Tayt Brooks Named Deputy Commissioner of Housing & Community AffairsMONTPELIER, Vt. A longtime advocate for the home construction industry has been named the new Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs.Tayt Brooks takes over the second slot at the department following the departure of interim commissioner Molly Dugan, who left earlier this fall to take a position with Cathedral Square Corporation.”I’m very pleased to have Tayt join our team at this time,” said Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn, whose agency includes DHCA. “His knowledge of housing issues and familiarity with many of the stakeholders in this arena will be invaluable as we work to address Vermonts housing challenges.”Dorn cited Brooks’ experience working with the Legislature during the consideration of both the Growth Centers and New Neighborhoods bills. DHCA has the responsibility for administering both of these important programs.Brooks, 33, was born and raised in St. Albans and after graduating from Bellows Free Academy in 1993, he enrolled at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, where he earned a B.A. in history with a Canadian studies minor.Since June Brooks has served as Executive Director for the Vermont Republican Party. Prior to that, he spent five years as the Government Affairs Director for the Home Builders’ & Remodelers’ Association of Northern Vermont.The move comes a week after the administration of Gov. Jim Douglas announced its intention to merge the Departments of Economic Development and Housing and Community Affairs, and that Betsy Bishop, currently Douglas’ Deputy Chief of Staff, would be appointed Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development.Bishop is slated to lead the initiative to merge the two departments into the new Department of Economic and Community Development, a move that will result in the elimination of one commissioners position and a roughly $100,000 savings.More at: www.dca.state.vt.us(link is external)###
Central Vermont Public Service reported today consolidated earnings of $12.4 million, or $1.04 per diluted share of common stock, for the first six months of 2009, compared to $9.9 million, or 94 cents per diluted share of common stock, for the same period last year. CV reported second-quarter 2009 consolidated earnings of $5.5 million, or 46 cents per diluted share of common stock, compared to $4 million, or 38 cents per diluted share of common stock, for the same period last year.The entire quarterly report can be found by clicking this link. For further information on the company click Vermont Business Magazine’s link here. For online information and stock tracking, click here.– Year-to-date earnings of $12.4 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, up 10 cents from last year- $2.3 million decrease in operating revenue- $4.0 million decrease in purchased power expense- $0.7 million increase in equity in earnings of affiliates- $1.2 million increase in other income, net– Second-quarter earnings of $5.5 million, or 46 cents per diluted share, up 8 cents from last year- $1.9 million decrease in operating revenue- $2.7 million decrease in purchased power expense – $0.4 million increase in equity in earnings of affiliates- $0.6 million increase in other income, net– The impact of the November 2008 stock issuance of 1,190,000 shares decreased per-diluted-share-earnings by 5 cents for the second quarter and decreased per-diluted-share earnings by 12 cents for the first six months of 2009. — Reaffirms earnings guidance for 2009 at $1.40 to $1.60 per share”Despite the global economic challenges, we continue to make steady progress and we remain on target to meet our earnings guidance for the year,” President Bob Young said. “We also continue to provide high-quality service, as evidenced by the most recent J. D. Power and Associates survey, which ranked CVPS second in the East for customer satisfaction among midsized utilities.”CVPS ranked above the regional average for midsized utilities in all J. D. Power and Associates factors, including customer service, billing and payment, communications, power quality and reliability, price and corporate citizenship,” Young said. “We believe that customer satisfaction is the bedrock upon which our financial health must be built, and we will continue to strive to serve our customers and shareholders well.”Year-to-Date 2009 results compared to 2008Operating revenues decreased $2.3 million, including a $3.5 million decrease in retail revenues, and a $0.2 million decrease in other operating revenues; partially offset by a $1.4 million increase in resale revenues. The decrease in retail revenues resulted from lower average usage resulting from a slowing economy and energy conservation, and the loss of three industrial customers due to plant closures, partially offset by higher average unit prices due to customer usage mix. Other operating revenues include a $1.0 million decrease arising from a provision for rate refunds. The provision for rate refund is primarily related to the first and second quarter 2009 deferral of an over-collection