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Friday's Daily Pulse

Affordable homes becoming out of reach for many

A trio of reports released this week say the cost of real estate is drifting further out of reach for potential buyers earning median salaries — with general housing expenses rising well beyond stagnant worker wages. Economists warn the trend could eventually shut out an entire generation of young Americans and disrupt a cycle of move-up purchases that the housing industry depends on for growth. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]


U.S. factory growth climbs to 4-year high

Michael Sobolewski, president of Conelec Electronic Manufacturing in DeLand, said his company has seen an uptick in orders in recent weeks. “We’re seeing an increased demand as we look towards the second quarter,” he said. He’s not alone. [Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal]


The spies among us: Cell phone tracking is big business

You carry it with you everywhere you go, but did you know your cell phone could be tracking your every move? Corporations are cashing in by knowing your whereabouts. [Source: WINK]


Telemedicine Ready for Legislative Reboot

Technology that didn't exist a few years ago is changing how Americans are dealing with chronic conditions and acute disease. It's eliminating the burden of hours-long drives for patients, doctors, or both. And the tools bring experts to facilities that can't afford a full-time specialist. And Florida’s legislature loves this idea. [Source: Health News Florida]


Foreclosure Starts Fall To Pre-Crisis Levels

The rate of new foreclosures in the U.S. dropped to the lowest level in eight years as rising property prices erased negative equity and allowed more of the nation's delinquent homeowners to sell without losing money. [Source: Bloomberg News]


ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Floating an idea to keep beaches from eroding
Two part-time Sarasota County residents think they may have devised a better way to keep beaches from eroding — and potentially saving governments millions in resanding costs.

› Former EA executive seeks to create tech hub
A group of entrepreneurs led by a former Electronic Arts executive has thrown its clout behind creating a high-tech startup hub in downtown Orlando's Church Street Exchange building.

› Fort Myers-based NeoGenomics profits higher
Efficiency and gains in market share have boosted profits for Fort Myers-based NeoGenomics Laboratories Inc., but executives said that ever-changing Medicare billing rules threaten those gains.

› Cruise lines boost Port Canaveral presence
Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines have reached deals to expand their operations at Port Canaveral. The deals will boost Brevard County’s seaport in its effort to become the world’s busiest, based on the number of cruise passengers, ahead of the Port of Miami and Port Everglades near Fort Lauderdale.


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› HSN Inc. reports 4 percent sales increase in 2013
HSN Inc. announced Thursday its annual sales were $3.4 billion in 2013, up 4 percent over the previous year. The St. Petersburg-based ccompany reported net income of $178 million in 2013, compared to $131 million the year before.

› Orlando hotels off to a good start for 2014
Hotels in Orlando got off to a good start for 2014, with the highest January occupancy since the late 1990s. Orlando-area hotels filled 72.7 percent of their rooms during the month, compared with 69.7 percent for the same month a year ago.

› Broward's tourism campaign hits Chicago
Broward County's tourism marketing agency brought its own kind of sunshine and beach vibe to Chicago this week, the second stop of its winter roadshow that's aimed at increasing destination awareness and overnight visitation from key markets.

› Stonegate Mortgage creates headquarters in Pinellas County
Indianapolis-based home lender Stonegate Mortgage Corp. is creating a regional headquarters at Cardinal Point in Clearwater, a move that promises to add 139 jobs to its existing operations here.