June 29, 2012
Mandelker on Implementing State Growth Management Programs
Daniel Mandelker (Washington St. Louis) has posted Implementing State Growth Management Programs: Alternatives and Recommendations (John Marshall Law Review) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
State growth management programs are a major part of the Quiet Revolution in land use control. States now have forty years of experience with these programs, and it is time for an assessment to see what they have accomplished. What do they cover? How are their criteria implemented? How are they enforced? These questions raise a very important problem. Statutes, plans, and policies are not enough. State land use programs must be effectively implemented if they are going to be successful.
Implementation is an important issue because tensions often arise between states and their local governments that affect program success. The reason why tensions arise is clear. Land use regulation traditionally is a local government function, but state growth management programs insert a state interest those local governments must recognize. State mandates overlay existing local government responsibilities and require a substantial change in how local governments carry out their land use planning and land use regulation mandates.
A review of these state programs finds a highly eclectic variety. There is no clear model, there is no clear or accepted structural pattern these programs followed when states adopted them. Each responded to land use problems the legislature and state leadership saw as requiring attention, and solutions to these problems influenced how the programs were constructed. State programs also reflect attitudes about intergovernmental division of power over land use decisions. These programs have not changed substantially in the last forty years, so the time has come to consider how they are organized, and whether change should occur. This article examines two issues: program coverage and program criteria, and how they are applied.
June 28, 2012
Using Partial Sales to Avoid Foreclosure
The New York Times shows that in recent months a significant percentage of new real estate deals in Manhattan have involved groups taking partial stakes in buildings instead of buying properties by themselves:
Many of today’s transactions are recapitalizations, in which the property owner uses an outside investor’s capital and credibility to persuade the lender or lenders to restructure the property’s debt. In exchange, the new investor typically gains equity, or an owning interest in the property. Often requiring lengthy negotiations among lenders and other stakeholders, the resulting deals usually bring the new investor into the existing ownership structure.
[Another] possible deterrent to conventional sales is transfer tax, which the seller must pay upon selling 50 percent or more of a property. The combined city and state transfer tax in Manhattan is 3.025 percent, one of the highest rates in the nation. The frequency of 49 percent office trades in recent months suggests that sellers are well aware of this tax trigger and are taking steps to avoid that cost through partial-interest transactions.
(HT: Chris Odinet)
Edelstein, Liu, & Wu on Selling Non-Completed Residential Dwellings
Robert Edelstein (Berkeley-Economics), Peng Liu (Cornell), and Fang Wu (Citadel LLC) have posted The Market for Real Estate Presales: A Theoretical Approach (J. of Real Estate Finance & Economics) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Presale agreements have become a pervasive worldwide practice for residential sales, especially in many Asian markets. Although there is a burgeoning empirical literature on presales agreements, only a few papers actually address their theoretical foundations. We create a set of interrelated theoretical models for explaining how and why developers and buyers engage in presale contracts for non-completed residential dwellings. Given heterogeneous consumer beliefs about future market prices, developers and buyers enter into presale agreements to mitigate, two intertwined, fundamental risks: those of real estate market valuation and default. Our analyses are consistent with prior empirical findings and provide additional theoretical insights for understanding the market for presales.
June 27, 2012
Hairy Times in Trademark
Anthony Davis, the likely No. 1 overall pick in this year's NBA draft, recently filed a trademark for multiple phrases related to his most unique physical feature --his unibrow. Reports indicate that:
Earlier this month, the 19-year-old applied to trademark the terms “Fear the Brow,” and “Raise the Brow,” CNBC reported Monday Both terms were used extensively last season on shirts and signs and in the media, and there are currently multiple online shops, like this one, selling merchandise with these phrases; they would be restricted in doing so once Davis’ trademarks are approved.
Not bad, but I probably would have gone with "Bow to the Brow."
June 26, 2012
Who Gets Mom's Digital Possessions?
Amanda Katz of NPR examines what happens to our books when we die. She also gives some thought to how the rise of e-readers could shape bequests:
Still, as far as posterity goes, the e-book system has some genuine superiorities over the old economy. Annotations exist in the cloud, so if your house burns down they are preserved. Your marginalia is accessible to more than just someone who holds the volume itself — biographers of the future will surely appreciate not having to count on a generous widow bequeathing them their subject's reading copy. With e-books, there's no need to fight over a single physical library copy; no trees need be cut down; unsold books need not be pulped; you don't need to lug books from apartment to apartment; pages will never be dotted with mildew.
The State of Affordable Housing
Via Land Use prof, here's a panel discussion on Affordable Housing hosted by the Cato Institute. Entitled, "The Death and Life of Affordable Housing," the panel features an all-star lineup of commentators including my former classmate and all-round good-guy, Adam Gordon. From the Cato Institute's description:
Featuring Ryan Avent, Author of The Gated City; Adam Gordon, Staff Attorney, Fair Share Housing; Randal O'Toole, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute, and author of American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership; Matthew Yglesias, author of The Rent Is Too Damn High; moderated by Diana Lind, Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief, Next American City. . . .
The Cato Institute and Next American City will jointly host a panel discussion about housing and development policy in American cities. For several decades, U.S. policymakers have grappled with how to make housing more affordable for more people. In the past year, several new books have claimed that various government tools, such as zoning and subsidies, have limited people's access to desirable, affordable housing—while other leading thinkers have suggested that markets alone will not create socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities. With a shared goal of creating livable, affordable communities for all people—but diverging ideas of how to get there—the panel will give voice to a range of perspectives on the hotly debated issue of how to shape 21st-century American cities.
June 25, 2012
The Country's Best Parking Lot
Last week, the International Parking Institute (IPI) distributed awards of excellence to the country's best new parking structures. The Award for Architectural Achievement went to the GEICO Garage in Orlando, Florida. A parking lot blog explains, "The garage is architecturally imitative of the local civic center, demonstrating a contextual recognition and aesthetic that goes beyond the scope of the standard parking garage. The LEED Gold-Certified structure is designed to be simultaneously unobtrusive, allowing for unobstructed views of the city, and architecturally alluring, with perforated aluminum panels and a façade categorized by shifting colors and textures."
Dana on Why Mortgage 'Formalities' Matter
David Dana (Northwestern) has posted Why Mortgage "Formailities" Matter (Loyola Consumer Law Review) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
This Article argues that adherence to mortgage formalities regarding foreclosure is valuable for expressive reasons and also as a potential deterrent to future undesirable underwriting and securitization practices. The Article reviews how some courts have in effect written procedural requirements for foreclosure out of the law, and asks why these courts have done so and whether lenders' behavior might have been improved during this housing crisis had the state courts uniformly afforded equal respect to the legal rights of homeowners and those of lenders.