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Existing home sales unexpectedly rise in November

Existing home sales unexpectedly rise in November

U.S. home sales unexpectedly rose in November, but recorded their biggest annual decline in 7½ years, adding to other data that have painted a grim picture of the housing market.The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday existing home sales increased 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.32 million units last month. October’s sales pace was unrevised at 5.22 million units. Sales have now increased for two straight month.Economists polled by Reuters had forecast existing home sales falling 0.6 percent to a rate of 5.20 million units in November. Existing home sales, which make up about 90 percent of U.S. home sales, tumbled 7.0 percent from a year ago in November, the largest annual drop since May 2011.
Cuomo Moves to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in New York Within Months

Cuomo Moves to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in New York Within Months

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he would push to legalize recreational marijuana next year, a move that could generate more than $1.7 billion in sales annually and put New York in line with several neighboring states.The highly anticipated proposal came in a speech in Manhattan on Monday, in which the governor outlined his agenda for the first 100 days of his third term. Mr. Cuomo framed the speech as a reflection on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt — the former president who was once a New York governor himself — would do today, mixing sweeping rhetoric about American ideals with grim warnings about the Trump administration.
Home builder confidence hits 3½ year low as housing crunch worsens

Home builder confidence hits 3½ year low as housing crunch worsens

The December decline took the sentiment index to the lowest since May 2015 and missed the Econoday forecast of a one-point increase. It followed a breathtaking plunge from October to November and brought the full-year 2018 average for the index to 67, one point lower than 2017.In December, the index component measuring current sales conditions fell six points to 61, and the gauge of sales expectations over the next six months dropped four points, also to 61. The buyer traffic tracker fell two points to 43, its lowest level since March 2016. Any reading over 50 signals improvement.NAHB’s index is often seen as an early read on new-home construction and sales. Indeed, the November sentiment plunge was followed by a new-home sales report that was the lowest in nearly three years.
Elizabeth Warren doubles down on affordable housing legislation

Elizabeth Warren doubles down on affordable housing legislation

Today, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) doubled down on her strategy to fix America’s housing crisis. Along with Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), she introduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act to the House, a companion to a Senate bill Warren introduced in September. The bill would create three million new housing units, improve access to affordable housing through anti-discrimination laws, and invest in families living in historically redlined communities. Independent analysis of the bill predicts that it will create 1.5 million jobs and bring rents down, on average, by 10 percent.
CBS sells Television City for $750 million to Los Angeles real estate developer

CBS sells Television City for $750 million to Los Angeles real estate developer

The company said Monday that it has sold its iconic Television City headquarters, and active sound stages, near Farmers Market and The Grove for $750 million to Los Angeles-based real estate developer Hackman Capital Partners. The sale, which was expected, will give the buyer the right to use the Television City name in connection with its future operations on the property. But shows that are produced at Television City, including CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” “The Price is Right” and “The Young and the Restless,” will continue to be based there. CBS, in an announcement, also said it would retain office space because its studios’ headquarters for its international operations are on the site.
Why Japan is giving away free houses (and how to get one)

Why Japan is giving away free houses (and how to get one)

There are some 8 million abandoned homes–or akiya–in Japanese suburbia, according to The Japan Times. And if you’ve got a visa allowing you to live in Japan, some of them can be yours for free or very low prices, and the government may give you a subsidy to renovate one. There are even databases devoted to helping people find these homes, known as “akiya banks .” What’s driving the government to give away homes? In part, it has to do with Japan’s aging population: According to the World Bank, the country’s population decreased by -0.2% in 2017 alone, while China and the U.S. slowly grew 0.6% and 0.7% respectively. There are simply fewer people in Japan than there once were–roughly 1.3 million fewer people than in 2010 by one count [paywall].
Marlboro owner Altria invests $1.8 billion in cannabis company Cronos

Marlboro owner Altria invests $1.8 billion in cannabis company Cronos

Tobacco giant Altria is investing $1.8 billion in Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group. That will give Altria a 45% stake in the company, with an option for Altria to increase its stake to 55% over the next five years. Reports of an Altria-Cronos deal first surfaced earlier this week. The decision by Altria to go ahead with an investment in Cronos shows that Altria is serious about investing in marijuana as a new growth area as sales of traditional cigarettes slow. Altria's stock has fallen nearly 25% this year and the company is expected to report revenue growth of only about 1% this year and in 2019.
What Does Trump Tower Moscow Mean to the Mueller Investigation?

What Does Trump Tower Moscow Mean to the Mueller Investigation?

For at least three decades, Donald Trump has dreamed of a hotel stamped with his gilded name near Moscow’s Red Square. As early as 1987, in The Art of the Deal, Trump imagined “a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin in partnership with the Soviet government.” Twenty years — and a few failed Russian hotel bids — later, he made a promise in a 2007 court deposition: “We will be in Moscow at some point.” Now, that dream of Russian hospitality is turning nightmarish, as Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen stated in federal court on Thursday that he had engaged in talks to license a tower in Moscow deep into the 2016 campaign, potentially exposing the president to charges of perjury.
Real Estate on the Blockchain: $20 Million Sale 'Tokenizes' Student Residence

Real Estate on the Blockchain: $20 Million Sale 'Tokenizes' Student Residence

In the first offering of its kind, U.S. investors can now acquire a piece of South Carolina real estate in the form of blockchain tokens. The tokens represent ownership in a luxury student residence called The Hub, pictured above, which is located near the University of South Carolina in the state’s capital.
Climate change will shrink US economy and kill thousands, government report warns

Climate change will shrink US economy and kill thousands, government report warns

A new US government report delivers a dire warning about climate change and its devastating impacts, saying the economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars -- or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP -- by the end of the century. The federally mandated study was supposed to come out in December but was released by the Trump administration on Friday, at a time when many Americans are on a long holiday weekend, distracted by family and shopping.


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