Oklahoma City Real Estate News

As an Oklahoma City real estate investment specialist I have always read about "sexy" investment cities. Those tend to rotate so one year it is Las Vegas, the next year it's Phoenix, and so on. They tend to quote solid things like growth, being in the sunbelt, but most often it is the flavor of the year. That is a problem because one year does not constitute a trend, nor does it say whether the market is consistent in cash flow, or whether since it is flying above the radar, too many people come in thinking of getting rich quick and over saturating the market with too many rental properties.

Oklahoma City real estate is now just a hair bit above the radar but fortunately for us it is not the new sexy investment city to buy real estate in. You see I have different ways to define sexy and maybe that may be boring to some but to me real estate investing in a long term game and while spikes are nice, dips are not. I also believe that with education which we are happy to give any novice investor they can see why my idea of real estate sex is different that the publications touting the next big thing.

Safe is good: Ask yourself, if investing in real estate is like skydiving, how often would you worry about the chute opening for you? Some investors are like players at the crap tables, you either get rich or lose it. My preference is to go for the safe and long term gains even though I may not have bragging rights with my friends. I believe a bit of risk is ok but it should be apportioned to a small amount and bedrock investments that are safe and constantly giving you a return is what Oklahoma City real estate investing does for you.

Cash flow is sexy to me: I recently came back from an investment seminar in California with multiple markets presenting investment opportunities. Cities like Houston, Orlando, and Jacksonville were there all saying they were the best. My definition of the best is who gives the most cash flow. Cash flow is predictable and appreciation is not. S9 when I saw these cities talking about $125 to $230 per month positive cash flow I compared it to my presentation. My lowest cash flow was $330 and the highest was $515 per month. Also my properties were brand new not needing rehab and theirs were existing. What is sexy to me is money in the bank and that is what Oklahoma City real estate investing does for you.

Lack of vacancy is sexy: Of all the presentations mine was the only one talking about vacancy rate and showing why. I can put a return on investment on paper and I can make it look fantastic, but with real estate you are not investing in paper, you are investing in the real world. With 1% to 3% provable vacancy rate depending on the time of the year, what you see on paper is what you get with Oklahoma City real estate rental property. Vacancy rate can kill any investment if it is large and remember, every month you have outgo but you need income to offset it, that is what we provide you.

OK, appreciation is sexy: I like it when my values go up but we just hate it when it goes down? If I go back to Oklahoma City investments after the housing meltdown, and I looked at the loss of value in 2009 and it was only 5% compared to Las Vegas at 80% and orlando at 80%, phoenix at 60%. So if you held there on a property you bought at $233,000 before the meltdown, you may be back to $150,000 by now, still under despite appreciation. If you bought in Oklahoma City at the same time and stated at $150,000 your investment is more like a $182,000 value today. That appreciation looks great until you take the looses into account so which market is best? Oklahoma City with the most cash flow and improving on pre-meltdown values, to those still trying to catch up?

Dealing with an experienced investment REALTOR® is sexy: For the sake of full disclosure I am happily married and I am drawing Social Security so this isn't personal. What it is, is two things. First, experience is a great teacher along with education and I have both. Second, I want for you what I have. By that I mean I have enough investment property to not have to work another day of my life, pay any bills, and take vacations. I work because I love to work and I am passionate about creating wealth for others just like I have. Having choice like this is a freeing experience, being able to pay for a child's college education with Oklahoma City real estate investing is wonderful. Having security in your old age is the best sexy, take it from me.

Conclusion: We want to prove to you that what we say is true. We have a team of investment experts in financing, insurance, LLC set up, and property management. We have builders who give deals on new construction and love investors, and we will show you the metrics about how we honor supply and demand so we can get you rental appreciation because that is important too. For more information or to schedule a call with me, please email me at joe@joepryor.com.

Posted by Joe Pryor on March 12th, 2015 5:04 PM

On February 26th the FCC will make a decision that as an Internet user and also a buyer or seller of real estate will have a major impact on you and that is the ruling to insure net neutrality. First of all a definition of what that is would be helpful; it is the principle that internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. Of course this has to be within the law but a free and open Internet has created more efficiency and wealth then just about any innovation in the last one hundred years. Every day you get on wired and wireless services you are experiencing the joy of net neutrality.


The idea that we all have free and unfettered services sounds like a hard argument to make for not having it but large service providers have done exactly that. While almost 100% of grass roots communications to the FCC have been for net neutrality and also the largest percentage ever where people did this individually rather than on a template call to action, the large providers have spent over $238 million to lobby against it and it is easy to see why. Without a free and open Internet providers could effectively censor your access to certain sites and charge you for that access. They would become the gatekeepers of content even to the point of deciding what they like and don't like and forbidding that content. They can also create a fast land and a slow lane access and only those with huge bucks could afford the fast lane, more about that later.


Now here is the controversy. In January 2014 a large telecommunications provider in a lawsuit opened the possibility that they and others could disregard any FCC ruling and do what they want. In effect this means that the FCC would be powerless to stop blocking and/or “unreasonable discrimination” of Internet traffic. I put that in parentheses because you can see how open ended that is. So the FCC proposes changing the definition of current broadband from the classification of an information service to a telecommunication service in response in order to insure net neutrality. This is where the government as evil comes in because many people don’t want any regulations at the Federal level. Now we have strange bedfellows with large corporate interest aligning with government is always to big individuals and groups. The contradiction here is these same people could be the ones that are relegated to slower speeds, lower bandwidth access, and censorship, but that is the crazy current world we live in.


So what does this mean for you and me when it comes to real estate? For one it means my prices go up dramatically to promote you to the 92% of all people who start on the web to get what they want in housing. It can also mean that anything either you or I put on a site if we are allowed there can have banner ads that someone else pays for. It means that we put ourselves into the hands of gatekeepers who not only can charge extra but also have proprietary access to information so we have to pay multiple providers. Yes these providers will complain about all the money they spent on infrastructure but check out the profits on Wall Street they are making, they aren’t hurting. I am not against them making money it is just that nothing has existed in my lifetime that connects us in a wholly and pure democratic way like the web. FYI, if you disagree with me and are typing a response on a phone, tablet, or computer, you can thank the federal government for it. During WW II, just about every think tank on college campuses who created the modern computer and the World Wide Web were paid in full by the Feds. It started out as a way to evaluate ordinance, but those creative minds didn’t stop there.


So please pay attention to what happens on February 26th, and also beyond, because the providers are gearing up with big money to challenge the ruling. Please understand that capitalism and democracy are not the same thing, it just happens that our country for hundreds of years has been able to meld these two in harmony despite the constant give and take. Quite simply I can say this with certainty. My ability to have success in real estate and your ability to reach buyers for your home instantly, or as a buyer find the content you need to buy a home is threatened. Your cost and my cost will go up significantly but even more, our freedom of access is at stake and I for one don’t want to sacrifice it on the altar of corporate greed.




Posted in:Web marketing and tagged: Net neutrality
Posted by Joe Pryor on February 16th, 2015 12:17 PM
When it comes to oil prices and how it will affect the Oklahoma economy it goes from the end of the world to nothing to worry about but the truth is always something in between. While oil at $100 a barrel is a thing of the past what is the state of the Oklahoma City economy with oil at $52 a barrel? Even more what does this do to the Oklahoma City real estate market? 

First, of course we would rather see higher oil prices but even if we go between $55 to $65 a barrel it is many people take that we are fine. Now not everyone is a winner at those prices. Canadian tar sand oil needs $100 a barrel, and deep drilling in the gulf is not going to make it at those prices either. Older shale finds in Texas like around Midland/Odessa are also in free fall. But on that there is good news because this halt to drilling is helping reduce supply so with low prices at the pump and reduced supply we have seen a rise in prices. However, any company that is highly leverage regardless of home location including Oklahoma City is also in for a rough ride.

One interesting development that is coming from this is a net employment gain of people like engineers in Oklahoma City. Our big non-leveraged companies like Devon are bringing in their top young people from places like Houston or Odessa because once you lose these folks you don't get them back. San Ridge which is one of the medium size companies here just laid off over 500 workers in Midland/Odessa but are bringing some of these people into the Oklahoma City office. These well diversified energy companies don't just do drilling and they know that prices for a commodity is cyclical so they can send them back out in the field. So far the net result has been good here.

Now onto real estate and Oklahoma City has not dropped stitch in the selling of new and existing homes. In fact January saw the biggest number of new permits pulled in the last eight years. Our economy is diversified, and new hirings like the Air Force about to bring in 1300 more private contractors to Tinker AFB is a stimulus both for owner occupant sales and leased homes. I am not trying to be overly optimistic because prices can still fall and even if they don't we may see a drop in revenues going to the state with any reduction of drilling here. Most importantly I want to say there is no cause for panic, this isn't like the bad old days when in 1982 we had a false economy heavily weighted on energy and also a lack of a corporate structure to the business as well have now. 

Folks, I have recently read over 200 articles about the future of the energy industry short term and long term. I have called every contact i know in the energy business to get their crystal ball analysis for the future. Bottom line is we are in for volatility, a fast moving energy scenario, and I am sure some surprised await. In the meantime, steady as she goes, I will keep updating conditions, but I still tell people to buy or sell with confidence until proven otherwise. For more thought please contact me at joe@joepryor.com.

Posted by Joe Pryor on February 7th, 2015 4:27 PM
2014 was a great year for Oklahoma City home sales, in fact it was one of the biggest increases in value that I have seen in my 25 years of real estate. Our market which didn't suffer that mortgage meltdown has steadily improved every year since 2009 and last years we saw as much as 8% appreciation in some market segments. That is the good news but there is also a bit of bad news built into those statistics. When prices go up this much affordable housing becomes a problem especially with new construction. For instance in Edmond because of rising land costs and construction costs, building a single family home under $180,000 is getting almost impossible. There is an answer for this and it is a strategy that I knew about and employed back the early 1990's and is coming back strong which is building a duplex.