of power, production and transmission costs as defined by the power adjustment clause of our alternative regulation plan. The power cost over-collection is being credited to retail customers’ bills in the third and fourth quarters of 2009, in accordance with the plan. The decrease in other operating revenues was partially offset by increased sales of transmission rights and an increase in wholesale rates. Resale revenues increased due to higher volume of excess power available for resale, partially offset by lower average market prices.Purchased power expense decreased $4 million, primarily due to a reduction of $3.4 million in purchases from Independent Power Producers. In addition, short-term power purchases decreased by $1.8 million and other power costs decreased by $0.7 million. These reductions were partially offset by increased capacity payments of $1.3 million and increased Hydro-Quebec purchases of $0.6 million. Other operating expenses decreased less than $0.1 million, including a $2.6 million decrease in maintenance expenses, primarily due to lower service restoration costs. There were several major storms in 2008 and none in 2009. These lower costs were partially offset by higher reserves for uncollectible accounts and a $0.5 million increase in transmission expenses due to higher rates, and higher costs from Vermont Transco LLC (“Transco”) for its capital projects, partially offset by higher NOATT reimbursements.Equity in earnings of affiliates increased $0.7 million, partially due to the $3.1 million investment that we made in Transco in December 2008. Other income, net increased $1.2 million, largely due to an increase in the cash surrender value of variable life insurance policies in trust to fund a supplemental employee retirement plan, and interest expense increased $0.2 million.Second quarter 2009 results compared to 2008Operating revenues decreased $1.9 million for many of the same reasons described above.Purchased power expense decreased $2.7 million for the same reasons described above. Short-term purchases decreased by $1.9 million, IPP purchases decreased by $1.4 million and other purchases decreased by $0.1 million. These reductions were partially offset by $0.7 million of increased capacity payments to ISO-New England.Other operating expenses increased $0.4 million, including a $0.2 million increase in transmission for the same reasons described above. These higher costs were partially offset by lower maintenance costs for the same reasons as described above.Equity in earnings of affiliates increased $0.4 million and other income, net increased $0.6 million, partially offset by a $0.1 million increase in interest expense, for many of the same reasons described above.2008 Common Stock IssuanceEarnings per share for the second quarter and first six months of 2009 reflect the impact of the November 2008 common stock issuance. On November 24, 2008, CV issued 1,190,000 shares, resulting in net proceeds of approximately $21.3 million. The net proceeds of the offering were used for general corporate purposes, including the repayment of debt, capital expenditures, investments in Transco and working capital requirements. The common stock issuance decreased per-diluted-share earnings by 5 cents for the second quarter of 2009 and decreased per-diluted-share earnings by 12 cents for the first six months of 2009.2009 Financial GuidanceCV previously issued 2009 earnings guidance in the range of $1.40 to $1.60 per diluted share, which we reaffirm. As part of a rate agreement approved by the Vermont Public Service Board, the company’s allowed rate of return is 9.77 percent.WebcastCV will host an earnings teleconference and webcast on August 10, 2009 beginning at 11 a.m. EDT. At that time, CV President and CEO Robert Young and CV Chief Financial Officer Pamela Keefe will discuss the company’s financial results, as well as progress made toward achieving its long-term strategy.Interested parties may listen to the conference call live on the Internet by selecting the “CVPS Q2 2009 Earnings Call” link on the “Investor Relations” section of the company’s website at www.cvps.com(link is external). An audio archive of the call will be available later that day at the same location or by dialing 1-877-660-6853 within the U.S. or internationally by dialing 1-201-612-7415 and entering Account 286 and Conference ID 324531.About CVCV is Vermont’s largest electric utility, serving approximately 159,000 customers statewide. CV’s non-regulated subsidiary, Catamount Resources Corporation, sells and rents electric water heaters through a subsidiary, SmartEnergy Water Heating Services.Form 10-QOn Friday, August 7, 2009, the company filed its second-quarter 2009 Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A copy of that report is available on our web site, www.cvps.com(link is external), under the “Investor Relations” section. Please refer to it for additional information regarding our condensed consolidated financial statements, results of operations, capital resources and liquidity. Forward-Looking StatementsStatements contained in this press