of Las Vegas and the second largest city in Nevada to be a Realtor and resident in Sun City Anthem, Henderson, NV. So, I know something about CA and NV.

Now, my rejection of your proposal:

Your writings betray you as a non-objective matchmaker. On March 16, 2017, you wrote: and I excerpt):


"Californians used to envy residents of our beautiful, wine and wealth-drenched Central Coast. Now we have reason to pity them."

Central Coast communities suffered some of the most severe water shortages in the state during the drought." (This, despite the fact that the Colorado River Project allocation between states when Las Vegas was a small town dramatically favored California.)

Then you report,
" 'In the Central Coast counties, cost of living is higher and social safety net receipt is lower' says PPIC research fellow and labor economist Sarah Bohn. 'So both factors are driving up poverty rates there. Relatively speaking' " Shouldn't this disqualify her from being a bridesmaid?

I agree with your quote: "It's a cruel irony that many of the coastal California cities and counties that have imposed tight restrictions on new housing and development also are home to levels of poverty that don't get enough attention. Such communities should be aggressively challenged. Their NIMBYism, rationalized as 'preserving community character' is actually making people poorer."

I have some sympathy for the problem, but suggest the solution is migration of individuals and couples to Nevada – not a bad state-to-state marriage.

You make me nervous when you describe elsewhere the financial problems of the Central Coast of California and then say to Nevada: "But don't worry. I won't let the lights of Vegas dim a bit. You'll find that you have the same great deal as the rest of inland California." Keep and solve your own problems, thank you.

Your writing goes from California's problems to its attractiveness in marriage. But, let me explore your idea more fully. Will we have a pre-nuptual agreement? You make me nervous when you say you have 40 million people and we have only 3 million. How are decisions going to be made? Is it to be a democracy? If so, we will get swamped by your size. Is your legislature going to continue to meet almost all the time. We find our legislature works well, meeting only 120 days every other year (except for call of the Governor.) We have a stable series of governors. Will we get the guy some of your voters have called Gov. Moonbeam? Will you promise to not bring to the wedding chapel your unfunded public person funds? Can we have one vote per former state? As an engagement present can we have just Silicon Valley? Will you promise to not whine about the Raiders migrating to a better life? Somehow, your demand: "Marry me. And not in a chapel off the Strip" does not show much respect for our style and for memories of Elvis.

Now, seriously, Joe, I highly recommend you read a serious piece of my analysis in a writing "Baby Boomer Migration to the Southwest U.S, -- Picking California's Low Hanging Fruit" and a section which I title Emigration from California – Why and Where to? It is based on an empirical study by Tom Gray and Robert Scardamalia, The Great California Exodus: A Closer Look by the Manhattan Institute, New York.

Using Census and IRS data they show: "In the period we studied, California's out-migration was also high as a percentage of the population – 6.11 percent in the 1990s and 5.8% in the 200s. Just a handful of states had less success at keeping their residents. ... The IRS data also puts a dollar figure on migration patterns. . . . The agency's data reveal just how much wealth California is losing as a result of its people's exodus. This is not only a measure of economic damage but also of political and fiscal consequences because the (California) state government depends heavily on personal income tax for its revenue.

The data show aggregate income moving into and out of California in roughly the same pattern that people do. There are some differences because some migrants are wealthier than others, so the movement of dollars does not precisely track that of individuals. For example, while Texas took in the largest number of former Californians between 2000 and 2010, it was Nevada that received the largest share of formerly Californian income: some $5.67 billion in income shifted from California to the Silver State during that decade."

So, Joe, don't lowball us. Don't pull "It's similar to the problem of rich Californians avoiding income tax by establishing nominal residence in Nevada which doesn't have them. You don't get a cut of their income and we lose money we need to educate our people."

It makes me think of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina." We in Nevada are quite satisfied with no income tax and no inheritance tax. We are happy to let our residents get something for their money via consumption. That applies to the Raider personnel – and tell that to your Dr. Noll of Stanford who sounds just jealous and who won't make a groomsman or even an usher.

I hope you will respond.

Bruce

R. Bruce Ricks, Ph.D Email: information@awarebuyers.com

Posted 1/30/17 - "Boomers should use their heads to keep healthy hearts"

Paul Harasim writes a twice weekly column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. These excerpts are from his article of 11/21/16

"What doctors always tell you is that your genetic background is important. . . . but your genes are not necessarily a prescription of how you will die, especially if you engage in a healthy lifestyle. What is known without a doubt is that your chances of staying heart healthy steadily increases if you don't smoke, exercise and make fruits and vegetables a large part of your diet. . . .

A study released three years ago by West Virginia University bears that out. ' Despite their longer life expectancy over previous generations, U.S. baby boomers have higher rates of chronic disease, more disability and lower self-rated health than members of the previous generation at the same age the study's authors wrote.

