The latest statistics on house sales in Florida had a couple things that people interested in seeing a sustainable recovery in that sector of the state economy should welcome. For one, sales of existing houses were up 1.2 percent in January, compared to sales in January 2013. Last month in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater statistical area, which includes Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, there were 2,367 existing single-family houses sold. The average price of those transactions was up 7.9 percent last month, compared to January 2013. These numbers aren’t spectacular, which in the long run is a good thing. We don’t need another sales bubble. It was also good to read that the number of Florida houses being bought up by big investment firms has cooled a bit since last year. All those purchases were driving up prices, reducing the profit the investors were earning. It’s good to see the market doing what it is supposed to do. Letting it do so will help reduce the risk of a repeat of the 2008 real estate collapse.
So long, Sochi The predictions of disaster during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi didn’t come true. There were no terrorist incidents, the toilets flushed and the focus stayed on the competition. Good job, Russia. Even better, the games kept Russian President Vladimir Putin busy posing for photos with Olympians. So he didn’t notice his buddy, despotic Ukraine President Victor Yanukovych, fleeing Kiev ahead of an angry mob. We hope finding a new job for the coach of the Russian hockey team — probably in Siberia — keeps him distracted.