release that are not historical fact are forward-looking statements intended to qualify for the safe-harbors from the liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements made that are not historical facts are forward-looking and, accordingly, involve estimates, assumptions, risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. Actual results will depend, among other things, upon the actions of regulators, performance of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, effects of and changes in weather and economic conditions, volatility in wholesale electric markets, volatility in the financial markets, and our ability to maintain our current credit ratings. These and other risk factors are detailed in CV’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. CV cannot predict the outcome of any of these matters; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such indicated results will be realized. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date of this press release. CV does not undertake any obligation to publicly release any revision to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release. Central Vermont Public Service Corporation – Consolidated Earnings Release (unaudited) (dollars in thousands, except per share amounts) Three Months Ended Six Months Ended June 30 June 30Condensed income statement 2009 2008 2009 2008 ———- ———- ———- ———-Operating revenues: Retail sales $ 63,382 $ 65,573 $ 137,465 $ 140,979 Resale sales 17,131 16,177 31,064 29,679 Other 2,114 2,737 4,825 5,053 ———- ———- ———- ———-Total operating revenues 82,627 84,487 173,354 175,711 ———- ———- ———- ———-Operating expenses: Purchased power – affiliates and other 38,605 41,282 80,215 84,188 Other operating expenses 38,499 38,116 78,117 78,143 Income tax expense 760 846 3,636 2,705 ———- ———- ———- ———-Total operating expense 77,864 80,244 161,968 165,036 ———- ———- ———- ———-Utility operating income 4,763 4,243 11,386 10,675 ———- ———- ———- ———-Other income: Equity in earnings of affiliates 4,431 4,014 8,876 8,199 Other, net 621 59 734 (465) Income tax expense (1,389) (1,458) (2,822) (2,883) ———- ———- ———- ———- Total other income 3,663 2,615 6,788 4,851 ———- ———- ———- ———-Interest expense 2,929 2,857 5,805 5,617 ———- ———- ———- ———-Net income 5,497 4,001 12,369 9,909Dividends declared on preferred stock 92 92 184 184 ———- ———- ———- ———-Earnings available for common stock $ 5,405 $ 3,909 $ 12,185 $ 9,725 ========== ========== ========== ==========Per common share dataEarnings per share of common stock – basic $ 0.46 $ 0.38 $ 1.05 $ 0.94Earnings per share of common stock – diluted $ 0.46 $ 0.38 $ 1.04 $ 0.94Average shares of common stock outstanding – basic 11,660,547 10,337,893 11,631,611 10,306,699Average shares of common stock outstanding – diluted 11,684,149 10,397,675 11,669,823 10,387,289Dividends declared per share of common stock $ 0.23 $ 0.23 $ 0.69 $ 0.69Dividends paid per share of common stock $ 0.23 $ 0.23 $ 0.46 $ 0.46Supplemental financial statement dataBalance sheet Investments in affiliates $ 105,849 $ 96,902 Total assets $ 617,166 $ 557,145 Notes Payable $ 10,800 $ 10,800 Common stock equity $ 224,758 $ 193,326 Long-term debt (excluding current portions) $ 167,500 $ 172,950Cash Flows Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period $ 6,722 $ 3,803 Cash provided by operating activities 20,542 15,897 Cash used for investing activities (13,223) (15,877) Cash provided by financing activities (5,083) 2,739 ———- ———- Cash and cash equivalents at end of period $ 8,958 $ 6,562 ========== ========== Refer to our second-quarter 2009 Form 10-Q for additional information. Reconciliation of Earnings Per Diluted Share First Six Months Second Quarter 2009 vs. 2008 2009 vs. 2008 ————- ————-2008 Earnings per diluted share $ 0.94 $ 0.38Lower purchased power expense 0.23 0.16Higher equity in earnings of affiliates 0.04 0.02Lower (higher) other operating expenses 0.03 (0.01)Lower operating revenues (0.13) (0.10)Impact of common stock issuance (November 2008) – 1,190,000 additional shares (0.12) (0.05)Higher transmission expense (0.03) (0.01)Other 0.08 0.07 ————- ————-2009 Earnings per diluted share (a) $ 1.04 $ 0.46 ============= ============= (a) The additional shares from the November 2008 stock issuance were excluded from the 11,684,149 average shares of common stock — diluted for the second quarter and the 11,669,823 average shares of common stock — diluted for the first six months, for the purposes of computing the individual EPS variances shown above in order to provide comparable information for 2009 vs. 2008. Source: RUTLAND, VT — (Marketwire) — 08/07/09 — Central Vermont Public Service (NYSE: CV)
