September 7, 2017

A Piss In A Fancy Bottle Scam

A report from in Australia. “The Australian mortgage market has ‘ballooned’ due to banks issuing new loans against unrealised capital gains of existing investment properties, creating a $1.7 trillion ‘house of cards,’ a new report warns. The report by LF Economics founder Lindsay David, argues Australian banks’ use of ‘combined loan to value ratio’ — less common in other countries — makes it easy for investors to accumulate ‘multiple properties in a relatively short period of time despite high house prices relative to income.’ The report describes the system as a ‘classic mortgage Ponzi finance model’, with newly purchased properties often generating net rental income losses, adversely impacting upon cash flows. ‘Profitability is therefore predicated upon ever-rising housing prices,’ the report says.”

“LF Economics argues that while international money markets have until now provided ‘remarkably affordable funding’ enabling Australian banks to issue ‘large and risky loans’, there is a growing risk the wholesale lending community will walk away from the Australian banking system. ‘[Many] international wholesale lenders … may find out the hard way that they have invested into nothing more than a $1.7 trillion ‘piss in a fancy bottle scam’,’ the report says.”

“Experts have warned that one in four mortgaged households are currently in stress, and modelling suggests if interest rates rose by just 0.5 per cent, that would jump to one in three households. Prominent Sydney property investor Nathan Birch, who accumulated more than 200 properties worth an estimated $55 million by channelling the equity from capital gains into deposits for new purchases, earlier this year announced he was selling off some of his portfolio.”

“Mr Birch blamed the move on tougher loan serviceability restrictions by the banks. ‘Anytime you withdraw equity, you need to show income to service that new loan,’ he said. ‘Sadly, the banks don’t value rental income as highly as they once did.’”

The Daily Mirror in Sri Lanka. “The Central Bank appears to have succeeded in its efforts at curbing the ‘irrational exuberance’ of property developers, with a slowdown being now witnessed in apartment construction amid fears of a possible property bubble. ‘After the Central Bank’s warnings and that it may even limit credit to construction and property development, there has been a slowdown in construction of ongoing projects. Some have even halted construction. Our business is falling,’ a component supplier for apartment projects told Mirror Business under the condition of anonymity.”

“Chamber of Construction Industries Sri Lanka CEO Nissanka Wijeratne said that with the slowdown in demand, there are risks of small scale, relatively unknown developers not completing projects. ‘In some other countries, without access to total funds developers can’t go ahead with construction but here, a lot of people are trying to put up 5-storey buildings, trying to finance them through advances from prospective clients. If they can’t pre-sell, they get stuck. In the end the clients are left high and dry,’ he said.”

From Globes on Israel. “‘We’re pouring cold water on the red-hot real estate market. We see that they have almost completely stopped selling luxury housing for a year now. The buyers are not agreeing to pay the prices demanded of them. I think that this plan will affect the entire market, not just non-homeowners,’ Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant told the annual Dun & Bradstreet Israel Real Estate Forum.”

“Galant was also asked what he thought about increasing the number of housing starts, when the measures themselves were making things go in the opposite direction. He answered, ‘The stabilizing of the real estate sector is an accomplished fact, and anyone who looks at it realizes that this is an achievement. When I said six months ago that demand was shrinking, they looked at me like I was crazy, but that is now the reality.’”

From The Telegraph on the UK. “London developer Killian Hurley is a firm believer in the importance of good design. ‘There should be encouragement for the good developers, as opposed to those who are going to knock up any old tat,’ he argues. The London property market may force such a change. There is a huge glut of new-build apartments about to come on to the market in London, particularly in the Nine Elms area, where Mount Anvil is selling the remaining homes in its Keybridge development near Vauxhall.”

“Hurley maintains that as a result of this imbalance, the quality of the property and the developer is important to buyers – especially now. ‘Two years ago you could sell anything,’ he says. ‘Inflated prices, mutton dressed as lamb, not near anything like transport, because people were desperate to get on the property ladder. That desperation has gone.’”

The Globe and Mail in Canada. “A second interest-rate increase announced Wednesday by the Bank of Canada will add further drag to Toronto’s real estate sector, which has seen home sales fall steadily for four consecutive months. The average home in the GTA sold for $732,292 in August, a 20.5-per-cent drop from the market’s peak in April, when prices for all types of homes averaged $920,791, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.”

