July 19, 2017

Prices Down And Crickets Echoing Through Open Houses

A report from Bloomberg on Canada. “Canada’s hottest housing market is definitely cooling down. Total home sales in Greater Toronto dropped to 5,977 in June, the lowest level since 2010 and down 15.1 percent from the month prior, data from the Canadian Real Estate Association show. Average prices are down 14.2 percent since March — the fastest 3-month decline in the history of the data back to 1988 — while the ratio of sales to new listings sits at its lowest level since 2009. Prices and sales also fell in nearby regions such as Hamilton-Burlington and Kitchener-Waterloo, CREA data show.”

“Sales also fell 4 percent from the previous month in Vancouver, the country’s other hot real estate market, to 3,047 residential units. Greater Vancouver remains Canada’s most expensive market with an average price of C$1.04 million, down 3.2 percent from May. Sales fell most sharply in Regina, which was down 27.3 percent. ‘The Canadian housing market is chock full of unique stories, both positive and negative,’ Bank of Montreal economists Doug Porter and Robert Kavcic wrote in a research note. Ontario’s changes ‘have worked to alter market psychology — and that is a positive outcome given the speculative dynamics in place a few months ago.’”

From Global News. “Sales of existing homes fell by over 15 per cent in Toronto, the second straight double-digit decline, with resale activity now down by a whopping 42 per cent from its March peak, TD economist Diana Petramala wrote in a brief note to clients. The ratio of sales compared to new home listings fell below 40 per cent in Toronto, the statistics show. In March, by comparison, the ratio stood at 86 per cent, meaning homes were being snatched up pretty much as soon as the ‘for sale’ sign went up. ‘According to this metric, Toronto has now fully moved from sellers’ territory (ratio above 60 per cent) to buyers’ territory (ratio under 40 per cent),’ Petramala wrote.”

“‘The higher end of the Toronto market (call it $1.5 million plus, for argument’s sake) has gone stone cold, with prices now edging down and crickets echoing through open houses,’ BMO economist Robert Kavcic noted in a different email to clients.”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 06:13:02

Toronto’s Realestate plummets, Panic has started as new policies are implemented


“If you recently purchased, just hold on.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 06:24:30

One interesting thing in this interview: she says the market clearly headed down in the months before the new government policies. Same thing happened in Vancouver.

Comment by MacBeth
2017-07-19 17:20:31

That is interesting.

I smells me a rat. Intuition tells me the government didn’t impose the new rules until most of those on the take (their buddies?) made their money and got out. And that the government knew it.

The hoi polloi is left to rot.

As others say here, privatize the gains, socialize the losses.

Time will tell if I’m out to lunch on this one.

Comment by rms
2017-07-19 06:32:32

“If you recently purchased, just hold on.”

Proper ladies and top hat gentlemen to the lifeboats… steerage, just sit tight.

Comment by Sean
2017-07-19 07:04:54

Time to break out the violin and play “Nearer My God To Thee”

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-07-19 23:20:48

Is the ship headed to Davy Jones’ Locker?

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 06:17:58

‘Paul Anglin, a University of Guelph associate business and economics professor who researches house sales, says: “It looks like the market is taking a bit of a break, trying to process what’s come out of Queen’s Park two months ago with a list of 16 policies to cool down the housing market.”

‘Anglin says it’s too soon to determine if the slowdown is a trend, “especially on the pricing.” The average house price in June in Hamilton was $537,367, which is up 8.6 per cent over a year ago, but down 11.2 per cent from a month earlier in May, when it was $604,848.’

‘”Showings are down. Multiple offers are down, and more sale signs are up and staying in the ground longer,” says Lou Piriano, president of the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHAB).’

‘There were 2,756 new property listings last month, which is 23.8 per cent higher than the same month last year. In May, Hamilton had a record 3,208 new listings, which was 41 per cent higher than the same month last year.’

“In the past, I was not surprised to see a house selling at $50,000 over asking,” Piriano said, “but with more listings, there is less reason for buyers to get into bidding wars.” Piriano said he sees purchasers now putting conditions back into their offers, which he says is good news for inexperienced first-time home buyers.’

‘Mortgage rates went up last week and are expected to go up slightly again in a week or two, but the overall effect is a ¼ per cent increase, says Piriano. “It’s not that much, but it’s the psychology of it that gets people going.”

‘By the same token, stories about a slowing market gets people thinking they should sit back and wait things out, he adds. This then slows the market more.’

