December 26, 2017

Is The Much-Touted Frenzy Just A Bubble?

A report from the Waco Herald Tribune in Texas. “On a recent Thursday afternoon at Magnolia Market at the Silos, tourists line up for $3.50 ’shiplap cupcakes.’ In the shadow of the rusted silos, children toss beanbags on a village green of artificial turf. Parents slouch in striped beanbag chairs. Food trucks dispense wood-fired pizza, crepes and pineapple-kale smoothies. A journalism teacher from Chino, California, carries a wreath of artificial magnolia leaves, as seen on ‘Fixer Upper,’ the wildly popular home improvement TV show that has started its fifth and final season. This year, with an average of more than 30,000 visitors a week, Magnolia Market should draw about 1.6 million people, according to the Waco Convention and Visitors bureau. Those include four chartered buses that have carried tourists from New York to Waco over the past year.”

“‘I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about any show before,’ said Annette Deming, the California journalism teacher, who made a three-hour round trip to Waco while attending a convention in Dallas.”

“Are Chip and Joanna a fad that will fade as the fickle American public moves on to other charismatic personalities? Is the much-touted ‘Magnolia effect’ — the force that has filled hotels, roiled the local housing market and fueled a downtown development frenzy — just a bubble? Some blame it for skyrocketing downtown property tax values, which increased 20 percent this year and 31 percent the year before. Some say it has caused a housing speculation bubble in Waco.”

From the Columbian in Washington. “As a renter, Will Mantz, a 44-year-old software sales representative, said he’s ready to put down roots. He wants to build equity and be able to mold a house to his liking. But finding such a place in Clark County’s housing market lately has been a footrace that he and his family refuse to run. He and his wife, Jannae, got pre-approved for a loan last spring and went house shopping — only to find ‘a complete mess,’ he said.”

“‘Rather than paying it away to somebody else for their equity and their home, I’d rather do it for my own,’ he said. ‘One of the places we went to, that we liked, in the span of a week it had 30 offers on it. Even in places where we were high bidders, people would come in with $10,000 to $15,000 (on top of that).’”

“This is the fourth year in a row for double-digit increase in local home prices. In 2016, prices rose 10.7 percent between January and November, on top of 14.2 percent in 2015 and 15.9 percent in 2014.”

“Terry Wollam, managing broker for ReMax Equity Group in Vancouver, said it seems would-be buyers such as the Mantzes are finally starting to pull back. ‘It’s a reflection of a price increase we’ve seen and buyer sentiment growing with wages not following suit,’ he said. ‘I think it just shows that there’s not going to be buyer support for 10 percent appreciation year-over-year that we’ve had in years past.’”

The Hartford Courant in Connecticut. “Home sales in greater Hartford got a welcome bump in November compared with a year ago, but buyers did not pay up for their purchases, a new report shows. The median sale price of a single-family house in the greater Hartford area was $215,000 in November, down 1.8 percent from $219,000 for the same month ago, according to the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors. The industry group tracks a 57-town area from Enfield south to Middletown.”

“In October, inventory dropped nearly 17 percent compared with a year ago, the latest in a string of monthly declines, according to the report. While a tightening inventory can generally push up prices, too few houses — especially ones in attractive locations or with updated kitchens and baths — can hold back the housing market. Without enough fresh properties coming on the market, buyers can lose interest and retreat to the sidelines.”

“Low prices certainly are a boon to buyers but the failure of the median price to move up significantly signals a weakness in the housing market still struggling to recover from the last downturn a decade ago. Economists blame the state’s weak employment growth and a tenuous fiscal situation in state government that are combining to create uncertainty among potential house buyers.”

From Queens Courier in New York. “A new report released by members of the state Senate found that bank-owned, foreclosed homes in Queens have caused property values to drop $17.9 million because financial companies failed to properly maintain the properties they acquired.”

“‘Nightmare Neighbors: How Badly Maintained Homes Damage Neighborhoods’ was released by the Independent Democratic Cause (IDC), an eight-member group in the state Senate. The report identified hundreds of bank-owned properties in Queens, Brooklyn the Bronx and Staten Island to analyze how these foreclosed homes affected surrounding neighborhoods. After the housing market crash in the mid-2000s, Queens saw an increase in ‘zombie properties.’ In 2009, then-Governor David Paterson signed a law that made financial institutions responsible for maintaining a property until it was transferred to another owner.”

“According to the report, however, banks circumvented this law by declining to accept ownership of the properties after the foreclosure process, leaving it up to home owners to maintain them. In 2016, the state passed a law to give municipalities and the Department of Financial Services (DFS) power to enforce the 2009 law and created a registry for these zombie properties.”

“‘Queens is unfortunately all too familiar with the damage done to communities by poorly maintained bank-owned houses,’ said state Senator Tony Avella, who represents Flushing, Whitestone, Bayside and College Point. ‘Residents are growing tired of these bank-owned properties that lower the quality of life in our communities. Shame on these financial institutions for allowing this to happen to our New York communities.’”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-26 08:20:31

‘In October, inventory dropped nearly 17 percent compared with a year ago, the latest in a string of monthly declines’

Wa? But. Shortage make rocket go now?

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-12-26 09:11:35

Why would anyone ever want to sell a home when prices are guaranteed to go up at double-digit rates, year-in, year-out, and backstopped by the Fed in case they ever fall?

