Archives for November 2012
Weber Shandwick’s Third Annual ‘State of Seattle’ Survey polled 500 local residents to find out their perceptions of the city, including the economy, civility, culture and the media.
Seattle ranks No. 7 in the nation for investment, development, and homebuilding, according to the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends report.
The Urban Land Institute study, which ranks the top 20 cities across the nation, notes a high correlation between ranking and employment growth. In this area, “Seattle is experiencing terrific momentum in job growth, with tech companies taking up most of the well-located vacant space.” Amazon in particular is contributing to development with its construction of a three-tower campus in South Lake Union.
Here are additional highlights from the report:
- Investors continue to be attracted to Seattle as a global center for the software industry;
- Job growth for 2013 is projected at 1.2 percent;
- Seattle continues to attract and accommodate a growing young adult population with Echo Boomers, or Gen Y, expanding by 20 percent over the past decade;
- Companies like Amazon, Starbucks, Boeing, Microsoft, Nordstrom, the Gates Foundation, and Costco are hiring.
Bellevue is cited as an ancillary market that investors may find attractive. As transit is increasingly developed between Seattle and outlying cities, large suburban areas will benefit.
I admit that my CD collection has an excess of 100 Christmas albums. I am a Christmas music junkie. Despite my considerable musical collection, and the fact that I have been preparing for the Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree since April, I still get excited when new releases come out each year.
This year’s top Christmas pick is Rod Stewart’s “Merry Christmas, Baby”. Stewart’s first-ever Christmas album is my top choice to make spirits bright come December.
Just like he did for the “American Songbook”, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, adds his raspy, well-seasoned voice to holiday classics like “White Christmas,” “Silent Night,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, along with “Auld Lang Sine” . Throughout the album, Stewart, cleverly, takes the traditional melody and turns just a couple of notes around to keep your attention wrapped. In my opinion, the album’s most noteworthy moments are the duets.
On “Winter Wonderland,” Stewart, partnered with Michael Bublé, croon to set the seasonal mood by stirring up images of blanketed, snow-covered streets, snuggling by a cozy fire, hot chocolate in hand. The flamboyant Cee-Lo Green joins Stewart on the title track adding a Motown flavor to the Christmas classic. While, producer, David Foster plays the Rhodes piano, adding to the retro vibe.
“We Three Kings” was a surprise selection to me. Mary J. Blige infuses her soulfully passionate vocals along with a gospel choir, to this dynamic arrangement. “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” features a virtual duet with Stewart and Ella Fitzgerald, showcasing one of my favorites trumpeters, Chris Botti.
“Merry Christmas, Baby” includes one original track: “Red-Suited Super Man” composed by Stewart, David and Amy Foster and featuring Trombone Shorty. It is a light-hearted, fun tune worthy to be included among all of these gems.
“Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow” is punctuated by the incomparable Dave Koz on sax, giving the composition a little more sass than this seasonal standard usually receives. Stewart offers a touching cover of the Disney favorite “When You Wish Upon a Star” as a perfect fit to a collection of songs conveying the innocence of childlike faith, hope and joy.
If you’re looking to add some joyful sound to your Christmas festivities, or if you have a Christmas music junkie in your circle of friends, this is worth the investment.
1. The rise in housing affordability – which is drawing more buyers out into the market who are looking to cash in on low mortgage rates and fallen home prices compared to a few years ago.
2. The rise in household formation – which is expected to hit 1 million new households this year. That is up from an average of 570,000 over the last five years, according to data by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
3. The rise in rents – which has prompted more investors to purchase properties to rent out and more renters to second-guess why they are paying so much in rent when they could buy.
4. The decline in distressed sales and foreclosures – which has fallen significantly this past year. While distressed sales are still high by historical standards, they have fallen from their peaks in most markets, helping to alleviate the downward pressure on home prices in many areas.
5. Inventories of homes for-sale are at their lowest levels in nearly 50 years – and builders have cut back on construction and many home owners are waiting to sell until they can recover some equity on their properties.
Source: “Five Reasons Home Prices Have Been Rising,” The Wall Street Journal