When a property is listed and sold, its closing price is usually different from its original list price since it is challenging to set a list price, even for an experienced realtor. Besides physical features there are many other factors to be considered: location, supply and demand, how tough the buyer negotiates, etc. Applying text mining techniques, a new analysis from CoreLogic finds that properties with certain words in their listing comments sell for higher prices, on average, than those without such comments. The CoreLogic analysis used more than half a million single-family transactions that were closed in the first half of 2017 across the county. Because the analysis is conducted at the national level we do not see nuances at the local-market level, but we do see which words can have an effect nationwide. Each of the properties analyzed had a public remarks comment from which word pairs were extracted and the resulting impact on list price analyzed. Price can vary significantly across different geographic areas, so geographic variation can mask the information contained in listing comments. In this research, geographic variation was controlled so in order to better understand the specific impact of words on closing prices relative to list prices.
One feature that stands out is “pane windows,” which could represent dual-pane windows or energy-efficient windows. Obviously, buyers consider future utility bills a top priority when searching for homes. It is not a surprise to see that “new construction” made the list. As a matter of fact, newly constructed homes are usually priced higher than existing homes. Other features like “quiet street,” “remodeled kitchen,” “natural light,” and “hardwood floors” were all favored by buyers, and properties with those features typically sold at a higher price. “Large backyard” also had a positive impact on a home’s closing price, which is consistent with earlier CoreLogic analysis that Americans appreciate large outdoor spaces and will pursue them when possible. It is worthy noting that “paint” references appear multiple times in these top word pairs, including “exterior paint,” “new paint” and “interior paint.” Those selling homes should consider painting throughout since it is a relatively small investment that can lead to a higher sale price.
Oil jumps 1%; fighting shuts output in Iraq’s Kirkuk
Oil prices jumped 1% on Monday as Iraqi forces entered the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, taking territory from Kurdish fighters and briefly cutting some crude output from OPEC’s second-largest producer. “We’re seeing increased geopolitical tension in the Middle East providing support in the market today, namely in Iraqi Kurdistan, and some uncertainty around Iran,” said Anthony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging LLC in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. Iraq’s Kurdistan briefly shut down some 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production from major fields Bai Hassan and Avana due to security concerns. Iraq launched the operation on Sunday as the crisis between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) escalated. The KRG voted for independence in a Sept. 25 referendum. Brent crude futures were up 62 cents or 1% at $57.79 per barrel at 11:02 a.m. (1502 GMT). US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 36 cents or 0.7% at $51.81 per barrel. The government said its troops had taken control of Iraq’s North Oil Co, and the fields quickly resumed production. The KRG government said oil continued to flow through the export pipeline, and it would take no steps to stop it. Still, the action unsettled the market. Some 600,000 bpd of oil is produced in the region, and Turkey has threatened to shut a KRG-operated pipeline that goes to the Turkish port of Ceyhan at Baghdad’s request.
Is the way the CFPB handles enforcement about to change?
The way the CFPB handles enforcement could be changing, because the CFPB’s enforcement director is apparently leaving the bureau. The National Law Journal has the details on the departure of Anthony Alexis: “Anthony Alexis, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s enforcement chief, is stepping down after more than two years overseeing the agency’s efforts to combat abuses by the financial industry, a departure certain to fuel speculation that Director Richard Cordray will leave soon to pursue the Ohio governorship.” Alexis, a former Mayer Brown partner who was named enforcement director in 2015 after holding the role in an interim capacity, announced his departure plans to CFPB staff Thursday afternoon, according to a former CFPB attorney who is familiar with the matter. CFPB spokesman David Mayorga on Friday confirmed Alexis is leaving but declined to provide further details. His exact departure date was not immediately known. Alexis first joined the CFPB in 2012 and was named acting enforcement director in July 2013, replacing Kent Markus. Alexis was not reached for comment Friday. As the article notes, there’s no word on where Alexis is going next, or what the CFPB plans to do to fill the newly vacated position. The article also notes that the CFPB posted the position of assistant director, enforcement on its public job listings.
Ruby Tuesday to be acquired by private-equity firm for $2.40 a share
Ruby Tuesday on Monday said it agreed to be acquired by a fund managed by NRD Capital, an Atlanta-based private-equity firm. Under the deal, NRD will acquire all of the restaurant chain’s common stock for $2.40 per share in cash and will assume or retire all debt obligations for a total enterprise value of approximately $335 million, excluding transaction expense. The purchase price represents a premium of approximately 37% over Ruby Tuesday’s closing share price on March 13, 2017, the day before the company announced its intention to explore strategic alternatives. It was also a premium of approximately 21% over Ruby Tuesday’s closing share price on October 13, 2017.