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 10:09:56

To buy an even bigger and more expensive home?

Gotta climb that property ladder

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-26 08:29:43

Hillsboro Beach, FL Housing Prices Crater 12% YOY As Housing Correction Looms

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-26 08:34:49

‘This is the fourth year in a row for double-digit increase in local home prices. In 2016, prices rose 10.7 percent between January and November, on top of 14.2 percent in 2015 and 15.9 percent in 2014.’

Maybe some here are aware of compounding. This should never happen with shacks. So where is Elisabeth Warren and the big consumer protection gestapo?

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-12-26 09:12:55

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-26 08:37:25

‘I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about any show before,’ said Annette Deming, the California journalism teacher, who made a three-hour round trip to Waco’

You couldn’t pay me to visit Waco.

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-12-26 09:13:57

There is no accounting for taste.

Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-26 09:48:54

“Some say it has caused a housing speculation bubble in Waco.”

Any kind of bubble in Waco is a sign the end is near.

Comment by ibbots
2017-12-26 11:56:23

Ever since The Chicken Shack closed, there’s no reason to go there.

Comment by Mugsy
2017-12-27 02:05:52

I was offered a position in Waco by my parent company when my job in Corpus Christi was going away. I said no thanks. It was 2006 and there wasn’t much to do there except drive to Austin or Dallas.

Comment by Salinasron
2017-12-26 08:42:07

As the yea nds hings are still crazy here but n CA. House down the street listed @ $899K for around 2740 sq.ft. Even the local RE thought it wouldn’t appraise near that. In a week they had three bids but took an all cash at $892K because they were told it wouldn’t make appraisal.

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 10:11:59

This was in Salinas, CA?

Comment by salinasron
2017-12-26 11:35:19

Yes. Locals call it Prunedale. New owners move in today. The sellers were trying to keep the high bidders but finally took the all cash.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-26 11:44:41

11/24/17 Pending sale $899,000 $326
11/14/17 Listed for sale $899,000+53.7% $326
07/03/13 Sold $585,000-8.6% $212
06/30/09 Sold $640,000-24.7% $232
09/26/08 Listing removed $849,900 $308
08/07/08 Price change $849,900-8.1% $308
03/18/08 Listed for sale $924,900+21.9% $335
10/16/02 Sold $759,000+41.9% $275
04/05/00 Sold $535,000 $194

Looks like a foreclosure a few years back.

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Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 12:25:46

Fantastic investment for the buyer in 2013.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-26 12:02:07

All housing transactions are cash. Borrowed cash.

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Comment by Salinasron
2017-12-26 14:15:55

Yes. Some call it Prunedale.

Comment by rms
2017-12-26 13:53:40

“In a week they had three bids but took an all cash at $892K because they were told it wouldn’t make appraisal.”

That’s at least twice the house house you would get in San Jose for the same money. A nice looking place. BTW, good to see you posting.

And how’s that young wife? :)

Comment by Salinasron
2017-12-26 14:19:42

Thanks for asking,but nfortunately she was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in late November and has just finished her fourth Chemo.

Comment by rms
2017-12-26 14:28:40

Yikes… I’m so sorry to hear that, Ron. I’ll hold you two in my thoughts this holiday season. Prayers.

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Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 16:35:02

Sorry about your bad news. I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through.

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Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-26 17:21:54

I have a blood relative and also a family friend with the condition. My condolences and best wishes for a successful treatment program.

Comment by oxide
2017-12-26 17:45:05

The wife of a co-worker is in the same boat. I’m very sorry.

(house looks good except for the brown rug in the bathroom)

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2017-12-26 21:50:27

Ouch, so sorry Ron!

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Comment by Jingle Male
2017-12-27 01:42:22

Ron, sorry to hear about your wife. I have a friend who beat cancer so hang in there. The miracles of modern medicine are many and the healing power of prayer is universal. Sending white light to the coast.

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Comment by Apartment 401
2017-12-26 08:44:56

Realtors are liars.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-26 09:08:20

…. and every closing a crime scene.

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-26 08:48:42

Portland(Goose Hollow), OR Housing Prices Plunge 13% YOY On Cratering Housing Demand

*Select price from dropdown menu on first chart

Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-26 09:51:57

Why can’t I choose the Median Sale Price? Its grayed out for me. I can only see the Median List Price.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-26 10:01:50

Sale prices have been cratering for 18 months.

Comment by Karen
2017-12-26 11:40:09

Why can’t I choose the Median Sale Price? Its grayed out for me. I can only see the Median List Price.

Because in June of 2016 they stopped reporting it

Funny thing, that.

Comment by BlueSkye ⚓
2017-12-26 12:24:26

Liars hide the truth.

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Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-26 14:11:52

Interesting. But not surprising.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2017-12-26 09:01:31

“…just a bubble? Some blame it for skyrocketing downtown property tax values, which increased 20 percent this year and 31 percent the year before. Some say it has caused a housing speculation bubble in Waco.”

Prediction: Housing Bubble to continue into 2018…

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-26 09:15:41

‘Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain’

Comment by Professor Bear
2017-12-26 09:23:42

“The advantages of the existing human and software systems surrounding transactions  outweigh the purported benefits, as well as hidden costs, of irrevocable, automated execution.”

