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Bay home prices

(AP) -- A research firm said San Francisco Bay area home prices in November were up more than 20 percent from last year, as buyers competed for scarce supplies.

DataQuick said Thursday that the median price for new and existing houses and condominiums was $438,000 in the nine-county region.

The median price jumped $22,000 during the month.

Nearly 7,300 homes sold in the Bay area, up 16 percent from last year.

It is the region's highest November sales tally in six years.

Foreclosed properties made up a smaller part of the sales mix, lifting the overall median price because they tend to sell at steep discounts.
Concourse resort

(AP) -- The new $45 million resort-like concourse at Long Beach Airport is open with passenger amenities that include outdoor fire pits, a garden and iPad bar.

The concourse features two terminal buildings, 4,200 square feet of outdoor seating and more than 10,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space. The concourse opened on Wednesday.

Solar generators on the roof offset 13 percent of the facility's power demand.

The Long Beach Press-Telegram said local vendors added to the airport include Polly's Coffee, Sweet Jill's Bakery, 4th Street Vine and George's Greek Café.
Landmark fire

(AP) -- A historic Waikiki hotel is partially charred after an intentionally set fire singed one of its exterior walls before dawn.

Honolulu Fire Capt.

Terry Seelig said Wednesday the fire was set inside a large trash bin next to the iconic Moana Surfrider Hotel. No one was injured.

Seelig said the flames rose six stories to the roof of a wing added to the hotel in 1918. The landmark hotel opened in 1901.

About 30 firefighters responded shortly before 3 a.m. Starwood Hotels (NYSE: HOT) spokeswoman Marsha Wienert said over 1,200 guests evacuated.

The blaze broke some first- and second-floor windows, but never spread inside the building.

But sprinklers inside a first-floor coffee shop were activated and caused some water damage.

Honolulu police are opening a first-degree arson investigation.
Floating wind turbines

(AP) -- The Department of Energy is awarding about $4 million apiece to the University of Maine and to a subsidiary of a Norwegian company to deploy floating wind turbines off the Maine coast.

The grants are expected to qualify Maine for millions more in federal funding.

UMaine aims to deploy two floating turbines supported by a concrete platform off Boothbay.

Statoil North America Inc. plans to have turbines supported by a buoy system near Monhegan Island.

Maine was the only state to win two grants.

DOE spokeswoman Niketa Kumar said Wednesday that both offshore wind projects will deploy turbines larger than those deployed anywhere else in the world.

Sen. Olympia Snowe said offshore wind “will one day be a commercially viable technology that could revolutionize clean energy and energy costs.”
Offshore North Carolina

(AP) -- The U.S. government is measuring how much interest there is in developing wind farms offshore of North Carolina's northern Outer Banks and Cape Fear.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said Wednesday it wanted to hear who would be interested in leasing blocks of ocean to build and operate offshore wind farms in three potential areas. One area is six miles off Kitty Hawk, while the other two are seven miles and 13 miles at sea south of Wilmington.

The call for proposals is the first step in the government's offshore wind planning process before deciding whether to issue commercial wind leases.
Canadian solar

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian Solar Inc., the solar panel maker whose shares have dropped 77 percent the past two years, plans to get almost half its revenue next year from selling solar farms after prices for panels collapsed.

The third-largest solar-panel maker, based in Guelph, Ontario, is developing about 260 megawatts of projects in the Canadian province that it expects to sell for C$1.3 billion ($1.3 billion) over the next 18 months, Chief Financial Officer Michael Potter said.

Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ) makes its photovoltaic products in China.

Canadian Solar hasn't reported a profit in five quarters as revenue slid 32 percent and moving further downstream gives the company a dedicated market for its products, Potter said.
Irish restructuring

(Bloomberg) -- CR Investment Management GmbH, a Berlin-based asset manager, has been hired by financial institutions to restructure 350 million euros ($458 million) of Irish real estate loans.

The company's first such deals in Ireland will cover loans on 45 properties across the country including retail, office, residential and land, CR Investment said Thursday.
Austrian spinoff

(Bloomberg) -- Immofinanz AG plans to spin off homes valued at as much as 4.5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) in an initial public offering, according to Eduard Zehetner, chief executive officer of the Austrian real estate company.

Immofinanz plans to purchase more German apartments before the IPO.

The Vienna-based company said in September it may sell Buwog, an Austrian unit, and some German properties in a 2014 offering, without giving a value for the assets.

Immofinanz owns about 2.4 billion euros worth of homes in Austria and 127 million euros of German assets.

“Our plan is to grow our German residential segment to a similar size as the Austrian segment, combine the two elements and then take the whole unit to the market,” Zehetner said.

Immofinanz had about 1 billion euros of cash and credit lines for acquisitions as of July 31, according to its earnings report.

Immofinanz has about 10.4 billion euros of real estate and development projects in eastern Europe, Austria and Germany.

Most of its assets are offices, stores and warehouses.
New Canadian homes

(Bloomberg) -- Canada's new-home price index rose for a 19th consecutive month in October led by gains in Toronto and Montreal, government figures showed.

The 0.2 percent gain reported by Ottawa-based Statistics Canada matched the previous two readings.

From a year earlier, new-home prices increased 2.4 percent in October.

Toronto new home prices rose 0.3 percent on the month in October and 4.9 percent from a year ago, while Montreal was up 0.4 percent from September and 1.6 percent from a year earlier, Statistics Canada said.
Irish mortgage woes

(Bloomberg) -- Ireland's mortgage woes worsened in the third quarter as the economy struggled to recover from the worst recession in its modern history.

By value, about 25 percent of all residential loans including buy-to-let were at least three months in arrears or had been restructured, according to Bloomberg News calculations based on central bank figures released Thursday.

That's up from 22.5 percent at the end of the second quarter.

Irish banks are under pressure from regulators to find solutions for loans that might never be repaid after receiving 64 billion euros ($83. 6 billion) of bailout funds since the collapse of the country's real estate bubble four years ago.

Allied Irish Banks Plc (PNK: AIBYY), the nation's largest mortgage lender, plans to quicken the pace of restructuring, including the write off of some debt, next year, executives said last month.
Speeding approvals

(Bloomberg) -- India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will head a panel aimed at speeding up approvals of infrastructure projects as he seeks to ease bottlenecks that impede growth and spur inflation, a government minister said.

The Cabinet Committee on Investment has been set up to fast-track projects, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters in New Delhi Thursday.

Singh is seeking $1 trillion of investments in highways, harbors and power plants from 2012 to 2017 to spur development in India, where the World Bank said more than two-thirds of people live on less than $2 a day.

There are as much as $18 billion of stalled investments in India, two government officials with knowledge of the figures told Bloomberg News last month.

The cabinet committee Thursday also approved a land acquisition bill.
Bad bank investors

(Bloomberg) -- Banco Santander SA, CaixaBank SA and Banco Sabadell SA are among five “main investors” in the so-called bad bank set up by Spain to purge soured real estate from the books of lenders that take state aid.

The others are Banco Popular Espanol SA and Kutxabank, Spain's bank rescue fund FROB said Thursday.

More banks and a group of insurers will invest when the vehicle, known as Sareb, issues more shares and subordinated debt this month, FROB said.

“Practically all the the main financial companies and insurers in Spain will become shareholders in the company,” FROB said.

Spain is setting up the 60 billion-euro ($78 billion) facility to help lenders that have received state aid to unburden real estate assets that turned sour during the country's property crash.

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