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Foreclosure-Wave Sweeping US Crests In Chicago

Foreclosure-Wave Sweeping US Crests In Chicago

By Dave Byrnes of Courthouse News Service

A report released in April by real estate data aggregator…

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Foreclosure-Wave Sweeping US Crests In Chicago

By Dave Byrnes of Courthouse News Service

A report released in April by real estate data aggregator ATTOM has bestowed Chicago with a dubious honor. Amid a national surge in residential foreclosure rates, Chicagoans are currently losing their homes in greater numbers than in any other metro area in the country.

“A total of 50,759 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in Q1 2022, up 67% from the previous quarter and up 188% from a year ago,” the report stated, with Chicago alone seeing over 3,000 foreclosures in the first three months of the year.

If you interpret the numbers as a per housing unit rate, Cleveland manages to pull ahead of Chicago with almost one in every 500 homes foreclosed since the start of 2022. But by the same metric, Illinois still leads the nation on a state level – close to one out of every 800 homes. California, as the country’s most populous state, wins out as the state with the highest raw numbers of foreclosed homes this year. More than 5,300 households in the Golden State had begun the foreclosure process as of April.

As shocking as this spike in home loss is, experts said it was predictable – the inevitable result of the end of the pandemic eviction moratorium. Enacted by Congress in March 2020 under former President Donald Trump and struck down in August 2021 by a supreme court ruling under current President Joe Biden, it was a national exercise in decommodified housing that staved off homelessness for an estimated 1.5 million Americans.

But now it’s over.

“In great part, this is the fault of the lifting of the moratorium,” said Ken Johnson, the dean of graduate studies at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business. “It’s not 100% to blame, there’s always a natural rate of foreclosure, but it is a major factor.”

“It’s the moratorium lifting,” agreed professor Marie Reilly of Penn State University, who specializes in bankruptcy law. “During the moratorium people weren’t eligible for mortgage mitigation… now we’re seeing the market respond to that.”

While agreeing on the general cause of the foreclosure wave, the pair offered differing explanations as to the granular mechanisms driving it. Reilly suggested that it may be the result of the Federal Reserve interest rate, the rate at which the Federal Open Market Committee suggests commercial banks borrow and lend money to each other.

When the rate is low, consumers can get lower rates on credit cards, loans and adjustable-rate mortgages. But at the moment it’s rising, from around 0.25% in March 2020 to around 0.75% – 1% as of this May. The increasing figure reflects the 40-year high in inflation the U.S. is currently experiencing, and makes it hard for property owners without much capital to hold on to their unprofitable buildings. As the U.S. working class struggles to make ends meet, their economic hardship trickles up to the rest of society – including their landlords.

“The other thing that could be affecting [the foreclosure rate] is the Federal Reserve interest rate,” Reilly said. “It could be making it harder for landlords to hold on to non-rent-paying properties.”

As small landlords shed these properties, Reilly explained, larger development firms will often come in to buy them up on the cheap – sometimes with the blessings of municipalities looking to avoid the crime that comes with abandoned or vacant buildings. While large firms buying up property staves off that immediate concern, the result is usually an increase in rent or home ownership costs in the area, further driving out residents who cannot afford the rising prices. It’s the economic foundations of gentrification.

“Vacant properties are not good for anyone,” Reilly said. “And it’s not always easy to tell if its a resident who’s going to be dispossessed, or if it’s a remote investor who’s just abandoning the property.”

Johnson offered another view. He suggested that there simply weren’t enough homes, particularly affordable homes, in many areas of the country. The cancellation of the moratorium only exacerbated the problem.

“There is a huge inventory shortage,” Johnson said. “That’s the total number of [housing] units.”

Figures from the Pew Research Center corroborate this. There were an average of 1.5 million monthly active home listings in the U.S. in October 2016, while in January 2022 there only about 409,000. During the same time period the median cost of a home in the U.S. rose from a little over $300,000 to over $400,000. Renters fare little better, with the national average cost of rent rising by 18% since 2017, more so in metro areas. The rent market research site Apartment List estimated that the average apartment in Chicago alone was 11% more expensive in April 2022 compared to April 2021.

“There’s just not enough roofs to live under,” Johnson said.

This assertion is sometimes challenged by analysts on the left, who point out that as of 2020 there were some 16 million vacant homes in the U.S., compared to a homeless population that hovers around 550,000. But Johnson called this a red herring. If someone on the East Coast has their home foreclosed, he said, it wouldn’t much matter to them that there is a surplus of housing in a town on the West Coast.

Additionally, the number of homes affordable to people making less than 50% of area’s median income accounts for only about 35% of the nation’s housing stock, and state-subsidized public housing accounts for less than 1%. Some large metro areas such as Los Angeles and Chicago even have a history of destroying their public and affordable housing stock, such as when the Chicago Housing Authority infamously began tearing down the Cabrini-Green public housing project in 2000 under the direction of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. All this means that even if many homes are technically available, they likely won’t be held at a price that a recent foreclosee can afford.

The cold comfort both experts offered is that the current foreclosure crisis is not as intense as that experienced by the nation during the 2008 Great Recession. Reilly called the 2008 crisis a “seize-up” of the market, one she said we’re “nowhere close” to.