Almost 39 percent of boomers were obese, researchers found, compared to 29 percent of adults in the previous generation. More than 50 percent of boomers had a sedentary lifestyle with no physical activity, compared with only 17.4 percent of the previous generation. And baby boomers were also far more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol than their parents. The report also found that the previous generation exercised almost three times as much as boomers. 'If you go there at 5 p.m. on a Friday and look at the delay, anyone in mmy business could have told you that adding the capacity that they added to the corridor would have little or no effect on delays during that period' said Brian Taylor, director of UCLA's Institute of Traffic Studies."
"

Now for my brief commercial: Sun City Anthem and Sun City Summerlin have great facilities and clubs to encourage us to exercise. That graciously reduces our excuses for not doing so.
 

Posted 12/28/16 - "Drivers on the 405 ask: Was $1.6 billion worth it?"

From the New York Times to Las Vegas Review Journal 12/21/16 to you If you live in Los Angeles or have struggled to drive through it as I have, read on.

"It is the very symbol of traffic congestion. Interstate 405, or the 405, as it is known by the 300,000 drivers who endure it morning and night, is the busiest highway in the nation, a 72 mile stretch of pavement that crosses the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles. So it was that many Angelenos applauded when officials embarked on one of the most ambitious construction projects in modern times here: a $1 billion initiative to widen the highway. . . . Six years after the first bulldozer rolled in, the construction crews are gone. . . . but the question remains: Was it worth it?

The cost of the Sepulveda Pass project was supposed to be $1 billion. It has now reached $16 billion, after transit officials approved $300 million in new expenses last week.

Peak afternoon traffic time has indeed decreased to five hours from seven hours duration (yes you read that right) and overall capacity has increased . But congestion is bad - even worse - during the busiest rush hours of 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. according to a study by the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority. . . .

Richard Close, 73, who has lived in Sherman Oaks for 43 years, said his daily commute to Santa Monica has become easier, and with the construction crews gone, he has come to appreciate the new 405. He says he leaves his office after 7 at night, to miss the worst of the rush hour, and it takes about 75 minutes to go 15 miles, which he said saves him 15 minutes a night on his old commute. . . . Close said he was unperturbed by the expense. 'If we didn't get it to widen the 405 freeway other areas of the state would have gotten the state money and other areas of the country would have gotten the federal funding.'

'If you go there at 5 p.m. on a Friday and look at the delay, anyone in mmy business could have told you that adding the capacity that they added to the corridor would have little or no effect on delays during that period' said Brian Taylor, director of UCLA's Institute of Traffic Studies."


Let me pause here to look closely at what Mr. Close says. Even at 73, he feels he must stay at the office, or other workplace, after 7:00 p.m. He gets home, 15 miles distance, at 7:45 or later. (Thus, his speed averages 5 miles per hour.) Furthermore, this is only if there is not an accident with its traffic delays. I wonder how his wife or partner appreciates delaying dinner so late. This is not a life I would tolerate. This project is between Mulholland Drive, very near where I lived, to UCLA where I taught. Taking Sepulveda Dr. which paralleled the freeway took about 20 minutes – regardless of the time of day or night.

"Kajon Cermak, a native of Chicago who has for the past 13 years chronicled traffic for KCRW, a public radio station in Santa Monica, said there has been little difference (in commute time.) Not that she ever expected much. Cermack, who lives in the San Fernando Valley decided to spend three nights a week on a 38-foot trawler anchored in Marina del Rey rather than endure the agony of an hour commute back home."

I sympathize with Mr. Close and Ms. Cermak – and the too many others who suffer similarly. A permanent solution is to move to Las Vegas. We can drive from south of Las Vegas (Henderson) to north Las Vegas in about 30 minutes – almost always at 65 mph day or night. One decided advantage of so much of the workforce being off duty at a variety of the 24 hours is that the traffic is lightened at any single time. There is only a minor 5:00 bulge – easily accommodated by the roads and their express lanes. Mr. Close: You will get home on time. Ms. Cermack: You can cancel the rental on the trawler. Each of you and other sufferers in the L.A. traffic can relax in Vegas.

Posted 12/20/16 - Move Now to Higher Ground: Las Vegas

I just read, in the Las Vegas Review-Journal 12/13/16, the reprint of an article by Ian Urbina of the New York Times News Service that was particularly well written and important.
Titled
"Perils brought on by climate change could swamp coastal real estate", the article begins:

"Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one factor: how close the home is to the water's edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps. . . . Homeowners across the nation are slowly growing wary of buying property in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. . . . But many economists say this reckoning needs to happen much faster and that homebuyers urgently need to be better informed. Some analysts say the economic impact of a collapse in the waterfront property market could surpass that of the bursting dot-com and real estate bubbles of 2000 and 2008. The fallout would be felt by property owners, developers, real estate lenders and the financial institutions that bundle and resell mortgages. . . .

In April, Sean Beckette, the chief economist for Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage giant, issued a dire prediction. 'It is only a matter of time', he wrote, 'before sea level rise and storm surges become so unbearable along the coast that people will leave, ditching their mortgages and potentially triggering another housing meltdown – except this time it would be unlikely that these housing prices would ever recover. 'some residents will cash out early and suffer minimal losses,' he wrote 'Others will not be so lucky.' . . .

