California Consumer Confidence Inched Up

A. GARY ANDERSON CENTER FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH ORANGE, CA — The California Composite Index of Consumer Confidence increased to 84.2 in the month of August slightly higher than a reading of 82.7 in May of 2010. This marks four consecutive increases in consumers’ confidence since August of 2009. An index level below 100, however, reflects a higher percentage of pessimistic consumers as compared to those who are optimistic. In contrast, the survey of consumer confidence at the national level conducted by the University of Michigan showed a preliminary reading of 69.6 in the month of August lower than the May reading of 73.6. Read...

Housing starts rise 1.7 percent in July

Housing starts increased 1.7 percent nationwide in July and permits for new housing units declined 3.1 percent, the Commerce Dept. reported yesterday.  Housing permits and housing starts have decreased 3.7 percent and 7 percent, respectively, compared with the year prior. Read the...

San Francisco Homeowners Have New Way to Pay for Going Green

San Francisco homeowners have a new way of paying for solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and low-flow toilets. A new city-run program, GreenFinanceSF, will give San Franciscans the money to pay for such projects up front and let them pay it back through installments on their property tax bills. Berkeley pioneered the idea in 2007, and since then, hundreds of cities, counties and states have adopted their own versions. For more...

There’s Extraordinary Change Coming to San Francisco

by Gary Belk The redevelopment of the Transbay Terminal will re-locate the center of downtown San Francisco to the soon-to-be-developed Mission Plaza, which will include a new 1000-foot tall building along with the striking new terminal building.  The new, one million square foot, terminal building will will be the transportation hub of Northern California and the 10 county Bay Area. The terminal will be the northern terminus for the voter approved high speed rail service to Southern California and will serve the 10 county area via Golden Gate Transit, AC Transit and Cal-train to the Peninsula/ Silicon Valley. The roof of the terminal building, spanning some 5.4 acres, will give new meaning to the phase “living roof,” As it will incorporate a  tree-lined park complete with amphitheater, water features, playgrounds and sculptures. Visit the Park. Natoma Street from Second to Beale will be a pedestrian walkway with cafes and shops.  The lower part of Folsom is also included in the redevelopment plan, as a wide boulevard lined with trees, cafes and shops. Visit the Redevelped Folsom Street. The Transbay Joint Powers Authority has a great website with pictures, videos and ar-ticles about the redevelopment plan; you’ll probably need to bookmark it, though, as there is too much information to take in at one visit. Vist the Future Transbay Terminal. Is there a real estate play to make now that will position you well for the second half of this decade? I think there are several, depending on your appetite for risk and the amount you want to invest. Certainly if you are thinking about changing your primary residence you should...

Consumers in U.S. Face the End of an Era of Cheap Credit

By: Nelson D. Schwartz The New York Times Even as prospects for the American economy brighten, consumers are about to face a new financial burden: a sustained period of rising interest rates. That, economists say, is the inevitable outcome of the nation’s ballooning debt and the renewed prospect of inflation as the economy recovers from the depths of the recent recession. Why,Terry | Getty Images The shift is sure to come as a shock to consumers whose spending habits were shaped by a historic 30-year decline in the cost of borrowing. Read...