The energy costs of blockchain make it a nonstarter for any other purpose than sparking a mania.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 10:26:16

I can see the naysayers in 1903….a car you drive yourself? Pffft. Imagine all the oil we’d need world wide to make that reality. Never going to happen. This is just a ponzi scheme to make Ford and Benz rich.

Ever look at those “Top 10 Dumbest Quotes in History” lists? Stuff like “who would ever want a computer at home” famously said by Digital’s CEO in 1977.

In 30 or 40 years we will look back to the 2014-2019 era and find a lot of similar quotes about blockchain.

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Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-26 10:42:24

Buy now, or get priced out forever!

Bitcoin could hit $60,000 in 2018 but another crash is coming, says startup exec
Dan Murphy
Published 12 Hours Ago Updated 1 Hour Ago

- Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Julian Hosp sees a “very, very healthy” chance to buy while the price is lower
- No “crypto winter” is coming right now, Hosp predicts, but the market should see consolidation in coins in a year or two out

Comment by BlueSkye ⚓
2017-12-26 10:58:38

consolidation in coins…

That’s actually pretty funny.

Anybody can make up a new imaginary currency. So many people have made up their own imaginary currency that we have to consolidate and rebrand so that there aren’t so many.

Comment by octal77
2017-12-26 11:44:08

I guess imaginary currencies and imaginary lovers now have something in common.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 12:01:33

Sticking with the car analogy…

Do you know how many car companies went bankrupt 1900-1930? Hundreds. Do you know how many crashes the Ford Motor company had in its history? I don’t either, but it’s several.

Also with PCs. There are a ton of PC companies at first. Most failed. A few made it. There were lost of stock surges and crashes of those companies.

New tech is always disruptive and wild

Comment by BlueSkye ⚓
2017-12-26 12:27:46

New tech…

Imaginary currency isn’t new technology. It’s just a new joke.

Comment by cedarapple
2017-12-26 14:47:13

I’d rather have a currency backed by the full faith and credit of the United States with the world’s biggest military behind it than one backed by the internet.

Comment by junior_kai
2017-12-26 15:21:00

Heard an interview of the (((winkelvoss))) twins on (((bloomberg))) radio over the weekend about bitcoin. They answered every semi-challenging question with a vague but smarmy marketing answer you’d expect to find on some glossy advertising sheet that tells you nothing of substance about the product. I was not impressed and not surprised either as I’ve come to expect lying and theft from the (((tribe))). I doubt if their pablum impressed any but the most ignorant and illiterate, but maybe (((bloomberg))) radio’s demographic now includes both real and aspiring rap moguls and professional athletes looking to get rich or die trying.

Comment by oxide
2017-12-26 17:47:58

Has anyone else wondered whether bitcoin is UnConstitutional? The Constitution is pretty clear that only the US government can coin its own money.

Comment by palmetto
2017-12-26 18:11:01

Winklevoss is NOT ((())). Waspy wasps of Dutch extraction. Like the old Dutch families that founded New York before the Brits got there, when it was called “Niew Amsterdam”. Peter Stuyvesant Dutch.

“While at Oxford, the brothers were members of Christ Church,[17] and rowed in the Blue Boat in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race earning them an Oxford Blue.[18][19]”

Doesn’t get more Waspy than that. Last of a dying breed.

When you’ve got a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Don’t be that guy.

Comment by palmetto
2017-12-26 18:19:42

“The Constitution is pretty clear that only the US government can coin its own money.”

Someone forgot to tell the FED.

Comment by palmetto
2017-12-26 18:49:35

Adding to my Winklevoss comment above, see also Rip Van Winkle, the sleeping Dutch guy.

Better yet, check out Robbie Van Winkle, aka Vanilla Ice. Despite his former rapper persona, he’s got those chiseled Dutch American features similar to the Winklevii. Although he looks quite a bit more rough than the twins, who have had more of an upper-crusty life.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-26 19:00:06

Wall Street is greasing the skids for a Bitcoin bailout.

The Bitcoin Slump Is Beginning to Hurt the Stock Market, Says Wells Fargo
The Future of Bitcoin
It’s going to be big … or, not.
By Lucinda Shen
December 26, 2017

Bitcoin’s slump over the holiday season is starting to have a knock-on effect on stock markets.

That’s according to Wells Fargo’s head of equity strategy, Brian Sullivan, who raised those concerns in a Monday interview with CNBC. Bitcoin prices, which soared as high as $19,500 earlier this month, began slumping the week before Christmas and hit lows just above $12,000 on Friday. As of Tuesday, the value of the cryptocurrency has rebounded to $15,600.

“There’s a significant amount of froth in the crypto markets. We do think that if that froth comes out, it will spill over. It’s not going to happen in a vacuum,” Sullivan said, noting that the price of Bitcoin had outrun the value of the underlying asset. “And we’re beginning to see a very small glimpse of that today, with technology down a little bit.”

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-26 19:05:51

“Has anyone else wondered whether bitcoin is UnConstitutional?”

Ben Bernanke gave a thumbs up, so it’s all good.

Comment by palmetto
2017-12-26 19:26:53

Ben Bernanke is unconstitutional.

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 20:28:57

Has anyone else wondered whether bitcoin is UnConstitutional? The Constitution is pretty clear that only the US government can coin its own money.