“The total number of homes sold fell 34.8 per cent to 6,357 in August compared with a year earlier. Real estate agent John Pasalis, president of Realosophy Realty Inc. in Toronto, said there are signs the Toronto market is becoming healthier as a glut of new listings that emerged in May and June has slowed significantly through the summer months, with many potential sellers holding off to see if prices recover this fall. ‘We’re past this rapid [price] decline phase and we’re moving towards a more balanced market.’”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-09-07 07:26:51

‘John Pasalis, president of Leslieville brokerage Realosophy, who had previously speculated that a surge in new listings in the fall would keep prices low, now doubts that will happen. He also sees a return to balance.’

“I don’t think we’re in this freefall phase that we were in two, three months ago where everything was just plummeting,” he said.’

Yeah, that’s the way it works. Up like a rocket for 10 or 15 years, down for 4 months and off to the moon again.

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-09-07 09:24:13

“Up like a rocket for 10 or 15 years…”

In the latest sales data, the city of Shoreline, Washington’s median price is up 33% year over year. Nothing to see here, nothing to see…

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-09-07 07:43:04

‘Two years ago you could sell anything,’ he says. ‘Inflated prices, mutton dressed as lamb, not near anything like transport, because people were desperate to get on the property ladder. That desperation has gone.’

Gosh, I hope no one overpaid in such an environment.

Comment by BearCat
2017-09-07 09:00:15

Everytime I hear “property ladder” I want to scream

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-09-07 09:27:16

The term alone is vomit-inducing.

Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-09-07 20:32:29

The term property ladder makes me think of a hamster wheel.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2017-09-08 04:46:52

The property ladder is a hamster wheel.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2017-09-07 23:40:30

Property ladder = Mr Banker’s guarantee that you rent from the bank for life.

Comment by 2banana
2017-09-07 10:56:56

Hopefully, they got the AOK from Suzanne.


“Gosh, I hope no one overpaid in such an environment.”

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-09-07 07:44:27

Sedalia, CO Housing Prices Crater 5% YOY

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 08:20:33

Got Florida waterfront property on Atlantic Coast?

Comment by Ol'Bubba
2017-09-07 08:44:25

Palmy - were you in Florida for the 2004 hurricanes?

I hope this year is not like the 2004 hurricane season.

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 08:58:00

Yep. I can’t recall which one affected us, though. I think it was Frances, maybe Jeanne. Good times.

Comment by jeff
2017-09-07 10:28:35

Jean and Frances came right over us in Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter ans stalled for babout 12 and 14 hours while we were in the eye wall.

It sucked pretty bad.

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Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 10:55:39

I take it you’re staying put and hunkering down?

Comment by jeff
2017-09-07 16:27:03

I’m hunkered.

Comment by jeff
2017-09-07 17:11:20

What did you decide to do?

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 19:17:45


Comment by Ol'Bubba
2017-09-08 05:23:23

I pray that you guys get through the storm safely.

Comment by snake charmer
2017-09-07 13:55:23

It was nasty weather for Frances and Jeanne, but those were a spring shower compared to the video out of St. Maarten yesterday, which showed an incredibly violent storm before the camera went down. Some people lost power for an extended time here in 2004 — about a week — and there were some trees down, but I don’t recall the situation being anything more than an extended inconvenience.

When a hurricane is near, the air feels different, probably something to do with the barometric pressure. Clouds are agitated, too, owning to the cyclonic spin.

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Comment by snake charmer
2017-09-07 14:08:36

The scary one that year was Ivan, which hit the Panhandle and, among other instances of property damage, destroyed the “Flora-Bama Lounge & Package” roadhouse honky-tonk in Perdido Key. It since has been rebuilt, although I haven’t been back there to visit the new iteration.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-09-07 17:52:30

Irma’s winds are on a tornadic scale of severity. Stay safe, Florida peops.

Comment by jeff
2017-09-07 18:24:45

“It was nasty weather for Frances and Jeanne, but those were a spring shower compared to the video out of St. Maarten yesterday,”

True, that was like Andrew no shear straight in straight hit. Irma will run into shear for it to take that right turn, that combined with interaction with land is the reason I decided to ride it out.

Comment by rms
2017-09-07 18:33:18

“When a hurricane is near, the air feels different…”

Indeed. The troposphere becomes ionized.

Comment by nolookpass13
2017-09-07 13:29:44

Re 04
I rode them out in a single wide in the country.
No electricity. No internet. No smart device back then. No portable radio.
Would go out to my truck and listen to the radio for updates.

