December 29, 2017

Fear Of A Correction Is On The Minds Of Speculators

It’s Friday desk clearing time for this blogger. “The U.S. housing market is buzzing, pushed by a slim supply of homes for sale. And few metros have had the frantic energy of Portland. But the latter half of 2017 brought an unexpectedly cooler market than 2016. Now, bidding wars are no longer the rule. And sellers who have tracked the years-long upswing might now be overreaching. Brokers are reporting more listings that have had to drop prices after failing to attract a buyer. ‘Because houses have been just selling without much effort at all, and at crazy prices, there have been homes that have had to correct,’ said Kimberly Ainge Payne, a broker with Windermere Realty Trust.”

“Rick Kane, president of Westhills Ltd. Realtors in Fishersville, said he is optimistic about the new year. Unfortunately, Kane said, higher home prices means fewer sales. ‘Over $300,000, the sales are not where you would like them to be,’ said Kane, who added that once you exceed $500,000, sales in the Waynesboro, Augusta County and Staunton area are nearly non-existent.”

“Inventory levels for some markets in Atlanta are near two months. That is an all-time low. Most of the metro Atlanta area’s houses are priced below $400,000 so you can see why inventory in that market is at historic lows. But if you go over that price-point in most markets, the inventories are actually getting too high. Where buyers are fighting with each other for houses under $400,000 in most markets, they have the pick of the litter in housing priced higher than $500,000 in most markets.”

“The past year in the greater East Side Los Angeles market saw steady price appreciation. Prices today are about 20% higher than the 2007 peak and more than double what they were at the bottom of the Great Recession (2009-2012). The over $1 million market continued to cool locally in 2017. Only the most attractive and compellingly priced luxury properties sold in this more-discretionary market segment. Local real estate investment by ‘flippers’ has been on the wane for more than a year. I suspect fear of a correction—there will be one upcoming to be sure—and the cooling of the high-end market are on the minds of speculators.”

“The median Manhattan apartment price of $1.08 million in the fourth quarter fell 9.8% compared with the record it hit in the second quarter of 2017, according to an analysis of city property records by The Wall Street Journal. Brokers and analysts attributed the slide to an oversupply of expensive apartments in Manhattan, and uncertainty over a major overhaul of the tax code.”

“Foreign home buyers spent an average of almost 50 per cent more per real estate transaction in the Toronto region than Canadians in recent months, according to previously unreleased government data. The data, obtained by The Globe and Mail through a Freedom of Information request, bolster concerns that international investors drive up housing prices. Many housing analysts argue foreign investors, especially from China, have been a major factor in price escalation. ‘This is the dominant dynamic at play,’ said Josh Gordon, a professor at Simon Fraser University who researches Toronto and Vancouver’s housing markets.”

“After a public outcry about the role of international speculators in the Toronto area’s skyrocketing real estate prices – which were up by a dizzying 33 per cent in March compared with a year earlier – Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government implemented a foreign-buyers tax as part of a package of measures designed to cool the market. The province also began tracking international property investment. Prices in the GTA have fallen 17 per cent on average from the market’s peak in April, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.”

“A Chinese court is auctioning a skyscraper on the country’s largest e-commerce website – with a sky-high starting price of 553 million yuan ($84.2 million). Photos of a dimly-lit underground parking lot and unfinished building interior with dusty floors piled with construction materials were posted by the court on the auction page. Apartment buildings, cars, confiscated jewelry and mobile phones are all being auctioned by authorities on the e-commerce platform. In November, a 28-floor building was put up for auction at a starting price of 219 million yuan by a local court in northeastern Zhejiang province. But the auction was not successful as no one bid for the item.”

“The property sector ended 2017 on a subdued note. ‘The market is so quiet. We have only had enquiries from a few interested people who want to buy land or homes to live in this year,’ said U Pyuu Gyi, a property agent from Pyigyitagun township, Mandalay. The way he tells it, investor interest in the local property market has trickled dry over the past five years. ‘This year, only those looking for new homes to live in have been active in the market,’ he said.”

“With the market weakening each year and demand at a six-year low, many existing investors are now desperate to sell. ‘Sellers know it’s a buyers’ market now so they have been more willing to negotiate and settle at reduced prices. So, there are a few sales transactions taking place, albeit it at much lower prices,’ said U Wanna Soe, a property agent from Phoe Lamin Real Estate.”

“Stakeholders in the real estate sector have taken a look into their crystal ball and submitted that the outgoing year for operators in the sector has been fair and not particularly fulfilling. Kayode Oyedele, an estate manager, recalled that his first shock in the year came from the position of his tenants who told him in clear terms to either reduce the rent or they vacate his house. He had no option than to take a 30 per cent cut in rent to avoid a situation where he would have a lot of vacancy in his property.”

“Experts like the Head, Property Management, SFS Capital Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos, Mr. Bolarinwa Odeyingbo, explained that the glut in the market did not really clear out in the year, making several properties across the country to remain unsold, abandoned and uncompleted.”

“Nordea Bank AB’s Swedish mortgage loan book continued to shrink in November after the biggest Nordic lender saw the first decline in at least 15 years the previous month. Following the publication of the October numbers in late November, Nordea said it had ‘chosen to be somewhat more cautious in the mortgage lending market during the year’ and that it has ‘not actively tried to gain market share.’ Sweden’s housing market is cooling after years of surging prices, raising concerns over a hard landing. Apartment prices in Stockholm slid a monthly 4.2 percent in November, the steepest decline since 2008.”