Johnson said that while the current crisis stems from an under-supply of housing, the 2008 crisis was caused by the speculative bubble bursting on an over-supply of single-family housing.

“There may be places that are hit hard based on population changes, but… it’s a matter of under-supply vs. over-supply,” he said.

Neither expert had concrete ideas on how to solve the current crisis. Reilly urged anyone facing foreclosure to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, if they could, while Johnson suggested this wasn’t a problem that can be fully solved by market manipulation.

A 2020 collection of analyses by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs vehemently agreed. It arrived at the conclusion that the only solution to the foreclosure and housing crisis was housing decommodification. It suggested a strategy that instead prioritized state and community-owned homes that were not subject to profit speculation.

“To have a roof over our heads is essential in human development, but this is threatened when housing is a way to make profits in communities whose market values increase and attract the attention of corporate investors,” one of the analyses in the collection argued.

Back in Chicago, the city government on Friday announced a much more capitalist-friendly initiative to combat its nation-leading foreclosure spike. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, along with Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa – her frequent critic from the left – officially opened the Emmett Street Apartments in the city’s mixed-income Logan Square community. All of the 100 apartment units in the building will be made affordable to people making at or below 60% of the city’s area median income, while half will be reserved as public housing units.

“I am excited that after years of community organizing and struggle, we are finally cutting the ribbon on a beautiful building that will house 100 working families in the heart of Logan Square,” Ramirez-Rosa said in a prepared statement. 

However one thinks the housing crisis should be handled, there’s a catch to the whole situation. Despite the current foreclosure rate being the highest since the pandemic began, it is still lower than the average pre-pandemic foreclosure rate – only about half as many foreclosures were initiated in the first quarter of 2022 as were begun in the first quarter of 2020. ATTOM’s researchers predicted we would eventually see a return to “historically normal” foreclosure levels, perhaps as soon as the end of the year.

“It’s likely that we’ll continue to see significant month-over-month and year-over-year growth through the second quarter of 2022, but still won’t reach historically normal levels of foreclosures until the end of the year at the earliest, unless the U.S. economy takes a significant turn for the worse,” the report states.

In other news, Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf told the Washington Post earlier this week there was “no question” that the U.S. economy is headed for a dive.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/26/2022 - 09:04

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International

Apple Reportedly Shifting Watch And MacBook Production To Vietnam

Apple Reportedly Shifting Watch And MacBook Production To Vietnam

Wary of soaring tensions surrounding out-of-favor countries like China,…

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Apple Reportedly Shifting Watch And MacBook Production To Vietnam

Wary of soaring tensions surrounding out-of-favor countries like China, multinational corporations such as Apple are diversifying production to places with less geopolitical risk.

Nikkei Asia spoke to three sources with direct knowledge of Apple's plans to shift Watch and MacBook production out of China to Vietnam for the first time. 

Apple suppliers Luxshare Precision Industry and Foxconn have already piloted a production run of the Watch in northern Vietnam. 

The move by Apple is a further win for the Southeast Asian country as it already produces iPads and AirPods. 

Two sources told Nikkei Asia that Apple had requested suppliers to set up a MacBook test production line in Vietnam. They said progress in constructing laptop production in the country has been "slow, partly due to pandemic-related disruptions but also because notebook computer production involves a larger supply chain."  

"AirPods, Apple Watch, HomePod and more ... Apple has big plans in Vietnam, apart from iPhone manufacturing," one of the people with direct knowledge of Apple's plans said. "The components for MacBooks have become more modularized than in the past, which makes it easier to produce the laptops outside of China. But how to make it cost-competitive is another challenge."

This trend is called "friendshoring." While it's a play on "offshoring," this isn't about companies moving operations back to the US and Europe, but rather seeking foreign alternatives that retain the benefit of low labor costs but with less international controversy. 

Apple's production diversification comes as the US and China already had an increasingly adversarial relationship before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan sparked anger with Beijing. The fact is, geopolitical and trade war tensions aren't going away anytime soon and will only push Apple further away from China. Though reshoring production to the US is unfeasible because of labor costs, maybe robotics can offset some of those costs or perhaps set up shop in Mexico, where there's abundant cheap labor and healthy demographics. 

A recent Rabobank analysis of friendshoring showed that chief beneficiaries would include countries like Vietnam, India, Brazil, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, and South Africa.

Apple's Tim Cook appears to have learned a valuable lesson this year that high exposure of supply chains to China during Beijing's zero-Covid policies and worsening geopolitical tensions with the West is a dangerous cocktail, and the need to diversify production in a trend dubbed friendshoring is essential for survival in a multi-polar world. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/17/2022 - 18:30

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International

Apple Reportedly Shifting Apple Watch And MacBook Production To Vietnam

Apple Reportedly Shifting Apple Watch And MacBook Production To Vietnam

Wary of soaring tensions surrounding out-of-favor countries like China,…

Published

on

Apple Reportedly Shifting Apple Watch And MacBook Production To Vietnam

Wary of soaring tensions surrounding out-of-favor countries like China, multinational corporations such as Apple are diversifying production to places with less geopolitical risk.

