Goldman Sachs Probably Won’t Have To Pay All Of The New $5 Billion Mortgage Fraud Settlement | ThinkProgress

Since the initial JP Morgan deal that sparked outrage over tax deductions, consumer relief wiggle room, and other fine-print details that make such deals cheaper for companies than press releases indicate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and other lawmakers have tried to force federal and state lawyers to stop the doublespeak. Warren and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) have pushed for the Truth in Settlements Act since early 2014.The measure would require federal agencies to clearly delineate between deductible and non-deductible settlement costs, and include an estimate of the actual corporate costs of such deals in their formal communications about them. It passed the Senate in September, but hasn’t moved out of any of three separate committees with jurisdiction over it in Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) House.

Source: Goldman Sachs Probably Won’t Have To Pay All Of The New $5 Billion Mortgage Fraud Settlement | ThinkProgress

CBF’s Brock Environmental Center to be awarded prestigious ‘Living Building’ certification | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

One of the world’s greenest buildings 14 feet above sea level prepares for climate change

Source: CBF’s Brock Environmental Center to be awarded prestigious ‘Living Building’ certification | Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Jetson Green – Net Zero Prefab That Can be Built in Just Three Days

Unity Homes has recently unveiled a prefab home, which is sustainable yet still made to last for at least as long as traditionally constructed homes. The home has a number of certifications, including LEED v4 Platinum, while it is also net-zero energy and can be constructed on site in three days or less. It is also fitted with the largest number of Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified building products used in a residential project to…

Source: Jetson Green – Net Zero Prefab That Can be Built in Just Three Days

Why Commercial Real Estate Is Next: ‘Challenging Technicals’ Are About To Become ‘Weak Fundamentals’ | Zero Hedge

There is a growing sense of tighter financial conditions, particularly to the commercial real estate sector. Late last year the regulators issued a joint statement on Prudent Risk Management for Commercial Real Estate Lending and the latest Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS) shows that banks tightened their lending standards to commercial real estate meaningfully in 4Q15…. The growing sense of gathering clouds in terms of tightening financial conditions to commercial real estate translates into a more challenging road ahead for US commercial real estate.

Source: Why Commercial Real Estate Is Next: ‘Challenging Technicals’ Are About To Become ‘Weak Fundamentals’ | Zero Hedge

Introducing ‘treeconomics’: how street trees can save our cities | Cities | The Guardian

In Toronto, researchers recently found that people living on tree-lined streets reported health benefits equivalent to being seven years younger or receiving a $10,000 salary rise. As well as studies revealing benefits from everything from improved mental health to reduced asthma, US scientists have even identified a correlation between an increase in tree-canopy cover and fewer low-weight births. And economic studies show what any estate agent swears by: leafy streets sell houses. Street trees in Portland, Oregon, yielded an increase in house prices of $1.35bn, potentially increasing annual property tax revenues by $15.3m.

Source: Introducing ‘treeconomics’: how street trees can save our cities | Cities | The Guardian

Coastal property values could erode if nourishment subsidies end — ScienceDaily

The value of many oceanfront properties on the East Coast could drop dramatically if Congress were to suddenly end federal beach nourishment subsidies. Values could fall by as much as 17 percent in towns with high property values and almost 34 percent in towns with low property values. A gradual reduction of the subsidies, in contrast, is more likely to smooth the transition to more climate-resilient coastal communities.

via Coastal property values could erode if nourishment subsidies end — ScienceDaily.

Sprawl costs US more than a trillion dollars a year | Better! Cities & Towns Online

Sprawl costs the American economy more than $1 trillion annually, according to a new study by the New Climate Economy. That’s more than $3,000 for every man, woman, and child.

These costs include greater spending on infrastructure, public service delivery and transportation. The study finds that Americans living in sprawled communities directly bear $625 billion in extra costs. In addition, all residents and businesses, regardless of where they are located, bear an extra $400 billion in external costs.

via Sprawl costs US more than a trillion dollars a year | Better! Cities & Towns Online.

NYC Recaptures Top Global Investment Market in Foreign Investor Survey – CoStar Group

The U.S. overwhelmingly remains the most popular place in the world among foreign commercial real estate investors to place capital, according to the 23rd annual survey among members of the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE).

New York City returned to its accustomed spot as the top global market for foreign investment in real estate after being briefly displaced in 2014 by London. With the exception of last year, New York has held the top rank both globally and among U.S. cities since 2010.

NYC Recaptures Top Global Investment Market in Foreign Investor Survey – CoStar Group.

Urban Life and a Microscopic Attention | Sustainable Cities Collective

Small-scale urban spaces can be rich in biodiversity, contribute important ecological benefits for human mental and physical health (McPhearson et al., 2013), and overall help to create more livable cities. Micro_urban spaces are the sandwich spaces between buildings, rooftops, walls, curbs, sidewalk cracks, and other small-scale urban spaces that exist in the fissures between linear infrastructure (e.g. roads, bridges, tunnels, rail lines) and our three dimensional gridded cities.

via Urban Life and a Microscopic Attention | Sustainable Cities Collective.

Maps and Measurments of the Expansion of Cities | Sustainable Cities Collective

 

We are living in the midst of the urban century. Though it is common knowledge that the world is urbanizing, it can be striking to visualize this growth on a map. This animation from Unicef maps countries’ urban populations from 1950 to 2050, and shows that urbanization is a global phenomenon set to continue for decades:

 

population-circle-urban-growth-asia-cities1

 

Maps and Measurements of the Expansion of Cities | Sustainable Cities Collective.

The Great Mortgaging | VoxEu.org

Interesting study that real estate debt has become the center of the financial industry, increasing fragility, and worsening recessions while diverting resources from industry.

In other words, banking today consists primarily of the intermediation of savings to the household sector for the purchase of real estate. The core business model of banks in advanced economies today resembles that of real estate funds: banks are borrowing (short) from the public and capital markets to invest (long) in assets linked to real estate.

By contrast, nonmortgage bank lending to companies for investment purposes and nonsecured lending to households have remained stable over the 20th century in relation to GDP. Nearly all of the increase in the size of the financial sectors in Western economies since 1913 stems from a boom in mortgage lending to households and has little to do with the financing of the business sector.

The great mortgaging | vox.

Canadian homes 20 per cent overvalued: ratings agency | Toronto Star

Fitch Ratings says Canada’s real estate market is as much as 20 per cent overpriced and cautions the government may need to take more measures to slow down borrowing on homes.

Fitch is the second U.S. financial agency to sound the alarm on Canadian home prices in the past week, with the Morningstar research firm predicting a 30 per cent correction was possible over the next few years.

The latest warning comes as the Teranet–National Bank composite house price index for June showed prices rose 0.9 per cent from May and were up 4.4 per cent from last year.

Canadian homes 20 per cent overvalued: ratings agency | Toronto Star.