“Tenants are saving up to $120 a week in rent in some parts of Brisbane, where prices have fallen by as much as 25 per cent in the past year. The good news for renters comes as the inner-city market continues to suffer from an apartment glut, providing more options to choose from and an influx of landlords offering discounts and incentives as they compete for tenants. REA Group chief economist Nerida Conisbee said investor activity in Brisbane’s inner apartment sector had increased the supply of rental housing.”

“‘There are just so many more option for renters,’ Ms Conisbee said. ‘The majority of apartments are owned by investors and they are all competing for tenants.’”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-29 09:03:33

‘Where buyers are fighting with each other for houses under $400,000 in most markets, they have the pick of the litter in housing priced higher than $500,000 in most markets’

The answer is simple. Lower the price. What’s that? You owe more than $500k? That’s what is called YP. Your problem.

Comment by BlackSwandive
2017-12-29 09:30:26

$300k, $400k, $500k houses. The median household income in the United States is <$60k, which means even a $250k house is out of the question. $150k houses are the price point supported by median incomes.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-29 12:21:43

The median household income in the United States is <$60k, which means even a $250k house is out of the question

$60K = $5K a month = $4K after taxes.

A $250K house, even with $0 down, can be had for around $1500 PITI.

$1500 house payment out of $4K take home pay is more than doable.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-29 15:25:17

Stack on taxes insurance and depreciation and you’re up to $3000 a month and the lights still aren’t on.

Rent it for half the monthly cost instead. Then buy later after prices crater for 65% less.

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Comment by MWR
2017-12-30 08:43:06

Take home is more like $3.2K after 13% SSN, $250 insurance, 4% state tax, 5% 401k (almost mandatory in some companies now) and 15% federal.

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Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-30 13:08:49

12% SSN? Only if you’re self employed.

15% Federal? Not if you have any kids. Heck you might even get something back (between dependent deductions and child credits), as in pay nothing.

5% 401k (almost mandatory in some companies now)? Never heard of a 401K being “mandatory”. Some employers will automatically sign you up, but you can always reduce the contribution to 0.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-30 13:44:14


There isn’t a wage earner out there netting 80% of gross. 65% at best. In this case, $3200 a month net leaving a family $200/month to live on after buying a $150k house.

Comment by rms
2017-12-30 14:48:23

“Anyone claiming America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.” —Barack Obama

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-12-29 13:14:27

Yessiree. And then, only a few years back, you couldn’t find anything under $300K and…now it’s $400k.

Comment by oxide
2017-12-30 05:03:58

1. Those $300-500K houses are in wealthy areas. Fisherville is near Charlottesville, which is where UVa and a lot of wealthy DC goes to retire. Atlanta has tons of jobs to support $100K hh incomes. There’s aren’t bidding wars in flyover.

2. We can’t really match up the median income with the median house price. The bottom third of households have been renters, for decades. We should be looking at only the pool of buyers, where household income is probably closer to $75K.

3. 2.5x income is too low for a house price. That’s the price for 6%-7% interest. With interest rates at 4%, people can easily afford 3x income.

So $300-$400K is within reach, if people stretch.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-30 05:14:55


2x annual income has always been the back of napkin metric irrespective of rates. Now the national median price is 5x.

This is why 90%+ of mortgages are subprime and have been for years.

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Comment by BlueSkye
2017-12-30 06:10:10

“household income is probably closer to $75K…$400K is within reach”

This is insane. $50K in take home and spending $1M on shelter. That’s a distilled 10 years of your life served up to the Housing Gods, before food and clothing.

It’s a waste on a grand scale.

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2017-12-30 09:32:57

This is insane. $50K in take home and spending $1M on shelter. That’s a distilled 10 years of your life served up to the Housing Gods, before food and clothing.

Wait, isn’t that twenty years, Blue, rather than ten?

Comment by BlueSkye
2017-12-30 10:14:09

Oh, sorry!

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2017-12-30 17:29:31

No worries—your point is even more significant when you think about someone spending every penny from TWENTY YEARS of work, just in order to put a roof over their head. Yikes!

Comment by JAMESJIM
2017-12-30 06:57:14

Altanta is home to the “Fake it til yah Make it” crowd, zero down, sign and drive, refi to the latest loan program that pushes the reality down the road, until the road runs out. Gotta laugh, morning commute, you see dozens of $50k cars pullin outta appartment complexs headed to their 45K a year job, but they be flossin in that new whip. Then you have everyone buying a bigger house then they can afford, cus its all about “Fakin it till yah make it” attitude in the ATL. We have a huge movie/rapper/player wanna be mentality here, with ZERO substance behind it. The next down turn will be uglier then the last one here, thats why im livin below my means and waiting on the sidelines, i’ll feast on their carcass’s.

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Comment by Rj not in Chicago anymore
2017-12-29 13:26:32

Kinda redefines the meaning of ‘black friday’?

Comment by Visitor
2017-12-30 08:43:53

Foreign buyers closed on $153 billion worth of U.S. residential properties between April 2016 and March 2017, a 49 percent jump from the period a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. That surpasses the previous high, set in 2015.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-30 10:03:11

“according to the National Association of Realtors.”