A duplex has advantages in two important ways: First, it divides the land cost in half for a normal sized single family lot that that can mean at least a $15,000 or more savings on the land. Secondly, it becomes a more efficient build since it is essentially a 2700SF home instead of two separate 1350SF homes which have less external work like landscaping and also when a framer comes in they frame one property instead of two so building is more efficient. The net of this is that this is the key to affordable housing where the duplex I just described becomes $125,000 a side instead of two home at $150,000 each. But now let me add the secret sauce to this strategy:

FHA, VA, and Fannie Mae will let you buy a two unit duplex as an owner-occupant, in fact you can do this up to a four-plex. So know you ask the question about what you do with the other side and I am glad you asked. Since I am an investment specialist and I work with top flight property managers we work to get it rented before you ever close, and maybe since we will be building some of these spec we will rent a side anyway and you may be able to walk into a rental. The good news is that if rent is estimated at $1100 for one side even if it is not rented by the time you close the lender allows you to count 75% of estimated rent either as income or if you have mostly payments to offset for qualifying you can use that against those back end ratios. Now that was the good news and now for the great news!

Lets say you decided to do a 5% conventional down payment loan or an FHA loan at 3.55 down and with principle, interest, insurance, taxes, and mortgage insurance that you mean an estimated payment of $1636 a month, that sounds like a lot but wait! there's more! Now we take that $1100 a month lease next door and reduce your overall payment to $536 a month estimated. You know have a $250,000 asset and only a monthly payment of around $536. This is affordable housing. Now you can also pouches just half od a duplex if you don't want to become a landlord and keep your monthly payments low. Either way you get new, the square footage you want, and a payment that allows you to live well and save some money for that rainy day.

We are in the process of building duplexes and in markets like Edmond, Oklahoma where prices have risen the most this is a good way to go. We have duplexes coming that are larger and will be priced over $300,000 but we plan those $250,000 duplexes also. If this is something that makes since to you I suggest you contact us so we can talk to you about the opportunity to get either a half duplex at an affordable price, or the whole duplex with a renter in on one side. Contact us for details at joe@joepryor.com.
Posted by Joe Pryor on January 24th, 2015 4:41 PM
Today, I was reading an article purporting that we are on the verge of another real estate bubble. The context was nationwide and certainly Oklahoma City is a part of this nation, but of course statistics and opinions about values cannot bye equally applied to every location and city. For the purpose of this article I want to dress this first from a national point of view because no one is entitled to their own facts. Let me also try to define what my definition of a bubble is regardless of the product: A bubble is when an asset class has been cynically manipulated in value in order to boost profits artificially in an attempt to defy the law of supply and demand. Got that? Ultimately we let the market set values and sometimes those values will vary and be volatile, but a bubble is a way off the charts version of supply and demand value.

Much of what these articles are about is the low inventory levels in most major cities for homes for sale. For instance, Oklahoma City in prime areas saw an increase of 5% to 8% in median price sale last year, and that is about as high as I have seen in 25 years of Oklahoma City real estate practice. Neatly if there are at least two buyers for every one home prices go up instead of having 2 homes for every one buyer. However, that is not the situation that is being talked about. What is being said is that major corporations and Wall Street Hedge Funds have been on a buying splurge for US Single Family homes since 2008. In fact, The Blackstone Group is supposed to have bought but the end of 2014 over 50,000 single family homes that they have kept for rent. So as this line of thinking goes, this is why prices are up so much and why they will crash especially if the corporate buyers decide to dump, what they see as a nightmare scenario. Yeah maybe, and monkeys may fly out my butt too. What is lost is that the majority of these properties were bought at less than 50% of bubble peak and even 80% off in some cases, which makes these buys below the cost of building. Now let's reset on what this means.

The Blackstone Group is sitting on a ton of equity and chose this route because housing, especially rental housing, is the best investment going, even better than GE stock. Not only did they buy at huge discounts, they are seeing rising rents, and are issuing bonds based on the rental income. What this means is that they not only have what may be as high as $5 Billion in an equity position, they are have a huge cap rate when you consider both the cash flow and the bonds. With housing stabilized in the US, this means that although we are seeing a slowdown in equity growth there is still equity growth being added, and remember this is all about return on investment. We also have these corporations to thank for having the cash to absorb excess distressed inventory that would have dragged the market further down, and slowed greatly the housing recovery. If you own your own home in a bubble market you should be thanking them.

So in essence, the corporate buyers are holding for long term, have tremendous equity and are not stupid enough to try to dump all of it at once. That is how they had surplus cash in the first place to buy up foreclosures. But what about Oklahoma City, will we participate in housing value drops? Since we didn't meltdown in 2007, that is off the table since we had the lowest amount of underwater mortgages and sub-prime loans in the country. recently we have seen a 50% or greater drop in oil prices and we are an energy state. In 1982 when oil dropped like this it was a disaster with not only panic spreading, but also energy companies and banks going out of business like wind spreads a grass fire. Today no company nor bank is in panic or in danger of closing, it is just that we are diversified, the oil business has changed from 1982, and housing marches on. In fact, the last 6 months have seen the greatest increase in "McMansion" sales over $1 million and this coincides with oil prices dropping.

Can prices still go down? of course they can, if this last bubble teaches us anything is that market cycles have not gone out of existence, and a city, a company, or an family needs to plan for the future and hedge their bets. One good thin about the conservatism in Oklahoma is a healthy scepticism about seeing something that is too good to be true and realizing that it is indeed to good to be true. My hope is that as we go into the second quarter of 2015 we will see an increase in both new and existing homes for sale, we have the buyers for them. We know that we will catch up on development this year so new homes will come on the market in greater numbers. We can only speculate about sellers wanting to sell their homes, or interest rates staying at 2014 levels. If rates stay down and so far that seems to be the directions, and if more people decide it is better to buy a new home rather than refinance their old one then appreciation will slow down but not go negative because nothing is on the immediate horizon to cause a dip here. What I am talking about is real supply and demand effects, and not a bubble. Stay tuned for February and we will update this post. In the meantime if you are a seller wanting to sell, don't wait. if you are a buyer we can help you find that good deal even if it takes twice the time to do it. Either way, we are at your service.   
Posted by Joe Pryor on January 10th, 2015 1:50 PM
Oil prices have plunged down over 50% and Russia's economy is in a panic with the ruble crashing, interest rates soaring, and the price for being an economic banana republic based on a single resource, oil and gas, is reaping the financial whirlwind. This reminds me a lot of an event in 1982 and how it changed Oklahoma.

Oklahoma's economy from about 1979 to 1982 was going through the roof. Fresh millionaires were being minted daily because of oil but we were about to learn the difference between being rich on paper and being rich in reality. OPEC had been propping up oil prices and trying to stave the west of energy because they wanted us to change from our Pro-Israeli policy and favor the Palestinians. When this didn't work by 1982 and so OPEC turned the oil spigot back on and let it gush. Soon prices were collapsing and so was the Oklahoma oil economy. We learned a terrible lesson in not being diversified and thinking that prices only go up and it wasn't until the late 1990's that we saw the beginnings of a recovery.

Fast forward to 2014 and oil again is crashing in price and OPEC is keeping the spigots running full blast especially Saudi Arabia just like 1982. The Russian economy is in free fall so what is happening in Oklahoma? Oil companies here have lost stock value, drilling will slow down, but the economy seems to be humming along. What the heck? Why shouldn't we be crashing too since it happened before?

First of all, energy companies are not independent wildcatters taking crazy risk as well as being totally dependent on what is coming out of the ground. Now energy companies are big, they have tremendous cash reserves, and they do more than drill. They buy and sell real estate leases one rilling, they build or finance pipelines, they trade and sell energy, and much more. They came to understand economies of scale and also realized that if they didn't diversify then they were like a banana republic.

The other big change in not having an economic meltdown was diversifying our economy especially in Oklahoma City. Now less than 4% of employment here is directly related to an energy company. Medical and medical research, government and military, tourism, trucking, construction, and also being one of the top cities for lowest cost of start ups and business associated cost has made a difference.

In short, consumer spending is high, government revenues are strong, and we are growing at a 2.6% yearly clip which is the 7th highest in the US for metros over 1 million in population. Finally will low oil prices have an effect on the economy that is noticeable? You wouldn't believe me if I said no and I wouldn't either. What one Halliburton executive told me is what I think will happen. They like other companies have ramped up employment especially in light of new shale oil and gas finds in Oklahoma which are large, but at this time there is a hiring freeze while they wait to see what happens. Without going into the politics of oil but staying on what is truly is, a commodity, we know that prices fluctuate. The only question is how long will oil stay below $60 a barrel? Even Saudi Arabia needs cash flow so even if this stays like this for a year, energy companies drilling in Oklahoma are at around $42 a barrel drilling breakeven. This doesn't mean that they will drill baby drill, but is does mean the rigs will keep being put in.

In the meantime we have done the necessary work to be a class economy that is diversified enough that a crash cannot happen just because of one factor. Because of this I can truly say it is great to be in Oklahoma.
Posted by Joe Pryor on December 31st, 2014 4:17 PM
Posted by Joe Pryor on December 18th, 2014 5:40 PM
Posted by Joe Pryor on December 16th, 2014 4:58 PM
Posted by Joe Pryor on December 15th, 2014 6:35 PM
I hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing and reward Thanksgiving with their love ones and family. Too often we wait for special occasions like this toe press our thanks to those who put their trust in us but Charlene and I have a ritual we practice every morning. When we wake up knowing that the day will include real estate work we pause before we get out of bed to talk about our gratitude for the day and especially for those we have had the privilege to work with. We also ask each other who we should write thank you notes to. It is not always a current client or even the biggest client, it may be someone who bought an Oklahoma City investment home from us at any time. Yesterday I was remembering one particular client from 2005 who bought three homes and still owns them today. The conversations were always cordial, we made each other laugh, and we recently talked about whether to sell to maybe buy more. Because of out longstanding relationship and because of mutual gratitude it was never about what was best for only one of us and too often I believe clients think that it is about commission first and it never should be. Charlene and I are blessed in that no one commission matters to us. We have been successful, do not live in want, and are passionate about our business so much that for me after 25 years I love what I do even more.

After surviving cancer in my sixties I decided to make changes that seemed counterintuitive to many of my peers. Charlene and I decided that we would never put volume goals first, nor would we set volume goals at all. We never thought that this was the true measure of success in that doing the right thing with fewer sales is always better than cutting corners to achieve awards. We had done about 250 successful real estate short sales in a 5 year period and the satisfaction of rescuing families from a potential financial ruin even though it was three times the work outweighed anything we had done before. Eventually we knew that the market would recover and we would go back to purely investment real estate but the lesson of cancer, and the lesson of those financially hurting changed everything for us.

