October 26, 2016

Compared To The Peak Of The Madness

A report from Global News in Canada. “Some sellers are cashing out of Canada’s hot housing markets as property values soar to new heights — while others may have already missed their chance. There are a few factors at play. First, there was the introduction of B.C.’s new 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers, which prompted a rapid slowdown in sales. Then in October, new federal mortgage rules were announced and quickly implemented, intended to stabilize the country’s housing market. The changes are leaving some homeowners on edge in Vancouver. ‘Some (sellers) are fearful,’ said James Garbutt, a realtor in the Vancouver area. ‘When you compare it to the peak of the madness in April, we’re off — for certain products — by about 20 per cent.’”

The Evening Standard in the UK. “Homeowners looking to sell up in the most expensive areas of central London are cutting record six-figure sums off asking prices in the wake of the Brexit vote, according to figures. In the ‘golden triangle’ of postcodes around Kensington, Knightsbridge and Mayfair an average of £171,321 is now being slashed from asking prices, up from £150,120 in the three months before the June 23 poll.”

“One three-bedroom, ground-floor flat on Belgravia’s Eaton Square went on the market in January with Hamptons International for £6.35 million. This month, it was repriced at £5.995 million. Similarly, a two-bedroom flat at Hanway Gardens, a new building in Fitzrovia, was on the market for £1.7 million at the time of the Brexit vote with Fraser & Co. Its price was cut in July to £1.6 million and again this month to £1.55 million.”

The Property Report on Dubai. “Dubai’s apartment market continues to make quarterly slides alongside the global oil price slump, data from UAE-based property portal Bayut.com recently showed. One-bed apartment rents suffered the greatest drop among all bed categories, with average prices decreasing 8 percent from AED100,000 (USD27,200) in the second quarter to AED92,000 (USD25,000) in the third quarter. The first seven months of 2016 saw a 30-percent slash on real estate sales values in Dubai, according to the Dubai Land Department.”

“To some local property developers however, the emirate’s property market is in its bottoming-out phase. ‘I think the worst is over,’ Nakheel PJSC Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah told Bloomberg recently. ‘Dubai is growing, we are seeing signs of more inquiries – serious inquiries – and I think that’s a sign of recovery. The market is maturing, we are seeing more serious, cautious investors, not speculators.’”

The News Minute on India. “Infrastructure company Marg ProperTies, wholly owned and subsidiary of MARG Ltd is in the news for the wrong reasons. Around 4000 customers who had invested in their properties are yet to receive apartments promised to them. ‘We filed a complaint -along with documentary proof- with the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Chennai Crime Branch, the Chief Minister’s Complaint Cell and the Commissioner’s Office, but we are yet to hear from them,’ says Ravishankar -an investor- while speaking to The News Minute.”

“Ravishankar invested in an apartment costing Rs. 42 lakhs and has already paid an amount of Rs. 35 lakhs, by availing a home loan from Axis Bank. He blames the bank too for not verifying the construction/sale agreement before transferring the said amount to the builders. According to him, only 30% of the project is complete, with only the exteriors in place.”

“‘Does this mean they don’t have funds to complete the project? Who will buy the rest of the apartments now?’ asked a customer who did not want to be identified.”

“The Brindavan Project in Sriperumbudur in Kancheepuram district on the other hand, has not even started. It was supposed to have been completed by 2013. The company website boasts of 1848 apartments (with 2 & 3 BHK) spread over 16.5 acres. ‘I invested in this project back in 2010 and have already paid about Rs. 10 lakhs for the apartment. No environmental clearance has been obtained the company has taken loans. If I had known then, I would never have invested in this project,’ shares advocate Hari.”

“Just like Hari, almost 600 people have bought apartments and paid 50-60% of the sale cost. ‘Only the Navratna project has been completed till date, while only the foundation has been laid for Aayush. Construction has not even begun for Four Seasons. At Maha Utsav, you are greeted by the sight of pillars,’ fumes Rajesh, an investor in the Maha Utsav and Ayush projects.”

“He paid Rs 3.5 lakhs for the Maha Utsav project and Rs. 2 lakhs for Ayush. ‘I paid the money in 2010. Around 3000 people have invested money in the Swarnabhoomi project, but only 450 have got their apartments,’ he adds. Even after filing a police complaint at the Thoraipakkam police station in July 2015 -he says- the police have not taken any action against the builders. A protest too was organized in Chennai by enraged customers and a case was also filed in the Consumer Court last year. ‘There are no judges appointed to the Consumer Court and our case has not come up for hearing till now,’ Rajesh sounds frustrated.”