Meaning take it with a grain of salt my friend. Take it with a grain of salt.

Comment by Apartment 401
Comment by jeff
2017-12-29 10:18:19

“Gonorrhea Rates Up 97 Percent in Colorado”

Too many tractors.

Tractor Story

Comment by jeff
2017-12-29 10:26:11
Comment by rms
2017-12-29 12:13:51

Not even a hint of a cohort to avoid. Denver = PC

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-29 21:00:12

Not even a hint of a cohort to avoid.

That would go against the narrative.

Comment by oxide
2017-12-30 08:56:14

Just for kicks, which cohort should be avoided? Tindr? Gays? Young? “of color”? Pros? Pot?

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-29 09:05:09

‘Local real estate investment by ‘flippers’ has been on the wane for more than a year. I suspect fear of a correction—there will be one upcoming to be sure—and the cooling of the high-end market are on the minds of speculators’

We’ve got one or two of those around here.

Comment by Lurker
2017-12-29 15:06:12

From the same article: “An outstanding house priced at $799,000 might sell for $1 million with multiple offers, while a $1-million-asking-price house might sell for the same amount due to a lack of multiple offers.”

Sounds like we’re into the “bottom-of-the-barrel FBs who don’t research anything outside of their narrow zip code/price range” terminal stage.

Lack of sales at $1mil+ is a major problem for East LA when every terrible teardown with “charm” is listed for $1.5m and up, and condos/townhomes can be more expensive in Silver Lake and Los Feliz than in nicer neighborhoods further west.

Same thing happened late in the last bubble in NYC, where “up and coming” Williamsburg was more expensive than established Manhattan for worse and smaller apartments. Pure trigger-finger specuvesting by people who spent more time researching a restaurant for dinner than a near-seven-figure house to buy.

Comment by Lurker
2017-12-29 15:34:53

Speaking of LA, follow up question for CHE if you’re around today. You said on 12/27:

“I jump over at least a couple of homeless people just sprawled out on the sidewalk now in West Hollywood on my daily run. I watch the tents line Sunset Blvd as I drive to work.”

Can you elaborate? I used to live in Weho but haven’t been back in a couple of years, surprised to hear this. What part of Sunset are the tents? Thanks much for the intel, very interesting.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-12-29 20:08:04
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Comment by oxide
2017-12-29 17:27:57

Last week I was traveling and had occasion to watch a night of HGTV Flip or Flop in my hotel. In addition to Tarek and Christina in Southern California, they now have a flipper couple in Dallas. Funny thing… the flip in Dallas only netted $30K at best. Tarek and Christina, in CA, regularly get twice that.

“Flipping” is losing its lustre, and nobody wants to admit the reason. None of these are really flips. These are full-on rehabs. Gone are the salad days or 2008-2009 when you could get a house at 50% off and throw down paint and carpet and a Home Depot kitchen. These houses are the trashed dregs that flippers didn’t want. They have old systems, termite or water damage, cracked foundations, dead plumbing pipes, unpermitted additions that must be torn down, original kitchens, supporting walls in exactly the wrong place for open concept, the works. The Dallas couple spent $50K+ to get their house into sellable shape, and Tarek and Christina are spending upwards of $125K, for houses under 1600 sq ft! It’s been at least 3 years since I’ve seen a cosmetic flip.

HGTV is wise to do these rehabs in California and Dallas where prices are still high. They would NEVER get away with this in places like, say, Lexington KY or even Tampa, where serviceable homes can be bought for $150-$200K. Also note that Goofball and Joanna down in Waco are rehabbing houses for existing owners; they aren’t trying to sell those rehabs. It’s not worth spending $50K on a $150K house.

That couple in Dallas probably have a $120K household income. Yes it’s a great income, but at $60K each it’s hardly get-rich-quick. These are just a job now.

Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-12-29 18:18:23

Great insight Oxide. My brother-in-law did a full on renovation for a house that was in decent shape. He did all of the work after his office job and it consumed his life for about 4 months. He has experience in construction and his father and brother helped quite a bit. They put in an entire kitchen and a second entrance to the downstairs and now rent this to a couple below them. It helps them to pay the bills. I am impressed by the “sweat equity” that he put in. He had definitely increased the value of the place, but this is because of his particular skill set and the work he put in. It was basically working overtime for about 4-6 months to get what he has. I think it was worth it for them, but it was definitely work, and not particularly glamorous.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-12-29 09:12:04

Here’s a (possibly) related article from last May that may help explain what is behind what is going on in portland as described in the Portland post …

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-29 09:28:57

Eagle Creek, OR Housing Prices Crater 7% YOY</b

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-29 10:21:08

Luckily nuclear scientists are a dime a dozen in North Korea!

North Korea
Published December 29, 2017
North Korean nuclear scientist who defected to China kills himself after forced to return
Fox News
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides guidance with Ri Hong Sop and Hong Sung Mu on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo. (Reuters)

A North Korean nuclear scientist who fled the country while taking time off from work to deal with “anxiety over his research projects” has killed himself inside a prison cell after being recaptured in China and sent back over the border, according to a report.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-12-29 10:39:43

Here’s a 1995 version of Bill Clinton sounding a lot like the 2017 version of Donald Trump …

Comment by Saltwater Catfish
2017-12-29 10:50:25

Trump = Clinton = Bush = Obama

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-29 11:12:45

There’s one big difference:

Full transcript of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the RNC

‘Tonight, I will share with you for action for America. The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America first. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.’