‘O’Neill says that besides the possible cooling effect of Queen’s Park policies, the slowdown could also be from the traditional slow sales in the summer months. But he insists, “We’re still in a strong market. No one needs to panic. It’s just a more balanced market.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 07:05:24

‘In the past, I was not surprised to see a house selling at $50,000 over asking…but with more listings, there is less reason for buyers to get into bidding wars.’

‘Mortgage rates went up last week and are expected to go up slightly again…’It’s not that much, but it’s the psychology of it that gets people going.’

‘By the same token, stories about a slowing market gets people thinking they should sit back and wait things out, he adds. This then slows the market more.’

I’ve read several articles about Toronto the past week that mention psychology. That’s what a mania boils down too: it’s not in the water or air, it’s in the minds of participants.

‘I was not surprised to see a house selling at $50,000 over asking’

He wasn’t surprised and neither were the 40 people bidding. And they tell others about the bonanza and they want in too. And so it goes.

Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-07-19 08:37:57

“…but with more listings, there is less reason for buyers to get into bidding wars.’”

This whole “bidding wars” narrative was conjured up by Realtwhores during the bubble.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-07-19 23:24:39

It was real. We deliberately underpriced the market when selling just before the first Housing Bubble wave collapsed and sold for $30k over list price to the best of five offers.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 06:20:41

‘Fewer house sales: Now, the bad news’

‘Declining home sales (and prices), will mean less revenue for the city generated by its land transfer tax, which, since it came into effect on Feb. 1, 2008, has poured hundreds of millions of dollars annually into city coffers.’

‘While it’s still early days, councillors on Toronto’s budget committee are rightly worried that if revenues from the land transfer tax, which raked in $639.7 million in 2016, dramatically drop, the city will have to make up the lost revenue.’

‘Since it can’t run a deficit, that could mean higher property taxes, levies and fees and/or reduced services. Unless council can find ways to maintain and improve services while spending less. Good luck with that.’

‘We should have known the municipal land transfer tax would come back to bite us because when it was introduced by then mayor David Miller a decade ago, it was the worst kind of tax. That is, it was a mere duplication of the provincial land transfer tax, with the money going down the black hole of general revenues, instead of being earmarked for specific purposes to benefit property taxpayers.’

‘Now, council’s addicted to that annual injection of cash from the municipal land transfer tax, where city revenues have increased in lock step with rising house prices. City Manager Peter Wallace warned councillors for years they were relying too much on the land transfer tax, because it was vulnerable to downturns in the housing market.’

‘Now, that day appears to have arrived, proving yet again that when governments intervene to “help” us, they inevitably create new problems they failed to foresee.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 06:38:33

‘if revenues from the land transfer tax, which raked in $639.7 million in 2016, dramatically drop, the city will have to make up the lost revenue’

This is how bad investments cause recessions. And it shows how recessions start during booms. There could hardly be a more classic example of a housing bubble than Toronto. It’s interesting we aren’t hearing more about it in the MSM, like it’s a minor measles outbreak or something.

Back to the recession: just when the joy-boy days are over, the city finds itself with a lot less money. Spending falls, people get laid off, and so on.

Oh Mike! I forgot, am I wishing for this to happen?

Wait, I just observed it and noted when house prices shoot up for a decade or more, then blow off with a 30% increase like this past spring, somebody is going to get clobbered. Lo and behold.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 06:22:24

But…but…our Keynesian central planners assured us that debt fueled “growth” is the path to permanent economic expansion.


Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 06:30:11

‘Sunac is now taking on a bunch of those Wanda assets, a move that continues the company’s trend of extending lifelines to troubled companies. It’s happened so much there’s a circulating market joke in China: After all the typical company financing rounds, there’s a final “Sun Hongbin funding round” named for the founder of Sunac. As such, questions are swirling over just how much risk the company has taken on.’

Funding rounds? The first time I heard of “burn rate” I knew these VC guys were idiots.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 07:49:44

‘Initial coin offerings, a means of crowdfunding for blockchain-technology companies, have caught so much attention that even the co-founder of the ethereum network, where many of these digital coins are built, says it’s time for things to cool down in a big way.’

“People say ICOs are great for ethereum because, look at the price, but it’s a ticking time-bomb,” Charles Hoskinson, who helped develop ethereum, said in an interview. “There’s an over-tokenization of things as companies are issuing tokens when the same tasks can be achieved with existing blockchains. People are blinded by fast and easy money.”

