What We’re Reading: June 28-July 3

Facebook’s tinkering, rising apartment rents, and better burgers

Fireworks by Flickr user Walter

Fireworks by Flickr user Walter

More than six years after the housing crash, economists are still trying to figure out what exactly is going on with the housing market. Homebuilding remains in a slump, mortgages are still tough to get, and all-cash sales appear to be over-represented in several markets.

Forbes offers a succinct summation of Facebook’s research faux pas and offers a peek under the hood. Time argues that the real worry is the increasing privatization of social science research.

And speaking of Facebook, if you’re as sick as I am of friends posting images of starving dogs or cute cats or invitations to play games, the Wall Street Journal has some suggestions to cut down on the junk while also explaining why you continue to see posts from two days ago in your ‘most recent’ feed.

Apartment rents continue to rise, reports the Wall Street Journal, even as incomes stagnate. In a recent study,  27% of renters spent more than half of their salary on rent, up from just 19% of renters who did so a decade ago.

With the potential for hydraulic fracturing to impact real estate, we’ve kept a close eye on the topic. The New York Times reports this week on a recent decision from the New York State Court of Appeals allowing for towns to ban the process. We also discovered a scholarly study, from the Journal of Real Estate Literature, that found (within several Houston, TX and Florida/Alabama Gulf Coast zip codes) fracking can “cause ‘a 5%-15%’ reduction in bid value for homes located proximate to fracking scenarios, depending on the petroleum-friendliness of the venue and proximity to the drilling site.” The full text of the article is accessible on ProQuest (REALTORS®: contact us for the password).

When it comes to fast food, Americans are increasing looking at quality over convenience.

Watching the July 4th fireworks has been a long-standing family tradition. But capturing the beautiful aerial displays can be hard if you stick with the auto settings on your smartphone, so try these simple tricks for fireworks photos you’ll want to keep.

Dave

Senior Information Specialist

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