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New journal

The inaugural issue of the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate has been released.

It is produced by the University of San Diego's Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate and published under the auspices of the American Real Estate Society with funding by the CoStar Group.

Norm Miller, Ph.D., a professor and director of academic programs at the Burnham-Moores Center and the editor of the journal, said the need for unbiased research in the field is crucial.

"This is the first of many issues until such time that sustainable real estate becomes so mainstream that a separate journal is not needed," he added.

Miller is assisted by three associate editors: Nico B. Rottke, Ph.D., European Business School; Robert Simons, Ph.D., Cleveland State University; Kwame Addae-Dapaah, Ph.D., National University of Singapore.

The journal has an advisory board of roughly 30 leaders from academia, the private sector and the nonprofit sector.

An editorial board of approximately 20 academics from universities such as Harvard, the University of Michigan, Clemson and the University of Denver is also in place.

For more information on the new journal, go to josre.org.

Maybeck models

William Lyon Homes is now selling fully appointed models at its Maybeck neighborhood on the north side of 4S Ranch.

With prices starting from the mid $700,000s, according to Lesley Pennington, director of sales and marketing for the homebuilder.

The model homes range from approximately 3,172 square feet to 3,700 square feet, with three to five bedrooms, 2.5 to 5.5 bathrooms, and two to three-car garages.

Individual models include front porches, loggias and courtyards.

San Clemente sale

Sam Hanna, senior associate in the San Diego office of Marcus & Millichap, represented the buyer of the 23,352-square-foot office building at 629 Camino de los Mares in San Clemente for $4.8 million, or $181 per square foot.

The listing agent was Michael Lawrence, senior vice president of Marcus & Millichap Newport Beach office.

Built in 1980 on one acre, the building is 97 percent occupied by 21 tenants.

There was a $220,000 credit at closing to cover the cost of various repairs, including the parking lot and lobby.

Water bill

(AP) -- A Glendale man is getting a refund after getting billed $5,500 for allegedly using 1.5 million gallons of water at his home.

Glendale Water & Power decided Wednesday that Escott Norton owes just $350, though it says the meter reading was accurate. He'll be credited for about $2,800 in payments.

Norton's June bill claimed he used 1.5 million gallons over two months. That's more than the monthly usage at Glendale High School, which has 3,000 students.

Norton fought the bill.

He told the City Council he didn't use the water and there's no evidence it was stolen, went into storm drains or leaked into the ground.

Utility General Manager Glenn Steiger says he doesn't know where the water went.

Mortgage bonds

(Bloomberg) -- Three commercial-mortgage bonds containing debt linked to Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, the biggest rental complex in Manhattan, had their credit ratings lowered by Standard & Poor's.

The rankings on five of the 36 classes of the bonds were lowered to below investment grade from AAA, the top rating, New York-based S&P said Friday.

The $3 billion loan is "credit impaired," S&P said.

"The loan is at an increased risk of transfer to the special servicer and monetary default due to low debt service and the likely inability of the sponsor to achieve the property's expected valuation."

U.K. prices

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. home prices probably will fall as much as 6.6 percent next year, reversing an estimated 3.7 percent gain in 2009, as unemployment deters buyers and more properties go on sale, London-based broker Savills Plc said.

Cluttons LLP, a real estate broker also based in London, predicted a 1.5 percent drop in 2010, following a 2.6 percent rise this year.

Savills, Britain's largest publicly traded commercial real estate adviser, said property values won't return to their 2007 peak until 2014.

Prices rose unexpectedly this year on a shortage of properties available as the number of transactions fell to the lowest in at least 50 years, Savills said. The rally probably won't last as unemployment rises and banks remain reluctant to increase lending. Cluttons predicts that prices won't match peak levels until late 2013.

"It's all about cash, and the true recovery will be credit dependent," said Yolande Barnes, head of residential research at Savills. She predicted that mortgage lending will be constrained for about five more years.