Comment by tresho
2017-09-08 10:36:51

No portable radio.
Amateur radio operators call this situation you used “mobile radio”. A simple DC to AC voltage inverter can give virtually anyone a mobile AC power supply of limited capabilities, but extremely helpful when it becomes necessary.

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Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-09-07 15:35:27

So far, so bad.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-09-07 08:47:03

‘As Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida, an Associated Press analysis shows a steep drop in flood insurance across the state, including the areas most endangered by what could be a devastating storm surge. In just five years, the state’s total number of federal flood insurance policies has fallen by 15 percent, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency data.’

‘Florida’s overall flood insurance rate for hazard-zone homes is just 41 percent. Fannie Mae ostensibly requires mortgage lenders to make sure property owners buy this insurance to qualify for federally backed loans, and yet in 59 percent of the cases, that insurance isn’t being paid for.’

‘The declines in coverage started after Congress approved a price hike in 2012, making policies more expensive. Maps of some high-risk areas were redrawn, removing a requirement that these homeowners get the insurance. About 7 of 10 homeowners have federally backed mortgages, and if they live in a high-risk area, they still are required to have flood insurance. But many let their policies slip without the lender noticing; loans also get sold and repackaged, paperwork gets lost and new lenders don’t follow up.’

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 09:15:06

“In just five years, the state’s total number of federal flood insurance policies has fallen by 15 percent, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency data.”

When in fact the number of policies should have increased, given the massive number of people who have moved here and purchased homes over the past five years. What a joke.

After this, Florida should enact some serious legislation to restrict the number of homes and residents. And where they can live. Maybe even pay people off to move out of state. Something, anything. What’s going on here is not sustainable.


Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-09-07 10:56:54

What Florida needs is a border wall to keep out the Canadian snowbirds who want to move there.

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Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 11:00:56

Heh-heh, I take it you’ve had some experience with the species?

An interesting bunch. The men, especially. A thin veneer of hearty smiles, which veils the personalities of contemptuous jokers.

Comment by jeff
2017-09-07 11:04:43

What Florida needs is to keep those people who talk with their hands away from doing the weather on TV.

Every time someone goes on TV and talks about the weather with their hands the stores run out of food and water and there are long lines for gas and plywood.

Comment by snake charmer
2017-09-07 13:43:52

As long as they aren’t speculating in our real estate and driving up house prices for locals, I’m OK with Canadians. Their safe driving habits, however, stick out like a sore thumb. They’re so safe they’re almost hazardous.

Comment by Blue Skye
2017-09-07 14:32:20

The lack of boating protocol is at times alarming up here in the border waters. Boats from Quebec stand out.

Comment by Al
2017-09-07 18:41:36

Quebec drivers tend to stand out too, in a bad way. For all the agressive driving, they won’t turn right on a red light. It’s part of their cultural identity.

Comment by oxide
2017-09-08 09:42:34

This hurricane might be as good as a wall.

I wonder what will happen to the value of all those Chinese-owned floating airboxes. Maybe not so attractive as an investment anymore.

Comment by 2banana
2017-09-07 10:54:35

Back in the bad old days of 20% down payments and banks eating their own bad loans and bank executives going to jail…

This rarely happened.

And then government got involved to make things fair…


But many let their policies slip without the lender noticing; loans also get sold and repackaged, paperwork gets lost and new lenders don’t follow up.’

Comment by 2banana
2017-09-07 11:02:10

I can remember, not that long ago (back in the day when global cooling was all the rage)…

That most Florida housing was single story concrete block housing.

Back in the day, there were usually 12-14 hurricanes PER YEAR.

Usually 2-3 A YEAR would smack Florida pretty hard.

Then, we then went through a dry spell of 12 years WITHOUT a single hurricane.

People forgot real quick.

Build crap that is not to code
Stop paying flood insurance
Move and build in places that no one in their right minds would have built in just a few years ago
Built on barrier islands

Comment by taxpayer
2017-09-07 08:29:12

Minister of Construction and Housing


oh wait we have several depts of housing

get choppin trumpf

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-09-07 09:51:32

Since Amazon comes up here regularly I thought I’d share a little of my experiences with, and opinions of, the company.

There’s a lot of parroting of “Amazon’s low prices” but that was never my experience. Their prices are oftentimes higher than even eBay, where sellers have to pay extremely high fees.

After a solid year without my Prime membership, I don’t even miss it. I’ve ordered a total of 3 items through Amazon in more than a full calendar year, and I don’t intend upon ordering anything else ever again. I found myself trying to justify using my Prime account since I had paid for it. It was nothing more than prepaying shipping for items unknown, at best.

