Thursday, January 17, 2013

Friday January 18 Housing and Economic stories


Gerard Depardieu Leaves France Because of Tax Hikes - ( French actor Gerard Depardieu has said he is surrendering his passport and moving to Belgium after the French government raised taxes. In a letter published Sunday in the French newspaper, Journal du Dimanche, the award-winning actor responded bitterly to French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who called the 63-year-old actor “pathetic” for leaving his home country for the Belgian village of Nechlin. “I am handing over to you my passport and Social Security, which I have never used,” Depardieu wrote, in a translation by the Edmonton Journal. “We no longer have the same homeland. I am a true European, a citizen of the world, as my father always taught me.”

AllState Used This Couple's Sandy-Destroyed House In An Ad But Won't Pay Their Claim - ( When an AllState ad paying tribute to its 1,000 employees who put customers first during Hurricane Sandy even when their own houses were ravaged played on Thanksgiving Day, Shelia and Dominic Traina didn't get that warm and fuzzy feeling that the insurance company was going for. In fact, "I got disgusted," Mr. Traina told the New York Post. That's because AllState used images of the Staten Island couple's house, obliterated by Sandy, when it is refusing to pay the Traina's full claim. AllState offered a $10,000 payout for the house the Trainas called home for 43 years. Mr. Traina continued that “They’re claiming that water took the house down, not the wind. [But] we had a witness next door who told us the house fell down from the wind.” “The commercial said how caring their agents are,” Mrs. Traina told SI Live, "but they are not caring at all."

Credit availability will get even tighter in 2013 - ( Credit standards are not tight by historic standards. Compared to the complete lack of enforced standards of the housing bubble, credit is very tight, but compared to what preceded the housing bubble, credit standards have merely reverted to what was normal. Prior to the housing bubble, lenders verified a borrower’s income and made sure the payment burden was manageable to ensure the loan was repaid. Today, lenders are doing the same. The notion of “tight” lending standards stems from the perceived entitlement to free money by people who have dubious repayment prospects. There is little reason to believe lenders will return to their bubble-era ways any time soon, particularly now that the GSEs and the FHA who control more than 90% of the mortgage market are forcing lenders to buy back bad loans when there is the slightest deviation from their standards.

How to read ‘quirky’ December jobs report - ( Figuring out how many jobs are created each December is never easy because of the holiday season and end-of-the-year quirks. Cold weather sets in and alters hiring patterns, for one thing, and companies add and subtract lots of temporary workers to handle the rush of Christmas shoppers. More than likely, the level of hiring in December will track closely with the trend in job growth over the past two years. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch estimate 160,000 net jobs were created last month, just above the two-year monthly average of 152,000. The unemployment rate is expected to remain flat at 7.7%. In short, the labor market is little changed. The economy is adding jobs, but at a slower rate than is typically the case at this later stage of a recovery.

School Board Member Allegedly Rams Teen With Her Car In Fight Over Walmart Parking Space - ( A school board member in Georgia was arrested after allegedly hitting a 17-year-old with her SUV in a dispute over a parking space at Walmart, according to WBSTV. WBSTV reported the teen girl was standing in a parking spot to hold it for a friend who had just given birth when Angela Cornett told her to move.  The teen told police she refused and then, Cornett allegedly hit her with the car. Cornett's side of the story is that the girl leaned into her car.  The teen didn't have any serious injuries, just a few cuts and scrapes.  Cornett was taken to jail and charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct. She also resigned from her school board post. 

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