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Readers Respond: Is the mortgage deduction safe?

BY HBSDEALER Staff

While politicians attempt to balance budgets, the mortgage interest tax deduction is again in the news. Readers respond here.

"There could be nothing worse our government could do than discourage the ownership of a home. I would like to think that our elected officials are at least smart enough to realize that!"
— Bruce M. Currie
President
C.A. Niece Lumber Co.
Lambertville, N.J.

"[Eliminating the deduction] would be a major blow to housing sales. The sale of a new or existing home has a major impact on our total economy. Durable goods and the service sectors of the market could be negatively impacted."
— Ed Sims

"I suggest Congress allow the mortgage interest deduction on the primary residence only but disallow it on second, third residences, which include motor homes, yachts, cabins etc. Ditto for real estate tax deduction, primary residence only."
— Name withheld

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Post Office to try same-day delivery

BY Brae Canlen

In a pilot now being conducted in San Francisco, the U.S. Postal Service is experimenting with a same-day delivery service of e-commerce packages. The project, called “Metro Post,” will begin on or about Dec. 12 in San Francisco and run for the next 12 months, according to John Friess, a public relations representative for the postal service.

If all goes well, the Post Office has selected more than two dozen cities that are large, densely populated metro areas that could support the Metro Post business model, according to Friess.

During the San Francisco test phase, consumers can place an online order with a participating retailer until 2 or 3 p.m. If they click “same-day delivery,” postal workers will then pick up the merchandise from nearby retail stores or warehouses for delivery to homes between 4 and 8 p.m. that day. Work hours, travel costsand package volume will be tracked and measured.

The Postal Service is working out agreements with eight to 10 national retail chains for the project, although the agency said its nondisclosure agreements don’t allow it to reveal the companies. But the retailers must have a physical presence in 10 or more big U.S. cities to be a Metro Post partner, which narrows the list.

Other companies such as eBay, Amazon.com and Walmart already offer same-day delivery, usually for a flat $10 fee.

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Chinese investor breaks ground on first U.S. apartment complex

BY Brae Canlen

A Chinese investment company listed on the NYSE has launched the first of several planned multi-family developments in the United States, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Xinyuan Real Estate Co. is constructing a 216-unit condo building in Brooklyn, in the Williamsburg section, its first U.S. residential development. The company is also scouting for other U.S. sites, and plans to sell 40% of the units to Chinese investors, the newspaper reported.

Two dozen Chinese real estate companies, both state-owned and private, are surveying the United States for potential properties, according to a real estate adviser interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. Most of them are interested in residential projects.

Lennar Corp. is currently in talks with the Chinese Development Bank for about $1.7 billion in capital to redevelop two San Francisco naval bases into large housing complexes, the article said.

Metro markets of particular interest to Chinese investors are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, where they can use the properties as rentals or second homes.

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