“Rajesh alleged that he was being threatened by the Marg Group for repeatedly asking them to return the money he had paid for the apartments.”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2016-10-26 08:19:19

‘Does this mean they don’t have funds to complete the project? Who will buy the rest of the apartments now?’ asked a customer who did not want to be identified.’

Note to self: we’re gonna need more trees.


Comment by Apartment 401
2016-10-26 08:31:14

Nice view from this 3rd floor unit we finished yesterday:


We need to finish 8 more before we move to the next building on Monday, which means we’re probably working Saturday. Gotta bank that overtime now before they realize they built too many of them.

Comment by Ben Jones
2016-10-26 08:25:46

Here’s a letter to the editor in Canada:

‘Response issued to criticism of real estate community’
Estevan Mercury -October 26, 2016

‘The Editor: I am writing in response to Mr. Thompson’s remarks regarding local real estate agents. I hope to set the record straight on a couple of fronts. Real estate agents do not (or should not) unilaterally set list prices, and secondly, sellers can make price changes to the listing at any time.’

‘I am in full agreement that our market has swung from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market and prices have dropped since 2013, anywhere from 20 to 30 per cent, depending on the age, style and condition of the home.’

‘Pricing in our industry, anywhere in the country for that matter, is based entirely on supply and demand.’

‘In 2011, when the boom hit and prices soared, we had reduced or even non-existent inventory. As a result of significant housing investment in our community from 2011-13, we now have an abundance of inventory and demand has fallen. Prices have fallen.’

‘Real estate agents work in an environment where economic conditions are often beyond their control. We did not make the boom happen in Estevan and we did not make the crash happen. We make the pricing recommendations to the seller, but ultimately, the seller sets the price.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2016-10-26 08:30:04

Here’s the original letter:

Estevan Mercury - October 19, 2016

‘The Editor: According to local banks visited recently in Estevan, it appears that realtors in town are holding onto a dream that once was. The realtors are attempting to hold prices for single family dwellings high by keeping the prices on properties at premium levels based on the last Estevan area boom.’

‘Some personal acquaintances are upset because they have tried to drop the prices of their own houses that are presently listed and overpriced in today’s Estevan market and were told they have to wait until their real estate listing agreement came to the contractual end of the property listing date. At that time, the homeowner could then list with someone else.’

‘Prices of single family dwellings have dropped $100,000 or more across the board since the boom and maybe dropping even more since the boom died over 18 months ago.’

‘Bank appraisals for properties are a lot lower (generally $80,000 to $120,000) lower than realtor appraised values and new home buyers are not able to acquire property unless the purchaser wishes to place more money down on the property to offset the bank’s appraisal versus the real estate agents’ listed price.’

‘Property price correction will eventually take place and realtors will have to come to the realization that the present economy does not support the prices they place on their MLS listings. For any potential newcomers to Estevan, hopefully, this will happen sooner rather than later.’

Comment by Blue Skye
2016-10-26 14:19:26

Nasty business.

Comment by rms
2016-10-26 16:49:53

‘Pricing in our industry, anywhere in the country for that matter, is based entirely on supply and demand.’

Availability of credit and flimsy due-diligence has been the primary enabler of rising prices, IMHO.

Comment by palmetto
2016-10-26 08:35:03

Ha-ha, tech unicorn!


“Twitter got more bad news this week in the form of a shareholder lawsuit accusing CEO Jack Dorsey and other executives of concealing facts about Twitter’s slow user growth, even as they sold their personal stock holdings “for hundreds of millions of dollars in insider profits.”


Slow user growth? Yeah, well, that’s what happens when you mess with Twatter posters and shadow ban or outright ban them for political/philosophical reasons. People get less enthusiastic and walk away.

Comment by palmetto
2016-10-26 09:04:39

A platform where people can blat at and call out others. How exactly does that make a profit, anyway? Oh, right, it’s for the investors. And some users have done OK using it as a marketing device for their brand.

I’d like to see how inflated Faceschnook is, too. What’s it really worth?

Comment by Ben Jones
2016-10-26 09:19:36

Losing $400 million a year.

Comment by palmetto
2016-10-26 09:44:02

So how is a company losing $400 million a year worth anything other than a negative number?

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Comment by Ben Jones
2016-10-26 10:14:21

Google Fiber to lay off 9% of staff as CEO steps down and it halts …
San Francisco Business Times (blog)-2 hours ago
… Fiber will halt its planned expansion into other San Francisco Bay Area cities, …

Comment by Rental Watch
2016-10-26 12:01:59

I think we are going to find that 2 years from now, the “other bets” part of Google is a shadow of it’s former self. Ruth Porat is ruthlessly cutting unnecessary cost, and not keen on allocating capital to speculative investments.

