Energy & Commodities

E-Bikes Are Getting More People Out of Their Cars

Posted by Selene Yeager,

on Friday, 07 September 2018 11:54

ebike3Want to stir up the cycling masses on social media? Post something about e-bikes. Few topics raise hackles like bikes powered by batteries. Some welcome their potential to make cycling easier and more accessible, but others fear they’re too close in nature to motorcycles to earn the “bicycle” classification.

That the technology is fairly new, and we don’t have a ton of data to work with, only muddles the debate. A new survey should help clarify things. Carried out by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, it sheds some light on how people actually use electric bikes. The main takeaway: More e-bikes means fewer cars on the road—and more people in the bike saddle.

Designed as a deep dive, the survey polled nearly 1,800 electric bike owners in North America, most of them in the US. It asked respondents why they bought e-bikes, what kind of trips they use them for, and how e-bikes compare to conventional bikes when it comes to barriers to cycling.

Men accounted for most e-bike buyers at 70 percent, with women at 29 percent (the rest were unspecified). Reasons behind the purchases were all over the map, but included the ability to ride more easily in a hilly area; to ride longer distances; to help overcome limitations caused by a medical condition; and, of course, to just have fun.


What stood out, however, is how many motives involved eliminating driving hassles. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they bought an e-bike specifically to replace car trips. Others pointed to craving a more car-free lifestyle, such as using e-bikes to carry cargo or kids, avoid parking and traffic woes, be more environmentally minded, and have a more cost-effective form of transportation.

Scan the chart below, and it’s clear that people want to do on a bike what they do with their car, but that barriers like distance, terrain, and hauling cargo get in the way:


E-bikes aren’t only about utility. Of the riders surveyed, about a quarter said they wanted to increase fitness. Others wanted one for recreation, because a medical condition made riding difficult, and to keep up with friends and family.

Whatever their given reasons, e-bike owners ride a lot. More than 91 percent ride weekly or daily. Meanwhile, only 55 percent rode their standard bikes frequently before getting an e-bike. To be clear, the vast majority (93.4 percent) rode a standard bike previously, so they’re likely already sold on cycling in general.

But e-bikes allowed them to ride more frequently and leave their cars behind more often. In fact, they reported that 76 percent of their trips via e-bike would have otherwise been made by car.

Interestingly, of the 6.6 percent of current e-bike owners who said they hadn’t ridden a standard bike as an adult, 93.5 percent now say they ride weekly or daily.

E-bikes are a small but growing market in the US, with between 200,000 and 250,000 sold in 2016 alone, according to survey data. Worldwide sales are exploding, with figures estimating 100 million e-bikes sold by 2035. At the very least, that means more butts on bikes and fewer behind the wheel.


Real Estate

Real Estate Reflections on the Trade War

Posted by Justin Smith, Hawkeye Wealth

on Friday, 07 September 2018 11:47

tradewar dock

How can the current trade uncertainties potentially impact your real estate portfolio in the U.S. & Canada?

What at first seemed like hypothetical political rhetoric is now becoming part of reality. The recent headlines on trade spats between the U.S. and its allies, and between the U.S. and China, are creating a new arena of geopolitical uncertainty for businesses. The impact on the tariff-slapped industries is clear, but what could this mean for real estate investors?


  • Warehousing and logistics-related real estate particularly vulnerable to trade implications
  • Cost increases in the construction and retail sectors pose a threat as consumers are already price sensitive
  • Wider economic implications could mean a faster pace of interest rate hikes

Not all sectors are created equal

International trade always produces winners and losers of varying degrees in each industry. It is no different for real estate assets. Changing the commercial dynamics between countries impacts the whole economy, which can subsequently affect the performance of real estate but some sectors are potentially more vulnerable than others.

Take the industrial space. Warehousing and logistics-related real estate (a large component of the industrial sector) is particularly vulnerable. Certain cities that depend heavily on being a cross-border transportation and storage hub are directly impacted by trade relations. Both revenue and occupancy could be reduced with a severed trade deal.

The flip-side is also a possibility. Areas that rely heavily on domestic distribution can experience an uptick as consumers substitute imported goods for what is affordable and available within the country. It is important that real estate investors are aware of their holdings’ exposure to changes in international trade, both geographically and by asset class.

It is all about the cost

The industrial example highlights the loss of business due to trade uncertainty. There is also the case of increased costs resulting from changing trade agreements. The U.S. imposing tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel will directly impact construction costs, most typically in high-rise construction and other kinds of mid-rise starts. Developers may struggle to pass these additional costs on to the consumer in markets already sensitive to housing affordability.

As for other products in the market place, any higher retail price will add pressure to the already ailing retail sector. While e-commerce might also suffer from the difficulties in maintaining supply chains, price-sensitive consumers will readily avoid certain retailers if prices jump too high due to tariffs.

The ripple effect and what investors can do

Lastly, and potentially most impactful, are the wider implications to the economy. If trade hampers economic and job growth, real estate will subsequently suffer. That can come in the form of lower occupancy in the office space or lower asset appreciation due to a market slowdown. It could also lead to an uptick in inflation due to increased costs to the consumer, putting pressure on interest rate hikes.

The savvy real estate investor can potentially find opportunities in the struggling sector by buying when everybody is selling. Identifying areas that will experience an economic boon from the levies might also prove effective.

Ultimately, trade and political uncertainty highlight the importance of diversifying into different real estate assets--both geographically and sector-wise--to avoid too much exposure to trade issues. At the end of the day, the greatest insurance to avoid the potential problems due to unbalanced trade really comes with having a balanced portfolio.

Hawkeye Wealth offers investors access to Private Equity real estate with proven track records.



Real Estate

Canadian HELOCs rapidly overheating

Posted by Kyle Green

on Tuesday, 04 September 2018 17:41

If the Canadian government gets nervous about the number of outstanding home equity lines of credit as well as the increasing balances on these HELOC’s, there is a strong possibility that they may further tighten qualifications or guidelines for lines of credit. Already we have seen the government attack equity mortgages and lines of credit this year, so if you are looking to access the equity in your home via a home equity line of credit, you may want to act sooner rather than later.” – Kyle Green 

The outstanding balance of Canadian home equity lines of credit has reached a record-shattering high of $258.97 billion in June 2018, according to a new Better Dwelling analysis of data from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

This represented an increase of $2.169 billion in just a month, pushing the annual pace of HELOC growth to 5.52%... CLICK for the complete article




What Does Capitalism Look Like In North Korea?

Posted by Charles Benavidez

on Wednesday, 29 August 2018 11:39


A bit of capitalism flows in any society, even North Korea. It’s a natural offshoot of the human condition—that drive to survive self-sufficiently; that uncontrollable desire to … sell something. It’s the entrepreneurial spirit, and it’s hard to suppress entirely, even for all-controlling Pyongyang... CLICK for complete article


Stocks & Equities

Why Square Is Guggenheim's Top Fintech Pick

Posted by Jayson Derrick

on Wednesday, 29 August 2018 11:32


Square Inc is a lot more than a simple payment processor, in Guggenheim's view: the company's ever-expanding list of products and services makes it the analyst firm's "highest conviction name in fintech." CLICK for complete article


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