Archives for December 13, 2012

Why Would Anyone Want Fewer Apartments in Downtown Easton?

Excited to hear the buildings at 118-120 Northampton Street in Easton are going to be renovated, but this was a weird statement:

Milosev said he intends to convert the two structures to house 12 apartments on the upper floors, with commercial retail space at the ground level.

“If the grant goes through, we’ll consider scaling down the number of units to six to nine,” he said.

Right now there’s high demand for quality apartments in downtown Easton. The Pomeroy apartments filled up quickly, and Becky Bradley’s told me the nature of the Easton rental market is that crummy apartments stay vacant a long time, but whenever apartments of decent quality come on the market they get snapped up right away.

Insofar as that’s the case, there’s a money-making opportunity there to renovate some nice apartments and rent them out to people. Why on earth would it be better to halve the number of units from 12 to 6? The service economy in the downtown area gets more customers, Milosev makes more money, and most people are better off. Some of the immediate neighbors might whine about the impact on parking, but tight parking is never a reason to build less housing and Christina Georgiou’s reporting that the sale agreement includes off-street parking at the lot across the street.

Fed Finally Decides to Give Us a Better Recovery

Zachary Goldfarb:

The Federal Reserve will take steps to bolster the economy until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent or inflation looks likely to exceed 2.5 percent, the central bank said Wednesday in a historic move that for the first time specifies the Fed’s goals for the nation’s economy.

The Fed also said it would buy $45 billion in Treasury bonds a month, on top of $40 billon a month it is already buying in mortgage bonds, in an effort to flood markets with money and reduce interest rates on a wide range of loans. Lower interest rates tend to stimulate borrowing, economic activity and employment.

In an unprecendent move, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced Wednesday that the Fed will continue to try and boost the economy until unemployment numbers hit 6.5 percent or the inflation rate reaches 2.5 percent.

The actions signaled the Fed’s concerns that high unemployment — what Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke called “an enormous waste of human and economic potential” — will cast a long shadow over the nation for years. Fed officials projected that the jobless rate, now at 7.7 percent, would not reach 6.5 percent until near the end of 2015 at the earliest.

This is still pretty weak, but moving in the right direction. A real commitment to full employment would be more like a 4% unemployment target or 4% inflation.