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-12-29 12:28:41

I read Huffington Post, Salon, The Guardian (U.S. edition), New Yorker, The Atlantic, and other globalist/leftist media on a regular basis.

I don’t need Infowars, Breitbart, etc to interpret them for me, I read them directly from the source.

Globalists, and globalist media, hate America. They hate American national sovereignty, they hate American citizens and any rights held by those citizens that are not given to non-citizens, whether outside the country or inside it illegally.

And to the Southern Poverty Law Center blog monitors reading this, you’re losing control of the narrative. 63 million American voters didn’t listen to you in November 2016, and even less voters are listening to you now.

You are asking for a civil war that you will lose, because when it comes down to globalists vs patriots, patriots will win.

The only narrative you control is contained within Twitter, Facebook, Google, Reddit, and other globalist censors.

You can’t censor the minds of citizens who dare to think outside the plantation of censored, globalist, social media.

And Ben Jones, your blog rocks. Thanks again.

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Comment by Overbanked
2017-12-29 10:55:53

There are no more illegal aliens in the USA today. President Trump fixed this in 11 months.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-29 12:28:35

Liberals take Trump literally, not seriously.
Thanks for proving this once again.

Comment by Overbanked
2017-12-29 16:31:13

Your words, amigo.

They admitted to 12 million in 2006 and they were lying then.

Math is hard.

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Comment by oxide
2017-12-29 17:32:13

Trump just tweeted today that he will not sign any DACA bill that does not include the border wall, and end to chain migration, and an end to the diversity lottery.

Of course every libby had taunted Trump about the as-unbuilt Wall and totally missed the chain migration part.

Oh, and ICE/DHS said that they are going to make employer enforcement a priority in 2018. Libs have no power on that. That’s a 1986 law.

Comment by Ben Jones
2017-12-29 17:58:39

‘going to make employer enforcement a priority in 2018′

If they do it’s goodbye sanctuary cities.

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Comment by redmondjp
2017-12-30 00:31:14

If I could hope for one thing before I die, it would be to see all of the sanctuary cities lose ALL of their federal funding.

You would never see local politicians change their tune so quickly (of course they would puff up and storm and rant like crazy first).

Comment by oxide
2017-12-30 05:20:25

Sanctuary cities work on the notion that once the alleged illegal criminal has done his time, they can’t hold him any longer to wait for ICE to get there (48 hours). It’s got some merit. Of course the alleged illegal disappears into the streets.

But why can’t Congress simply pass a law requiring local governments to notify ICE 48 hours *before* the accused’s time is up? Release every single DUI right into the arms of ICE. Let’s see the Democrats vote against that.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-29 10:56:07

“Prices today are about 20% higher than the 2007 peak and more than double what they were at the bottom of the Great Recession (2009-2012).”

And yet inflation, and in particular wage increases, have been virtually non-existent since 2007. What could this situation possibly portend?

Comment by taxpayer
2017-12-29 11:34:35

and re taxes are up bigly since the 5/2005 peak

07 was the stragglers

Comment by Tea Party Patriot
2017-12-29 13:02:37

Commentary | More Californians living in cars? A ‘wheel estate’ boom is coming.

by Chris Reed

The cost of housing is so outrageous in California that stories that might once have seemed preposterous now seem completely unsurprising. Case in point: In a scene straight out of a dystopian movie about a ravaged future Earth, homeless people set up an encampment at a toxic Superfund industrial site in Oxnard, saying they had nowhere else to go.

Media coverage of the extreme cost of housing in the Golden State has focused on how it has increased homelessness and poverty, led more people to move to cheaper states and made it difficult for school districts, governments and private employers in the costliest areas to find workers. But there has been little focus on what our future ultimately will look like. This mess isn’t going to be solved by building “affordable housing” — at least as long as it’s of the expensive sort traditionally seen in California. Nor is it going to be solved by offering slight regulatory relief such as the state Legislature recently enacted to encourage housing construction.

Here’s my confident prediction about how this problem will be dealt with by a growing number of Californians — not the destitute homeless, but single people with both low-paying and middle-income jobs. They’re going to decide to live in their cars, trucks, vans, campers and recreational vehicles — and once this demand is clear, automakers will start building more vehicles designed to be lived in, entrepreneurs will sell kits to convert existing vehicles into more comfortable homes and businesses will emerge that cater to vehicle dwellers’ needs.

In an era in which the cost of shelter consumes at least half the income of millions of California households, it’s going to dawn on a lot of people that instead of finding perfect roommates and living paycheck to paycheck, it will be easier just to get a roomy sports-utility vehicle from GMC (dubbed “Grand Man Caves” by the Complex website), add a drop-down TV screen and a small satellite dish and think of that $700 monthly vehicle loan payment as the equivalent of rent — with the bonus that after a few years, you’ll no longer have to pay rent. You’ll own your vehicle-home. Yeah, you’ll also have to pay $79.99 a month to use the showers at 24 Hour Fitness, but that beats $1,500 or so a month for your share of the rent — without counting the cost of utilities.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-29 14:56:30

CA is Brazil.