We decided to create a statement of a positive culture based on 5 core values that we would adhere to and would also make the decisions to work with clients of like mind. Gratitude was our obvious first core value, but more followed. We never wanted someone to be in a dependent relationship who would work with us or clients that if kept in the dark would also feel dependent on what we give. Our clients are a part of the process, educated in every way, and deserve information delivered in an honest and ethical way. It was not that we would do it any other way, it was that we should put this out front so that we also would not be dependent on someone who did not treat us and the process the same way.

What has been amazing to us is that we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. What I think has happened is that the world has shifted, and people who have somewhat been disconnected by social media and the internet were looking for connection. Yes it is emotional but it is a bond of trust first and foremost. We also have core values of empathy, and positive visualization that is an attitude that we will always find what is missing and necessary to make our clients dreams happen. We look forward to talking to you about how we can achieve your goals based on this usual respect and value system. 
Posted by Joe Pryor on November 27th, 2014 4:27 PM
In 2008 more than the bottom of the housing market fell out, I also personally fell out with a diagnosis of cancer. From September through December of that year I spent my time in Houston at MD Anderson. I know that many people except that when confronted with a powerful disease like that you have huge insights into the meaning of life and it becomes a religious experience. Maybe some people get to that state but for me it was all about an intense focus on survival, getting through the protocol, accepting pain, and banishing for my mind any thought that I wouldn't get through this. What came of this is many things that weren't new to me but came with greater clarity, and some things that through experience I recognized the truths contained within them. I would like to share a few thoughts on what I came to believe:

Realtionships: Too many times our personal relationships get a filter that can come from ego or maybe our own insecurities. We imprint on people what we think is their opinion of us. What I found through an incredible support system that rallied me daily is that too often people like us a lot more than we think, have compassion that we don't realize is there until it's needed, and very often want to know us better. It is important that we don't build a personal firewall around ourselves and give people more of a chance to know us. I realize that we can have a thousand close friends but a relationship is all about the time we do interact and the time we spend together and we shouldn't waste it or walk away from an opportunity to relate.

Exceptional Service: From the remarkable people of MD Anderson and the systems in place to treat an illness physically but never neglecting the mind and spirit, I learned what exceptional servicer means. I also saw what a positive culture in the face of death all around them means. In my Oklahoma City real estate life I help people make decisions that are not life and death, rather they are about finance and family. From my main doctor, to the nurses, to the yoga teachers, even to the valet parking attendants at the radiation center, I saw a buy in from top to bottom that was all about the patient. It is not enough to give people your best, it is enough only if your best keeps getting better. They showed me the way.

Focus: Did you ever wonder what a laser like focus would get you in business? I don't recommend cancer to find out but I promise you I have never been so intensely focused. But you should be careful what you wish for because focus is not always a narrow lens, sometimes it is a wide angle lens and you have to know when it is appropriate to use either. I do time block where like now I am just about writing blogs and doing videos, and telling myself to narrow focus for one hour is appropriate. However, once I was diagnosed cancer free and was released from that narrow focus I had problems because many emotions that i would not allow to rise to the surface, flooded me when I didn't need that 24 hours a day. Focus with a wide angle lens lets you see the world in a sometimes complicated and confusing perspective but it also gives you access to both excitement and fear, confidence and doubt, so that when you do come to a conclusion, it fully vetted.

Mortality: This may be the big thing you thought I would mention and it getting cancer reminded me of the limit of time on this life. I can't be on all the time, smiling all the time, perfect all the time, but the moments are precious and despite the fact that many years after I am gone I will be a fading memory, but what I do right now for you as a client and you as a friend should be everything I have because one day the opportunity will be gone. So for now and for the rest of my time on earth I want to seize the day, give you my everything, make sure that service is exceptional, understand my limitations, and make a difference. If all of this is all I learned from cancer and being fortunate enough to survive it, then life is wonderful. I hope I get the chance to help you.

Posted in:Real Estate and tagged: Real estate sales
Posted by Joe Pryor on November 18th, 2014 4:41 PM
My name is Joe Pryor an I have been a greater Oklahoma City REALTOR® for the last 25 years. I am a native Oklahoma and Oklahoma City has been my home for almost all of it. For years I have tried different website companies and this site is my first change since 2008 when I went to WordPress. I hope I haven't lost anyone in the transition but I feel like I can more easily bring you market conditions in Oklahoma City for real state, general market conditions and trends, and what is going on with this new site.

We are a small independent Oklahoma City real estate firm that is a team of specialists. For myself, I have specialized in investment real estate for the last 22 years and since 2004 it has been exclusive. We have also helped many people avoid foreclosure with short sales since 2007, and recently we have brought on a buyer specialist who is especially adept at the Northside Oklahoma City real estate market including Edmond and Deer Creek. We can also help you list and sell your current home and use the latest technology coupled with old fashioned networking.

We would also appreciate your feedback to know what it is about Oklahoma City that you need to know about or any suggestion that you make that would make our site better. It is important to us that this Oklahoma City real estate website gives you exactly what you need and nobody knows that better than you. We will begin the process of creating Oklahoma City community pages about suburbs, school systems, and even specific neighborhoods. What real estate should be and we want it to be for you is exceptional service that is all about you. We don't make a living unless you are totally satisfied.

One other thought I will share with you about this new site is that it is connected to the Oklahoma City Multiple Listing Service or MLS. This information is refreshed every 15 minutes and this gives you everything currently listed for sale in the greater Oklahoma City area and surrounding towns. This will be you most accurate information about what homes are actually available for sale in the Oklahoma City market so I assure you that this will be superior to syndication sites on the web that often have false information or may get you excited about a house that closed long ago but you think is still available. The search entry is on the home page to the left at the top.

Finally, please come back to this blog post page regularly. We will be consistently posting weekly and also sharing videos with you that inform and educate you about real estate and our city. It will be our greatest pleasure to be of service to you and if you have any immediate questions you can contact me at your convenience at joe@joepryor.com.

Posted by Joe Pryor on November 14th, 2014 5:03 PM
The video is not embedded so when it says to view on youtube, click again. mayor Cornett did a fantastic job of promoting Oklahoma City to the country. He was positive, but also he was realistic about economic conditions, so it didn't sound like spin. I tend to be a bit more pessimistic, but with oil above $80 a barrel, and natural gas finally climbing up, we may be able to beat expectations.

Posted via web from Joe Pryor's posterous

Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:18 PM
HPD, aka Historical Preservation District, has been one of my pet peeves in real estate for years. I have lived in an Oklahoma City HPD, Crown Heights, and the inconsistencies are too numerous to name. What got me back on this subject for the first time this year? Windows. Time Magazine just had an article on homes built before 1939 like the one I had. In general, it is estimated that a home built before this time requires 50% more energy to operate. What you can say is if you are not in an HPD, you are paying for stupid rules by which these people live. I know windows is not the only problem, but it a major energy leak in homes. I remember a hearing against someone who put vinyl double pane windows into their HPD regulated neighborhood home. One of the numerous HPD Nazis, and I don't apologize for their label or arrogance, said she could tell vinyl windows from the street because of their "blue glow". Hey lady, I have a hard time making the correct call up close without touching them. Oh yeah, you can put storm windows on which didn't exist in 1939 just make sure they look historical, LOL. That is one of many problems

Rules are not uniformly enforced. If you have enough money and influence, you can change your house. One house had a breezeway, since in 1934 you didn't have central air in the house, but that was okay to eliminate and to add a third car bay to the garage to boot. Another home was built properly with about a 20% remaining yard area, but the owner was allowed to go down to about 5%. I guess that wasn't a good rule, but which bozo decides? I agree with some rules like parking on the street after dark, but that is NEVER enforced. The way Oklahoma HPD's are enforced and not enforced, these people who make the decisions don't even qualify as corrupt and inept politicans.

Finally, some of these neighborhoods are mislabled as HPD. Especially since many of the houses qualify as tear downs. When I was getting cancer treatment in Houston, I saw old decrepit neighborhoods like we have as HPD with the freedom to tear down the garbage. Guess what, $1.4 million duplexes were being erected, or a $2 million 4 story homes. I go to Israel this summer to speak to investors. When I see a structure that was built with B.C. after the year, now that is HPD. New Orleans, Charleston, and New York have HPD. Oklahoma City get a clue and quit embarassing yourself. 1939 is a teenager home compared to the real thing. When natural gas makes a winter month's heating bill $700 for 1400SF, I hope you have the strength of your convictions. I doubt it, you would rather go down with the ship. Now that would be progress. So would truly upgrading neighborhoods.
Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:18 PM
By Marilyn Lewis
MSN Money
Increasingly, homeowners with good credit and no late payments are making what appears to be a strategic decision to walk away when their home's value falls below what's owed. "The American consumer has had a long-held taboo against walking away from the home, and this crisis seems to be eroding that," concludes a report on research by Experian, the credit agency , and Oliver Wyman, a management consultant company. The better their credit rating, the more likely homeowners were to default. The trend is most pronounced where prices have fallen furthest: Florida and the West, especially California. The finding -- that 588,000 borrowers appear to have strategically defaulted in 2008, a 128% increase from the year before -- surprised the researchers. Piyush Tantia, who conducted the research for Oliver Wyman, and Charles Chung of Experian spotted the trend while analyzing 24 million credit files to see what they could learn about mortgage delinquency.

Foreclosure as a financial strategy

Strategic defaulters stand out among the 14 million to 15 million "underwater" mortgages, the researchers said, because they:
  • Pay all their bills consistently and on time until abruptly stopping mortgage payments with no attempt to get current again.
  • Keep current on other debts after defaulting on the mortgage.
  • Keep up payments on home equity linesof credit, sometimes drawing out cash, before defaulting on both the first mortgage and credit line.
This "sophisticated" combination of moves and timing suggests borrowers are employing foreclosure as a calculated financial strategy, said Tantia and Chung. They conclude that 18% of the borrowers with mortgages 60 days past due in the fourth quarter of 2008 were acting strategically, up from 3% -- "barely noticeable," the report says -- in late 2004. Most defaults, however, are driven by financial distress. Defaults due to troubled finances grew from 31% to 51% of loans in the same time frame.

Broken taboo

It appears that the more money people feel they're losing, the more likely they are to bolt. Owners with smaller loans were less likely to strategically default, even when facing the same percentage of loss. For example, "once you hit the $200,000-and-up loan size in California, you start to see about 33% strategic defaults," said Tantia. A similar pattern, with 18% to 20% strategic defaults and lower loan amounts, plays out in the rest of the country: "This tells us that the threshold probably is a dollar value and not a percentage." From 2005 to 2008, strategic defaults rose by 68 times in California, by 46 times in Florida and by three to 18 times in other regions. Strategic default was seven times more common among mortgages originated in 2006 than those begun in 2004. "Starting about a year ago, the good-credit people, the Little League coaches, the schoolteachers and the retail managers, the higher levels, started walking away," says Kurtis Squyres, whose company, FarBelowMarket.com, buys homes in the Coachella Valley east of Los Angeles that banks have foreclosed on and sells the properties to investors. "I even had a DA who had talked about it. He was very seriously considering buying another house because his credit was still intact, and then walking. His conscience got the better of him, but that shows how tempting it is."