Green Mountain Power Corp,(Vermont Biz April 6, 2010) The number of Green Mountain Power customers using small-scale renewable energy sources to generate their own electricity has more than doubled since 2008, with the largest growth coming from customers who generate electricity with solar. Currently, close to 300 GMP customers have applied for and received state permission for net metering. Since net metering began in 1998, GMP customers’ projects account for nearly 3 megawatts (or 3 million watts) of renewable power.”Clearly many of our customers are taking advantage of technologies that have increased the amount of renewable energy on Vermont’s power grid,” said Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power president and chief executive officer. “We have a strong commitment to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels during times of peak demand. Net metering allows customers to produce renewable energy, which has long-term environmental benefits for all of us.”Customers who want to generate their own solar, wind biomass, hydro or other renewable energy can participate in “net metering” — a process established by Vermont law that allows electric utility customers to generate electricity using renewable resources for personal use and “bank” any excess with the utility for limited periods of time.Through this process, customers can install renewable energy technologies such as solar panels or wind turbines. They pay their utility regular monthly service charges, but are billed for electricity only when they consume more power than they generate. If they generate more power than they need, they can “bank” that power with the utility until they need it, for up to 12 months.The bulk of GMP’s net metering customers, nearly 75 percent, use solar energy. GMP provides financial incentives for customers to install solar panels through its SolarGMP program, paying customers nearly 50 percent more than the net metering benefit. With SolarGMP, GMP also pays for the excess power generated, so there is no need for “banking” the excess. In turn, solar power generation helps reduce the utility’s need to purchase expensive market power and increases the amount of renewable power on the state’s power grid.John Pacht and Andrea Bayer, Green Mountain Power customers, recently installed solar panels at their home in Hinesburg. “Our new solar panels have significantly reduced our electric bills, thanks to the financial incentives of net metering and SolarGMP. We expect our investment in the panels to be paid back over time, and meanwhile we love knowing that the electricity we are using comes directly from the sun,” Mr. Pacht and Ms. Bayer said.”The increase in net metering is a sign of the significant interest and increasing use of solar generation in our service area,” Ms. Powell said. “We are pleased to see Vermonters take advantage of the growing number of opportunities to support sustainable energy practices that protect the natural environment of our state.”About Net MeteringNet metering — adopted by the Vermont legislature in 1998 — enables electric utilities to allow customers to generate their own power using small-scale renewable energy sources. Those interested in net metering must first obtain a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board. For more information, visit: www.publicservice.vermont.gov/energy-efficiency/ee_netmetering.html(link is external)About Solar GMPSolarGMP is a program created by Green Mountain Power to give residential and commercial customers financial incentives to install solar panels. Through this program, GMP pays customers a higher rate per kilowatt hour for the solar power they generate. For more information, visit: www.choose2bgreen.com/about-choose2bgreen/solargmp.html(link is external)About Green Mountain PowerGreen Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com(link is external)) transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont’s population. It serves more than 200,000 people and businesses.Source: Green Mountain Power. COLCHESTER, VT–(Marketwire – April 06, 2010) –
1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The NAFCU Board will meet with Federal Reserve Board Gov. Jerome Powell at Fed headquarters today to discuss credit union issues and findings of the 2014 NAFCU Report on Credit Unions.NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger said the 2014 report shows that credit unions, despite legislative and regulatory challenges, “remain prudent lenders in serving their 98 million member-owners and play a significant role in the nation’s economy.”Today’s is the NAFCU Board’s 22nd consecutive meeting at the Fed. Meeting participants will discuss legislative and regulatory issues, economic trends and credit unions’ use of the Fed’s priced services. This meeting will be followed later today by another with CFPB Director Richard Cordray held at association headquarters.The 2014 NAFCU Report on Credit Unions looks at five key areas: credit union trends, credit unions’ service to their members and use of Federal Reserve services, legislative issues facing credit unions, regulatory issues facing credit unions, and interest rate risk.Findings from NAFCU’s 2014 survey on credit unions’ use of the Fed’s services to financial institutions showed Fedwire services are used by 58 percent of all survey respondents; account services are used by 56.25 percent; FedLine Advantage is used by 55.17 percent; ACH Receipts is used by 54.84 percent. continue reading »