It makes no claim to be legal tender, AFAIK. In other words, you can legally refuse to accept payment in Bitcoin in the USA, just like you can refuse accept payments in Mexican Pesos or Euros.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-27 10:00:41

“It makes no claim to be legal tender, AFAIK. In other words,…”

Bitcoin is an asset that can be bought or sold just like stocks, bonds, gold, silver and houses. Unlike the dollar, Bitcoin is not a medium of payment recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation.

Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-12-27 15:44:18

NYT ran an interesting story on Christmas about shops refusing to accept cash. Many posters questioned whether this was unconstitutional in and of itself:

“Tim McLoughlin, 59, a writer in Brooklyn, did a double-take when he walked into a Bluestone Lane branch in Dumbo, Brooklyn. ‘My reaction was ‘Jesus, a New York City restaurant that records all its revenue? How can they stay in business?’”

“They can, and do. At Pokee, a poke-salad place in Greenwich Village, cash is treated like a quarantinable substance. ‘If you have exact change, we’ll take it,’ said the woman behind the counter. ‘We give it to the manager and he puts it in a safe. Because we don’t have a register.’”

“But wait, how is this even allowed? Doesn’t the dollar bill say it’s ‘legal tender for all debts, public and private’? The Federal Reserve’s website says that notwithstanding that language, there is no federal law compelling a business ‘to accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services.’”

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-26 09:07:13

I saw these links this morning:

How luxury apartments with really cool views could revive an …
Fort Worth Star Telegram-17 hours ago
There was a time not long ago when a two-bedroom apartment along Lamar Boulevard commanding up to $2,400 a month in rent would have sounded absurd. But the first phase of Arlington Commons already has 48 tenants even as construction continues. The 353-unit complex is scheduled to be …

Investors Pile Into Suburban Rental Housing
Wall Street Journal-4 hours ago
Now that the urban luxury-apartment boom is winding down, some big investors are fanning out to the suburbs. As institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies hunt for higher yields, they have been scouring the older and less glamorous suburban rental buildings that ring …

Yeah, $2400/month in Arlington.

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-12-26 09:21:52
Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-26 17:46:16

The recent jump in Las Vegas prices is interesting. Wonder when the local bubble will pop?

Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-26 09:34:06

Adding up the year-to-date totals on my three credit cards, as of the December statement for each one:

$644 in rewards;

$0 in fees;

$0 in interest.

I love it when the bank pays me to use their CC. :D Thanks, Mr. Banker!

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 10:21:40

Given that Mr. Banker’s commission fees are baked into retail prices, you are paying Mr. Banker anyway, he’s just giving some of it back to you. And since few retailers give cash discounts you’re stuck paying it anyway. The last time I remember getting a cash discount was when we booked a river cruise (paid by check).

Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-26 14:15:39

Yes, the only thing I see that offers a discount for cash vs. CC is gasoline. (Prob diesel fuel too, but I don’t buy that.)

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-26 09:42:58

San Diego(North City), CA Housing Prices Plunge 10% YOY As Speculators Dump Properties

*Select price from dropdown menu on first chart

Comment by Mugsy
2017-12-27 02:18:51

Was out in my old home of San Diego 92129 (Rancho Penasquitos) in August. There must be lots and lots of rich folk there now because I don’t think middle class folk can afford those prices.

Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-26 09:44:59

“Shame on these financial institutions for allowing this to happen to our New York communities.”

And shame on the Democrats and Republicans in Congross, who have allowed the banks, etc. to write their own rules.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-26 09:57:38

New York was one of the states that made it difficult to foreclose. Then time to complete shot up into the years. By now they don’t even report on how long it takes.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 10:05:18

“One of the places we went to, that we liked, in the span of a week it had 30 offers on it”

Unpossible. I have been assured by Housing Analyst that demand is plunging nationwide.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-26 10:09:43

Hello my good friend.

Bedford, MA Housing Prices Crater 9% YOY

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-26 10:10:47

“The days when multimillion dollar teardowns in Metro Vancouver triggered bidding wars pushing the offers above the asking price seem to be over. Three in four detached houses in Canada’s once hottest housing market sold below asking in November, according to home sales data sent to ThinkPol by a real estate industry whistleblower. The industry insider claimed that they’re releasing the data told address what they see as unethical and deceptive practices of the industry. The asking prices ThinkPol looked at were the final list price, which were often much lower than the original list price. ThinkPol also found that many properties had been delisted and relisted at a lower price, thereby hiding the price drop and days on the market.”

“‘Just the other day, my colleague bragged about how she got her client to come ten percent over asking by blatantly lying to them ‘you have to make that offer or you’ll regret it if you get outbid’ knowing that property had just been delisted and relisted to reset the days on the market,’ the insider told ThinkPol. ‘This is the way the industry has been, bending and twisting the numbers, trying to show that there is no slowdown in the market whatsoever, and real estate prices will continue to grow as before, and toying with people’s emotions to get them to overleverage themselves.’”

Did you ever wonder how prices started falling in Nashville when they have about a months inventory?

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 10:18:25

Are there examples of lies or whatever? Sure. But when every home listed gets double digit offers, it’s a bit hard to believe it’s ALL one giant conspiracy.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-26 10:22:00

An 85% of list price is a double digit offer. Housing prices go up, housing prices plunge.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-26 10:44:21

‘hard to believe it’s ALL one giant conspiracy’

Oh no, paragon of virtue. Like when they admitted to double counting sales for years (nationally, BTW), but only when the revision showed sales had actually gone up.