Makes sense to some

Strategic defaults may sound cynical, but such calculations are becoming familiar to real-estate professionals. The word is that "your credit will heal before you recover what you borrowed against it," says Squyres. The alternative, a short sale, is difficult, lengthy and uncertain of success, he says. Video: Give up or pay up? Even if true, strategic defaulters face a long sentence in credit hell: It takes seven years plus 180 days from the date of the first missed mortgage payment for a foreclosure to exit your credit record, says Liz Pulliam Weston, an MSN Money personal finance columnist. "Your credit scores start getting trashed the minute you miss a payment. The more payments you miss, the worse the damage," says Weston, the author of "Your Credit Score, Your Money & What's at Stake." "The effect on your scores diminishes over time if you handle credit responsibly from then on." Almost certainly your score will fall into subprime territory, a FICO score of 620 or less. "I know one real-estate investor with multiple foreclosures whose score fell to 305 -- just above the absolute bottom," Weston says. Continued: The big picture

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As Gomer Pyle once said, Surprise, Surprise.

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Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:15 PM
Distressed homeowners in Metro Oklahoma City are coming in increasing numbers. Although our city is faring better than most, unemployment has risen from 3.& to 6.1% in one year. I was in the mall today, and I noticed that two stores have closed very recently. Both Bacrach's and American eagle Outfitters have been here a long time, but are now gone. If we take this, medical problems, and divorce, people are having problems paying there bills. I remember the bad old days of the 1980's when Oklahoma was devasted economically, and i can remember the daily calls in my retail business for when the payments would be made. I have empathy for what these folks are going through, and declaring bankruptcy is not uncommon.

Let's first talk about the difference between bankruptcy and foreclosure. If you want to qualify for an FHA loan at a later time, you can be considered two years after bankruptcy. Foreclosure makes that three years or more. Foreclosures also have what is typically around a 450 point credit hit. If you were at 640 which you need for FHA think about how long that is going to take you after foreclosure. Foreclosure also stays with you for 7 years. I am not recommending you to avoid bankruptcy even if you are being harassed, but I am telling you to pursue a short sale regardless.

What a Chapter 7 liquidation does to the foreclosure process is to stop it in place. It does not prevent it from happening it just delays it. One advantage to doing this is that the bankruptcy can eliminate the possibility of a mortgage company coming after you for a deficiency judgement and of also sending a 1099 to the IRS for taxable forgiveness of debt. So from a personal standpoint, you get rid of all your personal debts excepting taxes, but once the process is done and finalized, the foreclosure starts up again.

So why still do a short sale since you have no personal liability? That is simple, foreclosure is still worse for your future credit. It is not just that your credit rating is hit harder, When you eventually go for a home loan think about what the lender sees if you have a foreclosure showing on the report. If you do the short sale route, it goes away within two years from the report. Yes they see a bankruptcy, but that is an easier explanation. Losing your job, having unpayable medical bills are understandable in making the decision to clean your slate. Remember that by doing a short sale you are saving the mortgage company money, since a foreclosure is more expensive in time and money. We can help you with your distressed home. Email me at joe@joepryor.com, or for more answers you can go to our web site for short sales, www.avoidforeclosureoklahoma.com.
Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:14 PM

(Page 2 of 2)

The government has stepped into the breach, facilitating loans with down payments as low as 3.5 percent and offering other incentives to stabilize the market. Real estate agents in some hard-hit areas say every single one of their clients is using the F.H.A.

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Not the Same Rules

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Theyre counting their pennies, scraping up that 3.5 percent, Bonni Malone of Prudential Americana in Las Vegas said. Mostly theyre buying foreclosed homes from banks, although I had one client who bought from a guy that was dying. Its turning around the market.

While the governments actions have helped avert full-scale economic disaster, there is growing concern that it might have doled out its favors with too generous a hand.

Many of the loans the F.H.A. insured in 2007 and last year are now turning delinquent, agency officials acknowledge. The loans made in those two years are performing far worse than newer loans, dragging down the whole portfolio, Mr. Stevens of the F.H.A. said in an interview.

The number of F.H.A. mortgage holders in default is 410,916, up 76 percent from a year ago, when 232,864 were in default, according to agency data.

Despite the agencys attempt to outrun its fate by insuring ever-larger amounts of new loans to such borrowers as Ms. Shimon the current rate is over a billion dollars a day 7.77 percent of the portfolio is in default, up from 5.6 percent a year ago.

Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said in an interview that the defaults were, in essence, worth it.

I dont think its a bad thing that the bad loans occurred, he said. It was an effort to keep prices from falling too fast. Thats a policy.

The troubled loans are nevertheless weighing on the agencys capital reserve fund, which has fallen to below its Congressionally mandated minimum of 2 percent, from over 6 percent two years ago.

The optimism expressed by Mr. Stevens, the F.H.A. commissioner, places him at odds not only with some outside experts but with Kenneth Donohue, the inspector general of the Housing and Urban Development Department, who is also F.H.A.s watchdog. Mr. Donohue said the drop in reserves was a flashing red light that the agency was not taking seriously enough.

It might be well get ourselves out of this and that everything will be fine, but I dont paint that rosy a picture, Mr. Donohue said. Theyre banking on the fact that the economy will continue to improve, that the housing market will begin to sustain itself.

He noted that if private lenders had raised their down payment requirements in the last two years, it raised the question, what does the F.H.A. think it is doing by asking only 3.5 percent?

Any more than that and Ms. Shimon, 45, would still be a renter. As it was, she cashed in her retirement savings account to come up with the necessary funds. She did not have enough to spare for closing costs, so her mortgage broker arranged a deal where the charges were wrapped into the loan at the cost of a higher interest rate. She cried when the deal was done.

The house was empty and trashed. Slowly, she is trying to bring it back to life. She spent the first few weeks picking up garbage in the backyard.

Is Ms. Shimon a good bet? Even she has no easy answer. Her mortgage payment, $1,100, is half of what she takes home every month. It is not easy to make ends meet. Teachers can get laid off like everyone else.

The government, she said, is doing what it needed to do taking a risk on people.

Chaz Fullenkamp, an automotive technician in Columbus, Ohio, got an F.H.A. loan even though he was living on the financial edge. If I got unemployed, Id be wiped out in a month or two, he says. Thanks to the F.H.A., however, he is better off than he used to be.

Mr. Fullenkamp used F.H.A. insurance to buy a house this spring for $179,000. The eager seller paid the closing costs and also gave Mr. Fullenkamp $2,500 in cash. He immediately applied for the $8,000 tax rebate. Even taking his down payment into account, he came out ahead.

I knew in my heart I could not really afford the house, but they gave it to me anyway, said Mr. Fullenkamp, 22. I thought, Wow, Im surprised I pulled that off. 

As the number of loans has soared, random quality control checks have decreased sharply, F.H.A. staff members say. Mr. Donohue, the inspector general, cited numerous examples of organized fraud in testimony to Congress earlier this year.

They need to stop taking bad loans in the door, he said in an interview. Theyre taking on all this volume, they have to have very active underwriting standards.

Jack Healy contributed reporting from New York.

Sign in to RecommendNext Article in Business (1 of 27) A version of this article appeared in print on October 9, 2009, on page A1 of the New York edition.

This is looking like a possible no win scenario. Raise the downpayments and you stifle the recovery. let it go as it is, watch the reserve fund dwindle, then force the government to do a taxpayer funded bail out. Time for some brilliance from Congress. Is that even possible?

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Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:13 PM
By J.W ELPHINSTONE AP Real Estate WriterNEW YORK (AP) - For a homeowner who needs to sell but has a mortgage balance higher than the property value, one option is something called a "short sale." And don't let the name fool you. This type of sale is complicated and can drag on for months. So what exactly is a short sale? Here are some questions and answers. Q: What is a short sale? A: A short sale happens when a lender allows a borrower to sell his home for less than what's owed on the mortgage. The lender usually forgives the difference and considers the debt repaid. Q: How often do short sales occur? A: Short sales now make up about one in every 10 home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. That's a lot more than you usually see when the housing market isn't distressed - in fact, the NAR doesn't have historical records on short sales before the current downturn because they were such an insignificant segment of the sales market. Falling home prices have eroded home equity at a rapid place, making short sales more commonplace. About 16 million homeowners owe more than their homes are worth and would have to seek a short sale if they were forced to sell their homes now. Q: What's in it for the lenders? A: Lenders minimize their losses. If the borrower defaults and the bank has to foreclose, there are extra costs to auction the property and maintain it while it's vacant. Foreclosed homes also typically sell for much less than short sales. Q: What are the drawbacks for the borrower? A: While not as bad as a foreclosure, a short sale will still blemish a borrower's credit report. A short sale would knock an "A'' borrower down to a "B'' borrower, while the same borrower would fall to "D+" after a foreclosure, said Ritch Workman, co-owner of Workman Mortgage in Melbourne, Fla. The extent of the damage also depends on the borrower's credit history before the short sale. A borrower with good credit won't get hit as hard, while a borrower with tarnished credit will feel more pain. Normally, a borrower would have to pay taxes on the forgiven part of the balance, though the Bush Administration granted homeowners a reprieve that applies to debt forgiven through 2012. Q: Why is the process so complicated and why does it take so long? A: Short sales are plagued with snags on both sides. Desperate sellers or inexperienced real estate agents often send in the wrong paperwork, only to get it kicked back. It's an easy mistake to make because each lender requires different documents. For their part, lenders don't have enough staff to handle the flood ofshort sale applications. It can take months before a lender will get back to a seller about an offer from a potential buyer. Some deals take more than year to finish. And approvals from third parties - such as private mortgage insurers, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and lenders who hold a second mortgage on the house - also can slow a short sale. In May, the Obama Administration promised to standardize documents and offer incentives to mortgage servicers, borrowers and second mortgage holders to encourage timely short sales. The Treasury Department has yet to release specific guidelines to lenders, which will take months to implement. Q: What should I do if I'm interested in a short sale? A: Most lenders will approve a short sale only if the borrower is behind on his mortgage, but some are now considering non-delinquent borrowers because they don't want them to walk away from their mortgages, said Pava Leyrer, president of Heritage National Mortgage in Michigan. Ask a trusted mortgage or real estate professional to recommend a real estate agent, attorney or company to help with the short sale. Or, contact a local nonprofit housing counseling service. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development maintains a list of government-sponsored housing agencies at http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm. And don't pay any upfront fees. "Be cautious when choosing someone," Leyrer said. "Make sure they have the experience necessary to facilitate the sale and not hinder it."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Excellent summary of the pitfalls and rewards of a short sale. Our team is experienced in short sales, and have a Realtor who understands the process, and has the patience for it, is crucial. For other answers to your questions, go to our short sale web site, www.avoidforeclosureoklahoma.com.