Italian public works

(Bloomberg) -- Italy approved 8.8 billion euros ($13.1 billion) in "strategic infrastructure" investments, including funds for a bridge linking Sicily to the mainland, and agreed to raise airport fees.

About 1.3 billion euros of the total will go toward initial work on the Sicily bridge, which would be the world's longest suspension bridge, with completion scheduled for 2016.

Other projects receiving funding include the Milan metro system and 500 million euros for a high-speed rail line between Milan and Genoa.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said his government is working to speed infrastructure investment by cutting bureaucracy out of the approval process.

Starting a building project "takes an eternity, and this is a disease for the whole country," Berlusconi said.

The government also signed agreements with the regions of Apulia and Veneto to modernize highways, train lines and ports.

Friday's package brings to 23 billion euros the total amount of infrastructure spending his government has approved since winning elections in April 2008, the prime minister said.

Hong Kong index

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong's home prices rose 0.5 percent in the week ended Nov. 1 to the highest since Oct. 11, even after the city's government said it was "very concerned" about surging real estate values.

The Centa-City Leading Index, a weekly measure of home prices, rose to 73.74 from 73.39 the preceding week, Centaline Property Agency Ltd. said in a report Friday. The gain brings the index's advance to 28 percent this year.

"Sellers are unwilling to lower their prices as they believe there will be limited downside, given low interest rates and ample liquidity," said Wong Leung-sing, an associate director at Centaline, which developed the measure with the City University of Hong Kong.

Still, prices are unlikely to rise much as buyers are hoping the government will do more to bring values down, he said.

London luxury

(Bloomberg) -- Luxury-home prices in London had their smallest annual decline in 15 months in October on a shortage of properties for sale, Knight Frank LLP said.

The average value of houses and apartments costing more than 1 million pounds ($1.7 million) fell 3.2 percent from a year earlier, the seventh consecutive month of narrowing losses, the property broker said.

Prices increased 2.1 percent from September, the most since July 2007. That left values 16 percent below their March 2008 peak.

Luxury residences in neighborhoods like Chelsea, Kensington and Mayfair may return to peak prices in 2012, a year or two sooner than the rest of the U.K. housing market, Knight Frank and Savills Plc estimate.

"The shortage of good property for sale is acute," said Nathalie Hirst, the London head of Prime Purchase, which acts for wealthy buyers. "People have been able to hold onto their properties, so there haven't been any forced sales."

Windfarm stimulus

(Bloomberg) -- A-Power Energy Generation Systems Ltd.'s $1.5 billion wind farm venture in Texas doesn't "involve" U.S. stimulus funds, said Chief Operating Officer John Lin.

The project will be funded by Chinese banks through loans to be obtained by unitShenyang Power Group, which owns 49 percent of the wind farm, Lin said.

The venture, whose partners are U.S. Renewable Energy Group, a private-equity firm based in Washington, and Cielo Wind Power LP, a closely held company in Austin, Texas, will create at least 1,000 jobs in the United States, he said.

The Obama administration should bar the 600-megawatt wind farm from receiving U.S. government stimulus funds because most of the power turbines would be made in China, Texas Sen. Charles Schumer said Thursday.

German geothermal

(Bloomberg) -- Installing systems to warm up buildings and generate electricity using energy from beneath the earth's surface is set to grow faster in Germany than other carbon-free energy sources, according to a Deutsche Bank report.

Germany has the potential to generate about a fifth of its heating requirements from tapping geothermal energy, Deutsche Bank analyst Josef Auer wrote in a report Friday.

That may be worth 25 billion euros ($37 billion) through 2030 for the building industry, he said.

Germany can tap underground water or rock that reaches 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit), hot enough to heat homes.

Producers of geothermal power can use either existing underground hot water sources to power turbines, or inject water into hot rocks to produce the needed steam.

Germany's installed capacity of geothermal electricity expanded 33 times to 6.6 megawatts between 2004 and 2008, according to the Deutsche Bank study.

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