*****We are living in an era when we wonder who is listening to our conversations or spying on us through our new home devices which turn on our lights and turn on our burglar alarms as well as record our conversations. The news is obsessed with who spied on whom in the recent elections. The more we hear about this the more we realize that political gain is far more important to both sides than the truth.
That brings us to China. For a couple of decades the Chinese government has made an effort to move millions of rural Chinese citizens to urban areas, creating vast new cities all over that country. The pretense
to have more manufacturing workers where they were needed. China has its own extreme version of the public/private partnership when it comes to manufacturing. Their government supplements all of their manufacturing. Their version of this public/private partnership is why it is so difficult to negotiate trade imbalances. In short, they don’t play fair according to our economic culture.
Now that China has all of these people in urban areas, they have announced their “Sharp Eyes” policy. They have just completed installing 40,000 surveillance cameras in over 14,000 cities and villages throughout the land with the stated goal of having a nationwide facial recognition and surveillance network. They are also using cell phones and televisions to keep track of their citizen’s every thought in their homes. As part of the Sharp Eyes the Chinese are creating a negative social credit system and using this network to spy on its citizens. In the Chinese system if you collect too many social credits you are banned from traveling, etc. So far over 6 million have already made their new “no fly” list. I hope this makes you feel a little less threatened at home but don’t let it make you any less vigilant in protecting our freedom.
***** There are all kinds of scams floating around the real estate business these days. I personally ran into one this past week. I received a referral from one of my sources to show a house in Durham. After I met the lady at the house and explained all of the necessary agency disclosures, I showed her around the property. Then she said that she had to confess that she just wanted to see inside the property since she had rented it. Well, this house was not for rent and was clearly listed just for sale. I seems the previous owner had sold the property earlier in the spring and the new owners had listed it for sale. The lady I met at the house had seen it listed for rent on rent.com and contacted who she thought was the owner. Unfortunately she sent them a full deposit and had not heard from them since. This is wrong on so many levels. While I am trying to get some help for this lady I just want to warn you only to deal with reputable people and facts that you know. If you list your house you need to understand that scammers could be high-jacking your information and posting rental ads to deceive people.
*****Interest rates are going up. That indeed is a scary thought. However, they are still at historic lows. You don’t believe that, do you. Over my entire career the average home mortgage rate has been approximately 8%. My first mortgage was 6%, a rate that stood for many years. It was not until the 90’s that our government realized they could artificially tinker with our interest rates at home, keeping them separate from the world market. I understand why the under 40 crowd thinks 6% rates are horrible. They simply have not seen them before. They also have not seen really strong economic times where a home in the Triangle is gaining value at around 5% a year and there is a market for it
when you want to sell. The other good thing about a little higher interest rates is that grandma and granddad will finally start earning a little on their retirement accounts. Who knows, they might even loan it to you.