June 2008 Archives

Down market gives rise to home-swap deals

Frank Nelson:

How the couple resolves the issue could depend partly on the emerging practice of home swapping. Through the website Pad4Pad.com, they are hoping to find someone in Texas or California willing to trade for their 1,600-square-foot, four-bedroom home in a gated community in Highland.

For years people have been swapping homes for vacations. Today, the idea of permanent exchanges is gaining support among disillusioned property owners struggling to sell in a glacial real estate market.

Although the number of completed trades isn't being tracked, interest is such that several home-swap websites have sprung up in the last year and now claim close to 40,000 combined swap listings nationwide. Others appear regularly on Craigslist.org.

26 Rules for Recessions

Tom Peters:

I spoke last Friday to the Pacific Coast Builders Conference—those left standing remain at the heart of a Perfect Storm. One solution to passing my 90 minutes would have been a prayer meeting. Passing on that due to lack of leadership qualifications, I decided, at the urging of the conference chairman, to talk about "excellence in tough times." I began with a list of assertions, which I reproduce here. The ones which were totally limited in scope (remarks about Barry Bonds, Sandy Koufax, Port Hueneme CA, et al.) have been excised. Though some of what follows is still narrow in focus, most of the "assertions" have reasonably widespread applicability. I have only lightly annotated my simple statements:
**That which goes up also comes down.
**That which goes waaaaaay up also comes waaaaaay down. ("It was in the Beginning and now and ever shall be. Amen."—maybe I could have led a prayer meeting after all.)
**IQs rise as markets go up. (Isn't it amazing how smart we all were 18 months ago?)
**Why have we done this s%^# over & over & over?
**Why will we do this s%^# again & again & again?
**The "madness of crowds" is the most profound statement of truth ever.

World's Most Expensive Homes

Matt Woolsey:

Along Australia's Gold Coast and across the French Riviera, they sit above the beach offering extraordinary views of the sea. In the U.K. they are palaces that humble the Queen's Belgravia mansions.

Others range from landed estates throughout continental Europe to nature preserves in Zambia.

These are some of the world's most expensive properties, and the prices are as unique as the homes. Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan's Aspen ski lodge lists for $135 million, while 6,000 miles away, a 64-room Istanbul waterfront mansion asks $100 million.

$4 per gallon gasoline and the urban land market

Richard Green:

Over the past six years, the price of gasoline has risen about $2 per gallon. What does this mean for relative urban land prices?

Let's say the average household makes five one-way trips per day--for work, shopping, entertainment, etc. Let's also say that the average car gets 20 mpg in city driving. Each mile of distance to work, shopping, etc. is therefore now 50 cents per day per household more expensive than before. A household living immediately adjascent to work and shopping should then be willing to pay $5 per day more in rent than a household 10 miles away compared with six years ago, all else being equal. This becomes $150 per month, or $1800 per year. Assuming a five percent cap rate for owner occupied housing, this translates to $36,000 in relative change in value. Given that the median house price in the US is about $220k, this is kind of a big deal.

Facebook Branding Problems

Orey Lorinsky:

s "Facebook Fatigue" real or imagined? We've been hearing about a supposed backlash against the social network for months, but haven't seen enough data to convince us. But here's another piece of anecdotal evidence in favor of the "played-out" argument: An interesting word association game, which indicates that people have much more affection for old Web geezers like Amazon and Google than Mark Zuckerberg's upstart.

The experiment, via a site called brandtags.net, is anything but scientific. But it is simple: The site shows a brand's logo and simply asks you to type the first word that pops into your head.

Here are the top 25 words or phrases on Brand Tags currently associated with Facebook (descriptive words are bolded):

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