5% is wealthy beyond anyone’s dream. And virtually everyone in that category is white. 10-20% middle class, a mix of white and non-white, and the rest lives in poverty, almost exclusively non-white.

And both have nice beaches.

Both are run by socialists.

And just like Brazil, CA has signed on to host the Olympics in order for politicians to skim billions off the top.

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-29 20:19:22


Comment by junior_kai
2017-12-29 14:59:52

Excellent article, and I have liked this idea for a while. The fact that the state doesnt accommodate this reality pisses me off. This mobility helps at least some hold down a job or two. The #vanlife thing has taken off for the younguns and theres lots of videos of how people have rigged their vans to suit their lifestyle.

I have considered doing this at some point myself - not permanently, but just to have the freedom to post up where I want, surfing and hiking areas that interest me. Most hotels are a poor value and if you can rig up a van the way you want I think that would be preferable - the ford transit van in particular has caught my eye. Its just stupid so many municipalities have made it illegal - just set aside a lot or two or an area that doesnt bother residents or businesses. How hard can this be?

Comment by Howard
2017-12-29 15:40:57

But a van is just so creepy. Couldn’t do it.. haha. sorry.

Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-29 17:26:31

I’ve “dirtbagged” out of an SUV for long periods. As in, up to 14 months continuously, with the odd night in a hotel or staying with someone while I was passing through. But, I’m only 5′2″. :D

Mind you, this was after I retired, so I was not staying in developed areas. I was out on public land where dispersed camping is perfectly legal. This is how I operate when I go out to the Colorado high country for the summer. Just have to watch for the incoming tide of Front Rangers on the weekends/holidays.

Hint: removing the front passenger seat gives you quite a bit of extra room. ;-) Same with the part of the back seat that is folded down to accomodate my “north-south” oriented bed.

While I was still working, I also had such a set-up and used it on weekends, holidays, etc.

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-12-29 13:07:41


So Jay Adkisson is talkin’ about Wells Fargo and bitcoin and what constitutes a scam, and, there is no mention of Goldman wanting a piece of the scam…. and he’s using Wells Fargo, a paragon of fking banking virtue in his example?
Pick you poison. Gamblers bet on things that move. Bitcoins move. End of story. As long as the gambler knows what he’s betting on so be it. It has an agenda, and, so what. It hides money, steals money, moves money….

Do YOU really think bankers care about the honesty of these transactions? It’s taking money away from the products they hype in their cubicles, pure and simple. And so far they can’t control it even with the introduction of Future Contracts. Too bad.
My son put himself through graduate school playing poker. He avoided Wells Fargo student loans. Hard Rock Cafe.

I have no problem with people talkin’ shit about bitcoin. No mention that eighty-five percent of all stock options expire worthless, but, that never bothered anyone. Suddenly bankers are concerned. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?
They want in. They want a taste.
Did anyone here follow the NEO story. First people invested in it and it went up. Then its govt prohibited/limited it and it went down. Then their govt said it was okay and it rose again. You don’t think it was manipulated to let let people in their govt take a position in it, do you ?

It’s a TA game. Yesterday people wrote about the crash as BTC was putting in a bottom. Endless hype and copy and more hype.

Hey, no one is worried about bitcoin energy consumption or future Western droughts or Lake OKAYchobbee algal blooms ….so why worry about BTC & Kumpany.

Comment by Rj not in Chicago anymore
2017-12-29 13:20:20

A bit off topic.
Spent this last week in the finger lakes district visiting extended family who live there. Beautiful area but you can see what failed economics does to rural folk. These are truly ‘dirt people’ with all attending struggles, drugs, poverty, health issues all over the place. Sad.
I am now sitting in Newark airport waiting on my connecting flight back to Denver.
Cold here, very cold and man o man the people.
I know why I moved from places like this. It is bizzaro world. I pity the young men looking for a woman. Pickins are slim here guys.
Been reading Ben’s posts just about every day and something is afoot in realtard land. Something ominous.
Happy New Year!

Comment by rms
2017-12-29 13:46:45

“Cold here, very cold…”

Still 1/2′” layer of solid black ice here in the Columbia Basin at noon. I refuse to get in my car today… huge risk vs little benefit.

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-12-29 14:47:19

The Finger Lakes. When wasn’t it depressed? In the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s? You had one mailman and his son who took over the route when he died, one garage that fixed flats and consoled you about the rust running along your running boards, one lady who lived either with her sister or aging aunt that mended torn work jeans that occasionally fell in love with a saw blade…and no one knew how old the houses were or how many times they had been passed down or what happened to Harriet’s son who saw action but never made it back home or the egg farmer up the road whose kitchen always had a soup cooking or the neighbors down the narrow driveway who spent the Summer cutting wood to keep them warm in the Winter and they repeated that endless cycle because it was a necessity and not a choice and then….
you head off to Newark and you’re on another planet and….
you’re in flight, hoping the next escape hatch will be better.
Welcome to James Kunstler’s reality.
Only it was never heaven and never idyllic. It was doable.
Been there at five, fifteen, thirty, 45…years of age. And lots older.
Drawn to it like a moth to a 30-70-100 watt three-way bulb.
And you cashed out of lakefront properties to people who built houses that they used only two weeks a year and for a Labor Day weekend.