Recently I did a Google search for a replacement part# for a household appliance. The most inexpensive one on Amazon was still much more than any other retailer or site, which included Walmart and eBay to name a few. Not only that, but since the part was inexpensive it was not even available to ship from Amazon, PERIOD, until the order was over $25. It was called an “add on item,” and those HAVE to be combined with a larger order. So, in essence, Amazon is introducing minimum orders. I had never even heard of this before.

I ended up ordering a factory part from a highly rated appliance parts seller on eBay, paid shipping, and it still came in over 30% less than the cheapest one on Amazon.

Just what is Amazon offering? I had Prime for 2 years, and after doing the math it saved me no money, only encouraged me to use them since I had prepaid the shipping, but even then I was throwing more money down a rathole as I could have purchased cheaper elswhere.

I think the company is a sham, much like Uber. As Ben says, it’s not “tech.” It’s nothing more than an inflated stock price and a bunch of hype.

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 10:27:55

Thank you for an excellent anecdotal analysis.

Here’s a quote from Ben’s post yesterday:

“This reference about amazon pricing so low: the easiest way to go into business is to sell for less than cost. I can do that all day every day as long as I can sell my stock for gobs of money. This is the dry cleaner effect on a massive scale and it’s not benefiting the economy.”

Amazon is nothing but share price. Take that away, and it appears to be barely viable. Heck, they can’t even secure their cloud information.

It would be interesting to know how many, like you, have abandoned their “prime” membership.

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-09-07 10:53:28

I, too, would be interested in knowing how many are abandoning their Prime memberships. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that information will ever be available. These mega-corps will lie until their last dying breath about those stats. See: Facebook subscribers, etc.

Comment by DELurker
2017-09-07 11:42:22

I dropped it also. I did not see any value from it.

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Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 11:58:25

As MacBeth has written here before, the online sales component of Amazon is nothing new under the sun. It’s basically an online catalog company. The cyber equivalent of Sear or Montgomery Ward.

I would venture to say, however, that those who made the products sold through the old paper catalogs of old, didn’t have to worry about their hard work going down the drain because of Chinese counterfeiters. And the customers didn’t have to worry about buying counterfeits.

So which system is really better all around in the long run?

Comment by oxide
2017-09-08 09:31:29

Amazon did contribute two valuable features to the retail economy: the one-stop shopping payment system and the online review system.

I’d be a lot more willing to donate $5 to Wiki or AdBlocker if I didn’t need to set up a whole new CC transaction. And the online reviews, if they are real, are invaluable, especially for clothing.

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 10:32:38

How Amazon’s Wooing Of Chinese Sellers Is Killing Small American Businesses

If you have ad-blocker, you will have to whitelist in order to read it.

Comment by ibbots
2017-09-07 11:20:37

It’s a matter of time and convenience. Some things are priced better than competitors, some not. My wife requires special digestive enzymes and vitamins as she has GI tract issues. Amazon’s are priced better and they bring them to my door. Same for the special led bulbs our kitchen light uses. My in-laws get their birthday presents from Amazon. No need to shop in advance when you can get it there in 2 days!

Prime has some other functions too that people overlook. I use the prime storage to backup our photos and some other docs. It used to be unlimited, but now is like 5 gigabites. I stream music on their music service. We use the Prime video occasionally, although we haven’t used the childrens programming that much.

I broke my swimming goggles a couple weeks ago. The ones on Amazon were less expensive than Academy, walmart etc. I swim on Tues/Thurs and bicycle on Mon / Wed. I broke them on a tues night, and ordered new ones, when I got home from work Thurs, they new ones were ready to go. No muss no fuss.

In the words of the great Jello Biafra … ‘give me convenience, or give me death’!

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 11:29:38

‘give me convenience, or give me death’!

Amazon will give you both with free shipping and overnight delivery.

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 12:03:22

“My wife requires special digestive enzymes and vitamins as she has GI tract issues. Amazon’s are priced better and they bring them to my door”

Just be alert for intestinal blockages that develop suddenly. Remember when people’s pets were dying from pet food tainted with melamine? It can happen, even to a formerly respectable brand. Amazon doesn’t care. IT. DOESN’T. CARE.

But you got them overnight with free delivery! A matter of time and convenience!

Comment by ibbots
2017-09-07 12:32:28

You think Vitamin Shoppe, GNC or Target do?