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Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-26 10:27:30

‘This is the way the industry has been, bending and twisting the numbers, trying to show that there is no slowdown in the market whatsoever,

They lied for years about demand when in fact demand was collapsing.

Does anyone believe they had an epiphany and started telling the truth? LOL….. This is the kind of skulduggery resulting in fakenews that got President Trump elected.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 10:11:07

Re: Hartford

That is a dying city. Aetna announced it was moving its HQ earlier this year. This would be the equivalent of GM or Ford saying they were leaving Detroit. This is only the latest in a long list of companies leaving Hartford over the past decade. The reason given repeatedly is taxes, taxes, taxes.

Connecticut was once the Texas of New England. No state income tax and business friendly. Then in the early 90s Democrats took over. Fast forward 25 years and the state’s economy is in shambles. Even though CEOs are begging and pleading with the Democrats to lower taxes, Democrats being Democrats can’t help themselves. Shortly after Aetna announced its exit, the Democrats governor announced he would be increasing sales tax.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-26 10:19:14

Cities come and go. Seattle today becomes Detroit tomorrow. It’s the way the world works.

Comment by junior_kai
2017-12-26 13:45:35

My friend just took a job in Seattle and I ran into him in the home depot back to visit family for the holidays. He said he’s never had to google so many terms before in his life, what with all the gender/identity nonsense he hears on a daily basis. All the womyns (at least he thinks they might be) are covered in tattoos and piercings like cattle - he comes from a family of ranchers. Drugs everywhere, family dysfunction everywhere. He said he was used to some of that, but nothing on the scale he’s seen since he moved there, and its only been 2.5 months!

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 16:39:07

The new normal

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Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 10:25:36

FWIW, they’re moving to NYC, hardly the paragon of low taxation.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 10:38:05

True. But if you’re going to be raped by the tax man, might as well be in NYC, right? This is what places like Hartford don’t get. NYC can get away with taxes because it’s NYC. Same with LA. People are willing to pay the weather tax.

But for mid sized cities like Hartford, they can’t get away with it. There is no value added by being in Hartford AND paying exorbitant taxes.

And if you recall GE moved its HQ from CT to Boston as well. MA offered $145M of tax incentives to make the move. As hard as it may be to believe Taxachusetts has lower taxes than Connecticut these days.

A few years ago Otis Elevators moved everything out of Hartford down to Florida as well.

“What is wrong with Connecticut” has been a question many people are asking. The answer is simple. THE TAXES ARE TOO DANG HIGH!

Comment by aNYCdj
2017-12-26 11:09:37

if you saw the low quality of help and the high crime rate today in Hartford you’d move too.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-26 11:35:21

But people don’t opt to triple their tax bill and move to a crime ridden city like NYC or LA.

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Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 12:20:49

Very few people who live in “Hartford” actually live in the city of Hartford. Hartford itself is only 120K population, while the metro area is about 1.2M. And yes the city itself is a dump. But the areas surrounding the city are very nice. Still, when a $600K home in the ‘burbs carries $20K in property taxes, something has to give.

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Comment by BlueSkye ⚓
2017-12-26 12:29:59

$20K in property taxes…

They’ll get relief in the NYC suburbs.


Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 13:24:34

So why didn’t the move to Hotlanta, Raleigh or Dallas?

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 14:01:19

“Aetna released a map of the United States Thursday showing that Pennsylvania, not Connecticut, is the state with the largest number of company employees, with a total of 6,001 to 7,000 people. Connecticut is tied with California, Illinois and Ohio with 5,001 to 6,000 Aetna employees, and Florida has 4,001 to 5,000.”

Top Income tax in

PA: 3%
CT: 6.5%
FL: 0%


Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 14:07:21

“In 1991 and early 1992, before a mass layoff that targeted almost 2,000 Connecticut jobs, Aetna had nearly 40 percent of its employees in its home state. That figure was 25 percent as recently as 2003, and now stands at about 12 percent, according to Courant reporting over the years.”

Class: anyone care to guess what happened in CT in 1991? Anyone? Bueller? The answer is CT introduced an income tax. And over that 26 year period every form of taxation in CT has gone up and up and up.

And yet, it’s amazing how people just ignore this and say taxes don’t affect behavior. Aetna moving tens of thousands of high paying jobs out of the state is just a coincidence, and has nothing to do with taxes.

It’s like the NFL pretending anti-American thugs kneeling have nothing to do with their decline.


Comment by BlueSkye ⚓
2017-12-26 15:50:47

Of course taxes affect behavior, but the moving to NYC example wasn’t a logical proof.

Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-12-27 16:16:09

It’s like the NFL pretending anti-American thugs kneeling have nothing to do with their decline.

Correlation vs causation. I think there are numerous reasons that would explain NFL viewership decline. Protests may be part of the story, but I strongly doubt it is causal.

Three years ago, one person actually predicted that the NFL would take a tumble in the near future. In 2014, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made some interesting comments after the NFL decided to move the “Thursday Night Football” package to network TV.

“I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion,” Cuban said at the time. “I’m just telling you, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they’re getting hoggy. Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That’s rule number one of business.”