‘Firms have raised $1.3 billion this year in digital coin sales, surpassing venture capital funding of blockchain companies and up more than six-fold from the total raised last year, according to Autonomous Research. Ether, the digital currency linked to the ethereum blockchain, surged from around $8 after its ICO at the start of the year to just under $400 last month. It’s since dropped by about 50 percent.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 07:56:09

‘People are blinded by fast and easy money’

Who wouldn’t be? I can remember a day when 1.3 billion was a lot.

‘The ridiculous sign China is in a sharing bubble: a crop of umbrella-sharing startups’

‘First China shared cars, bicycles, offices, and homes. Then China moved to sharing power banks and basketballs. And now things have gotten really out of hand.’

‘In a little over two years, China has seen about a dozen umbrella-sharing start-ups emerge. One of the oldest, Molisan, founded in 2014, offers umbrellas that can be used after scanning a QR code and making a deposit of the equivalent of about $2.80. It charges 30 cents a day after the first two weeks.’

‘Unfortunately, Sharing E Umbrella has already lost most of the 300,000 umbrellas it made available for rent—an experience shared by the other umbrella-sharers. Company founder Zhao Shuping told digital news site the Paper that each umbrella costs the company about $9.’

‘Zhao appears not to be surprised by the disappearance of the umbrellas.’

“We were baffled by the bike-sharing model, and thought everything on the street can be shared. But that is wrong.” Zhao told the Paper. He appears to have made peace with the situation. “Instead of sharing it with a stranger, I’d rather our users share it with their families, so their family members could go out with an umbrella if it’s raining.”

‘If shared bicycles aren’t able to make money, it’s hard to imagine how umbrellas ever could. But Zhao says he’s optimistic. He says that the company’s revenue model is based on advertising on the umbrellas. The company also plans to offer umbrellas with flashlight functions or built-in radios in the future.’

‘The massive number and variety of items being made available for sharing—and left or disposed off improperly—is also creating urban management problems in Chinese cities. On July 10, CGTN, the English news channel of state broadcaster, reported that the bike-sharing industry could generate 300,000 metric tons of scrap metals in the future.’

‘Still, the Chinese government is upbeat about the booming market as announced by the State Information Center, and expects it to grow about 40% this year to nearly 5 trillion yuan (736 billion USD). It also predicts that the sharing economy will contribute around 10% of the country’s GDP by 2020.’

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Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
2017-07-19 22:16:15

‘But Zhao says he’s optimistic. He says that the company’s revenue model is based on advertising on the umbrellas.’

“Oh, this is the best pizza in a cup ever. This guy is unbelievable. He ran the old Cup ‘o Pizza guy out of business. People come from all over to eat this.”

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-07-20 01:26:52

Initial coin offerings
Silicon Valley’s crypto currency craze is a bubble in the making
This is shadow banking moving to the next stage of private money creation
yesterday by: Izabella Kaminska

Imagine a market where almost anyone can launch their own currency in exchange for millions of dollars of liquid funding without so much as a liability. Now imagine a market where the only limit on how much you raise is not the viability of your business venture or its capacity to generate positive cash flows in the future, but the breadth and scope of your vision for decentralisation, code or capital appreciation.

That is the state of the $82bn crypto currency market. Here, the latest fad is not investing in bitcoin, the crypto currency pioneer, but in “initial coin offerings” which promise to endow tokens at some unspecified point in the future with a digital raison d’être.

At the latest count, more than 900 coins were supposedly active and tradeable in the bilateral crypto currency market, or else bore some sort of implied intrinsic value.

Among the latest to be issued is EOS, which raised $200m of crypto currency in July offering tokens that “do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features, express or implied, including, without limitation, any uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features on the EOS platform”.

In the pipeline are projects as vague as InsureX, which promises “an insurance solution based on blockchain”, and Pillar, a “next generation, open-source wallet”.

These are just among the scores of coins being issued every month.

The question is whether this fad represents a legitimate mechanism for helping ventures access funding markets or is just another bubble in the making.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 06:23:20

‘As Saskatoon grapples with record-high numbers of listings, home prices in the city dipped slightly in the second quarter of 2017 and are expected to fall further during the next six months, according to a recent house price survey.’

‘SRAR CEO Jason Yochim said in a news release that there are more than 2,100 active listings in the city, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 31 per cent. In 2007, by comparison, there were only 375 active listings with a ratio of 79 per cent. “This amount of active property also means that we are still firmly in a buyers’ market.”

