Real estate sales are up in northeastern Pa. as many people move out of New York Shares in SRAX spiked as much as 37% in Friday’s extended market session after the digital marketing and consumer data technology company announced plans to acquire LD Micro, a data and event company serving the small and micro-cap space.The stock soared to as much as $3.91 on the news in Friday’s after-market India’s coronavirus cases surged to 4.2 million, the second-highest total in the world, on Monday as urban metro trains partially resume service in the capital New Delhi and other states. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given an October 15 deadline for a post-Brexit trade agreement with the European Union, brushing off fears about "no-deal" chaos if talks fail.
Billy Nelson expected to take the bus back home to Manhattan a few times a month for work, so he sublet a room there. His work-from-home arrangement with a tech company was based on a few days in the office each month.
However, after moving to Scranton on St. Patrick’s Day, during the most chaotic part of a global pandemic, he hasn’t used the room and canceled the lease. In fact, both Nelson, 45, and his partner, Jeff McMillan, haven’t returned to New York City since then.
“I feel like New York is going to be suffering for a while,” he said. “I honestly think New York is going to be a different place.”
Nelson and McMillan are bobbing on a wave of new residents seeking fresh air and refuge, away from crowded metros hit hard by COVID-19. The surge in demand for homes and apartments in northeastern Pennsylvania s like nothing area real estate agents have ever seen. It’s a seller’s market, with more buyers than inventory, which is driving up prices and leading some to plunk down offers without so much as a showing.
“There has been a surge in people relocating back to the area, a surge in people coming because they are able to telework,” said Leah Gianacopoulos, an agent outside Scranton.
Before the pandemic, the market was already hot. The average listing lasted three to six weeks, said Andrew Besecker, a fourth-generation real estate agent in suburban Luzerne County. It’s only getting hotter. Average days on market is about 65, according to Realtor.com, which is down about 25% compared with last year.
However, agents say many homes sell far faster than that, with some getting offers a day or two after hitting the market. “Now, people are getting full-price offers a couple of days after listing,” Besecker said. National home prices have risen steadily for the last nine years, according to CoreLogic, a real estate trends research firm, which estimates they will keep climbing at least for the next year.
“Right now, homes are selling within a matter of a few days,” said Robert Vanston, a realtor outside Scranton.
Lackawanna County’s median sale price in July jumped 7%, from $157,000 the previous year to $168,000. July was a particularly heated month when the number of sold listings doubled, from around 100 to 200, compared with the month before, according to multiple listing service data. Active listings have been steadily shrinking over the year, down from about 800 in August 2019, to around 400 in July.
Luzerne County follows a similar pattern with the number of active listings trending downward and median sale prices jumping more than 5% over the year. The absorption rate, or time estimated it will take to sell all current listings, has fallen by about 22% in both counties.
Scranton Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti launched a campaign in July, the Work from Here initiative, to lure remote workers who can keep their jobs elsewhere. The campaign resembles an old technique in the Lehigh Valley, one from which the region has since graduated, in which economic development leaders targeted commuters. It offers clues about where northeastern Pennsylvania might be headed if other pieces fall into place.
Among the most important: The region needs more family-sustaining jobs so people will be drawn to it to work, not just work remotely.
“It was a marketing campaign the [Lehigh] valley had used for many, many years, and has really stepped away from because of our economic success,” said Alicia Miller Karner, director of Bethlehem’s Department of Community and Economic Development. The city’s message evolved to promote Bethlehem as a great place to “live, work, learn and play,” she said.
A study about five years ago showed a demand for about 1,500 units in Bethlehem’s South Side alone, and the pandemic hasn’t slowed demand for new home and market-rate apartments in the city and surrounding areas, Karner said.
Before settling on Scranton, neither Nelson nor McMillan had roots in the region. They were drawn to its abundant hiking destinations within a few hours’ drive. Nelson grew up on Long Island and lived in Manhattan for the last 15 years. He said he and his partner grew tired of the fast-paced lifestyle. They wanted a place where they could settle down, enjoy the outdoors more often and own property, which is far too expensive to buy in Manhattan or New Jersey.
“We were here for a weekend, did some hiking, and it was a Sunday afternoon, it was raining,” he said. So they started browsing real estate. In a matter of months, they’ve gone from perennial renters to homeowners and landlords — they bought a duplex and rented out the other unit to a friend who was also seeking a fresh start. They’re also shopping for a cabin to escape to on the weekends.