You know what also happened in 2014, Obama said this:

“I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you, if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football,” the president said in the days leading up to last year’s Super Bowl.

So maybe the trend in NFL viewership declines is due to this? Or maybe it’s just that millennials (like myself) don’t care about football. I would probably be more inclined to watch football because of the protests, not less. But I just don’t care about football. Good riddance. And, college viewership is on the decline too. Bye football.

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-12-26 11:46:35

Connecticut: Unloading all of those WS mansions should pose a challenge.

Comment by cactus
2017-12-26 10:16:48


“Since home prices are rising faster than wages, salaries, and inflation, some areas could see potential home buyers compelled to look at renting,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.”

the horror

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-26 10:32:41

Superior, CO Housing Prices Crater 10% YOY

*Select price from dropdown menu on first chart

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-26 11:07:22

Larry Pressler: GOP tax bill shows it’s time for Democrats to move to real issues
By Larry Pressler
For the Deseret News
Published: December 25, 2017 3:35 pm

I must be out of touch; I think the bill will be a complete, dismal failure because it will balloon the deficit. I usually try to be as positive about Congress and the Trump administration as possible, but my hopes for real tax reform have been dashed by this artificial bill.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 12:31:38

Your Chicago Jesus doubled the debt from $10T to $20T. He added more to the debt in 8 years, than 43 presidents did before him in 200+ years. And people like you cheered him on.

But all of a sudden you are totes serially concerned about deficits? That’s so darn cute.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-26 17:31:40

I’m not that concerned about deficits. It’s the Republican base who constantly grinds the axe of controlling the debt…unless the opportunity comes along to hand off a huge tax windfall to the wealthiest Americans in exchange for an abandonment of principles.

It’s amazing how much Republicans blame on Obama, and even on people who didn’t vote for him. Maybe you are right, and he really was the Chicago Jesus, if he can make this nasty increase in the national debt happen though he is out of office.

Comment by Hi-Z
2017-12-26 18:00:02

Glad to to see you are off that fence you have been walking and show your true colors.

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Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-26 18:11:42

I’m planning to live out my days on the fence until the two party reality TV show gives way to better programming.

Comment by Hi-Z
2017-12-26 18:27:06

You are not nor ever have been on the fence. Just hiding.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-26 19:14:30

You ought to read the article I posted, by a Republican economist, rather than wasting time posting your make-believe partisan rants.

Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-12-27 16:21:12

It was a good article. It came from my home paper state (Utah). I enjoyed this gem:

As a moderate Republican/independent, I must grit my teeth and admit that the only balanced budget and surplus we have had came from the Clinton/Gingrich tax increase of 1996.

Comment by tj
2017-12-27 19:43:02

As a moderate Republican/independent

in other words, a ‘crat. a rino.

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 13:28:32

What will make the bill a failure is if instead of more and better jobs being created that the corporate windfall (including repatriated profits) ends up being spend on stock buybacks. My employer recently announced a $12B buyback.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-26 18:00:42

That’s what happened last time the Republicans passed a major tax overhaul 31 years ago…a huge wave of stock buybacks, plus mergers and acquisitions that shrunk the U.S. employment base.

Maybe this time is different, and trickle down will really happen.

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-12-26 11:41:58

Waco’s Joanna Gaines Bakery

$3.50 ’shiplap cupcakes’ x 1,600,000 = $5,600,000

Comment by whirlyite
2017-12-26 12:35:06

4-1/2 stars on Yelp!!

I don’t get it.

Comment by taxpayer
2017-12-26 13:05:44

at least they quit saying “instant equity” was that one of the 10+ fed consumer you’re too stupid w money agencies getting involved?

Comment by oxide
2017-12-26 18:20:03

I bet that Joanna herself hasn’t eaten even one of those cupcakes, unless it was to show for the camera.

I wouldn’t let her goofball husband within a hundred feet of my house.

Comment by sod
2017-12-26 21:27:16

The photos on yelp are excruciating. I can’t take how designed everything is now. And one reviewer said it was a bit pricey, $7 for two cookies. Ha!

Comment by oxide
2017-12-27 07:03:59

That would be the fault of Pinterest and HGTV, where looks matter.

I’m still debating about whether staging a house helps or hurts its chances to sell. But one thing that staging DOES do is hide the lack of fine finishes in a house.

Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-12-27 16:24:47

I’m convinced that the idea of owning a home is much more important than actually owning a home itself:

HGTV depends on the dream that has been with us since the saltboxes of New England and the Spanish bungalows of Southern California and the Leisuramas of Montauk: that if you can just get the right house — the one that looks like your friends’ houses look, only a little bit better — your family will pour into it, like thick cream into a pitcher: smooth, fluid, pleasing. Who could get a divorce in a house with so many lush towels rolled up in the master bathroom? Who could raise a sullen teen when there is a “great room” where the family can gather for nachos and football on the big screen?

We are supposed to be in rehab from our housing binge of ten years ago, the one that nearly bankrupted the country. We are supposed to be in a state of contrition. But our national love of HGTV suggests that the dream won’t die. The longing it addresses is impervious to market corrections, or personal financial realities, and as economists continue to explore the true causes of the 2008 financial crisis, they are beginning to suspect that some speculative Americans acting on that longing got us into that mess as much as — or more than — unscrupulous bankers or Wall Street. In fact, the network may now be tempting its millions of fans to dip their toes back into the most dangerous waters of the past crisis: flipping.