Comment by Taxpayers
2017-07-19 09:50:52

City? Of Saskatoon

Think land shortage

Some inventory build here but not unlike last july

Comment by Ol'Bubba
2017-07-19 18:53:50

Saskatoon is due north of Montana. It’s population was about 254,000 in 2014.
I don’t think it’s going to be much bigger in terms of population any time soon.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 06:27:25

I’ve been watching Home Capital Group stock as a proxy for the Canadian housing market. A bunch of knife catchers rushed in to buy the stock after Home Capital got a lifeline $2 billion loan from a soon-to-be-f**ked Canadian pension fund and the stock soared. Now reality is starting to set in.

Oh dear….


Comment by rms
2017-07-19 06:38:54

What angle did Warren Buffett play?

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 06:43:12
Comment by Fang nu
2017-07-19 08:20:45

Custer thought he was cutting off a group women and children so he could use them as hostages.

Yours is a blatant case of parroting.

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Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 06:38:05

London’s insane home price bubble has flatlined. Bloomberg asks “What happens next?”

Well, Bloomberg, bursting bubbles generally don’t result in a plateau or a slow, graceful decline.


Comment by Sean
2017-07-19 06:59:21


Palo Alto planning commissioner quits over high housing cost

PALO ALTO — You’re a well-paid professional. You work in tech. You’ve got it made.

Not if you want to buy a house in Silicon Valley.

On Wednesday, a planning commissioner here became the very public voice of the region’s frustrations over spiraling housing costs when she published her resignation letter to the city of Palo Alto. It said that she and her husband are moving to Santa Cruz because — even with their combined incomes as a tech lawyer and software engineer — they can’t afford to live in this upscale city.

After five years of “trying to make it work in Palo Alto, my husband and I cannot see a way to stay in Palo Alto and raise a family here,” Planning and Transportation Commissioner Kate Downing wrote in her public resignation letter.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 07:15:23

And the city of Palo Alto ground to a halt as the municipal government and citizenry alike mourned the Downings’ departure.

Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-07-19 08:42:51

Unrealistic expectations. All they have to do is live below their means in a rental and they could save mass amounts of cash. Instead, they covet real estate.

Comment by Rental Watch
2017-07-19 09:28:07

All they have to do is live below their means in a rental and they could save mass amounts of cash. Instead, they covet real estate.

Yes and no.

My wife and I could have rented the house we were in from 2004-2011 indefinitely (the owner was an investor and never wanted to sell), and banked a HUGE amount of cash. However, it was 40+ years old, 1,600 sf, 3/2 with dated kitchen and all the “benefits” of an older house (old wiring, no A/C, rodents, single-paned windows throughout, etc.).

To put it simply, we left because we wanted to live in a bigger, nicer place (with no rodents). When we left the house, our rent was in the $3k range…the next tenant was at $4k, and I’m sure it’s more today.

Before buying, we looked at renting the bigger/nicer place in which we wanted to live. HOWEVER, everything that I saw to rent of that quality was NOT owned by an investor, but a former primary occupant, who was unwilling to enter into a longer-term lease (because they might be coming back to the area).

I didn’t want to live in a place where every 1-2 years I might need to move–with school-aged kids.

So, the logical choice was to buy. The typical options were generally to buy a 1950’s rancher and spend $ and time to fix it up…or pay HUGE money for a brand new home (the result of someone tearing down a 50’s rancher). We found an atypical situation…a 20-year old home at the end of a cul-de-sac.

Living below your means is one thing. Living in a residence that you don’t like (when you don’t have to) is something else entirely.

Comment by cactus
2017-07-19 12:26:07

All they have to do is live below their means in a rental and they could save mass amounts of cash. Instead, they covet real estate.’

Not around here rents are way up. I guess if you’re young you can rent a room we have h1B engineers who do that.

rent it from some divorced mother with grown kids and grand kids living there. But with no kitchen privileges - I guess no curry

maybe that’s why they work weekends??

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Comment by Rental Watch
2017-07-19 13:32:21

Rent in a friend’s relatively small 3/2 (on a 10,000 ft. lot) is something in the range of $7k per month.

Comment by MacBeth
2017-07-19 17:34:20

Your post is a tad ludicrous, Rental Watch.

A few rodents scare you away? Get a cat. Set some traps.

You must wear silk underwear.

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Comment by Rental Watch
2017-07-20 02:29:55

We lived in the house for 7 years and had 2 young children (crawlers/toddlers who like to shove everything in their mouths).

After we couldn’t find a bigger place to rent, despite the home not being the size or quality that we really wanted to live in long-term, we decided to hunker down and make it work. In addition to installing new ceiling fans in each room, we wanted to make more space for our kids to play.

The rats were in the insulation in the garage–they had never been inside the house. So we cleared out all the old insulation in the garage, including what seemed like a few decades of rat droppings (damn, it was nasty), and blocked any and all holes that we could find.