“We’re looking to stay here for a while,” Nelson said.
(c)2020 The Citizens’ Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Author: Jon O’Connell
SRAX Pops 37% In After-Market On LD Micro Acquisition Deal; B. Riley Says Buy
Shares in SRAX spiked as much as 37% in Friday’s extended market session after the digital marketing and consumer data technology company announced plans to acquire LD Micro, a data and event company serving the small and micro-cap space.
The stock soared to as much as $3.91 on the news in Friday’s after-market session. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it is expected to close next week. SRAX (SRAX) has developed into a financial technology company that unlocks data and insights for publicly traded companies. Through its investor intelligence and communications platform, Sequire, companies can track their investors’ behaviors and trends and use those insights to engage current and potential investors across marketing channels.
The combined entities will focus on the rapid adoption of SRAX’s Sequire platform as well as hosting virtual and in-person events, the companies said.
“LD Micro is, without a doubt, one of the most well known and respected brands in micro-cap,” said Christopher Miglino, CEO of SRAX. “LD Micro is also accretive to our investors from day one. We are confident that together we’ll accelerate the adoption of Sequire, while also enhancing LD Micro’s digital assets.”
The two companies said in a statement that “one day executives will rely on Sequire the same way investors rely on Bloomberg”.
“With more than 1 million investors on Sequire so far, we will continue hosting industry-leading forums with an audience that is 50 times our current reach,” said LD Micro founder Chris Lahiji.
SRAX shares have been on a steady winning path since reaching a low in May and are now trading 15% higher than at the start of the year. (See SRAX stock analysis on TipRanks)
B. Riley FBR analyst Mike Crawford last month assigned a Buy rating on the stock with a $4 price target (39% upside potential), citing accelerating growth and profitability inflection.
“We believe rapid adoption of Sequire in its first year since introduction positions SRAX to be cash flow positive from operations in 2021,” Crawford wrote in a note to investors. “SRAX has built and monetized valuable data sets in the past, and we see another such surge in FY20-FY22 driving substantial shareholder value.”
Author: email@example.com (Ben Mahaney)
Asia Today: India Surges to World’s 2nd-Worst Virus Caseload
Business|Asia Today: India Surges to World’s 2nd-Worst Virus Caseload
Published Sept. 6, 2020Updated Sept. 7, 2020, 2:21 a.m. ET
NEW DELHI — India’s coronavirus cases surged to 4.2 million, the second-highest total in the world, on Monday as urban metro trains partially resume service in the capital New Delhi and other states.
The 90,802 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total to 4,204,614, passing Brazil, which has more than 4.1 million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 6.2 million people in the United States have been infected.
India’s Health Ministry on Monday also reported 1,016 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, taking fatalities to 71,642, the third-highest national death toll.
Amid a surge in cases, India continues to reopen, except in high-risk areas, to heal the battered economy which is still reeling from the effects of a prolonged lockdown.
The Delhi Metro transit system that serves India’s sprawling capital New Delhi and adjoining areas resumed operations Monday after five months. Masks, social distancing and temperature checks were mandatory.
India says it is now conducting 1 million tests daily, but the virus is reaching cities and towns previously spared, offsetting marginal declines in some states.
India has been recording the world’s largest daily coronavirus caseload for almost a month even as the government pushes to open businesses to revive a contracting economy.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— Organizers reported strong turnout at an event in Beijing billed as the first hybrid online and in-person trade show during the coronavirus pandemic. A total of 95,000 visitors attended the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services on Saturday, the first full day of the exhibition where crowds in the venues are being restricted by social distancing rules. The fair is being held as China’s economy has largely restarted, despite the devastating blow to many industries from a months-long shutdown and the loss of domestic demand and foreign orders. China has gone weeks without reporting any new illnesses from local transmissions. The 12 new cases announced Monday were in people returning from overseas.
— South Korea added 119 more cases of the coronavirus, its lowest daily jump in more than three weeks amid a downward trend in new cases. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday the additional figures took the country’s total to 21,296 with 336 deaths. It’s the fifth straight day the country’s daily jump has stayed under 200. The rise in cases in August, many of them associated with churches, restaurants and schools and an anti-government street rally in the greater Seoul area, has largely been slowed thanks to toughened social distancing rules and bans gatherings at churches, night spots, after-school academies and fitness centers.