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Comment by Secret Agent
2017-09-07 12:55:39

Dunno. Used to buy GNC, but that was a long time ago. There’s some interesting data on vitamin and supplement content out there. If the stuff she’s taking works for her, carry on.

Comment by Mike
2017-09-07 19:36:35

I buy at, they have consistently low prices and very fast delivery (delivery is $5.95). Even with the delivery, overall prices are better than anywheree I have found

Comment by Karen
2017-09-07 22:52:46

Vitacost is great for vitamins and food. They carry other brands’ products as well as their own. Free shipping if your order is over $49.

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Comment by oxide
2017-09-07 12:43:45

is she coffee-free and gluten-free?

Comment by ibbots
2017-09-07 12:49:58

Ha! That’s funny, I’ll tell her you asked and we’ll both get a laugh…nah she’s got the Crohn’s, fortunately in submission. She just has to watch out for super high fiber items, stress, those type triggers. Doing the enzymes, and good vitamins help a lot.

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Comment by Oxide
2017-09-07 18:29:16

Sorry to hear, great to hear it’s in remission. That one’s a toughie. Stock up in case something is discontinued.

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-09-07 14:23:17

For people like yourself, it’s the one stop shopping convenience that you happily pay more for, because you ARE paying more. If you look on other nutrition sites, you can buy the very same items cheaper, and they ship, too.

Comment by Rental Watch
2017-09-07 16:00:22

Amazon Prime has been hit/miss for me. Frequently I’ll buy something that Amazon says can be delivered tomorrow with a Prime membership…only to find out that it will cost an extra $5.99, and that it’s 2-day for free. I’ve learned to NOT rely on the 2-day window for things I really need.

For some standard household items, I found that Amazon is WAY more expensive than

For items that I want same day, I frequently use Google Shopping Express that will deliver from local stores up to 9:00pm.

Amazon’s 1 and 2 hour delivery is not magical at all…they hire part time labor (like Uber) to deliver to your door. Those workers live off of minimum wage and tips.

For me, Amazon is on the end-all, be-all for shopping…it’s just another option.

Comment by snake charmer
2017-09-07 13:58:55

On Amazon, I’m almost starting to wonder if the prices I see are tailored to what the company thinks my income is, or to how badly I want or need the item. I’ve read somewhere that cleverly-designed algorithms can deduce things like this now.

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-09-07 14:19:14

It’s interesting you bring this up - I found that the few items that I would order more than once were more expensive every subsequent order. I would not be surprised if they were pricing things differently depending upon the customer, even “sticking it” to the Prime members.

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 16:16:18

Yes, prices DO vary according to how you are being tracked and evaluated. And it’s not just Amazon.

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Comment by Carl Morris
2017-09-07 14:28:02

I always thought that everyone would get crammed down so that “they” can take all your surplus and leave you barely enough to survive. Hadn’t really thought about how if the system knows your income, with modern technology maybe they can accomplish the same with higher prices unique to each person instead and never force you to take a lower salary to achieve the same result.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Pay no attention to the numbers, they don’t matter and are different for each person.

Comment by Blue Skye
2017-09-07 14:43:34

I think the way that “they” take all your surplus is by lending you money to buy stuff.

I price check stuff before I buy at least most of the time. I think that third parties that sell on Amazon sometimes have really ridiculous high prices. Other times not.

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Comment by Rental Watch
2017-09-07 16:07:43

They definitely price for convenience. I tried a few of those “Dash Buttons” for things like laundry detergent. This was mainly for kicks…see how they work.

But when you actually look at the pricing for those items, grocery stores or are far, far cheaper.

Comment by Oxide
2017-09-07 18:39:55

Amazon is good for onetime stuff like a specialty cheese slicer. Or for things that are hard to find. For example, women’s unmentionables. Good luck finding tights/bras/undies in my style and size in stock at Wally or Macy’s. But paper plates and laundry detergent? Come on…

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Comment by MIke in Carlsbad
2017-09-07 21:24:57

Let me tell you something that blew my mind about Amazon. About a year ago we adopted a cat and needed a doggie door insert for our sliding glass door. I went on Amazon to price it out, same price as Petco, figured I’ll just go buy it down the street at Petco and have it that day.

I walk into Petco, grab the pet door, as I’m walking to the register the Amazon app notifies me, FLASH SALE, and the door I had in my cart was 40% cheaper than Petco for the next 30 minutes. This was no special Amazon Day, just a regular Saturday.

