Monday, August 18, 2014

First-Time Home Buyers -

So over half of the home buyers in LA are first time home buyers, or maybe not:

"The data only look at the share of homes being financed with conventional loans or FHA-backed mortgages. Because most of the all-cash purchases probably aren’t first-time buyers, the total share of homes being purchased by first-time buyers is lower...(therefore), the reported share of first-time buyers also could be higher in more expensive states due to the conforming loan limits. Fannie and Freddie, for example, can’t buy loans that exceed $417,000, though the limit was increased for certain high-cost areas in 2008. It currently runs as high as $625,500 in the more expensive markets. This means a significant share of more expensive home sales—which are less likely to include first time buyers—aren’t captured in the data.

The fact that a larger portion of loans would be excluded from the analysis in more expensive states could make state-by-state comparisons less revealing. But the data still provide an interesting view of how the first-time borrower component has changed over time within a particular state. They show that first-time buyers continue to make up a higher-than-average share of borrowers, even if they are off of their 2009 highs."

The linked heatmap shows the share of mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration that went to first-time buyers.

First-Time Home Buyers -

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Oil companies fracking into drinking water sources, new research shows

“People think these formations are impermeable, and so they wonder, ‘Why are you worrying about water?’” DiGiulio said. “But it is an extremely heterogeneous environment, with areas of low and high permeability mixed together and with many lenses conducting water.”

Sunday, July 27, 2014

First national study finds trees saving lives, reducing respiratory problems: Air pollution modeling reveals broad-scale impacts of pollution removal by trees

SYRACUSE, NY, July 25, 2014 - In the first broad-scale estimate of air pollution removal by trees nationwide, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms.
While trees’ pollution removal equated to an average air quality improvement of less than 1 percent, the impacts of that improvement are substantial. Researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year in a study published recently in the journal Environmental Pollution. “Tree and Forest Effects on Air Quality and Human Health in the United States.”

link to report

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fracking win

From the decision:
At the heart of these cases lies the relationship
between the State and its local government subdivisions, and
their respective exercise of legislative power. These appeals
are not about whether hydrofracking is beneficial or detrimental
to the economy, environment or energy needs of New York, and we
pass no judgment on its merits. These are major policy questions
for the coordinate branches of government to resolve. The
discrete issue before us, and the only one we resolve today, is
whether the State Legislature eliminated the home rule capacity
of municipalities to pass zoning laws that exclude oil, gas and
hydrofracking activities in order to preserve the existing
character of their communities. There is no dispute that the
State Legislature has this right if it chooses to exercise it.
But in light of ECL 23-0303 (2)'s plain language, its place
within the OGSML's framework and the legislative background, we
cannot say that the supersession clause -- added long before the
current debate over high-volume hydrofracking and horizontal
drilling ignited -- evinces a clear expression of preemptive
intent. The zoning laws of Dryden and Middlefield are therefore