We paid for new insulation in the garage so that it wouldn’t be too cold in the winter, and put soft mats on the floor and intended to make it a place that our kids could play (those interlocking foam mats)–if we couldn’t rent additional space, we would create additional space.

Shortly after doing so, we found a half-eaten apple on the floor of our kitchen. So we called in an exterminator..apparently we disturbed the rats prior home…so they moved into the house…we found a hole under the island in the kitchen that chewed their way in through.

It’s one thing if you clean a place for your kids to crawl around on…it’s another if you aren’t even sure if they can crawl around the house without crawling through rat urine. And my wife is allergic to cats–that’s not really an option.

On top of everything else, that was kind of the last straw.
So…my wife and I looked at each other and said—f-it, let’s look for a place to buy.

And my underwear is cotton.

Comment by Bellinghouse
2017-07-20 15:13:46

I had an 1886 Victorian in San Francisco where I fought rats for almost 30 years, to no avail. Two cats and a few hundred traps. Every crack and crevice sealed with expanding foam. Exterminators called in here and there. New roofs, new insulation — yet always rats in the attic and crawl space, and occasionally in the house.

We knew of a major infestation next door, but there is nothing you can do about that besides call the City.

Comment by MarkinSF
2017-07-19 13:31:42

They couldn’t the rent. They weren’t even trying to buy anything.

Comment by MarkinSF
2017-07-19 13:33:21

Meant to say “Couldn’t afford the rent”. PS: This story is from a year or so ago.

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Comment by Judge Dredd
2017-07-19 10:14:41

That article is nearly a year old.

Comment by Vancouver Guy
2017-07-19 08:17:31

For years if heard how incredibly prudent Canadians are. How careful we are, how diligent, how smart, how our property market is built on the bedrock of undeniable value. The snobbery was intense. Time to take a huge bite or is that shit sandwich…

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 08:47:50

Canada had the curse of the global QE soft landing/re-bubble. Like Australia and New Zealand. Prices soared even more and none of these countries supposedly ever had a bubble in the first place. That’s where the idea came from that they were special and unique. (It’s always been a puzzle how shack prices can magically go up so much by crossing the border).

I’ve said before, these circumstances make me concerned for how they will take it. Everyone was lulled by it all: regulators, lenders and borrowers. It wasn’t that long ago that Calgary was the shining star. Now they are sitting on millions of vacant square feet with millions more under construction. Sales down over 20% in Regina? They had already fallen off a cliff.

When Texas hit the skids in the 80’s, it was the psychology of falling from being oh so special to scrambling for a living that hit the hardest.

Comment by taxpayer
2017-07-19 12:58:53

mix 47$ oil w free-er health care

Comment by Rental Watch
2017-07-19 11:59:08


I made a comment yesterday about how low interest rates make it easier for companies to buy technology that reduces headcount…here is one example, and an article about how many such jobs at risk.

So, do low interest rates help wages via getting to “full employment”? Or would we have reached full employment (and be better off from a wage perspective) without the Fed manipulating interest rates?

Comment by Carl Morris
2017-07-19 12:14:57

So, do low interest rates help wages via getting to “full employment”? Or would we have reached full employment (and be better off from a wage perspective) without the Fed manipulating interest rates?

I think the answer has to differentiate between short term and long term. I think if the weak banks had been allowed to fail in 08-09 and responsible parties that deserved jail time had done it, things would have been worse for a little while. And many people in power would no longer have it. But things would be much better by now and interest rates could be wherever they needed to be and we would have a much more solid base to build from instead of the wolf still being at the door…

Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-07-19 14:37:20

+1000. My thoughts exactly.

There came a moment to do the right thing, let those businesses fail and incarcerate the fraudsters. Instead, the PTB protected them at the expense of the masses, and society as a whole.

Things are MUCH worse now. People are broke as a joke, and can’t even afford discretionary spending. That’s why we’re seeing a retail meltdown.

Comment by MacBeth
2017-07-19 17:48:02


Additionally, the hundreds of thousands of properties being sold, then sold again and again by hedge fund companies and innumerable private and public gamblers, remain unfurnished.

Unfurnished, traded again and again and again.

That’s not good for retailers, either.

Nor is ObamaCare, which drains hundreds monthly out of the pockets of many. But, that’s a different subject.

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Comment by rms
2017-07-19 20:16:46

“Things are MUCH worse now. People are broke as a joke, and can’t even afford discretionary spending. That’s why we’re seeing a retail meltdown.”

My feelings exactly.