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Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:12 PM
A year after Washington rescued the banks considered too big to fail, the ones deemed too small to save are approaching a grim milestone: the 100th bank failure of 2009.
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Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
The Warren Bank, a small lender located just outside Detroit, was taken over this month by Huntington Bancshares of Ohio.


In what has become a ritual, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has swooped down on a handful of troubled lenders almost every Friday, seizing 98 since January alone and putting their assets into the hands of another bank. While the parade of failures still represents a mere fraction of Americas small banks, it underscores a growing divide between them and large institutions like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and U.S. Bancorp, which are slowly growing stronger as the economy improves. Burdened by worsening commercial real estate loans, many small banks troubles are just beginning. Many analysts say that the now-toxic loans could sink hundreds of small lenders over the next few years and place a significant drag on the economy. Already, the bank failures are placing enormous strain on the F.D.I.C. and its fund, which keeps depositors whole. Flush with more than $50 billion only two years ago, the fund recently fell into the red. The prospect of more failures has led the F.D.I.C. to seek new ways to replenish the fund with higher and earlier payments by healthy banks, even after setting aside reserves for future losses. The initial wave of failures has also unsettled some communities, even though most of the troubled institutions have been bought by other banks rather than shuttered. While deposits are safe thanks to federal insurance, the new buyers often do not have the same ties to local businesses as the former owners. In some cases, they tighten lending and make it harder for longtime customers to obtain loans or favorable terms. In other cases, managers of the new bank make other changes, like ending offers for high-interest certificates of deposit and calling in certain lines of credit. In the longer term, some new owners are likely to close branches of the bank they have acquired in order to cut costs. In the near term, bank failures can be painful, said Sheila C. Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. But a bank that is teetering on collapse is not going to lend, she said, and thats not good for the economy. Regulators expect closures to ripple through hundreds of small banks over the next couple of years, especially in the Midwest and Southeast, where lenders have been hard hit by the recession. These banks loaded their balance sheets with loans to home builders and other property developers to make up for lost business in credit card and mortgage lending that bigger competitors wrested away. They eased their lending standards during the boom years and made big bets on new housing developments, strip malls and office projects. Now, many of those deals are falling apart, and the lenders are scrambling to raise capital to cushion the losses. These banks were big enough that they could do loans that were fairly sizable, said John R. Chrin, a former investment banker who is now an executive in residence at Lehigh University. If they go bad, they are toast. The pace of bank failures is expected to accelerate in the coming months. There were just 25 bank failures in 2008 and just 10 in the five previous years. But in September alone, regulators took over 11 banks in nine states that were saddled with soured commercial real estate loans, from Corus Bank, a $7 billion construction lender based in Chicago that financed projects across the country, to Brickwell Community Bank in Woodbury, Minn., which had just a single branch and $72.6 million in assets. Three others were taken over this month, including Warren Bank, a small lender just outside Detroit. Regulators swept into the offices on a recent Friday night after brokering a sale to Huntington Bancshares of Ohio, a regional bank with a big presence in Michigan. By Saturday morning, Huntington had taken control of the banks computer systems, started reassuring depositors and placed vinyl signs with its name outside some of the Warren Bank branches. Even though the process went smoothly, customers still found it unnerving. People expect companies to go out of business, not banks, said James R. Fouts, the mayor of Warren, Mich., whose working class city of 140,000 has had a front row seat to the collapses of General Motors and Chrysler. That is something that you expect to hear about in the Great Depression, and it further exacerbates the feeling that financially, the country is not yet in stable shape. The banking system may also be facing a long recovery. About $870 billion, or roughly half of the industrys $1.8 trillion of commercial real estate loans, now sit on the balance sheets of small and medium-size banks like these, according to an analysis by Foresight Analytics, a research firm. For most of the banks, this represents the biggest and riskiest part of their loan portfolio, since they lack the trading streams and fee businesses of their larger rivals. And as a group, small banks have written off only a tiny percentage of the losses that analysts expect them to incur. In fact, applying only the commercial real estate loss assumptions that federal regulators used during the stress tests for the big banks last spring, Foresight analysts estimated that as many as 581 small banks were at risk of collapse by 2011. By contrast, commercial real estate losses put none of the nations 19 biggest banks, and only about 5 of the next 100 largest lenders, in jeopardy. Even Citigroup, the biggest and most troubled of the banks, has a relatively small portion of its loans tied to commercial real estate and may begin to recover faster than other rivals. Gerard Cassidy, a veteran banking analyst, said the problems call to mind the wave of small bank failures in Texas and New England two decades ago during the savings and loan crisis only on a national scale. Back then, regulators closed more than 700 lenders in those regions. Today, Mr. Cassidy projects that as many as 1,000 small banks will close over the next few years and that their losses will be more severe. Its a repeat on steroids, he said. But Ms. Bair said the savings-and-loan crisis far surpassed the current situation. We arent anywhere close to that today, and based on current projections, I dont think we will get near that pace, she said. Even if hundreds of banks collapsed, they would not threaten to bring the financial system to its knees. Together, the 8,176 smallest banks control just 15 percent of the industrys $13.3 trillion in assets. And thanks to the expansion of the governments deposit insurance program, regulators also appear to have squelched the threat of bank runs that brought down IndyMac Bank and Washington Mutual last year. Consumer deposits are now insured up to $250,000 per account, and the F.D.I.C. offers unlimited coverage on noninterest payroll accounts used by businesses. Weve passed the panic stage, said Frederick Cannon, the chief equity analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in New York. What is more, community bank supporters say the bulk of their institutions will emerge from the crisis stronger. The community banks are picking up market share, said Camden R. Fine, the head of the Independent Community Bankers of America. People are angry with all the shenanigans on Wall Street, he said. They believe their money stays local when they put it in a community bank, rather than sent off to Never-Never land.
Sign in to RecommendNext Article in Business (2 of 28) A version of this article appeared in print on October 11, 2009, on page A1 of the New York edition.
Oklahoma is not immune to this. We have experienced out own real estate building boom. Many builders did not put sufficient reserves away to be able to withstand the new home downturn. Also strip centers have been going up without tenants that eventually will bring the developers down. We have noticed that rather than seeing new tenants coming in to some locations, we see existing ones move. Without new blood these centers will die.

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Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:11 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY - Upgrades like flat-screen televisions, spiffed-up corporate boxes and new gaming machines are just some of the improvements Global Gaming has planned for Remington Park racetrack if its track-license application is approved, CEO John Elliott told the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission Thursday.
"It has been a long road to this day," Elliott said.
Since Oklahoma does very well in tax revenues from gaming including the Indian Tribe owned facilities, this is a very important acquisition and upgrade.

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Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:09 PM


Google profit surprises Wall Street

The Internet search giant posts a 27% jump, possible proof that the online economy is clicking again.

Google CEO

"We believe the worst of the recession is behind us," Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt says. (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg / October 2, 2009)

By David Sarno

October 16, 2009

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In another sign that the economy may be coming back online, Web search giant Google Inc. surprised Wall Street with a 27% jump in third-quarter profit, as Internet advertisers spent more on ads -- and buyers spent more time clicking on them.

Computer giant IBM also reported higher-than-expected profit Thursday, adding to hopes that the vitality of the technology sector might be a bellwether for a larger recovery.

"We believe the worst of the recession is behind us," said Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt in a call with investors, pointing to strong performance in all of the company's operations. "We now have the business confidence to invest heavily in the next phase of innovation."

Google and IBM joined a growing parade of technology companies reporting better-than-expected results this month, including chip makers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Amid signs of an improving economy, networking powerhouse Cisco Systems this week said it would pay $2.9 billion for a Massachusetts manufacturer of gear for wireless carriers, Cisco's second multibillion-dollar acquisition this month.

The Nasdaq stock exchange, loaded with technology companies, has risen 38% this year.

On Thursday, Google shares shot up more than 3%, or $17, to $547, in after-hours trading, surpassing the 52-week high it had reached earlier in the day. In regular trading, Google's stock fell $5.41 to $529.91. The earnings report came after the market closed.

For Google, the number of paid clicks -- that is, how often shoppers clicked on online ads -- jumped 14% from the third quarter of last year, a sign that consumers may be increasingly logging on to search for bargains.

Similarly, Google's results may also indicate that wary companies are beginning to increase their advertising budgets again.

But their first stop may be the Web, where electronic tools allow them to closely monitor the cost-effectiveness of their campaigns.

"Search is well-positioned in a poor economy," said David Hallerman, an analyst with eMarketer, an Internet research firm. "There are a lot of companies that haven't gone out of business. They still need to get customers."

Patrick Pichette, Google's chief financial officer, also said that in an economic downturn, marketers may funnel more dollars to online advertising, which can be more targeted.

"Any smart advertiser will want to max this category before they go to the next one in the recovery," he said. "They can go to their bosses and say, 'We got a return on this investment.' "

In another indicator that could bode well for market growth, Google also announced a spike in the number of searches performed on mobile phones -- up 30% over the last quarter.

As more phones begin to carry Google's Android operating system, the company wants to capture a bigger piece of the growing mobile search market, where consumer searches more often lead to a purchase.

"Search on a mobile phone is much more commercial than a computer search," said John Aiken, an analyst with Majestic Research. "You're generally looking for a restaurant, or a movie theater or a laundromat."

As part of its plan to ramp up spending and investment, Google said it had resumed hiring of engineers and sales staff. The company pared its payroll in the previous quarter, something it has rarely done.

Google's revenue beat analyst expectations. It rose 7% to $5.94 billion from $5.54 billion during the same period last year.

The company earned $5.13 a share compared with $4.06 a year earlier.

