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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Whatcom School Districts Election on February 11, 2020


Whatcom County school districts in block colors with precinct outlines in white.

All Whatcom County school districts  (and therefore the entire county or 146K voters ) have elections this February 11.  As of this Wednesday morning (2/05/2020), 27,030 plus ballots have been returned to Whatcom County Elections. Please see http://www.whatcomcounty.us/1732/Current-Election .  As of this Wednesday morning (2/05/2020), statewide turnout is about 19.2%. Please see https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/research/ballot-return-statistics.aspx .    You can check your registration or your 'Ballot Status' at voteWA.gov.  Please see https://voter.votewa.gov/WhereToVote.aspx. If you haven't received your ballot by now or your ballot status contact Whatcom County Elections.  This is a stampless ballot. The districts in this election include:

  • Bellingham School District 501
  • Ferndale School District 502
  • Blaine School District 503
  • Lynden School District 504
  • Meridian School District 505
  • Nooksack Valley School District 506
  • Mount Baker School District 507
  • Fire Protection District 8 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Who owns real estate now?

Below are some articles with quoted selections I am currently reading that discuss ownership of real estate in urban centers in America and across the globe. I am thinking about these issues:

(1) How does the 'ghost ownership' and/or large scale 'corporate ownership' of housing effect our economy and social infrastructure?
(2) How does housing ownership as an 'asset class' effect pricing and supply?
(3) At one point does an 'over supply' of 'socially mismatched' housing types increase risk of a recession in the building industry?
(4) How do 'ghost ownership', 'over-pricing and speculation', mismatched market supply, rental and housing vacancy rates effect homelessness rates?
(5) Can we use Marxist economic theory to analyze the efficiency of the US housing market to make stronger cases for the use of:
  • vacancy taxes like those used in Washington, D.C. and Vancouver, BC.
  • more 'social justice' focused permit regulation and zoning
  • stronger local condemnation  and forfeiture laws in the case of "washing machine"  or laundered housing assets
  • what local actions can we use as citizens (e.g. more informed  and open ownership data, stronger condemnation laws, vacancy taxes, 'social justice' implementations of housing permits, etc.) to create a more fair and balanced housing market?

Monday, January 13, 2020

Rental Vacancy Rates across America

Sample data selection from 2015 - 2019(Q3 only) from the Census 2019 Housing Vacancies and Home Ownership . Click to enlarge.

Q3 Census data for 2019 Housing Vacancies and Home Ownership is now available.  The following charts and graphs are rental vacancy information.  Some researchers have come to believe that so called "ghost ownership" and high rental vacancy rates have created an artificial lack of housing supply (1).   Others believe there isn't enough home construction (2). I sought to look at the latest data for rental vacancies (up to Q3 2019) from the Census:
The table below gives Total Rented (43.2M)  and Total Rentals Vacant (3.1M) across different regions of the U.S. for Q3 2019.  I am using these two Census categories from the most recent housing data:
  • 8 RNTOCC Renter Occupied Housing Units K
  • 12 RENT Vacant Housing Units for Rent K
For the VacancyRate I am using ('adhoc') :  TotalVacant/(TotalRented+TotalVacant):

   GEO Region TotalRented TotalVacant VancancyRate
1:  US      1    43243000     3183000          6.9
2:  NE      2     8285000      477000          5.4
3:  MW      3     8472000      646000          7.1
4:  SO      4    15658000     1512000          8.8
5:  WE      5    10827000      548000          4.8