Comment by SFMF
2017-12-29 14:49:38

Wait, you’re flying from the Great Lakes to Denver via Newark?

Comment by oxide
2017-12-29 17:39:00

Finger Lakes are in Central New York. Look at google maps and you’ll see immediately why they call it the Finger Lakes — best way is probably to take a hopper from Binghamton or SYR to Newark or possibly Pittsburgh.

Comment by BlueSkye
2017-12-30 04:00:37


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Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-29 21:04:28

Sometimes the best airfare can take you down odd routes.

Comment by BlueSkye
2017-12-29 15:13:40

We don’t all find the same things in a place. I love it here in the Finger Lakes.

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-12-29 16:00:00


Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-30 04:49:50

“I pity the young men looking for a woman. Pickins are slim here guys.”

No shortage of women in SoCal…

Comment by rms
2017-12-30 14:53:12

“No shortage of women in SoCal…”

With long legs and a thigh gap?

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-29 13:35:41

Littleton, CO Housing Prices Crater 22% YOY

Comment by azdude
2017-12-29 14:42:05

the hardest part of living in an rv is finding somewhere to park it. KOA campgrounds r usually high priced in the desirable areas so it can defeat the purpose. sometimes u just have to keep moving if you dont have a cheap spot to park.

I did a quick search for an rv spot at this place for next month and it was 75.00 /day:

doesnt seem like value to me.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-12-29 15:44:12

“the hardest part of living in an rv is finding somewhere to park it.”

“Overnight In Walmart Parking Lots: Silence, Solace and Refuge- The New York Times”

Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-12-29 17:10:58

This is why I’m waiting for an electric vehicle in my price range. RVs are too big and draw too much attention. And parking them can be expensive. My dad (he’s kind of eccentric and a little bit of a cheapskate despite being wealthy) sleeps in the back of his Tesla all the time. Sometimes it’s just convenience. But one good thing about an EV is that it is climate controlled. He can have AC or heat and only use like 5-7% of the battery overnight. Just get some custom blackout panels on the inside and there is privacy. You can’t really “live” in the back of a Tesla, but if you have a Planet Fitness membership, you can shower (and workout) pretty much anywhere and sleep in the back of your car. It seems to be a pretty decent way for an affluent nomad/gypsy to travel.

Comment by tresho
2017-12-29 21:54:33

It seems to be a pretty decent way for an affluent nomad/gypsy to travel.
Remember what happened to Michael Jordan’s father.

Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-12-30 08:52:10

Yeah, I do remember that. However, I hear stories almost every week about thieves breaking in and assaulting homeowners and renters. The fact that this happened to Michael Jordan’s father made the story blow up, but I’m not sure that homeowners (or renters) are statistically safer from random violence than are people living in their cars.

Here are the stats for 2016 where I live:

None of these homicides were against people living in vehicles, but 10 of them were related to home invasion.

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Comment by tresho
2017-12-30 11:34:25

are statistically safer from random violence than are people living in their cars
Sleeping outdoors in areas accessible to those who roam by night is more than a statistical anomaly. At least in some of the quoted articles about Californians living in their cars, there is some protection for groups of people bedding down in a church parking lot. The veneer of civilization is wearing thin.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2017-12-30 17:27:24

Remember what happened to Michael Jordan’s father.

A better lesson to take from that story: don’t drive flashy cars that make the wrong kind of people want to steal them. My car looks like a POS, but if you are able to see past the facade, there is beauty in it.

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Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-12-30 18:48:44

That is definitely a good lesson.

Comment by tresho
2017-12-31 12:34:14

A better lesson to take from that story: don’t drive flashy cars that make the wrong kind of people want to steal them.
A better lesson than yours: don’t sleep outdoors in a flashy car that makes a would-be thief want to shoot through your windows to kill you and steal your stuff.

Comment by oxide
2017-12-29 17:54:55

My local Wal-Mart used to be open 24 hours, but it soon moved to closing at 11 pm — possibly because a 24 hour Wal-Mart means parking and rif-raf in the bathrooms overnight.

I wonder if Wal-Mart would do well to set-up a sewage-dumping station (? don’t know what they call it) service at these parking lots. How much would one charge for that?

Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-29 18:14:59

Dump stations are useful for RVs that actually have holding tanks.

For people living in cars and SUVs, a couple porta-potties would be more useful.

Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-29 18:35:07

BTW, used to be lots of 24-hour Walmarts around here but I think they now all close overnight. I figured it was due to excessive shoplifting, etc. But you may be on the right track: maybe the restrooms were magnets for various types of homeless folks?

Comment by oxide
2017-12-30 05:29:24

Homeless and heroin addicts. Several of the grocery stores and the Trader Joe’s don’t have split men’s/women’s rooms. They have 2-3 single hole bathrooms with a lock — probably to accommodate the transgendered. IMO it’s a bad idea. There’s nothing a heroin addict likes more than a bathroom with a lock. I’m hoping there’s a way to unlock it without breaking in.

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Comment by Nate
2017-12-29 14:48:34

Is America Entering Housing Bubble 2.0? (XHB)

After surging 6.5% in 2017, the highest pace in 4 years according to Zillow data, the total market value of homes in the United States reached a staggering all-time high of $31.8 trillion at the end of 2017…or roughly 1.5x the total GDP of the United States.