IBM's profits surged 14%, but sales fell 7%, leading the company's stock to drop nearly 4% in after-hours trading.

IBM said earnings for 2009 should be at least $9.85 a share, above analysts' expectations.

AMD shares also dropped about 4% in after-market trading, as revenue slipped 22%. But operating income swung to a $76-million profit, after a loss of $72 million in the previous quarter.


Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

I guess my expanded pay per click program help Google. LOL

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Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:08 PM
TWITTER has been credited with helping to organize political protests and shine a light on abuses around the world. At the same time, the ubiquitous service has been criticized for disrespecting the sanctity of once-private halls of deliberation whether a criminal jurys chambers or an N.B.A. locker room.
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Kambou Sia/Agence France-Presse Getty Images
A contractor hired by Trafigura dumped 400 tons of toxic waste near Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 2006. Twitter buzzed over Trafiguras inquiry into the incident.
In the rarest of cases, apparently, Twitter can do both. That is the view of the editor of The Guardian in London, Alan Rusbridger, who, after prevailing in a legal fight over the publication of secret documents, wrote that the Twittersphere blew away conventional efforts to buy silence, as a headline on his column put it. Last month, a British judge ruled that material obtained by Guardian journalists about a multinational corporation had to be kept secret. Unlike other such injunctions, however, the gag order applied to the existence of the injunction itself. That is, The Guardian was forbidden to report that it had been gagged. Thus, we have a Kafka-esque experience that, fittingly, has been imposed an unknown number of times by the courts, according to the British newspapers. The documents involved in the superinjunction could not have been more serious. In August 2006, an independent shipping company, Trafigura, paid a local operator in Ivory Coast to dispose of waste from the treatment of low-quality gasoline. The operator dumped about 400 tons of the slops a mixture of petrochemical waste and caustic soda in open landfills around a large Ivorian city, Abidjan. In the weeks afterward, according to a New York Times account from the time, 85,000 people sought medical attention, paralyzing the fragile health care system in a country divided and impoverished by civil war. Eight died from exposure to the waste, the article reported. In 2007, Trafigura paid the Ivory Coast government about $225 million related to those events, without admitting liability. And last month, the company settled a class-action lawsuit in Britain on behalf of 30,000 Ivory Coast residents by agreeing to pay $1,500 a person while asserting that it did not foresee, and could not have foreseen, the reprehensible acts of its contractor. Given the legally charged conditions, a preliminary scientific analysis of what might have been dumped ordered by Trafiguras lawyers could have significant ramifications. And when a copy of that analysis fell into the hands of a reporter for The Guardian, Trafigura asked a judge to protect it, saying it was a confidential communication with lawyers for the company. Furthermore, Trafigura argued, any statements the report contained had been superseded by later, more reliable testing. The superinjunction was issued on Sept. 11. Presumably the reason for this expansive intrusion into liberty is the theory that in the Internet era any clue to the origin of information will lead to the information becoming available and easily accessed, James Edelman, a media law expert at Oxford University, wrote in an e-mail message. Even with the superinjunction, the report appeared on the whistle-blower Web site Wikileaks three days after the injunction. Last week, a member of Parliament asked a question about the case and, by mentioning the Trafigura scientific report, forced a legal crisis of sorts. The court order ran against the British tradition that what is spoken in Parliament is beyond censorship. Sparked by a teasing article in The Guardian about the newspapers being prevented from identifying the member of Parliament and Mr. Rusbridgers tweet about it readers discovered the question on a government Web site and set about broadcasting it on the Internet. In addition to using Twitter, these sympathetic readers used a new tool from Google SideWiki to post comments alluding to the controversy on the Web sites of Trafigura and its law firm, Carter-Ruck. Furthermore, Wikipedia, with its main servers safely sitting in the United States, freely linked to Wikileaks, giving coverage that was more comprehensive than anything a British news consumer could find. In the face of the online campaign, Trafigura agreed to allow The Guardian to report on the parliamentary question, but insisted that the documents remain enjoined. That led to some Twitter trash-talking, including calls for civil disobedience by British journalists, asking them to re-tweet (RT) its link to the report. The Guardians technology editor, Charles Arthur, wrote early Friday morning, Oh Wikileaks, I would so love to RT you, and would get into so much trouble if I did. Friday night, Trafigura relented on the release of the report, simultaneously issuing a statement from the managing director of the testing company, who said that it was an initial desktop study and that he now agreed with the conclusion that the dumping could at worst have caused a range of short term low level flu like symptoms and anxiety. There is a danger in overpraising a tool like Twitter at the expense of the words it amplifies in essence, extolling the chisel rather than Michelangelo. But last weeks events show that a variety of Internet projects, including Twitter, are making it harder for the traditional gatekeepers to control of the flow of information. Certainly, The Guardian was in full celebratory mode last week. Twitters detractors are used to sneerin g that nothing of value can be said in 140 characters, Mr. Rusbridger wrote about his initial tweet. My 104 characters did just fine.
Sign in to RecommendNext Article in Technology (2 of 23) A version of this article appeared in print on October 19, 2009, on page B3 of the New York edition.
The power of Twitter again. It kept the protestors to the iranian elections connected, and now it gives information to the public about wrongdoing. Say what you will about whether it is moral to reveal this on Twitter, but don't doubt it's democracy in action.

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Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:07 PM
This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.   At the start of the foreclosure crisis, personal-finance experts urged struggling homeowners to contact their lenders if they started to fall behind on their mortgages. The lenders want to do everything they can, homeowners were told, to avoid a foreclosure.   Now, the experts aren't so sure that's the case.   Consumers who have jumped through a frustrating series of hoops to achieve a mortgage modification -- a lower interest rate or more manageable payments -- are convinced that conventional wisdom is flawed.   Jason, of San Diego, said he's become frustrated trying to complete a loan modification .   "I have gone through the modification process but have been denied, although no clear explanation was provided," Jason told ConsumerAffairs.com. "I have been seeking assistance and guidance from quite a few bank representatives and have only received rude, misguided information."   In the last year ConsumerAffairs.com has received hundreds of complaints from consumers who said they followed loan-modification instructions, faxing requested documents repeatedly, only to have their applications disappear into a black hole.   "I faxed papers repeated times and was told that I need to fax more or that they never received them so they can start a modification," Maria, of Sussex, N.J., told ConsumerAffairs.com. "I made payments and they never credited my account. Now they call in October 2009 and they tell me that they stopped the modification because I never faxed out the papers. Is this a joke?"
  • Bing: Why loan modifications don't work
Regardless of the loan servicer, the story seems to be the same. Consumers start down a road they think will lead to a modified mortgage, only to meet a wall of incompetence and indifference at the mortgage company.   "We sent all information requested by certified mail," Regina, of Whitefish Bay, Wis., told ConsumerAffairs.com. "As the others have described, we have had to make contact. They do not respond. The usual answer is 'Whoever told you that is wrong.' I actually have a tape of one of their agents stating, 'I can't be responsible for what someone else told you.' Should they not be required to respond in writing? Is this not a government-funded program?"   The Treasury Department did, in fact, begin a loan- modification program in March to encourage loan servicers to modify troubled loans to prevent foreclosures. But the process has proved slow, and for many, frustrating. Meanwhile, foreclosures continue unabated.   A new report by the National Consumer Law Center says it's no mystery why loan servicers seem to be dragging their feet in modifying troubled mortgages. The report suggests these companies actually stand to profit if the troubled property goes to foreclosure.   The report, "Why Servicers Foreclose, When They Should Modify, and Other Puzzles of Servicer Behavior," reveals that servicers, unlike investors or homeowners, generally don't risk losing money on foreclosures.   "One common-sense solution to the foreclosure crisis is to modify the loan terms in more instances," said Diane Thompson, an NCLC attorney and author of the report. "Foreclosures are a costly ordeal for the homeowner, the lender, and the community. Yet they continue to outstrip loan modifications because servicers have no incentive to help borrowers stay in their homes."   In almost every case, the loan servicer doesn't own the loan. It's simply a company -- usually a bank -- hired to collect the money from the homeowner and deliver the funds to the investors who own the mortgage. The investors lose money if the property goes to foreclosure, but the servicer doesn't.   Homeowners seeking to save their homes by modifying unaffordable loans typically deal with servicers. That is why the financial interests of servicers have the potential to hurt homeowners, the report says.   And too many of those financial incentives encourage servicers to ignore the interests of homeowners. For example, the report suggests that servicers often deny homeowners principal and interest rate reductions because as servicers they find it profitable to offer repayment plans or forbearance agreements that do little to reduce ho meowners' debt burdens.   "Loan modifications inevitably cost the servicer something," the report says. "A servicer deciding between a foreclosure and a loan modification faces the prospect of near certain loss if the loan is modified, and no penalty, but potential profit, if the home is foreclosed."   The NCLC report also found that the lack of third-party oversight allows servicers to pursue foreclosure instead of effective loan modifications that would benefit homeowners as well as investors. While credit-rating agencies and bond insurers do monitor servicers, their oversight too often encourages servicers to foreclose.   The NCLC report includes a detailed examination of loans in foreclosure from 1995-2009 and how components of servicer compensation affected the likelihood and speed of foreclosure. It also looks at the rise of the servicer industry as a byproduct of securitization, and the oversight of servicers by credit-rating agencies and bond insurers.   "The people who could change the way servicers are doing business -- Congress, the administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission -- and the market participants who set the terms of engagement -- credit- rating agencies and bond insurers -- have failed to provide servicers with the necessary incentives to reduce foreclosures and increase loan modifications," Thompson said.   The report suggests that rule changes remove the financial incentives for servicers to block modifications and mandate loan modifications before a foreclosure as a matter of law. Until it does, the report says, the foreclosure crisis will continue.   "I feel that I have been set up to lose my house," Alesea of Kinston, N.C., told ConsumerAffairs.com. "Where is the justice in this?"   Related reading at ConsumerAffairs.com:
I can't tell you how many short sales we are doing after people finally give up on what the mortgage companies are calling "loan modifications". Often they are just piling on the past dues into a new mortgage with a short time break on a payment, but with more principle, they just delay the inevitiable. That is if you ever get this far. If you need help on a short sale, call us.

