Monthly Archives: March 2016

America’s High-End Zips are Mostly in New York

Times Square. One of the highest rental districts in the US. Photo by Francisco Diez from New Jersey, USA

Times Square. One of the highest rental districts in the US. Photo by Francisco Diez from New Jersey, USA

RentCafe, a website that helps people locate rental apartments, investigated which US zip codes have the most expensive rental rates in the country. Their survey picked only apartment buildings with at least 50 rental units in zip code areas with at least 200 such buildings.

The following information was gleaned from Yardi Matrix, a rental market data service. The data includes rents for all sized units from 2015.

In addition to being extremely expensive rentals, the areas are also highly competitive markets where finding a place, at any price, can be challenging. Looking at this list could help you cope better with the high rent you are paying, which by comparison, is probably not all that high.

The ten most expensive rental zip codes are as follows:
1.    Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown Manhattan West, Times Square and the Theater District: 10036. Median Rent- $4,720/month
2.    West Village, Manhattan: 10014. Median rent- $4,650
3.    Tribeca, Manhattan: 10282. Median rent- $4,615
4.    Gramercy and Flatiron, Manhattan: 10010. Median rent- $4,200
5.    Lenox Hill: 10065. Median rent- $4,200
6.    Belvedere Tiburon, California:94920. Median rent- $4,195
7.    Upper West Side, Manhattan: 10025. Median rent- $4,185
8.    Midtown West and Chelsea, Manhattan: 10001. Median rent- $4,150
9.    Union Square and Gramercy, Manhattan: 10003. Median rent- $4,095
10.    Lower East Side, Manhattan: 10002. Median rent- $4,032

Texas Has Highest Growth for Third Year

Business is booming in Texas, at least according to the annual Governor’s Cup list in Site Selection magazine. Texas outshone the other 49 states with 702 new and expanded business and industrial facilities. It was the third year in a row that Texas topped the list.

Ohio placed second, with 517 new projects last year. Illinois, in third place, had 413 starting businesses.

In order to be included in the list a project had to be worth at least $1 million in capital investment and employ 20 people in at least 20,000 square feet of new space.

“Texas finished the year with 702 projects, up from 689 last year,” wrote the magazine.

One fourth of the 24 largest new business places in Texas were created in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The largest of those being an enormous expansion of General Motor’s plant in Arlington worth $1.4 billion. Facebook also expanded its data center in North Fort Worth with a $1.2 billion investment. In Plano Liberty Mutual Insurance did some expanding worth $355 million.

Upcoming Conference for Estate Planners

If you are a new estate planner (or a seasoned one for that matter) then you should probably know about the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC). Their goal is to promote a multi-disciplinary approach to estate planning through the support of local estate planning councils. They have many materials that are helpful, conferences worth attending and more.

While this is not right around the corner, it’s worth knowing about the 3rd Annual NAEPC Advanced Estate Planning Strategies Conference taking place in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona from November 16-18 2016. The conference will be open to all estate planning professionals and can provide continuing education credit and networking within the field.

A sample of speakers and topics includes: Michael Amoia, JD, LL.M., CFP®, CLU®, ChFC® discussing “Loan Regime Split-Dollar for Both Single and Joint Lives” and Jonathan Blattmachr, Esq., AEP® (Distinguished) discussing “The Critical Importance of High Investment Returns and Tax Free Compounding, and How to Achieve Them.”

In addition to Michael Amoia and Jonathan G. Blattmachr, there will be many other speakers including two full days of education. Registration will open in April of 2016 and is worth pursuing.

The Slow Recovery Just Got a Boost

Since the beginning of what has come to be known as the “Great Recession” at the end of 2007, the US economy has been struggling. After the worst had finally passed, the economy started to grow again, and people started to get back to work. However, one piece of the puzzle has been elusive: the return to income levels, adjusted for inflation, back to those of pre-recession times.

Finally, according to Sentier Research, incomes have returned to, and even trumped, where they were before the financial crisis.
An average American family earned $57,153 in December 2015, an amount 4.3 percent higher than it was a year earlier, and 1 percent above incomes in December 2007. The last few months have seen rapid gains in income, the fastest in the history of the taking of the survey, which goes back to 2000. Projecting to the future, if the present pace continues this year, household incomes will reach a new record high long before the coming elections in November.

The problem of stagnant income has been baffling economists since 2011. That year the GDP, the total economic output, went beyond the pre-recession high. Yet median income stayed low, just until recently. Unfortunately for most wage-earners, even though the economy seemed to have recovered, it did so without employees.

Experts believe the coming year will be the best for income growth in many years. The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 2007. With labor scarce income is bound to rise. If it continues to rise in January as it did in December, median incomes will finally surpass those from 2000.

Judge Sides with Apple: Privacy Trumps Security

Downtown San Bernardino. Photo by House10902

Downtown San Bernardino. Photo by House10902

US Magistrate Judge James Orenstein ruled that the US Department of Justice cannot force Apple to give the FBI access to locked iPhone data. Justice was trying to use a 227-year-old law to force Apple to create specialized software that does not now exist to help the FBI get into a cell phone which is linked to the investigation into the San Bernardino terrorist incident.

The ruling deals a blow to the government which is arguing that public safety takes priority over privacy. Orenstein ridiculed some of the government’s arguments, pointing out that lawyers were stretching an old law “to produce impermissibly absurd results.”

“Ultimately, the question to be answered in this matter, and in others like it across the country, is not whether the government should be able to force Apple to help it unlock a specific device; it is instead whether the All Writs Act resolves that issue and many others like it yet to come,” Orenstein wrote. “I conclude that it does not.”

The All Writs Act the judge is referring to was written in 1789, has been revived in recent years to help the federal government get access to information locked in cell phones.