Comment by azdude
2017-12-29 15:39:03

its nice just to buy something and watch the cash roll in.we have a lot of financial engineering going on. Seems like a lot of countries are just creating money to buy imports tryn to get something for nothing.

Comment by Apartment 401
2017-12-29 17:18:25

LOL @California:

If you have a problem with this, you’re a racist, islamaphobe, anti-semite, and any other phobe/ism being pumped up in

My favorite quote:

“The family lives in a small one-bedroom apartment in downtown Berkeley. Ben designs and creates jewelry for a local gallery and Sara manages their building to help cover the rent. Charley and James share a bedroom with bunk beds; Ben and Sara’s bed takes up nearly half of the living room. They’re insured through Medi-Cal, which means Sara has had to spend hours on the phone, getting the right exemptions and exceptions so James can go to the Child and Adolescent Gender Center at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, a leader in treating transgender children, where physicians monitor his march toward puberty.”

Comment by jeff
2017-12-29 18:26:50

“a leader in treating transgender children, where physicians monitor his march toward puberty.”

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-30 13:17:35

I can see the good doctor giving the “girl” condoms and explaining to her what nocturnal emissions and “morning wood” are and prescribing contraceptive pills for the “boy” and explaining why he has menses and giving him tampons.

I can only imagine what is coming next.

Comment by Anonymous
2017-12-29 18:30:38

So, she wants to be a boy. And starts dressing, etc. the part. And then “his” actual brother decides that HE wants to be a girl. I think I got it.

I didn’t read every word…did the article say which bathroom each will use? The one for their “new” gender?

Comment by alphonso bedoya
2017-12-29 19:41:07

It was Madonna who said she was a transvestite male born in a woman’s body.
Did the therapist say: “Ah, yes, now it all makes sense.”

Comment by rms
2017-12-29 18:42:16

Glad we don’t have those challenges in our family. Must be exhausting.

Comment by Senior Housing Analyst
2017-12-29 18:45:51

Port Angeles, WA Housing Prices Crater 28% YOY On Skyrocketing Housing Inventory

Comment by Jessica
2017-12-29 21:48:50

The Globalist, Terry McCaulliff, has succeeded in turning Virginia blue by importing hordes of “Asians” and Latinos. This, I believe, has caused the “shortage of inventory” here in northern va. The generous taxpayers are giving millions of their hard earned dollars to support the lavish lifestyles of the Federal workforce - who, thanks to the Union, can never, ever be fired. The realtors here trill endlessly about the “recession proof” economy that will only cause housing prices to go up and up and up! It really is different here.

The question is - will it ever end?

Comment by Mafia Blocks
2017-12-30 09:16:50

Washington, DC 20017 Rental Rates Crater 14% YOY On Plunging Housing Demand

Select price from dropdown list on rental chart

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-30 13:19:58

Unless DC wages keep pace with rising housing prices it will end.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-30 04:34:34

“With the market weakening each year and demand at a six-year low, many existing investors are now desperate to sell. ‘Sellers know it’s a buyers’ market now so they have been more willing to negotiate and settle at reduced prices. So, there are a few sales transactions taking place, albeit it at much lower prices,’ said U Wanna Soe, a property agent from Phoe Lamin Real Estate.”

Can’t wait to see the version of this same story for West Coast U.S.A.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-30 04:46:34

“‘There are just so many more option for renters,’ Ms Conisbee said. ‘The majority of apartments are owned by investors and they are all competing for tenants.’”

U.S. landlord/investors can anticipate the same thing, once a few more Baby Boomers either die off or move on to retirement communities. Get ready for the great tenant shortage which nobody could have seen coming.

Comment by Professor 🐻
2017-12-30 06:11:41

Iceberg dead ahead!

A recession warning signal is flashing; investors carry on
The Associated Press
Dec 28, 2017

One of Wall Street’s traditional warning signs for a recession is flashing yellow, and nobody seems to care.

The signal lies within the bond market, where Treasurys maturing in a couple of years have been paying nearly as much in interest as bonds that take a decade to mature.

The gap between the two is usually much wider. Market watchers call this phenomenon a “flattening yield curve,” and it’s often been a harbinger of slowing economic growth, if not a recession.

Earlier this month, a 10-year Treasury was offering just 0.53 percentage points more in yield than a two-year Treasury. The last time the spread was so thin was in October 2007. Two months later, the Great Recession began.

Comment by jeff
2017-12-30 06:39:00

If president Trump was keeping up with the well paid and Granted “experts” he would realize that Global Warming is hiding under the Oceans and weather is only Climate Change when it agrees with Climate scientists.

NASA Study Finds Indian, Pacific Oceans Temporarily Hide Global Warming

July 9, 2015
RELEASE 15-147

A new NASA study of ocean temperature measurements shows in recent years extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Researchers say this shifting pattern of ocean heat accounts for the slowdown in the global surface temperature trend observed during the past decade.

Trump’s global warming tweet is a ‘troll job,’ not based in science, experts say

By MEGHAN KENEALLY Dec 29, 2017, 3:59 PM ET

On Tuesday night, Trump posted a tweet referencing the cold snap in the Northeast.

“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!” he wrote.