Having been in the lending business for 33 years and seeing many companies come and go in the sub-prime market space, I have a feel for what it takes to be successful in the long term. I stress ‘long term’ because literally hundreds of companies have succeeded for a couple of years only to suffer from a variety of ailments.So, what’s the secret sauce for a successful sub-prime lending program at your credit union? As the saying goes, “results may vary,” but here are some of the ingredients you need to have in your pantry.1 cup underwritingIt all starts with sound underwriting. Since credit histories will be inherently be checkered, sound underwriting means your credit union has to avoid risk layering, or the practice of underwriting multiple layers of risk. An example of risk layering is a borrower with a FICO score in the 500’s, who has marginal ability to repay, and is seeking more than book value on an older car with extended terms. For those of you keeping score in the office, that’s five layers of risk. continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
At a news briefing yesterday, Ron DeHaven, administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), said that the report largely reflects the surveillance program as it existed in March and that USDA is already addressing many of the problems cited in the document. The USDA posted a transcript of the briefing on its Web site. Before the nation’s first BSE case was found in Washington last December, the USDA had been testing about 20,000 cattle per year for BSE, focusing on disabled cattle and those showing possible signs of central nervous system (CNS) disease. After the first case turned up, the department moved to increase testing. The expanded surveillance was launched in June with the aim of testing more than 200,000 cattle over the next 12 to 18 months. DeHaven also asserted, “Nothing in the report would suggest there has been any compromise to public health.” He said the USDA continues to take the most important precaution for protecting the public from BSE-tainted meat products: removing high-risk cattle parts, or specified-risk materials, from carcasses destined for the food supply. The report says the plan is based on some questionable assumptions, does not accurately reflect the geographic distribution of cattle, and does not ensure the testing of all high-risk cattle. In addition, the report says that in the past 2 to 3 years, more than 500 cattle that had possible symptoms of neurologic disease were not tested for BSE. Masters said the inspector general’s office has found “no evidence of any records falsification by FSIS or USDA employees related to the downer cow.” DeHaven said it is not unusual for a cow with neurologic disease to go down and appear disabled but later get up again. Testing only 20,000 apparently healthy older cattle may not give an accurate measure of the prevalence of BSE in the 45 million adult cattle in the nation. “The problems disclosed during our review, if not corrected, may negatively impact the effectiveness of USDA’s overall BSE surveillance program . . . and reduce the credibility of any assertions regarding the prevalence of BSE in the United States,” the 54-page report states. Also at the news briefing, Barbara Masters, acting APHIS administrator, said a separate inspector general’s investigation has turned up no evidence of wrongdoing in the USDA’s assessment of the cow in Washington that was found to have BSE. A USDA veterinarian at the slaughter plant had examined the cow and determined that it was unable to walk, but others at the plant have alleged they saw the cow walking. The inspector general’s report cites several alleged flaws in the expanded surveillance program: Transcript of Jul 13 USDA news briefinghttp://www.usda.gov/Newsroom/0289.04.html Some of the dead cattle were collected directly from farms, while others were collected at rendering plants and salvage plants, DeHaven said. But regardless of where samples were collected, “for the most part those are animals off the farm,” he added. Concerning the charge that many cattle with signs of CNS disease have not been tested, DeHaven said, “We’re not focusing on the past but ensuring that in this program and in the future we do collect those samples. So we have, for example, instructed our field staff, when in doubt take a sample.” The current plan will not permit APHIS to obtain “a statistically appropriate geographical representation of the US cattle population.” The report says the surveillance as it has operated in recent months illustrate the problems with the USDA approach. In particular, of 680 cattle that were condemned at slaughter facilities because of possible CNS signs from fiscal years 2002 to 2004, it appears that only 162 were tested for BSE. The report blamed this on confusion over testing requirements and lack of coordination between APHIS and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The draft report was released a day early by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who has been a critic of the USDA. It was scheduled to be released today at a hearing of the House Committee