Monthly Archives: December 2016

The China Factor

Unless you have been in a cocoon, you most likely are aware that China will in all probability become the next economic superpower in the world. The country’s economy is on steroids, growing at close to double digits over the past few years and this is not expected to change.


And if you understand the vast size of the country’s economic engine, you would also understand that China is a place where you need to have some capital invested. Of course, at the same time, you also need to fully understand the risk factors associated in investing in a country where the economy and corporate structure is strictly under the control of the communist-led government.


The concept of an open economy in China is debatable as there is the constant threat of government intervention at any time to suit the political agenda. Yet the risk is probably warranted given the vast growth opportunities that lie in the country for both multi-national companies and investors looking for some diversification outside of their borders. This region of the world will become the next big boom in economic growth as long as the Chinese government is willing.


A report just published by the Development Research Center of China’s State Council estimates that the country will report GDP growth of about 8% annually from 2006 to 2010. Based on the numbers we have been seeing, this estimate seems to be reasonable.


The report estimates that China’s GDP based on 2000 prices will hit USD$2.3 trillion by the end of the current five-year period in 2010.


In the subsequent 10-year period from 2010 to 2020, the report calculates a decline in the annual GDP growth rate to around 7%, which is still quite respectable.


For investors, the estimated numbers are staggering but then China must be able to manage any inflationary and growth-related issues going forward as the country becomes richer.


The country’s middle class of several hundred million strong is booming as citizens’ move from the countryside to the cities in search of opportunities to increase their wealth.


As Chinese citizens make more money, they become more consumption driven. This in turn pumps up the demand for both domestic and foreign good and services. That’s why we are seeing such a mass flow of companies into China searching for growth opportunities.


The bottomline is you need to be in China at some point.  In future commentaries, I will examine some of the key Chinese stocks trading as American Depository Receipts (ADRs) in the U.S.




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How Does the Type of Pool Affect Cost?

In-ground pools are available in three types: concrete, vinyl, and fiberglass. They have similar initial costs for a turn-key installation, but there are great differences in the lifetime cost.



Concrete is sometimes called gunite. Gunite, however, is actually the method used to apply concrete to form a pool shell. Concrete is very durable, but it can also become a haven for mold and algae if not properly maintained. Every 3 to 5 years the pool needs an acid wash to keep algae from forming and sticking. Because this will strip a small layer away, the shell will have to be re-plastered at some point.


The initial cost of installing a concrete pool is between $50,000.00 and $100,000.00. Because they are usually larger than other types of pools, they require more electricity and more chemicals to keep them clean and swimmable. Including the acid wash and re-plastering, over a 10-year period, you can expect to pay an average of $27,400.00.


Vinyl pools are popular because of their versatility and ease of maintenance. They come in a variety of shapes including custom designs, and the soft touch of vinyl means a non-abrasive surface. They’re very easy to clean and many owners handle the cleaning themselves. Because the vinyl surface tends not to allow algae to form easily, the cost of chemicals is usually lower than that of concrete.

Installing a vinyl pool has an initial cost of $35,000.00 to $50,000.00. With patience, talent, and the right tools, a dedicated DIYer could possibly handle the job themselves. Over a 10-year period, maintenance costs around $11,500.00.




A fiberglass pool is a preformed shell that gets put into a levelled hole pre-dug to the shape of the pool. It lends itself well to the experienced DIYer, but most people prefer the peace of mind of letting a professional handle the work. The shells usually measure no more than 16 feet across in order to avoid breakage during shipping and installation. They are possibly the easiest of the pool types to clean and maintain, and there are no special requirements for the shell. No acid wash and no liner replacement makes the size limitations an acceptable trade-off for many people.


The initial cost of a fiberglass pool is from $45,000.00 to $85,000.00. This includes delivery and installation up to a basic deck. The maintenance cost of is the lowest of the three types with an average of $3,750.00.


As you can see, there isn’t much difference among the initial installation costs, all things considered. The real difference lies with the maintenance costs. A concrete or vinyl pool can be of many configurations, but the maintenance costs are considerably higher. You should weigh your desired purpose of the pool against what sort of maintenance you want to deal with.


Ready to install an inground pool? Hire a professional today.


Size and Location


The size and location of your pool will also have a big impact on your cost. As a rule of thumb, figure $50.00 per square foot of pool. The depth will also affect the cost to varying degrees.


A small pool generally measures about 10×20 feet and isn’t too deep, about 5 ½ feet. They are used mostly just for cooling off on hot days, but many can be fitted with swim jets for exercise. Using the above rule of thumb, the base cost for a small pool is around $10,000.00.