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Comment by MightyMike
2017-07-19 12:58:16

The article doesn’t say that Walmart borrowed to fund the automation. Technological unemployment caused by low interest rates is probably a very small phenomenon compared to all of the other effects of very low interest rates.

Comment by Rental Watch
2017-07-19 13:49:14

Doesn’t matter whether Walmart borrowed or not. Cost of capital trickles through the entire economy and effects every investment decision.

“Technological unemployment caused by low interest rates is probably a very small phenomenon compared to all of the other effects of very low interest rates.”

What are you basing your “is probably” on?

One thing to consider…”job growth” is the net change between hirings and firings in any given month…the job market is very dynamic. In any given month, there are 5MM “hires”, and slightly fewer “fires”. It only takes a ~4% change in the number of “hires” to completely wipe out any net job gains in a given month, so even small impacts should be seriously considered.

Do you think that Seattle would have had the same negative consequences to the higher minimum wage if interest rates were higher? It is highly likely that at least one business pursued labor-saving technology in the face of forced wage increases–and the data implies more than one did so. Low interest rates made it easier for those businesses to acquire such technology.

And to be clear, I’m not talking about unemployment, I’m talking about wage pressures at full employment.

People are still somewhat baffled at the fact that we don’t have higher wages. Full employment SHOULD bring higher wages, but so far, higher wages haven’t come to pass. My point is simply that the “wage” for capital (interest cost) is still quite low, and so if a business is having a hard time hiring more people without increasing wages, it may be more cost effective for them to utilize capital to incorporate technology into their business rather than offer the incoming employee $0.50 more per hour (which will necessarily trickle through their entire labor force).

The higher the cost of capital, the less beneficial the labor-saving tech investment.

Comment by MightyMike
2017-07-19 18:18:25

And to be clear, I’m not talking about unemployment, I’m talking about wage pressures at full employment.

There are any jobs that can’t be reduced through automation. So, if we’re at full employment, one would expect to see some wage pressures for certain kinds of workers. This hasn’t materialized. So it’s likely that the current level of the NAIRU is lower than it was in the past. That, in turn, may have something to do with that labor force participation rate that so many love to talk about.

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Comment by Rental Watch
2017-07-20 02:42:31

There are any jobs that can’t be reduced through automation.

I’m assuming you mean “many”.

The problem is that the jobs that CAN be automated are those that perform rote tasks, and are lower paid.

You can’t deny that there are effects of lower interest rates that act against higher wages. You just don’t think it’s a big deal.

And I don’t know that it’s a big deal, but I don’t think it can be ignored either.

Comment by MightyMike
2017-07-20 07:00:44

Yes, I meant many. What you’re describing is certainly possible, but it’s reasonable to assume that it’s a small effect. Capital spending typically results in more employment. For example, a trucking company might take advantage of low interest rates to purchase more trucks. Then they need more drivers.

Comment by Rental Watch
2017-07-20 08:34:37

Capital spending typically results in more employment.

Typically yes, but when there is “weak aggregate demand” (a favorite phrase of the recovery) there is a greater than typical propensity to invest in cost saving investments vs. production expanding investments.

Comment by Mike
2017-07-19 13:52:15

If you didn’t already see it, here is Jim Grant calling what we are in “Permanent abnormalization”

Comment by Taxpayers
2017-07-19 14:22:40

Japan has done this for 26 years

Comment by Get Stucco
2017-07-20 00:10:11

They got stucco… really stucco.

Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-07-19 14:47:18

The Fed is engaging in activity never before seen. How they can look at their balance sheet without a reaction of sheer terror, much less continue to expand it, is nothing short of terrifying in and of itself. It’s purely a “heads I win, tails you lose” operation which favors the wealthy and “elite” of the world, with the masses as nothing more than cannon fodder.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-07-19 23:58:32

“I think the Fed has a certain contempt of markets, if not the people in them…”

This guy nails it. Luckily the Fed answers to nobody, including Jim Grant.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-07-20 00:04:58

“… permanent abnormalization.”

This is what I keep saying. Expect the Fed to continue blathering on ad nauseum about rate normalization and balance sheet unwind with no discernible follow-through. Talk is cheap, action is dear.

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-07-19 14:47:31

Realtors are liars.

Comment by Sacks of Dong
2017-07-19 15:56:28

“Part of the problem is the vast numbers of unscrupulous people who figure the real estate profession offers them a fast track to easy money.”

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 16:08:54
Comment by MightyMike
2017-07-19 16:14:52


Buyer beware

There are myriad questions that come up when someone is buying a home. Yet, the bulk of the answers are provided by just one person: the real estate agent.