Climate experts and scientists that spoke to ABC News wrote Trump’s tweet off, dismissing it as the latest in a series of statements Trump has made about global warming that are not based on scientific evidence.

“He sees it as a joke. It’s a troll job,” said Ryan Maue, a meteorologist for

Maue told ABC News that how one interprets the tweet “depends on if you’re taking it literally or not.”

For those taking the tweet literally, Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist at Stanford University, explained that the particularly warm weather in the west of the country and the cold weather in the east is known as the North American winter temperature dipole, and it is becoming more common.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-12-30 08:23:06

“The movement of the warm Pacific water westward pulled heat away from the surface waters of the central and eastern Pacific, which resulted in unusually cool surface temperatures during the last decade. Because the air temperature over the ocean is closely related to the ocean temperature, this provides a plausible explanation for the global cooling trend in surface temperature.”

“… which resulted in unusually cool surface temperatures during the last decade.”


“Because the air temperature over the ocean is closely related to the ocean temperature, this provides a plausible explanation for the global cooling trend in surface temperature.”

“… plausible explanation for the global cooling trend in surface temperature.”

Lol. You do not get to see such statements as this from these guys all that often. What you usually see are statements talking about these past few years being the hottest years on record - accompanied with hockey stick charts.


Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-12-30 09:19:31

The Places That May Never Recover From the Recession
December 29, 2017

The Rust Belt isn’t the only region left behind by the economic recovery. The suburbs of the American west are struggling, too.

HEMET, California—Many cities across America are doing better today than they were before the recession. This is not one of them. A decade after the start of the Great Recession, it struggles with pervasive crime and poverty. “We’re still recovering—we were really hit hard on all levels,” Linda Krupa, the mayor of Hemet, told me. A fifth of the population lives below the poverty line, up from 13 percent in 2005.

Hemet is not alone in its troubles. A report released this year by the Economic Innovation Group, a research group started by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, found that one in six Americans lives in what the group calls “economically distressed communities” that are “increasingly alienated from the benefits of the modern economy.” Such communities have high shares of poverty, many housing vacancies, a large proportion of adults without a high-school diploma, high joblessness, and a lower median income than the rest of the state in which they are located. They also lost jobs and businesses between 2011 and 2015.

Why hasn’t Hemet found surer footing? For one thing, the region where Hemet is located was decimated by the housing crisis, with among the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in the nation; many families are still recovering. But Hemet’s problems are also the result of structural changes in the economy—changes that have been underway for decades but were masked by the heady days of the housing boom. Middle-class jobs have been disappearing while high-wage and low-wage jobs have grown—but in different geographic locations. High-wage jobs are often located in big cities, while low-wage jobs are in relatively cheap locations like suburbs and small cities. This dynamic changes the housing markets of these cities, too, with big cities getting more expensive as more high-wage workers migrate there, and low-wage workers leaving cities to seek more affordable housing in the far-away suburbs they can afford. Now that the dust of the recession has cleared, it is evident that the geography of poverty has changed in America.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2017-12-30 10:17:40

“I first visited Hemet in 2010, when, as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, I stumbled across a one-time luxury development that real-estate agents were, at the time, calling a “gated ghetto.” Dozens of families in the community, called Willowalk, had lost their homes to foreclosure and investors had swooped in, bought up the properties, and rented them out, often not checking references and not maintaining the properties. Homeowners were shocked when renters with Section 8 vouchers moved in next door.”

Say what? “Homeowners were shocked when renters with Section 8 vouchers moved in next door.” How, er, un-PC. Moving on …

“When I returned to Hemet this November, I assumed that the development would have bounced back in the seven years since. The houses are huge and Willowalk features a community pool, a lake, and walking trails, all features that, in California’s booming real-estate market, would make the development seem like a steal. But not much has changed in the seven years since I first visited. If anything, the situation has gotten worse for people who remained.
“’The crime level just keeps getting higher,’ Toni Willden, who bought her home in 2005, told me recently, about Willowalk. The gates that keep out nonresidents get broken once or twice a week, she said. Just about everybody in town knows the code to the gates anyway—I got it by asking the clerk at the hotel where I was staying. Another woman, Amy Aschenberg, whose family in 2014 bought a five-bedroom home overlooking a pond, told me that she and her husband realized they’d made a mistake soon after buying their home. The gated community was filled with renters, who didn’t keep up their homes and who hosted parties late into the night, especially in the summer. Home burglaries—in the middle of the day - happened with alarming regularity.”

Etc. Good article, well worth a read.

Comment by rms
2017-12-30 15:22:59

“Homeowners were shocked when renters with Section 8 vouchers moved in next door.”

I’ve seen this strategy in the San Francisco Bay Area years ago, and the crime rate went through the proverbial roof.

Comment by In Colorado
2017-12-30 13:12:04

Why hasn’t Hemet found surer footing?

Because it’s an exurb out in the boondocks that’s a million miles from where the good jobs are?

Comment by rms
2017-12-30 15:12:32

A report released this year by the Economic Innovation Group, a research group started by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, found that one in six Americans lives in what the group calls “economically distressed communities” that are “increasingly alienated from the benefits of the modern economy.”

Isn’t that a community where two breadwinners work full-time to buy a house they’ll never own outright?

Comment by OneAgainstMany
2017-12-30 18:51:50

Sounds about right.

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