An average size swimming pool is around 14×28 feet with a typical depth of around 6 ½ feet, but if you intend to do any head-first diving, the Red Cross recommends a depth of at least 9 feet. Pools of this size start around the $20,000.00 range.


Pools are considered large at around 18×36 feet. Many have deep ends of 9 to 12 feet. Often too large for most suburban homes, large pools can start at about $35,000.00.


The location can affect the cost depending on factors such as what’s beneath the ground (a layer of rock will have to be blasted through), how far the crew has to travel to get to your house, and the cost of living in your area.


If you decide on a fiberglass pool but don’t have easy access to your backyard, a crane might be necessary to lift it over your house.


Your landscaping may dictate where your pool can go. However, if you have a sloping yard, you might consider a semi-inground pool cost. They can be built directly into slopes and a 12×24 foot model costs from $8,000.00 to $10,000.00, less than an inground. Surrounded by a deck and decorative plants, they are an attractive compromise.


Custom Pools and Features


When it comes to accessorizing your pool, the sky’s the limit. Many features are available to give even the most common pool a customized look and feel.


Shape – The most common pool shapes are rectangular or kidney bean. Custom shapes are limited only by your imagination, but the cost of having one is limited by your budget. In general, figure a base cost of $50.00 per square foot for your design.

Spas – A hot tub is a popular feature for pools. A spa can add $5,000.00 to $8,000.00 to your base price.

Slides – Pools built with kids in mind will often have slides. Slides cost from a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand depending on design and manufacture as well as features, such as water jets.

Rocks – The natural look of stone around your pool makes for a relaxing escape. Available in natural stone and artificial stone, the cost depends heavily on the type of stone and the configuration you want.

Lighting – Lighting can set the mood and provide some safety for your pool if you use it after dark. Traditional incandescent light and energy-efficient LED lights are available for a wide variety of prices depending on features such as light color, floating or fixed, and output. They average $75.00 to $100.00 each for a 50-watt light, but higher wattage lights are available.

Waterfalls – Waterfalls are attractive features on any pool, but the cost can be hard to calculate until you talk to an installer. At the least, you can expect to add around $1,000.00 to your cost for a simple waterfall.

Diving Boards – If your pool is large enough and deep enough, a diving board will cost from $300.00 to $600.00 for a fiberglass model to around $1,000.00 for a high end aluminum one. The cost of installation depends on local codes and requirements, so discuss this with an installer before you buy a board.

Decks – The deck around your pool might be figured in as part of your quote. It will probably be a basic concrete deck with only a basic design. The more elaborate your design, and the materials used, will add to your pool cost to widely varying degrees.

Plants – Like decking, the cost of plants around your pool will be determined by your own tastes and choices. Keep in mind that leafy plants will drop their leaves, which could blow into your pool. If you have landscaping that needs to be changed, such as trees, boulders, or sloping, that will certainly add to the cost by varying amounts.

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Sandy Flores, RE Broker – The Housing Chatter Box & Real Estate-Real Talk!

I moved to Orange County from Lima, Peru in 1986. I am happily married, have 3 kids and 8 grand kids that I love with all my heart. My goal was to become successful in this country. I knew that the United States was the land of opportunity for those willing to do their best to make their dreams come true. My parents, Luis Mora a Dental Surgeon, and Doris Olaechea a dedicated housewife and best mom for me tough me that in order to achieve my goals I had to work hard, envision a bright future, and last but not least keep always my family values above all. Ever since I could remember they have been right beside me supporting all my dreams, one by one. As a former a teacher, my role has been a person who inspires and encourages other people to strive for greatness, live to their fullest potential and see the best in themselves. I am not stranger to working long hours and helping people reach their goals. I decided to get into Real Estate as another way to help families to achieve the American Dream of Home-ownership. My sense of motivation and commitment toward this goal, kept me going non-stopping. I am very proud of being part of so many success stories from hard working people accomplishing not only the Dream of Ownership but also learn how to invest in properties. I have always put my client’s best interest as my top priority. My marketing and negotiating skills are uniquely coupled with my ability to understand my clients’ tastes and needs. It’s one of the most humbling and fantastic feelings to be able to share such a major life event. I firmly believes the successful listing or purchasing of a home takes the knowledge of not only an industry but also an area expert. Knowledge combined with years of established relationships in the real estate business and the community have helped me maximize my ability to make things happen for my clients.