Nikkei Asia spoke to three sources with direct knowledge of Apple's plans to shift Watch and MacBook production out of China to Vietnam for the first time. 

Apple suppliers Luxshare Precision Industry and Foxconn have already piloted a production run of the Watch in northern Vietnam. 

The move by Apple is a further win for the Southeast Asian country as it already produces iPads and AirPods. 

Two sources told Nikkei Asia that Apple had requested suppliers to set up a MacBook test production line in Vietnam. They said progress in constructing laptop production in the country has been "slow, partly due to pandemic-related disruptions but also because notebook computer production involves a larger supply chain."  

"AirPods, Apple Watch, HomePod and more ... Apple has big plans in Vietnam, apart from iPhone manufacturing," one of the people with direct knowledge of Apple's plans said. "The components for MacBooks have become more modularized than in the past, which makes it easier to produce the laptops outside of China. But how to make it cost-competitive is another challenge."

This trend is called "friendshoring." While it's a play on "offshoring," this isn't about companies moving operations back to the US and Europe, but rather seeking foreign alternatives that retain the benefit of low labor costs but with less international controversy. 

Apple's production diversification comes as the US and China already had an increasingly adversarial relationship before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan sparked anger with Beijing. The fact is, geopolitical and trade war tensions aren't going away anytime soon and will only push Apple further away from China. Though reshoring production to the US is unfeasible because of labor costs, maybe robotics can offset some of those costs or perhaps set up shop in Mexico, where there's abundant cheap labor and healthy demographics. 

A recent Rabobank analysis of friendshoring showed that chief beneficiaries would include countries like Vietnam, India, Brazil, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, and South Africa.

Apple's Tim Cook appears to have learned a valuable lesson this year that high exposure of supply chains to China during Beijing's zero-Covid policies and worsening geopolitical tensions with the West is a dangerous cocktail, and the need to diversify production in a trend dubbed friendshoring is essential for survival in a multi-polar world. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/17/2022 - 18:30

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Economics

Reduced myocardial blood flow is new clue in how COVID-19 is impacting the heart

Patients with prior COVID may be twice as likely to have unhealthy endothelial cells that line the inside of the heart and blood vessels, according to…

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Patients with prior COVID may be twice as likely to have unhealthy endothelial cells that line the inside of the heart and blood vessels, according to newly published research from Houston Methodist. This finding offers a new clue in understanding covid-19’s impact on cardiovascular health.

Credit: Houston Methodist

Patients with prior COVID may be twice as likely to have unhealthy endothelial cells that line the inside of the heart and blood vessels, according to newly published research from Houston Methodist. This finding offers a new clue in understanding covid-19’s impact on cardiovascular health.

In a new study published today in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, Houston Methodist researchers examined the coronary microvasculature health of 393 patients with prior covid-19 infection who had lingering symptoms. This is the first published study linking reduced blood flow in the body and COVID-19.

Using a widely available imaging tool, called positron emission tomography (PET), researchers found a 20% decrease in the ability of coronary arteries to dilate, a condition known as microvascular dysfunction. They also found that patients with prior COVID-19 infection were more likely to have reduced myocardial flow reserve – and changes in the resting and stress blood flow – which is a marker for poor prognosis and is associated with a higher risk of adverse cardiovascular events.

“We were surprised with the consistency of reduced blood flow in post covid patients within the study,” said corresponding author Mouaz Al-Mallah, M.D., director of cardiovascular PET at Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, and president elect of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology. “The findings bring new questions, but also help guide us toward further studying blood flow in COVID-19 patients with persistent symptoms.”

Dysfunction and inflammation of endothelial cells is a well-known sign of acute Covid-19 infection, but little is known about the long-term effects on the heart and vascular system. Earlier in the pandemic, research indicated that COVID-19 could commonly cause myocarditis but that now appears to be a rare effect of this viral infection.

A recent study from the Netherlands found that 1 in 8 people had lingering symptoms post-covid. As clinicians continue to see patients with symptoms like shortness of breath, palpations and fatigue after their recovery, the cause of long covid is mostly unknown.

Further studies are needed to document the magnitude of microvascular dysfunction and to identify strategies for appropriate early diagnosis and management. For instance, reduced myocardial flow reserve can be used to determine a patient’s risk when presenting with symptoms of coronary artery disease over and above the established risk factors, which can become quite relevant in dealing with long Covid.

Next steps will require clinical studies to discover what is likely to happen in the future to patients whose microvascular health has been affected by COVID-19, particularly those patients who continue to have lingering symptoms, or long COVID.

This work was supported, in part, by grants from the National Institutes of Health under contract numbers R01 HL133254, R01 HL148338 and R01 HL157790.

———————–

For more information: Coronary microvascular health in patients with prior COVID-19 infection. JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging. (online Aug. 16, 2022) Ahmed Ibrahim Ahmed, Jean Michel Saad, Yushui Han, Fares Alahdab, Maan Malahfji, Faisal Nabi, John J Mahmarian, John P. Cook, William A Zoghbi and Mouaz H Al-Mallah. DOI: www.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2022.07.006

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