I was about to put the door back on the shelf when I asked the Petco manager if she would price match it, she said, “there is no way we can match that”. So back on the shelf it went.

Purchased the rahter large bulky door on Amazon, free shipping, and it was ridiculously cheap, and far better made than the models sold at Home Depot (but identical to Petco).

I have no doubt in my mind Amazon has the GPS coordinates of every competitor like Petco, and when you go inside the competitor they lower their prices. Internet shopping is turning into barganing with the seller of an item on the streets of Tijuana, Mexico, walk away and the price drops, go down the street and it gets even lower.

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Comment by palmetto
2017-09-08 07:00:53

Little bit creepy, that. But I’m glad it worked out for you.

Comment by oxide
2017-09-08 09:25:19

This is what Ben meant by dry cleaner effect. I have no doubt that Amazon sold that pet door at a loss. They are growing and trying to get market share, and using gullible VCs to do it. Their goal, it seems, is no less than putting ALL brick and mortar out of business, everything from groceries to car parts to sheet music. That would give Amazon a monopoly over retail. Then and only then can they charge what they should and make a profit.

I’s a huge risk. ISTM that they need to go all the way with this. I think there will always be people who want to touch the merchandise. And if there is even *one* store that can match Amazon without going out of business (Wal-Mart perhaps), then Amazon will need to price-cut at a loss indefinitely. How long can they survive that?

Comment by MWR
2017-09-07 14:23:44

I just ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon. I’ll let you know.

from Rob Chrisman newsletter.

Comment by lsheng
2017-09-08 07:21:06

This is not my experience. Most stuff I buy on Amazon can be found in local supermarket, but with similar price, not cheaper. The convenience is easier to search on Amazon than to navigate the aisles. Ebay is also a good place to shop, but many items I found on Ebay are at higher price than Amazon/supermarket. Maybe the Ebay sellers realize it is also easier to search on Ebay, so they start to charge premium. Only foreigner sellers seem to have lower price on some products.

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 09:58:12

There’s a great disturbance in the farce. And I don’t just mean the hurricanes.

Seems like the gears of globalism are grinding to a halt, with much creaking and groaning and squealing. Somehow things seem to have gotten away from the geniuses in the room. Carefully crafted narratives don’t make sense anymore, it’s like reading gibberish.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-09-07 11:58:23

I need a clue as to what you are talking about.

Comment by Secret Agent
2017-09-07 12:05:52

Always the last to know, that’s you, banky-boi.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-09-07 12:17:08

Okay, then maybe you can tell me what he is talking about.

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Comment by Secret Agent
2017-09-07 12:49:35

Sigh, ok, for old time’s sake, here’s a clue:

Geopolitics, my friend.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-09-07 13:55:39

Geopolitics … a broad field.

Here’s something interesting, from Wikipedia …

The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997) is one of the major works of Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski graduated with a PhD from Harvard University in 1953 and became Professor of American Foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins University before becoming the United States National Security Advisor during 1977–81 under the administration of President Jimmy Carter.

The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives
The Grand Chessboard.jpg
Book cover
Author Zbigniew Brzezinski
Country United States
Language English
Subject Geostrategy of United States in Central Asia
Genre Geopolitics, International Politics
Publisher Basic Books
Publication date
Pages xiv + 223 pages
ISBN 0-465-02725-3
Regarding the landmass of Eurasia as the center of global power, Brzezinski sets out to formulate a Eurasian geostrategy for the United States. In particular, he writes, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger should emerge capable of dominating Eurasia and thus also of challenging America’s global pre-eminence.

Much of his analysis is concerned with geostrategy in Central Asia, focusing on the exercise of power on the Eurasian landmass in a post-Soviet environment. In his chapter dedicated to what he refers to as the “Eurasian Balkans”, Brzezinski makes use of Halford J. Mackinder’s Heartland Theory.

“… no Eurasian challenger should emerge … “

Comment by hllnwlz
2017-09-07 10:05:01

So, no more debt ceiling?

Is that inflationary… or deflationary?

I just want to buy a house.

Save my cash or start stockpiling vodka and toilet paper so I can pay with that?

I feel for my children.

Comment by 2banana
2017-09-07 11:24:35

The debt ceiling really never meant anything.

It was all show and drama. And ALWAYS was raised.

If we had a government made up of average joes instead of our political elites we would not even need it as spending would be brought under control.

But the free sh*t army votes. And they are expensive.

Comment by oxide
2017-09-07 12:50:41

You mean like in 2000, right? Just before Republicans whined that a balance budget were a sign that taxes were too high?