These salespeople are supposed to be the experts who represent buyers’ interests, but it is an arrangement that often puts clients’ financial well-being at odds with agents’ desire for a bigger payday.

In a paper that appears in the July issue of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, researchers Panle Jia Barwick, Parag Pathak, and Maisy Wong take a look at the phenomenon of “steering” in residential real estate. This is a practice where buyer agents will “steer” their clients toward properties with a higher commission for the agent.

The authors collected data from 653,475 residential listings in Massachusetts from 1998-2011 and found that properties with lower commission rates fared worse.


Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 16:31:46

$42 million for a San Francisco high-rise condo? There are no asset bubbles - Yellen said so - but if there were, this is what they would look like.


Comment by Raymond K Hessel
Comment by palmetto
2017-07-19 17:33:29

Too much winning today. Every time I think we’re about to go into the crapper for realz, the man pulls it out of his patootie. DJT has ended the CIA covert ops in Syria. And it looks like McCain is entering the final countdown. I just hope Ducey appoints a decent replacement.

The civil asset forfeiture expansion was a bummer, of course. But, it looks like Sessions will probably not be AG for much longer, so I hope it’s a temporary thing. DJT gave Sessions a much deserved poke in the NYT of all places, so….

Ben, if you don’t want to post this, I understand. But if you do, once again, thanks for the shot in the arm months ago. It was worth it to see what is happening in Syria. That right there is huge.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 17:39:48

‘The CIA program began in 2013 as part of efforts by the administration of then-President Barack Obama to overthrow Assad, but produced little success, said the officials, both of whom are familiar with the program and spoke on the condition of anonymity.’

‘A downside of the CIA program, one of the officials said, is that some armed and trained rebels defected to Islamic State and other radical groups, and some members of the previous administration favored abandoning the program.’


That is a big development. Rule number one of stopping jihadists: stop giving them money and arms. McCain is going to sh*t his hospital bed when he comes off the morphine.

Comment by palmetto
2017-07-19 17:55:48

“McCain is going to sh*t his hospital bed when he comes off the morphine.”

If he ever comes off the morphine. He’s been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He’s done. Over and out. He should do the right thing and step aside. NOW!

What’s Ducey like as a gov? I don’t know much about him, or how the process works in AZ. In some states, I guess if a senator steps aside due to illness or whatever, they can appoint their successor. In Florida, the governor gets to appoint the replacement if a senator withdraws during the course of their term. We got one of the best senators we ever had that way, unfortunately it didn’t last long.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 18:01:23

I don’t know, I don’t follow politics much.


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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 18:03:02

John McCain: Russia Is a Bigger Global Threat Than ISIS | Fortune.com
May 29, 2017 - Senator John McCain said Monday that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a greater threat to the world than ISIS. “I think ISIS …
Vladimir Putin is a bigger threat than Isis, John McCain says | US news …
https://www.theguardian.com › US News › John McCain
May 29, 2017 - The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is the biggest threat to global security, even greater than Isis, John McCain has declared on his tour of …

May 30, 2017
During an interview with ABC Australia, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says that Russian President Vladimir Putin …
‘Thank God for the Saudis’: ISIS, Iraq, and the Lessons of Blowback …
“Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar,” John McCain told … State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the latter of which is now amassing territory in …

Comment by palmetto
2017-07-19 18:10:54

For those who just want the straight story:


For those who want to indulge in a little schadenfreude,


Some of the comments are priceless. Bitterly so, but priceless nonetheless. But skip the puke-inducing statements on what a great human being he is.

Comment by junior_kai
2017-07-19 18:31:38

The timing is uncanny, no?

Still not tired of winning!

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 18:54:31

Sen. John McCain, the most reprehensible of the Keating Five. He had a long and inglorious career of advancing the interests of his bankster and AIPAC puppetmasters at the expense of ordinary Americans.


Comment by palmetto
2017-07-19 20:13:33

The story of John McCain is a story of epic human tragedy. He should never, ever have been allowed near the Federal govt, let alone the Senate.

I think I’ve said this before, but unlike some, I don’t judge him because he cracked under torture while a POW. Because I can’t say how I’d react under similar circumstances. I understand why he did what he did. Unfortunately, his experience pretty much renders him unemployable, at least on any level of responsibility, because the extreme pain and duress that he suffered conditions him, and others who have had a similar experience, to always side with the enemy. It’s a pity that voters weren’t familiar with this phenomenon. He couldn’t help it. Thus you would see McCain always “reaching across the aisle”, defending the indefensible and doing things counter to the well-being of the country. Constantly. He had it laid in to him by torture. That is the great tragedy.