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Comment by Overbanked
2017-12-26 11:51:34

God Bless DJT for ending the War on Kwanzaa!

Winning every day! Libtards all butthurt!

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 12:28:22

Any word on the White House’s view of Festivus?

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-26 12:29:52

Los Angeles(Koreatown), CA Housing Prices Crater 10% YOY

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-12-26 12:37:07

Imagine how exhausting and depressing it must be to define your entire life, your entire identity with Trump Derangement Syndrome?

Meanwhile, HuffPost has a fawning puff piece on the GOP “resistance” that includes Jeff Flake, John McCain, and William Kristol. And the UK Guardian offers up a fluffy turd on the magnifigance of Obama’s first year of the post-presidency.


Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 13:06:25

Jeff Flake, the guy who voted for Trump’s tax bill? LOL. Yeah man he’s like tooootttaaaaallly resisting and stuff.

Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-26 14:28:51

Will the SJWs/snowflakes #resist their lower tax rates and higher deductions? You know, to make a statement and all.

Comment by Overbanked
2017-12-26 16:04:58

That’s a lot of avocado toast LOL

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 12:57:05

Housing crash in DC? Not anytime soon…

“Under a new federal order, salaries for most bureaucrats in the General Service will rise next year when the cap on top pay hits $164,000. And for the upper reaches of the government, senior executive service employees will be allowed to earn a maximum of $189,600.”

Add in bennies and it’s $225K. Nice work if you can get it.

Comment by oxide
2017-12-27 07:09:05

An equivalent job in industry will pay the same $225K in salary but the bennies aren’t quite so good. The real advantage to gov is the job security.

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-12-26 13:36:56

Somebody important once said something about “judging people by the content of their character.” But that’s all bullsh*t now, because it doesn’t result in the awarding of medals in the Victim Olympics:

Comment by rms
2017-12-26 14:22:54

“…diversity fatigue…”

+1 Gotta add that one to my limited vocabulary.

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 16:49:56

This reminds me of a time when I worked at HP. We were trying to become more diverse, and the fatigue was settling in. We had a black college hire candidate we were trying to hire (he was solid). We didn’t get him, as some other firm paid him even more that what experienced HP’ers were getting (he told us so when declined our offer).

We had another college hire in the pipeline, a young woman. She crashed and burned in the interviews (everyone gave her a thumbs down) in the post interview meeting. Our director was at the meeting and told we were going to hire her, no matter what. She was given a fantastic offer and accepted it. She was also utterly incompetent and never wrote a line of code during her tenure (she was eventually “stolen” from us with an even better offer)

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-12-26 17:43:36

I left that world, forever. And everybody I worked with on my last Uncle Gravy contract is getting thrown out in the street 12/31/2107.

There are a lot (alot) of Mexican and Mexican American (2nd, 3rd, Nth generation) electricians in Denver and there are a few black electricians in Denver (there aren’t alot of black people in Denver).

No such thing as a diversity hire, or anybody being incompetent and passing a review or getting a better job at another contractor. You wire that shit, you turn it on and it either works, doesn’t work, or catches fire and/or explodes. You having a job tomorrow depends on that result. HINT: it’s not your melanin :(

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 20:18:35

I remember you telling us how the government contractor you worked for was going gangbusters hiring. I guess that came to an abrupt end.

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Comment by rms
2017-12-26 20:09:23

“She was given a fantastic offer and accepted it. She was also utterly incompetent and never wrote a line of code during her tenure (she was eventually “stolen” from us with an even better offer)”

I figure her figure… ’nuff said.

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 20:23:06

She wasn’t hot, if that’s what you’re implying. Our director told us point blank that we needed more women in the Lab and that were were going to make her an offer, end of story. I’m fairly certain she was the best paid member on the team.

Back then there really was a coder shortage and I never got a raise that was less than 5%, so it was hard to find people, especially women and minorities. And since we did business with Uncle Sugar, we were under pressure to hire them.

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Comment by oxide
2017-12-26 19:01:37

If you would like some diversity fatigue, go watch the trailer for the movie adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time.”

I’m hoping the movie will be more about the story than about the cast.

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-26 13:37:55

Washington, DC 20037 Rental Rates Nosedive 14% YOY As Housing Correction Expands In Capital

*Select price from dropdown list on rental chart

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 14:10:56

MAGA baby.

“U.S. year-end holiday retail sales rose 4.9% compared to the same period last year, a welcome gift to U.S. retailers amid new signs of consumer confidence. Online retail shopping similarly increased 18.1%, while overall consumer buying during the holiday period set a new record for dollars spent, according to the sales report issued by Mastercard SpendingPulse.”

Comment by BlueSkye ⚓
2017-12-26 16:23:00

I do find it ironic that this report is from the credit card company. Also saw a headline that house sales were peaked out, another credit exercise.

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-26 16:54:31

Somehow, I find this hard to believe. In my anecdotal experience this month all I saw were uncrowded stores. I don’t see how retail could have risen almost 5%

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 17:03:09

My bad. I forgot, everything other than anecdotal evidence is unreliable and part of the great conspiracy.

But just for grins…maybe this had something to do with it.