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-09-07 10:46:21

Yet another reason to lower the list price to market as fast as possible: Delayed sale may result in catastrophic damage to the home before a deal is signed.

An 11-bedroom mansion owned by President Donald Trump on the Caribbean island of St. Martin is reported to have been torn apart by Hurricane Irma, while the luxury home of billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson in the British Virgin Islands was also destroyed.

President Donald Trump has been trying to sell the property, a waterfront estate with a pool and fitness center, and lowered the listing price to $16.9 million from $28 million in August, according to the Washington Post.

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 11:33:59

LOL, wonder what it was insured for? Saves him the trouble of having to sell. Level it, dispose of the rubble and donate the land back to St. Martin.

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-09-07 14:24:48

I was thinking the same thing - the insurance company just bought it.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-09-07 15:41:41

But probably for under $16.9 million…

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Comment by oxide
2017-09-07 12:56:22

“His father, owner of Virgin Airlines and Virgin Media, among other interests, had tweeted ahead of the storm that he would be hunkering down with guests in a concrete wine cellar underneath his house on Necker Island “

Ha, I knew it. I suspect that the wine cellar is really a safe-room bunker complete with plumbing etc., like an apartment. Panic-rooms are a thriving business in this age of 0.1%ers.

I wonder if he charged $40 for hot dogs.. Romney would have.

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 13:11:26

Trump had a cash bar at his victory party. The media was whining about it.

Comment by Blue Skye
2017-09-07 17:44:43

Romney would have…

I wonder how you know this fact.

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-09-07 18:33:23

Somehow it just seems like a Romney move.

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Comment by Oxide
2017-09-07 18:58:27

Of course I don’t know for sure, but there are two stories: one of Romney’s celebrations (Olympics maybe) he ordered pizza for his staff… And charged them by the slice. And right after aromney’s concession speech in 2012, he cut off the staff credit cards so fast that his staff couldn’t even pay for cabs home.

I can’t imagine these guests voluntarily riding out a hurricane. I guess they were thrill-seeking. Great story to pick up chicks.

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Comment by Rental Watch
2017-09-08 01:31:45

The pizza story wasn’t about celebrations, it was about when Romney came into the Olympic picture and there was a ~$350+MM shortfall. No more free lunches for board members was part of his austerity plan (including cutting out 5-star hotels). He had them pitch in a buck a slice for pizza and soda. He wasn’t saving his own money…he was saving the Olympics’ money (from Time magazine article).

And then there is the story where Romney was selling a home that he had been renting. Offered it to the renter. Renter said thanks, but he just lost his job and couldn’t get a loan. Romney lent him the money to buy the house (this happened in 1997 and wasn’t really publicized except when the press got wind of it from his tax returns).

Press called the guy to whom Romney lent money trying to find dirt…who didn’t have a bad thing to say–Romney was the guy who gave him a chance–giving him a 30-year loan. (From NY Times story)

He totally should have kept spending money the Olympics didn’t have on 5-star hotels and free food for the board members, and he certainly should have thrown his recently unemployed renter out of his house so he could have sold it–instead of lending him the money to buy the home.

Yeah, total a-hole, that guy.

In other news, Freakonomics podcast had a two part interview with Charles Koch….if you think the Kochs are evil incarnate with Romney, you might want to listen to those also.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-09-08 06:53:13

Housing ladies…… housing.

Wahiawa, Hawaii Housing Prices CRATER 15% YOY

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-09-07 11:25:30

Castro Valley, CA Housing Prices Crater 5% YOY

Comment by Junior_kai
2017-09-07 13:45:31

On travel in S.E. Asia currently and talked to a number of Aussies and Kiwis yesterday. One young woman from Melbourne talked about RE as the best investment one could make, buy something for 400k and in a few years you’ll be up another 200k. She said the government passed a law requiring investors to rent out their vacant properties. The older folks talked of all the scams run by big developers, raking in big fees but even some of them got in over their heads, including one who went belly up before he could complete his 5m mansion.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-09-07 14:41:01

Remember…. A housing ‘recovery’ is falling prices to dramatically lower and more affordable levels by definition.

Comment by Taxpayers
2017-09-07 16:00:36

Some of ther reno type house hater shows no longer claim “instant equity”
Hmmm pressure from sec?

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-09-07 16:01:50


Comment by jeff
2017-09-07 19:21:42

Parasailing donkey dies

The Russian donkey whose brays of terror while parasailing won her worldwide sympathy has died.

The newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda said the 18-year-old female donkey, called Anapka, died of heart trouble after becoming ill in December.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-09-07 16:54:32

Here’s something for you pukes to ponder …

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

Comment by Blue Skye
2017-09-07 17:39:36

You don’t need a fancy name for BS and we have been inundated with it by politicians and news media for a very long time.

Comment by Carl Morris
2017-09-07 17:48:28

I read it as a comment on human nature to believe others on things we know little about even after we’ve seen them try to BS us on stuff that we know a lot about.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-09-07 18:17:31

The kewpie doll goes to Carl Morris.

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Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-09-08 01:56:13

MSM reporting throughout the course of the Housing Bubble seems like a classic example of this problem.

Comment by GuillotineRenovator
2017-09-07 18:37:32

There’s something interesting going on that I haven’t seen talked about - there’s almost no self storage available on the west coast in the major markets.

Comment by palmetto
2017-09-07 20:18:46

I haven’t seen the mobile home biz discussed much. I’ve learned more about it in the past month than I ever cared to know. Slimy business all around, with some big corporate players buying up parks by the truckload. Seems like some major money to be made, but there’s gonna be a lot of those tin cans scattered all over the place by the time Irma is done.

Interesting business model, though. Sell the tin can, with financing of course, and then collect the lot rent. Sweet.

Comment by Taxpayers
2017-09-08 03:42:59

Or get a tiny house and live happily there after

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-09-07 18:49:15

El Cajon, CA Housing Prices Craters 6% YOY

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-09-07 20:10:25

Redfin saw signs of real estate slowdown in August
By Therese Poletti
Published: Sept 7, 2017 9:00 p.m. ET
Opinion: CEO comments in first earnings call as public company suggests Redfin will try to offer important commentary
Bloomberg News/Landov
Redfin reported earnings for the first time since its initial public offering Thursday.

Newly public online real-estate company Redfin Inc. told investors in its first earnings call that it saw some signs of potential slowing in the hot U.S. real-estate market in the last two weeks of August, but top executives said it is too early to tell whether the signals were just a typical summer slowdown or signs of a broader trend.

“The market always gets funky around then,” said Chief Executive Glenn Kelman. “You want to separate that from ‘is the market shifting?’ The sentiment is that the market is shifting, but that anecdote has not been fully corroborated by the data.”

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-09-08 02:02:03

“The sentiment is that the market is shifting, but that anecdote has not been fully corroborated by the data.”

Folks who hold out for corroboration are likely to join the next generation of bagholders. Like in any Ponzi finance scheme, he who quietly tiptoes away first does best.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-09-08 04:56:44

Have you found yourself long Uncle Buck at the point when it is becoming increasingly obvious that Fed rate hike plans are on indefinite hold?

Dollar facing worst week since May, hit by geopolitical tensions and falling yields
Published: Sept 8, 2017 7:36 a.m. ET
By Carla Mozee
Markets Reporter

The U.S. dollar slid against major rivals Friday, with a pullback in U.S. Treasury yields and continued strength in the euro pushing the buck toward its worst week in more than three months.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.50% a gauge of the greenback’s performance against six rivals, fell 0.6% to 91.151. The WSJ Dollar Index (BUXX, -0.53%) which measures the buck against a larger basket of currencies, lost 0.4% to 84.36.

The widely watched ICE Dollar Index was moving toward a weekly fall of 1.8%, which would be the largest decline since the week ended May 19, according to FactSet data.

“Risk aversion is creeping back into the markets on Friday as traders prepare for what could be another troubling weekend in the ongoing stand-off between the U.S. and North Korea,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in an note.

Pyongyang may launch another missile on Saturday as it celebrates the country’s Foundation Day. Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma is forecast to make landfall in Florida late Saturday or early Sunday. The U.S. is still grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey which hit the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana two weeks ago.

The mix of risks prompted investor to seek safety in other assets, including bonds, sending U.S. yields lower, and the Japanese yen higher. The dollar (USDJPY, -0.96%) sank roughly 1% to 107.40 Japanese yen from ¥108.45 late Thursday in New York.

“The decline in U.S. yields seems to explain the bulk of the dollar’s drop against the yen,” said currency strategists at Brown Brothers Harriman, led by Marc Chandler, in a Friday note. “We have suggested that a break of ¥108 would set up a test on the ¥106.50 area. This still seems reasonable, especially if the U.S. 10-year falls below 2.0%.”

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