on Government Reform. At the news briefing, as recorded in the transcript, DeHaven insisted that USDA is “testing precisely the population of animals that we should be testing,” including those with possible signs of CNS disease, downer cattle, and those that die before reaching a slaughter plant. Keith Collins, the USDA’s chief economist, acknowledged there is room for debate about the USDA’s assumption that BSE is found only in cattle classified as high-risk. He said it “is not an assumption that is right or wrong,” but one that makes it possible to estimate the sensitivity of the testing program. Following the report’s recommendation, he said, “We are going to look at alternative approaches to that and see if we can provide a fuller context of the sampling program.” The testing effort focuses on cattle that can’t walk (downers), those showing CNS signs or other possible signs of BSE, and those that die on farms. Plans also call for testing about 20,000 apparently healthy older cattle, chosen at random. If 268,000 cattle are tested, the program should make it possible to identify the disease at a level of 1 case in 10 million cattle with 99% confidence, the USDA has said. In addition, USDA has not “adequately pursued” BSE testing for cattle that showed signs of rabies but tested negative for that disease, according to the inspector general. Laboratories that handle rabies testing have not consistently submitted rabies-negative samples for BSE testing, because there has been no formal mechanism for that. He said that in June, the first month of the expanded testing program, APHIS succeeded in testing samples from many cattle that died on farms: about 70% of the 11,000 cattle tested were in that category. He said officials had previously estimated that “dead animals” would constitute about 56% of all high-risk cattle. APHIS cannot easily identify and test all the cattle in the high-risk population, especially those that die on farms, which make up the largest share of high-risk cattle. DeHaven said inspector general’s reports ordinarily are not released until the agencies involved have had a chance to review and comment on them. Jul 14, 2004 (CIDRAP News) A draft report by the inspector general of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says the department’s expanded surveillance program for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has several flaws that could lead to unreliable estimates of the prevalence of BSE in American cattle. See also: The plan assumes that BSE is confined to high-risk cattle, but studies show that healthy-looking animals can have the disease.
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24 Remo St, Broadbeach Waters.“Fiona and I had an idea of what I wanted to achieve and the best way to get the look I wanted was to start from scratch and … build a home that was both functional and fun to live in” he said.“A lot of thought went into creating meaningful spaces in the home, which reflect the way people live.”The pair recently put their home at 24 Remo St, Isle of Capri, on the market for $1.575 million. Gold Coast couple Andrew and Fiona Bassingthwaite bought a property at Surfers Paradise and demolished an older dwelling to make way for a new house.MORE Gold Coasters are knocking down older houses and rebuilding instead of renovating — and it is saving them up to $200,000.Valcon Homes sales manager Gavin Roden said the average cost of renovating had skyrocketed to $2000 per square metre, meaning upgrading a 300sq m home sets you back $600,000. 24 Remo St, Broadbeach Waters.In contrast, Mr Roden said it costed about $20,000 to demolish a house and about $400,000 to build a new 300sq m home.“Shrinking land supply near the beach on the Gold Coast and close to the inner city in Brisbanemeans more people are thinking outside the box and opting to secure an older property on a bigblock in a prime location,” he said.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North7 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day ago24 Remo St, Broadbeach Waters.“Most people are really surprised to learn that demolishing a home only costs around $20,000, and is therefore often a much cheaper option than renovating.“Over the past five to seven years costs have gone up and large-scale renovations are simply notgood value for money. In fact (they) can be detrimental if the buyer spends more on the renovation than what they could recoup if they placed the home on the market.” 24 Remo St, Broadbeach Waters.Mr Newlands said rebuilding rather than renovating meant you did not have to compromise on the design and were less likely to run into unexpected renovation expenses.Gold Coast couple Andrew and Fiona Bassingthwaite bought an older property at Surfers Paradise last year and demolished it to make way for a new house. 24 Remo St, Isle of Capri before it was demolished.REIQ Gold Coast zone chair John Newlands said a shortage of land on the Coast was contributing to the trend.“People don’t want to go out to some of the outer areas,” he said. “They want to stay close to town and build close to facilities.”