Now, a war veteran wounded in the line of duty who made it through, he’ll do a good job if his wounds are able to heal. You can depend on him. A POW who was tortured and never cracked, you couldn’t find a more loyal and noble person on the face of the planet. But someone like McCain, the worst thing you could ever have done both for him and for American citizens was put him in the DC swamp. People like him have to be given a calm, non-threatening environment, and allowed to pursue only the most harmless and undemanding work, and hobbies they enjoy like fishing or hiking or some such thing, to keep them on an even keel and away from situations where they can betray others.

Comment by SV guy
2017-07-19 18:18:15

A great day for America!

Comment by palmetto
2017-07-19 18:25:05

Yes, yes it is, and an even greater day for Syria. He said he’d do it, and he did.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 19:02:05

A stake in the heart of the neocon vampires.

‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (commonly known as the “Clean Break” report) is a policy document that was prepared in 1996 by a study group led by Richard Perle for Benjamin Netanyahu, the then Prime Minister of Israel.[1] The report explained a new approach to solving Israel’s security problems in the Middle East with an emphasis on “Western values.” It has since been criticized for advocating an aggressive new policy including the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and the containment of Syria by engaging in proxy warfare and highlighting its possession of “weapons of mass destruction”.

‘In 2006, Sidney Blumenthal noted the paper’s relevance to potential Israeli bombing of Syria and Iran, writing that “In order to try to understand the neoconservative road map, senior national security professionals have begun circulating among themselves” the Clean Break “neocon manifesto.”[12] Soon after “Taki” of The American Conservative wrote that: “recently, Netanyahu suggested that President Bush had assured him Iran will be prevented from going nuclear. I take him at his word. Netanyahu seems to be the main mover in America’s official adoption of the 1996 white paper A Clean Break, authored by him and American fellow neocons, which aimed to aggressively remake the strategic environments of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. As they say in boxing circles, three down, two to go.”


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Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 19:09:17

Gen. Wesley Clark: After 9/11, neocons planned seven “regime change” wars over a five year period. America paid a terrible price in blood, treasure, and enmity from the Muslim world for turning over our foreign policy to these AIPAC stooges.


Comment by palmetto
2017-07-19 19:24:40

“A stake in the heart of the neocon vampires.”

It took some major stones to do that. He could really rub it in by slicing off some Deep State budget to give to Syria to help in rebuilding.

Comment by rms
2017-07-19 20:19:47

“The civil asset forfeiture expansion was a bummer, of course.”

+1 I don’t understand that change of heart. WTF?

Comment by palmetto
2017-07-19 20:39:42

That was Sessions, I don’t think DJT had much to do with it.

I thought he’d be a good AG, but so far I’ve mostly heard about opiod restriction and civil asset forfeiture. On the plus side, I have heard something about a quiet pursuit of human trafficking and pedophile rings. But it’s pretty much been under the radar. The media doesn’t report on it. And to give him credit, he’s been expediting the legal actions against illegal immigrants, deportation and such.

Sessions has been mostly held hostage by the whole Russian/Special Counsel thing and he doesn’t have much of an FBI he can work with. He apparently didn’t tell Trump about the situation that made it necessary to recuse himself from the Russia cock-up and as a result, we have the invented mess we have now.

Comment by PitchforkPurveyor
2017-07-19 22:43:08

“Law enforcement groups gathered at the Justice Department with Mr. Sessions for the announcement on Wednesday were enthusiastic about what some saw as a chance to supplement thin budgets.”

Really despicable stuff, the police state essentially taking whatever they want. There are so many dirty cops out there that this will be abused to the heavens.

Comment by palmetto
2017-07-20 08:40:40

Yep. Especially reading this morning about the Baltimore PD planting drugs. Police may be losing their pensions, but they’ll make it up in volume, so to speak.

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Comment by aNYCdj
2017-07-19 17:43:10

Drys is down to 50 cents down 40% today and a 1-7 reverse on Friday


Comment by Ben Jones
2017-07-19 18:29:05

Canada’s Biggest Housing Drop Since 2010 , 07/18/2017


Around 3:30: “Anyone who bought in March or April and is now trying to sell is in a tricky spot.”

“Taking a haircut” comment at 4:10.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 18:58:55

Oh dear…the bubbleonians who signed contracts in the past couple of months better be buying Xanax in bulk.


Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2017-07-19 19:04:53

Oh dear. Another frothy housing market sees price drops.

Escalator up, broken elevator down.


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