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Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:06 PM
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Comments: (63)
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SST GUY (10 friends, send message) wrote: 5m ago
Rahm, I know we could cut taxes and enact some pro business policies to stimulate the economy and business investment....but then they would compare me to Reagan and I would rather be compared to FDR....so go out and borrow a whole bunch of money from the American people. We will give them 2 or 3 hundred dollars or so to cover a couple weeks of grocery shopping and then we can spend the rest on whatever we want....we'll call it a Stimulus so that people feel good about what we are doing.....also on the TARP funds we gave the banks convert them to preferred shares...I am not interested in bailing out the banks when we could own them....they will pay us hefty dividends and then we can use the dividends, like the stimulus, to fund whatever social programs we want....Barry aren't you concerned about the American people I mean the national debt and the financial burden of borrowing from them to pay for our socialist agenda? How are they going to pay it back? Rahm, remember.... our constituency doesn't pay taxes so only our enemy will have to bear the burden.

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tcat870 (0 friends, send message) wrote: 19m ago
So I guess I can assume that a large percentage of the thousands of dollars I pay in taxes every year goes to individuals scamming the system, and the balance goes to politicians scamming the system.

What the hell has happened to this once great country?

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meezer1 (0 friends, send m essage) wrote: 20m ago
What a surprise!!! Scumbags trying to feed at the government trough!!!

Just keep giving away my money... Us taxpayers are going to throw you jerks out of office. We are tired of you absconding with our money. Don't you think you should ask us taxpayers first???

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Fario (0 friends, send message) wrote: 23m ago
Are you kidding me? Fraud in a Government program? Imagine that!

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srmorning (0 friends, send message) wrote: 25m ago
My advice: Look into the corporations that received no-bid government contracts in Iraq and for the defense department in general. You'll probably be able to match anything lost here on the first try.

As for these people, call it a stimulus package targeted at "creative accountants" that will help through-out the broader economy.

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greenapples (0 friends, send message) wrote: 29m ago
The article makes a vague reference to illegals getting the tax credit. Just how do you get a tax credit unless you file a tax return? And how do you file a tax return without a SSN? It seems there are plenty of checkpoints to find fraudulent claims. But like most of the give-away programs, this was not well planned at all.

Still, it's likely to be extended. Many Congressmen have children who will be purchasing their first house next year.

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suzie93 (0 friends, send message) wrote: 29m ago
Not a Redneck (0 friends, send message) wrote: 2m ago
Investigate. Send the perps to jail for fraud and/or fine them with penalties and interest, just like other tax scammers. Is there any tax deduction that somebody doesn't try to cheat on ?
right after Rangel you mean? !!!!

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theseif (0 friends, send message) wrote: 31m ago
Does anyone doubt that all of our income taxes. along with some others, will be increased in the near future ?
The tax base is seriously shrinking and soon the Fed. won't be able to pay the interest on the deficit.

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Not a Redneck (0 friends, send message) wrote: 33m ago
Investigate. Send the perps to jail for fraud and/or fine them with penalties and interest, just like other tax scammers. Is there any tax deduction that somebody doesn't try to cheat on ?

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suzie93 (0 friends, send message) wrote: 35m ago
another wealth redistribution plan!
thanks Barry fans!

More comments on this story: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next

This worries me about the future of extending a tax credit.

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Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:04 PM

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Oklahoma home market teeters on tax credit hopes
Real EstateAgents say buyers fear losing chance at government funds

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BY RICHARD MIZE    Comments Comment on this article


Published: October 31, 2009

Herb Forrester, a Realtor, thinks of one particular room of the house as he waits to see if Congress extends the tax credit for first-time buyers.


"If Congress does nothing, I personally think that real estate is going to go into the toilet this fall and winter," said Forrester, a real estate agent with Keller Williams NorthPointe, 10900 Hefner Pointe Drive.

After a summer of sales better than anyone might have expected a year ago, housing specialists in Oklahoma City are among those hoping for an act of Congress to keep the recovery going.

The credit, passed as part of the $787 billion economic stimulus package earlier this year, is set to expire Nov. 30. The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders have been lobbying since the spring for an extension of the credit.

Expansion sought
Senate Democrats said Thursday they wanted to extend the credit until April 30 as well as include people who make more money and some who already own homes.

They want to offer a $6,500 credit for homebuyers who have lived in their prior home for at least five years. Couples earning up to $225,000 and individuals up to $125,000 would qualify for the break, up from the $75,000 limit for individuals and $150,000 for couples for the current credit.

Forrester said he wants less talk and more action.

"I have several buyers and sellers that are afraid to do anything right now, as they fear Congress will act the day after they sign a contract and they will lose out on the 'gift.' ... Congress needs to make up its mind and settle the issue once and for all," he said.

In September, homes here sold almost a week faster than in September a year ago -- in 79 days on average -- according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.

From August to September, the average sales price fell 4.4 percent to $148,701, and the median price fell 3.5 percent to $128,850, which reflects the recent rush to starter homes by first-timers angling for the $8,000 credit.

A full half of sales that closed in September were in the range of $100,000 to $200,000, which shows the effect of the tax credit, said Judy Lindsay, president of the Metro Association of Realtors and a managing broker at Paradigm AdvantEdge Real Estate, 16301 N May Ave.

Builders retrench
Metro-area builders continued to retrench.

Builders in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman took out permits to build 2,522 single-family homes through September, marking a decrease of 20 percent compared with the first three quarters of 2008, according to the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.

The reduction in construction has been steepest in Edmond, with a 46.7 percent decrease in permits, and Norman, which saw a 32.1 percent decline.

While Moore permits declined 19.7 percent and Oklahoma City permits shrunk 15.8 percent, permits in Midwest City increased 13 percent.

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    If I was going to rate the tax credit importance I would put it third. First is low rates, and second is falling prices even in Oklahoma City. Price reduction is the most active category in our MLS. At some point we do not want to have dependence on an ever extended tax credit. The reason for fewer permits is not directly tied to a declining market. Banks have continued to restrict credit limits on builders so they build less. Also, many builders did not plan for a downturn, did not have reserves, and are now out of the building business. As Disraeli said, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Be careful how you use them, and get your facts as straight as possible.

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    Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:01 PM

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    Upgrade to benefit Tinker
    U.S. Air Force contract for software sustainment program on B-1 bombers worth $84 million

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    BY DEBBIE BLOSSOM    Comments Comment on this article


    Published: October 31, 2009

    Tinker Air Force Base will benefit from an $84 million U.S. Air Force contract with Boeing Co. for additional upgrades of the B-1B Lancer bomber fleet's avionics software.


    The award continues a software-sustainment program that has continually updated and improved the B-1's operational capabilities since the aircraft entered service in 1989. This new contract authorizes Boeing to start work on the next upgrade level, called Sustainment Block 16.

    Boeing engineers in Oklahoma City and Long Beach, Calif., deliver the latest avionics software once a year for the Air Force's fleet of 66 B-1s, Boeing spokeswoman Jennifer Hogan said.

    Some of the 140 Boeing engineers here work at Tinker, and others are at the site across from the base. The software is tested in labs and on mock planes on the base, Hogan said.

    "Every 12 months the B-1 gets new software," which makes the aircraft perform better, she said. It takes 18 months for each software sequence to be developed and tested.

    Earlier software upgrade SB 14 is in flight test at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and will be delivered to the Air Force in 2011. SB 15 will be delivered in 2012, and design and development work for SB 16 will begin immediately, Hogan said.

    Each software block includes changes to navigation, weapon delivery, radar, electrical multiplexing, communication and navigation management system software, and controls and displays.

    "We are honored to continue providing these upgrades to the Air Force and are excited about all the B-1 potential that will be provided with SB 16," said Mahesh Reddy, the B-1 program director for Boeing in California. "This major block will enhance the aircraft's color cockpit displays, data link, radar and navigation in ways that will significantly improve B-1 aircrews' ability to execute their missions."

    Another B-1 milestone that Boeing accomplished this year was the July 30 first flight of a B-1 upgraded with the Fully Integrated Data Link.

    That upgrade includes new processors, color displays and communications architecture, enhancing B-1 crews' situational awareness and communications capability.

    The FIDL aircraft is also in flight tests at Edwards.

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    The B1 is a worthless aircraft and should never have been built. It is an example of politicians running the defense department. How you can cancel F-22 and keep this piece of crap is amazing.
    g, oklahoma city - Oct 31, 2009 at 4:46 pm
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      Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City is one of the two largest Air Force bases in the world. With a planned expansion over the next ten years, it will continue to be one of our best economic anchors along with state government.

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      Posted in:General and tagged: Upgrade to benefit Tinker
      Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 9:00 PM
      After two weeks of delay, the Senate last night cleared the way to pass a seven month extension and expansion of the tax credit for homebuyers.  By an 85 to 2 roll call vote, the Senate voted to cut off debate on a package of measures that includes the homebuyer credit, making it virtually certain that the legislation will reach President Obama for his signature this week. The homebuyer tax credit, due to expire in 28 days, would be extended through April 30 of next year.  First-time buyers who are in process of making a purchased would not need to worry about qualifying for the $8,000 credit if they close after the November 30 deadline. For the first time, the legislation cleared last night makes move-up buyers as well as first-time buyers would be eligible for a credit.  The $8,000 maximum first-timer credit will continue and will now available to couples with income up to $225,000, a nearly $55,000 increase above the level in existing law.  A new $6,500 maximum credit would also be available to move-up homeowners who have lived in their current residence for five of the prior eight years. The tax credit has fired the housing market, driving existing home sales to the highest level in over two years.  The National Association Realtors reported sales jumped 9.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million units in September and are 9.2 percent higher than the 5.10 million-unit pace in September 2008. Only two Republicans voted against the credit.  One of them, Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.), said, "We're kidding ourselves if we think we can prevent more fraud, more taxpayer losses," "The most effective means of preventing fraud is simply to not extend the credit." The legislation included provisions added to address complaints of fraud. The Internal Revenue Service is given greater authority to oversee the process to root out fraud, and provisions are added in response to past abuses of false sales or underage buyers. An investigation by the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration found that more than 580 children, some as young as four years old, had received $627,000 in first-time homebuyer credits.  The IRS has identified 167 suspected criminal schemes and opened nearly 107,000 examinations of potential civil violations of the first-time homebuyer tax credit. A number of economists have voiced concern about the $16.7 billion.cost of the credit and the wisdom of spending up to $400,000 per homebuyer to stimulate real estate sales.  The White House has been lukewarm at best.  However, it is virtually certain that the President will sign the legislative package, which contains an expansion of unemployment benefits as well as the tax changes. The legislation cleared last night also contains a provision supported by the National Association of Home Builders.  It helps larger companies strapped for cash with net operating losses this year or in 2008. Ordinarily these companies can carry back these losses for only two years to qualify for a tax refund.  The provision would make this process extends the carry-back to five years for either 2008 or 2009. The tax break will now apply to losses in either 2008 or 2009, and the income cap will come off. A similar provision, applying just to 2008, was included in the president's economic recovery bill last winter but limited to smaller companies to keep down the cost to the Treasury. Both tax breaks - the homebuyer credit and the change to net operating loss - will be offset by tax changes affecting foreign tax credits, chiefly important to large multinational corporations, according to the Senate Finance Committee.
      In Oklahoma City much of the stimulus occured below the $150,000 price range. Now with a higher income limit and a move up buyer incentive, this may be the tonic we need to get us over a slow winter with momentum going into summer 2010.