Accessibility to China’s currency and bond markets is good, but faces significant challengesForeign accessibility is reasonably good for China’s onshore bond, foreign exchange, and derivatives markets, but after resolution of delivery versus payment settlement and block trades, the IMF identifies five other practical issues.Unclear tax regulations: In November last year, the Chinese authorities announced a three-year exemption on foreign institutional investors’ withholding tax and value-added tax (VAT) on interest derived from China onshore bond investments. With insufficient details released, however, investors have concerns over issues such as potential tax clawback of previous investments, and future tax treatment after the exemption period expires.Hedging capacity and documentation issues: Foreign public sector investors are allowed to access China’s interbank foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives markets without restrictions (in theory), but actual participation by foreign investors remains low.Insufficient treasury bond liquidity: Like any government bond market, a sufficiently liquid secondary market is a key prerequisite for the government bond yield curve to become a representative benchmark for economic conditions and activity. On-the-run China government bonds and policy financial bonds are already fairly liquid, but the IMF reports that gaps between on- and off-the-run bonds are wide, and the turnover of China onshore bonds remains low relative to global and some Asian peers.“The lack of sufficient liquidity in the China government bond market is the second-biggest hurdle for China bonds to be included in global bond indices,” the fund states.Lack of harmonisation: Four programmes have been set up to enable foreign investors to access China onshore bonds – QFII, RQFII, CIBM, and Bond Connect. Each has different rules and accessible securities, and as none of the programmes are developments of previous schemes, foreign investors are faced with a separate setup to access each new programme.This not only creates confusion, it also puts early movers at a disadvantage, as new programmes are more flexible than the old ones, with no mechanism in place to transfer from one to another. Not surprisingly, the IMF finds that many investors prefer to delay investing until they feel that no more new programmes will be introduced in the foreseeable future.Finally, there is also the problem that non-financial corporations cannot access the bond markets under the current access programmes.These hurdles are clearly strong impediments to the growth of foreign access to China’s bond markets. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of them is that they are practical, rather than regulatory, issues.The IMF is right to declare that “resolving these issues in a timely manner, while avoiding introducing new uncertainty and practical hurdles as capital markets are opened further, is crucial to securing international investors’ commitment to China’s capital markets”.For investors, the prize is that, according to Dehn, “Chinese bonds are superior to US government bonds as a ‘safe haven’ destination for emerging market investors during major episodes of risk aversion”.By accessing Chinese bonds during bouts of volatility, emerging market debt investors will no longer need to pull money out of the asset class when they get scared, argues Dehn. That may be another reason for increasing weightings to emerging market debt, and taking advantage of the retreating tsunami of quantitative easing-induced misvaluations.Further reading‘Too big to ignore’: The rise of China’s $12trn bond market Global index providers are expected to open up to the $12trn (€10.4trn) domestic bond market in the next two years, according to QIC Investment Management. Despite China now being a main contributor to global trade and product integration, financial sector integration has been limited and China’s financial system, despite its size, also remains largely bank-based. The IMF says this is likely to change, and the bond markets will play a critical role. For foreign investors, it is a market that cannot be ignored despite the current challenges of access.The problems “Investors should rejoice at the prospect of greater access to Chinese fixed income,” declared Jan Dehn, global head of research at Ashmore in a note to investors last year.However, there are still a number of obstacles to gaining easy access to the country’s bond markets, as the IMF lays out in a recently released analysis.Interest from foreign investors in onshore bond holdings is certainly increasing, reaching a new record high of RMB1.7trn (€230bn) in 2018, more than double the year-end 2016 level, according to the IMF.But foreign ownership of China’s onshore bond market still remains low at just 2.1% as of September 2018. The IMF also points out that foreign ownership of onshore government bonds, at 7.4%, is also materially lower than for other special drawing rights currencies (namely the yen, dollar, euro and sterling).
East Central Cross Country and Track Standout Emma Fey has signed to continue her career at Saint Mary’s-of -the Woods College majoring in Nursing.Emma is the daughter of Dan and Dorothy Fey.