Florida is not alone. Forty percent of Americans live and work in coastal areas, and those who can afford it are protecting their investments by building private bulkheads and lifting their homes onto stilts. But skeptics question the logic of upgrading individual properties if the surrounding areas do not keep pace and floods or the rise in sea levels swamp nearby roads. For any homebuyers and owners, the cost of flood insurance is a growing worry. As premiums rise, property values fall, a trend already hurting home prices in places such as Atlantic City, N.J., Norfolk, Va., and St. Petersburg, Fla, according to local real estate agents.


CoreLogic, a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider released its 2016 Storm Surge Report which concludes that "more than 6.8 million homes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at potential risk of damage from hurricane storm surge inundation with a total reconstruction cost value of more than $1.5 trillion."

The State at-Risk Totals (Ranked by the Number of Homes at Risk)
Rank State Extreme Total

1 Florida 343,089 2,731, 626
2 Louisiana 91,385 800,521
3 Texas 40,277 531,169
4 New Jersey 94,643 468,823
5 New York 74,654 458,730
6 Virginia 26,081 403,613
7 South Carolina 35,514 338,640
8 North Carolina 30,785 244,712
9 Massachusetts 10,762 161,394
10 Georgia 9,290 148,718

"In the past year, home sales have increased 2.6 percent nationally but have dropped about 7.6 percent in Miami-Dade County, according to housing data. Many coastal cities are taking steps toward mitigation, digging runoff tunnels, elevating roads and building detention ponds

What shocks me is at least one head-in-the-sand attitude in Miami:
"James Murley, Miami-Dade's chief resilience officer, said it was important to avoid spooking the market since real estate investment produces much of the revenue that pays for these upgrades This balancing act is especially important in Florida because the state and localities rely heavily on property and sales taxes for funding such projects."

Wow! According to Murley, don't tell the truth to the residents! Keep charging them property taxes and resale sales taxes so we can afford to fix what is left!
My comments on this website have focused on migration from Southern California to Las Vegas. With this posting, I ask those who are subject to water inundations: why would you want to stay in a part of the U.S. that has oppressively hot summers, alligators and crocodiles and storm surges when you can move to less expensive housing in an internationally famous city that has its water supply under control, is at least 2,000 feet above sea level and averages only 4 inches of rainfall annually In my Federal Govt. life, as Chief Economist for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, I was assigned to attend a meeting of the President's Committee on Housing, called by HUD. HUD wanted to charge higher insurance premiums for flood insurance EXCEPT in areas in which the rate would be too high. I said "Isn't that that the areas in which the chance of flooding is highest? My logic was overruled by politics and it passed. I say prepare for changing weather; prepare for a decrease in home values if you live in an area subject to flooding. Be among the first to sell and migrate before values decrease further. Las Vegas works well as a destination. Let me assist your migration.

Bruce

Posted 12/14/16 - Oakland Raiders to Migrate to Las Vegas? Needs 24 votes

Confession: I was born in Oakland, attended adjoining Piedmont High and then Cal for 3 degrees. I am prejudiced: I am a Raiders fan.
To accompany my prejudice, I quote a news article from the Las Vegas Review Journal posted 11/22/16. Of course, that paper is also prejudiced about the Raiders and a NFL franchise.


"Raiders owner Mark Davis remains "committed to Las Vegas"
"Raiders owner Mark Davis said he remains 'committed to Las Vegas' and is not swayed by Oakland's attempts to prevent the NFL franchise from relocating.
Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf said Tuesday the city has agreed on the framework for a new stadium plan. However, Davis said the Raiders are not part of that agreement. . . . 'The Raiders are committed to Las Vegas and that's what I am working on' Davis said.. . . Davis presented Las Vegas' proposal at the NFL's fall meeting Oct.19 in Houston. Davis plans to officially file for relocation in January, and if it comes to a vote, the Raiders would need 24 of 32 owners to vote in favor of their move.


From what I read, the two most influential owners are advocates and will persuade at least 22 other owners. The proposed Las Vegas stadium is a 65,000 seat, $1.9 billion domed stadium. The leading location is just across Interstate 15 from the new 21,000 seat arena for the new Las Vegas NHL hockey team, plus for concerts and basketball.
I continue to be amazed how much money can be quickly raised for new projects in Las Vegas.


Bruce

Posted 12/8/16 - Teacher Shortage and Migration

Has your school district pushed you into retirement sooner than you wanted? Want continuing teaching income to supplement your retirement check? Then, migrate to Las Vegas. We need experienced teachers.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial,12/2/16:
Teacher Shortage
"Chronic teacher shortages have plagued Nevada – and particularly Clark County – for years. The state currently has more than 500 openings statewide, with more than 360 of those in the Las Vegas area. One of the problems is that the educational establishment, particularly the teacher unions, has long put more emphasis on pedagogy requirements than on knowledge of the subject matter."

Let me remind you that your retirement income from your former state AND your income in NV are both free of income tax in Nevada - we have no personal income tax! If you are interested, contact me, and I will refer you to hiring authorities.

Bruce