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      Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 8:59 PM

      By Alex Cameron, Oklahoma Impact Team

      OKLAHOMA CITY -- Instead of trading in your old gas-guzzling car, the federal government is offering an incentive to get rid of your water guzzling washer, and your power hungry heat pump -- $300 million in stimulus cash for your clunker appliances.

      The original cash for clunkers program last summer gave consumers willing to trade in their old cars and trucks a credit of up to $4,500 toward the purchase of a new, more fuel-efficient car. It boosted car sales but was criticized for shoddy execution.

      "The Cash for Clunkers on automobiles was a paperwork nightmare. We're very optimistic that this will be a lot smoother," said Lee Sherman, Hahn Appliance Warehouse CEO.

      Lee Sherman said he certainly hopes so because, as CEO of Hahn Appliance Warehouse in Tulsa, he's one of those on the front lines.

      "We've had customers for about three months now asking about this program," Sherman said. "They come in wanting to get their energy rebates, and we have to tell 'them that, 'well, it's not in effect yet, and we really don't know all the details yet.'"

      Available Appliance Credits

      Clothes Washers


      Room Air Conditioners

      Water Heaters

      Central Air Conditioners

      Gas Furnaces

      Ground Source Heat Pumps

      The reason is simple. The details of the program are still being worked out.

      "I'd like to say that it was going to be, walk up to the dealer, make your choice, get your $50 to $200, walk off with your appliance," said Vaughn Clark, Director of Community Development for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. "It probably will not be that easy."

      Clark said the state is contracting a third party to lay out the details and administer the program, but certain parameters have been set.

      Under the program, formally known as the Energy Star program, mail-in rebates will be available to consumers who can verify they've taken their older, less efficient appliance out of service and are replacing it with one that has the government's Energy Star rating.

      The rebates will range from $50, with the purchase of a new room air conditioner, to $100 for a washing machine, to $200 for a refrigerator.

      However, several appliance dealers said they are somewhat underwhelmed.

      Scott Weathers, of Weathers TV and Appliance in Edmond, said he's grateful for the incentive but isn't convinced the rebates are large enough to significantly impact sales.

      "The only thing I can say is that most manufacturers rebates right now range anywhere from $200 for a single appliance to $500, in some cases for a whole kitchen of appliances.  So, I'm not sure that, percentage-wise, it will be a huge incentive," Weathers said.

      Sherman agreed but said the real incentive lies in the real savings consumers can realize, for example, with a washing machine that uses less water.

      "You can save literally a $100, $150 a year in operating costs on a new high-efficiency front load [washer] over an old top-load.  Refrigerator, you can probably save $50, $75 a year in operating costs over some of the old ones that are maybe fifteen, twenty years old," Sherman said.

      Commerce officials said they don't expect the program to get underway until around March 1st, and with just $3.5 million in stimulus allotted to it, appliance dealers don't expect it to last into April.

      "It's probably going to be a pretty short program because the amount of money allocated is probably going to go pretty quickly. So it's probably only going to be a two-week window, that's our guess," Weathers said.

      Not every major appliance will be included in the program. For example, dishwashers are not expected to be eligible for rebates. Commerce Department officials said that's because the potential savings offered through a dishwasher upgrade is relatively small.

      Oklahoma Commerce Department officials estimate they will be able to give 23,000 rebates through the program.

      Any incentive for people to become more energy efficient is in my opinion, a good thing.

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      Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 8:58 PM
      Congress threw good money after bad this week when it voted to extend and expand a wasteful home buyers tax credit set to expire at the end of the month. The new program, which will continue through the spring, is being portrayed as a rescue plan for the ailing housing market. But this costly giveaway to the real estate and mortgage industry will spend far more in taxpayers dollars than it can ever deliver in economic benefit. As happened with the cash-for-clunkers program in the automobile industry, the program will make housing look momentarily better but is unlikely to contribute to long-term recovery. The original program allowed a credit of $8,000 for first-time home buyers who earn up to $75,000 individually or $150,000 filing jointly. The program got a black eye earlier this month when the Treasury Departments inspector general for tax administration reported that tens of thousands of people had exploited loopholes in the law to claim credits for which they appeared not to be eligible. But even before that, housing analysts were finding that the tax credit did little for home sales. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of the people who have bought homes using the credit would have purchased those homes without it. To put it another way, the tax credit has been wasteful spending, not stimulus spending. The bill that passed both houses of Congress this week extends the program through April 2010 and grants the full tax credit to couples who earn up to $225,000. The expanded program introduces a $6,500 tax credit for people who already own homes but want to buy new ones. The vote gives campaigning lawmakers something to crow about on the stump. But the new tax credit appeals primarily to affluent voters who do not need the governments help buying property. And encouraging buyers to leave one house for another does nothing to reduce the glut of homes on the market, which is an important factor driving down housing prices. Finally, the tax credit does nothing about the central housing problem, which is foreclosure. If Congress wants to spend the taxpayers money to do something about the struggling housing market and it should it should invest the money where it is most needed, in better programs that help people avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.
      Sign in to RecommendMore Articles in Opinion A version of this article appeared in print on November 6, 2009, on page A30 of the New York edition.
      I might be criticized in my own industry for agreeing with this, but I do agree. Even in Oklahoma where many people believe is doing well and appreciating, my analysis sees foreclosures increasing through 2010 and dragging down the market with it. Even though Oklahomans may feel that rescuing people in areas like California and Florida is not our business, it is our business. This is a national problem, and we are a part of the national economy. The shadow inventory of negative equity combined with teaser rates adjusting, and negative amorization loans doing the same, next year wcould be the beginning of another huge downer for housing.

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      Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 8:58 PM

      For all the pain caused by the Great Recession, the job market still was not in as bad shape as it had been during the depths of the early 1980s recession until now.

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      Times Topics: Unemployment

      With the release of the jobs report on Friday, the broadest measure of unemployment and underemployment tracked by the Labor Department has reached its highest level in decades. If statistics went back so far, the measure would almost certainly be at its highest level since the Great Depression.

      In all, more than one out of every six workers 17.5 percent were unemployed or underemployed in October. The previous recorded high was 17.1 percent, in December 1982.

      This includes the officially unemployed, who have looked for work in the last four weeks. It also includes discouraged workers, who have looked in the past year, as well as millions of part-time workers who want to be working full time.

      The official jobless rate 10.2 percent in October, up from 9.8 percent in September remains lower than the early 1980s peak of 10.8 percent.

      The rate is highest today, sometimes 20 percent, in states that had big housing bubbles, like California and Arizona, or that have large manufacturing sectors, like Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

      The new benchmark is a sign of just how much damage financial crises tend to inflict. A recent book by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff, two economists, found that over the last century the typical crisis had caused the jobless rate in the country where it occurred to rise for almost five years. By that standard, the jobless rate here would continue rising for two more years, through the end of 2011.

      Most economists predict that the rate will in fact begin to fall next year, largely because of the federal governments aggressive response fiscal stimulus, interest-rate cuts and a variety of creative steps by the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department. Fridays report showed that monthly job losses continued to slow recently, though the improvement has been gradual.

      At the White House Friday, President Obama signed a bill to extend unemployment benefits and a tax credit for home buyers, and said that he was looking at ways to enact more stimulus. On Wednesday, the Fed announced that it expected to leave its benchmark interest at zero for an extended period.

      Nearly 16 million people are now unemployed and more than seven million jobs have been lost since late 2007.

      Officially, the Labor Departments broad measure of unemployment goes back only to 1994. But early this year, with the help of economists at the department, The New York Times created a version that estimates it going back to 1970. If such a measure were available for the Depression, it probably would have exceeded 30 percent.

      Compared with the early 1980s, a smaller share of workers today are officially unemployed and a smaller share are considered discouraged workers.

      But there are many more people who would like to be working full time and have been able to find only part-time work, according to the governments monthly survey of workers. The rapid increase in their ranks and in the officially unemployed has caused the rate to rise much faster in this recession than in the early 1980s. Two years ago, it was only 8.2 percent.

      One of the more striking aspects of the Great Recession is that most of its impact has fallen on a relatively narrow group of workers. This is evident primarily in two ways.

      First, the number of people who have experienced any unemployment is surprisingly low, given the severity of the recession. The pace of layoffs has increased, but the peak layoff rate this year was the same as it was during the 2001 recession, which was a fairly mild downturn. The main reason that the unemployment rate has soared is the hiring rate has plummeted.

      So fewer workers than might be expected have lost their jobs. But those without work are paying a steep price, because finding a new job is extremely difficult.

      Second, wages have continued to rise for most people who still have jobs. The average hourly wage for rank-and-file workers, who make up about four-fifths of the work force, actually accelerated in October, according to the new report.

      Even though some companies have cut the pay of workers, the average hourly wage has still risen 1.5 to 2.5 percent over the last year, depending on which government survey is examined. Average weekly pay has risen less zero to 1 percent because hours have been cut. But average prices have fallen. Altogether, the typical worker has received a 1 to 2 percent inflation-adjusted raise over the last year.

      In the other two severe recessions in recent decades, workers with jobs fared considerably worse. At the same point in the mid-1970s downturn, real weekly pay had fallen 7 percent; in the early 1980s recession, it had fallen 4 percent.

      It is a strange combination: workers who still have a job are doing better than in other deep recessions, but the unemployment and underemployment have risen to their highest level since the Depression.

      Sign in to RecommendNext Article in Business (2 of 32) A version of this article appeared in print on November 7, 2009, on page A1 of the New York edition.

      I found it interesting that the self-employed are not mentioned in this report. In real estate i know many people who for 2009 are considered full time employment, but don't sell enough to meet expenses. However, I am glad that we are getting more accurate numbers than before.

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      Posted by Joe Pryor on November 9th, 2014 8:57 PM

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