Scam Affecting 150 Countries and 50 U.S. States – PR007 Transcript



Tom, here.

This is Price-Reduced.com where we talk a lot about real estate and a little about life.

If it is easier for you to learn by reading you can go to price-reduced.com and click on the right hand side where it says “transcript”.

As we talk about various areas of the world, even if you don’t live there, the probability is that your real estate market is going through, headed toward, or has just been through a section of the market swing reflected in other neighborhoods and cities. This should shed some light on your particular marketplace.

Ever wonder how much real estate there is in the world? What it is worth? In 2016 it was estimated to be $217 Trillion with 75% of it residential real estate. At the end of 2017 it was estimated to be $280.6 trillion dollars. And the new leader in total largest share of world residential value, up 16% from last year? The answer is: China. If you look to commercial real estate it is the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, and then the U.K.

Ever wonder what country has the worlds largest real estate brand? How about 9 of the 10 largest brands? Once again, it is China.

Portland Oregon had a 12 story wood building in the planning stages which would have made it the tallest of its kind in the U.S. Plans are for the moment, on hold. However, framing is done and Norway continues working on the tallest wood building in the world at 18 stories.

Prices Reduced in the U.K. A recent article is entitled “UK Housing Prices Falling at Fastest Rate Since 2009 Crisis” The author talks about the “Silver Lining” Perspective is everything whether talking about housing prices in the UK or anywhere else in the world. As the author points out, declining prices mean more affordability for home buyers. Declining prices will directly affect those wanting to sell an asset that is most probably the biggest asset they have. Possible their life savings as reflected in the home or flat they own. Although the .2% of value reduction in one month isn’t dramatic, some are saying prices could be reduced as much as 12% before bottom is reached. At an average price of $386,000. A 12% drop could cost homeowners $46,320. That is a lot of money if one had to try and save that much by taking a little out of each pay check. However, if you were fortunate enough to have bought during the low point of the real estate cycle close to ten years ago, you will have found your home’s value has increased by 50%. How is that for a Positive Perspective?

What returned 2 Billion Dollars over 2 years? In fact between October 2013 and May 2018 the total is 12.5 Billion Dollars. Ever heard of BEC’s? That is the acronym for “Business Email Compromise”. A variation of that is called “Email Account Compromise” or EAC. Management and financial officers are tricked into transferring company funds to an entity they think is a trusted business partner or company they might regularly do business with. How prevalent is this? It has occurred in over 150 countries and 50 states in the U.S.

Well you say, I am not a corporate executive or at least I am not the Financial Officer involved with wiring funds. So what does that have to do with me?

Have you bought or sold a house that has not closed yet?  Do you plan on buying or selling a home in the next couple of years? Are you helping someone buy or sell a home or rental property?

The latest adaption of the Business Email Scam has increased 14 fold in the last year and involves you as a buyer wiring funds to close to an escrow company or attorney. That call or email you received with a last minute change of wiring instructions could very well be the most devastating phone call or email you ever receive.

You can read this account of someone named Tom (not me) and what he went through as closing day approached.

So be forewarned, not fooled, when it comes to your next real estate transaction.

What is happening in the US state of Alaska? What segment of their population grew 27% beween 2012 and 2017? This is in contrast to the other segments that had slightly decreasing populations. It is the 65 years old and older crowd. Two Alaskan realtors have suggestions on how to help Seniors with their housing needs.

The housing shortage affecting Alaska is very pronounced in Anchorage where about half as many duplexes were built in the first half of this year compared to last. The number of new multifamily units is drastically worse with 153 permitted last year and zero, yes, zero permitted so far this year.

Another possible factor in the Anchorage housing shortage is that it is one of the Top 100 cities to live in. Anchorage is the place to be with its mountains, lakes, and 250 miles of trails along with the largest area for parks per capita of any city in the U.S. It has a strong economy and is within driving range of 60 glaciers.

The Anchorage School District is home to students that speak 100 different languages. Sounds like Anchorage is prepared to impact many parts of the world no matter what language is spoken.

Are many people buying and flipping houses? There are five zip codes where in the first quarter of 2018 more than 30% of the homes for sale are those being flipped. One of those is the 90047 zip code in Los Angeles. See charts, graphs, and learn about the other 4 in an article by AttomData.

If you live in the Portland Oregon Vancouver Washington area, and you flip houses, how is that segment of the real estate industry doing? In episode 2 we mentioned an article by WalletHub. Looking back at that article which ranks cities by quality of life, remodeling costs, market potential, and a total score, Portland is listed number 149 out of 172 and Vancouver Washington is number 135. That may give you some hard data on why you are having a hard time buying houses to fix up and resell.

There is an article entitled “The New Science of Seeing Around Corners”. It is about a computer vision scientist and his colleague at MIT who take images, sometimes one thousand times dimmer than normal, usually undetectable to the human eye and they bring out or make the undetectable, detectable, The invisible. Visible.

They took a photo of a houseplant and from that photo were able to give a 3D representation of the objects in the room where the plant was located.

This seeing around corners research is also called “non-line-of-sight imaging”.

At Stanford they have recently used laser beams and computer technology to see objects around corners. One of the obvious applications is driverless cars.

Wire Fraud. A big red flag, yet sometimes hidden from the obvious, around the corner of our awareness. Yet looking carefully at small things such as an email address containing a number “1” that looks like the lowercase letter “l”, can save you from the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Whether in real estate or in life, it is often that which is not so obvious, which might take research or thought, that will help us avoid disaster or recognize great opportunities that others miss.

Thank you for listening to Price-Reduced.com and always remember, financially speaking, “When it comes to real estate, the best time to buy or sell, is when you don’t have to.