“Consumer confidence rose to a 17-year-high in November, while unemployment fell to a 17-year low in October. Personal consumption expenditures, a measure of household spending on everything from airfares to washing machines, increased 4.5% in November from a year earlier, an escalation from year-over-year gains of 4% during the summer.”

Comment by BlueSkye ⚓
2017-12-26 17:04:11

All year we were reading about store closures too.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 17:27:59

Stores close. Stores open. Circle of life.

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Comment by jeff
2017-12-26 18:29:20

In my part of SE Region IV it was pretty damn nuts but you do have to figure in the snowbirds around here.

Comment by oxide
2017-12-27 07:10:49

Brick and Mortar retail was a zoo last weekend. A friend asked me why and I said “too late for Amazon to deliver.”

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Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-26 16:13:51

“94,785,000 Not in Labor Force; At 62.9%, Labor Force Participation Stuck Near 38-Year Low”</b

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 17:05:01

LOL, not this again. You do realize that metric includes anyone 16 yo and above right. So yes it’s awful that millions of 16-25 year olds are in school and not in the labor force.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-26 17:19:48

Incorrect. It excludes all who aren’t looking for employment.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-26 17:24:09

Remember how the Tax Bill wouldn’t help anyone other than evil billionaires? Uhm yeah about that…

“For New York developer Steven Witkoff, the tax overhaul signed today by President Donald Trump will have an immediate effect: he’s plowing ahead with his plan to develop the stalled Fontainebleau resort in Las Vegas. Witkoff was motivated by a provision in the new law that allows full and immediate expensing of capital investments. He said the plan’s passage will usher in a period of sustained economic growth, which would benefit the hotel and travel industries.

The project will create 6,000 hotel jobs and 5,000 construction jobs, Witkoff said.”

It’s almost as if all the Democrat/MSM information about the tax bill was pure BS or something.

Comment by BlueSkye ⚓
2017-12-26 18:09:07

Remember how the Tax Bill wouldn’t help anyone other than evil billionaires?…

I don’t think anyone here said that.

Do you get paid per post?

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
Comment by palmetto
2017-12-26 18:16:32

So thanks for posting this, Ben, I decided to watch it. Pretty good for an honors English project.

I must say, though, watching Hillary and her band of twisted freaks was a bit tough to take. I actually got the chill willies up my spine thinking how we dodged a bullet. Such a blatant, evil liar. Those phony smiles on her face seemed to mask two emotions and two emotions only: hatred and contempt. Frankly, I’m surprised Trump is still alive.

Comment by BlueSkye ⚓
2017-12-26 19:08:27

I watched it too. I expect he’ll live. It’s too early for a real hero. Most people aren’t ready. If he grates away at the government crime syndicate that is a hell of a lot better than the American people endorsing the crime.

Comment by palmetto
2017-12-26 19:15:28

What I meant was I’m surprised Hillary hasn’t had him Arkanicided.

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-26 19:51:16

Las Vegas(Angel Park Lindell), NV Housing Prices Crater 6% YOY

*Select price from dropdown menu on first chart

Comment by Kent
2017-12-26 20:44:20

My wife and I just moved back to the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver WA) after having spend a decade in Waco for her career.

As far as smaller Texas cities go, Waco is a decent place. In fact it is probably the nicest small city in Texas that isn’t a suburb of a larger city. Lots of nice neighborhoods, nice lake, good parks, and it does have good bones and possibility. But there is also a lot of poverty and miles of run down crappy neighborhoods that will never amount to much.

The other equivalent sized cities in Texas tend to be much worse places to live: Amarillo, Longview, Wichita Falls, Beaumont, Odessa, Victoria, Killeen, Abilene, Laredo, McAllen, etc. etc. I’d take Waco any day over any of those places. But that’s not saying much. In my mind, the only liveable cities in Texas are Fort Worth and San Antonio. Austin used to be until it choked on unbelievable traffic and growth.

But while Waco rates as a decent place to live by Texas standards, it doesn’t hold a candle to truly liveable cities elsewhere in the US. The road system makes it virtually impossible to bike anywhere in the city. The restaurant selection sucks unless you want TexMex or BBQ. When new suburban chain restaurants show up they get ridiculous lines for months. We are very happy to finally be back in the Northwest.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-26 20:50:08

‘that’s not saying much’

I’d go along with that.

Comment by palmetto
2017-12-26 21:02:39


Comment by sod
2017-12-26 21:43:42

HBB year in review voting is still open though the early indication is “Most Annoying Poster” will go to SFMF by a wide margin.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-27 06:14:22

More accurately, the most enraged.

Comment by BlueSkye ⚓
2017-12-27 07:56:32

Would somebody please buy that guy some vowels?

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-27 04:47:33

Atlantic Beach, FL Housing Prices Crater 18% YOY

Comment by aNYCdj
2017-12-27 06:17:02

so where are all these jobs???? 4% unemployment yet one of Danbury’s biggest employers asking to be laid off?

Comment by azdude
2017-12-27 07:57:04

I want to buy a house using blockchain!

just add blockchain to your company name and watch your stock double. LMFAO

Dont b A bagholder!

Comment by Uncle Warren
2017-12-27 08:12:31

Warren Buffett
Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Ive made 74 billion dollars trading #cryptocurrencies such as #Bitcoin, #Litecoin, and #Ethereum.
Omaha, NE

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