Housing Boom Sparks Fears Over Lack of Land for New Homes

Housing Boom Sparks Fears Over Lack of Land for New Homes sign pointing to new homes for sale A sign is posted in front of new homes for sale at Hamilton Cottages on September 24, 2020, in Novato, Calif. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 25 December 2020 02:20 PM

Builders are growing worried they are running out of land to meet the surging demand for new homes.

The Wall Street Journal reported record low interest rates and a new premium on space during the pandemic have generated the biggest housing boom in years.

And a shortage of previously owned homes on the market is leading to an increase in buyers wanting new construction.

Builders, with much of their land inventory still in the development process, face the prospect of a shortage of finished lots or land that can be built on, said Jody Kahn, senior vice president at John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC.

And Phillippe Lord, chief operating officer at Scottsdale, Arizona-based builder Meritage Homes Corp. said: ''The competition for land is extremely high as the homebuying demand grows.''

New home sales soared 20.8% on a year-on-year basis. The government reported last week that single-family homebuilding, the largest share of the housing market, increased in November to the highest level since April 2007.

But persistent shortages of land, materials and skilled labor are increasing construction costs for builders.

Luke Pickerill, owner of MonteVista Homes in Bend, Oregon, said: ''In Central Oregon, I will literally be out of lots and I’ll have nothing to sell'' by next month. ''All of the inventory that we expected to be selling in quarter one and quarter two of next year, we’ve now sold through it already this year.''

Pa. Judge Opines State’s Mail-in Ballot Procedures Likely Illegal

Pa. Judge Opines State's Mail-in Ballot Procedures Likely Illegal a graphic showing a 2020 pennsylvania ballot box with votes flying into it (Dreamstime)

Bob Van Voris Saturday, 28 November 2020 12:33 PM

A Pennsylvania judge who Nov. 25 blocked the state from going forward with additional steps that might be required to certify the state's presidential vote said in a written opinion that changes to the Pennsylvania's mail-in balloting procedures were likely illegal.

The order is delayed while the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considers the case, filed by Pennsylvania Republicans, on an expedited basis. Friday night's opinion simply provides the judge's reasoning for ordering a temporary delay.

It is unclear exactly what further steps in the process can be delayed, but the plaintiffs suggested there were several, including the assembly of electors. The Electoral College vote to certify the Nov. 3 election results does not take place until Dec. 14.

A federal appeals court Friday had rejected President Donald Trump's attempt to revive a lawsuit in which his campaign was seeking to undo Pennsylvania's certification Joe Biden's victory in the state.

A three-judge panel resoundingly dismissed the campaign's goal of striking out tens of thousands of ballots, saying there were no claims of fraud in the lawsuit, or proof.

The decision potentially tees the case up for the U.S. Supreme Court, and the president has openly mused the 6-3 conservative majority could deliver the election to him. But most legal experts doubt the high court will take up a case which will not change the race. Biden would still win the presidency without Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes, and Georgia, Michigan and Nevada have also certified results in his favor.

"Voters, not lawyers, choose the president," the federal appeals court in Philadelphia said.
"Ballots, not briefs, decide elections. The ballots here are governed by Pennsylvania election law. No federal law requires poll watchers or specifies where they must live or how close they may stand when votes are counted. Nor does federal law govern whether to count ballots with minor state-law defects or let voters cure those defects."

In its ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit took apart the Trump campaign's legal arguments, as it refused to force the lower-court judge who dismissed the case to allow the campaign to file a revised complaint.

Trump is trying to invalidate tens of thousands of mail-in ballots and asking the appeals court for an emergency order blocking "the effects" of Pennsylvania's certification of votes.

Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis said in a tweet the campaign would appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Trump campaign brought an expedited appeal of the lower-court judge's ruling. U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann on Saturday rejected both the request to file a new complaint and the idea of blocking certification, saying the campaign’s suit was speculative and based on "strained legal arguments" that were without merit.

The combined rulings from Brann and the appeals court are the highest-profile courtroom defeats for Trump since the Nov. 3 election. Suits filed by the campaign and its GOP allies have failed in Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona as judges declined to toss out millions of votes based on claims tied to a vast and implausible conspiracy theory about corrupt Democratic election workers.

The appeals panel, with all three members appointed by Republican presidents, said the campaign's ultimate goal of setting aside 1.5 million mail-in ballots from the defendant counties for an audit and "statistical analysis" to look for improper ballots would not be fair to voters, especially when there is no allegation of fraud in the complaint.

"There is no allegation of fraud (let alone proof) to justify harming those millions of voters as well as other candidates," the appeals court said.

Original Article

Alan Dershowitz to Newsmax TV: Reject Warnock’s ‘Bigoted Views’

Alan Dershowitz to Newsmax TV: Reject Warnock's 'Bigoted Views' (Newsmax TV's "Saturday Report")

By Eric Mack | Saturday, 28 November 2020 10:27 AM

Considering himself a liberal Democrat, Alan Dershowitz on Newsmax TV said he prefers a Democrat-held Senate, but not at the expense of voting for a "bigot" in Rev. Raphael Warnock.

"Look, I'm a liberal Democrat and I prefer to see the Democrats control the Senate, but not at the cost of having Rev. Warnock as the United States senator," Dershowitz told "Saturday Report." "Here's a man who has condemned the military, who has condemned Israel, calling it a country that murders Palestinian unarmed children like the birds of prey. That's the blood libel."

Rev. Warnock is facing incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., in one of the two Jan. 5 Senate runoffs in Georgia. Warnock did edge out Loeffler 32.9% to 25.91% in the Nov. 3 election, but Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., sapped 19.95% of the GOP support and the winner failed to reach 50%, forcing the runoff.

"Unless Rev. Warnock changes his views, he can't count on Democrats like me to support him," Dershowitz told host Carl Higbie. "I'd rather see a Republican I may disagree with in the Senate than a Democrat who has expressed the kind of bigoted views about Israel and about people who serve in the military.

"He said you can't serve God and the military at the same time. And he said that in Georgia, a place that is home to Gold Star families and military bases and is home to so many Americans who served with distinction and protected us all from them taking our liberty away from us."

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