— Australia has struck supply and production agreements with pharmaceutical companies worth $1.2 billion over two potential COVID-19 vaccines. Britain’s University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca and Australia’s University of Queensland working with CSL will provide more than 84.8 million vaccine doses for Australia’s 26 million people, almost entirely manufactured in Melbourne, a government statement said. Australians would have access to 3.8 million doses of the University of Oxford vaccine in January and February, it said. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said both vaccines would need to be proven safe and effective and meet all necessary regulatory requirements before being made available to the public. Any vaccine would be free to all Australians.
— Australia’s hot spot Victoria state on Monday recorded its lowest count of new COVID-19 cases in more than 10 weeks. The state reported 41 new cases and nine deaths in the latest 24-hour period. Restrictions were slightly eased in Melbourne on Sunday but the state capital and Australia’s second-largest city will remain in lockdown until at least Oct. 26. The 14-day average in Victoria is now 96 a day. Victorian Premier Danial Andrews said the average will have to be below 50 before restrictions can be relaxed. “This is not about eradicating it. We will finish up with cases and outbreaks in 2021, but they’ll be of such low numbers that we can probably put the lid on those and not have to put restrictions back on,” Andrews said.
Author: The Associated Press
UK PM gives October 15 deadline for Brexit deal
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given an October 15 deadline for a post-Brexit trade agreement with the European Union, brushing off fears about “no-deal” chaos if talks fail.
The eighth round of negotiations resume in London this week, with both sides talking increasingly tough, amid accusations of intransigence and political brinkmanship.
The UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost, did little to raise expectations about a breakthrough, promising no compromise on London’s red lines, in a rare newspaper interview published on Sunday.
His EU opposite number, Michel Barnier, this week said the talks stood or failed on the need to get an accord on EU access to UK fishing waters and state aid rules, but Britain was giving no ground.
Brussels has already indicated that mid-October was the latest a deal could be struck, given the need for translation and ratification by the European Parliament.
Despite months of refusing to confirm a firm cut-off date, Johnson agreed.
“There needs to be an agreement with our European friends by the time of the European Council on October 15 if it’s going to be in force by the end of the year,” he said in remarks released by his office.
“So, there is no sense in thinking beyond that point. If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us.”
Should that happen, Britain will have an “Australia-style” deal with the EU or one similar to that agreed with Canada and other countries, he said.
Australia trades with the EU under World Trade Organization rules and tariffs. But Johnson, whose government had said it wanted a “zero tariff, zero quota” regime, insisted it would still be a “good outcome” for Britain.
– Door open –
Johnson’s warning will likely compound criticisms from British pro-EU “remainers” that his ruling Conservative government envisaged a “no-deal” scenario all along, despite claiming the contrary.
“Brexiteers” had promised that securing a deal with Britain’s biggest trading partner would be straightforward and rejected criticism that unravelling nearly 50 years of ties with Europe would be lengthy and even impossible.
Britain formally left the 27-member bloc on January 31 — nearly four years after a divisive referendum that crippled the country politically and saw two prime ministers resign.
Johnson, who took over after Theresa May repeatedly failed to get her Brexit divorce deal through parliament, promised Britain’s borders and ports will be ready for when the so-called transition period comes to an end on December 31.
Meanwhile, media reports said Johnson was also planning new UK legislation that would override parts of the withdrawal agreement made with the EU last year and ratified in January.
According to The Financial Times, which cited three people close to the plans, the bill would undermine agreements relating to Northern Ireland customs and state aid.
A government spokesperson told the newspaper it was “working hard to resolve outstanding issues” with the Northern Ireland protocol, which was negotiated as part of the deal in order to keep the Irish border open.
– ‘Full control’ –
Britain remains bound by EU rules while it tries to thrash out new terms of its relationship.
The talks, which were on a tight timetable even before disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, have stalled, notably because of wrangling over fishing rights and fair competition rules.
Johnson did not rule out a deal altogether and vowed to work hard this month to achieve one. But he pledged Britain “will be ready” if talks break down.
“We will have full control over our laws, our rules, and our fishing waters,” he promised.
“We will have the freedom to do trade deals with every country in the world. And we will prosper mightily as a result.
“We will of course always be ready to talk to our EU friends even in these circumstances.
“Our door will never be closed and we will trade as friends and partners –- but without a free-trade agreement.”
Author: Phil HAZLEWOOD