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CPBJ Extra Blog

I missed you, Mr. or Mrs. Census

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For the past two weeks, I felt a bit like a character on NBC's “Revolution.”

With the partial government shutdown, releases from the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal agencies were in limbo as websites went dark.

I never thought I’d get so excited to see the lights come back on and building permit surveys make their triumphant return to my computer monitor.

For those keeping score, September permit data is coming at the end of the week.

I realize government news releases are not that exciting to most. But it’s nice to be able to keep tabs on certain construction industry performance indicators.

And sometimes you can tell a good story or present a great chart just with numbers.

So yes, that’s a minor shout-out to Congress (for now). Don’t let the lights go out again in January.

For the record, I’d be Miles Matheson.

Go away, Harrisburg debt

As much as I missed certain data resources, I’m not going to miss the saga that is Harrisburg’s debt deal.

Last week, AEW Capital Management, one of the entities involved in the parking side of the Harrisburg “Strong Plan” pulled out. That deal with Harrisburg First also includes Guggenheim Securities LLC, Piper Jaffray & Co. and a subsidiary of Standard Parking Corp., Standard Parking SP Plus Municipal Services.

“AEW made a business decision not to continue with this public, public parking transaction. Their main focus is on public pension, private equity investments,” said Cory Angell, a spokesman for William Lynch, the city’s receiver. “This is more in the category of an annoyance rather than a disaster. We are exploring options.”

It remains a bit unclear as to how long this could delay the transactions in the court-approved deal. December was ruled likely.

“I don’t know if this will hang us up at all,” Angell said.

The lease of the city’s parking system is expected to net between $258 million and $268 million through a public-private partnership. The 40-year deal is using a tax-exempt bond financing through the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority.

The final terms of the deal rely on conditions in the municipal bond market, which have been stable. Lynch has expressed some concern about interest rates due to the federal shutdown.

Foreclosures falling

For you thrill-seekers, California-based CoreLogic Inc. on Monday released local foreclosure data for August. And it’s looking pretty good for the midstate.

The findings:

Lebanon County: 1.87 percent among outstanding mortgage loans, a decrease of 0.49 percentage points from August 2012. That ties June’s foreclosure rate, which was best since December 2011 (1.72 percent). The 90-day delinquency rate was 4.21 percent compared with 4.53 percent last August.

Lancaster County: 1.88 percent compared with 2.18 percent last August. That ties June’s foreclosure rate, which was lowest since May (1.84 percent). The delinquency rate was 3.61 percent compared with 3.84 percent in August 2012.

Harrisburg-Carlisle: 1.93 percent compared to 2.27 percent last August. That was the lowest since January 2012 (1.85 percent). The delinquency rate was 4.33 percent compared with 4.44 percent in August 2012.

York-Hanover: 2.74 percent compared to 3.32 percent in August 2012. That was the lowest since December 2011 (2.72 percent). The delinquency rate was 5.84 percent compared with 6.19 percent last August.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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