My sense is that if she was there previously, they would have never purchased Motorola or Boston Robotics (and maybe not even Nest).

And if she wasn’t there now, I’d bet they would have acquired Twitter.

Comment by new attitude
2016-10-26 13:03:37

Smart, with tilting towers, who wants to dig in SF?

Comment by rms
2016-10-26 17:05:23

“The difference in the speed of the connection is significant: Google Fiber connects to about gigabit per second (1,000 Mbit/s) for both download and upload, allowing the download of a full movie in less than two minutes. That is roughly 100 times faster than what the average American has access to for their connection currently.”

I’m getting 100-Mbit/s for $45/month. I can’t imagine needing much more for home use.

Comment by Apartment 401
2016-10-26 11:16:13

Cueing the paid Correct The Record employees to post that since Twitter is a private company it can control its content and does not have to promise freedom of speech.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2016-10-26 15:40:51

Let all Purveyors of The Narrative (and their shareholders) bite the dust.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2016-10-26 15:39:50

Huge supporters of Crooked Hillary who have tried to censor pro-Trump sites and posters. Let them go to zero.

Comment by palmetto
2016-10-26 08:48:29

Here’s a neat little trick to befuddle your average person. Home sales drop. OK, so go back and revise prior numbers downward. Guess what? Home sales rise! Magic!


Comment by Rental Watch
2016-10-26 09:13:22

Sounds like they hired some “data scientists” from NOAA.

Comment by palmetto
2016-10-26 09:41:54

I’m reading a fascinating book by Michael Crichton called “State of Fear”. first published in 2004. A “global warming” whodunit, and although it is fiction, the interesting thing is that Crichton includes real scientific graphs, data, bibliography and footnotes in the book and an afterword titled “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous”, using the “science is settled” of a century ago, eugenics, as an example.

Comment by SW
2016-10-26 10:52:46

That book changed my life.

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Comment by palmetto
2016-10-26 13:05:00

So far it’s definitely changing my point of view, or at least making me think about the subject and attempt to evaluate the data, or lack of it, lol.

Also interesting how so called “natural” events can occur with a little help from man. Seismic activity triggered by fracking, for example.

Comment by Blue Skye
2016-10-26 14:51:42

Good reading Palmy. “Settled” is not in the vocabulary of scientists. It is the vocabulary of abuse.

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Comment by aNYCdj
2016-10-26 08:55:05

hotel after hotel after hotel………then when they fail debozio allows them to turn into homeless shelters at $150+ night paid by the taxpayers of NYC…..what a business opportunity


and just down the block


and more

Comment by palmetto
2016-10-26 09:06:33

Good find. Another example of the government picking winners and losers.

Section 8 is a similar thing. Can’t get the rent you want for the property you want to flip? Section 8 is the answer!

Comment by aNYCdj
2016-10-26 09:21:05

its unbelievable the 7 train is conservatively 110% occupancy, the other trains are like sardines in the morning, no one even thinks of building a new tunnel under the east river to maybe connect to the still not running 2nd ave subway…..that’s 20 years away at best


Comment by new attitude
2016-10-26 13:00:39

Has there ever been a time in history where government has not picked winners and losers?

Comment by Blue Skye
2016-10-26 14:32:11

It’s a case of Less is More.

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Comment by Karen
2016-10-26 15:00:00

So just lie down and take it, proles!

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Comment by AbsoluteBeginner
Comment by Ben Jones
2016-10-26 09:11:30

I saw a report on this yesterday. From your link:

‘Three other residents came forward saying Malek Salehi had damaged their cars this past summer. Surveillance video obtained by KTVU shows someone in the landlord’s car shooting at the windows of a tenant’s car with a BB gun.’

‘According to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, the landlord’s motive was to force them out so he could raise the rents. Residents in rent controlled units pay $1,100 a month while the market rate for the units is $2,800.’

‘Prosecutors say if Malek Salehi is convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.’

Comment by rms
2016-10-26 17:15:26

“Residents in rent controlled units pay $1,100 a month while the market rate for the units is $2,800.”

Difficult to imagine paying $2800/month rent in East Palo Alto.

Comment by jerzdebil
2016-10-26 09:09:44

Tom Keene on ((bloomberg)) radio today asked a guest about real estate, noting that the high end seems to be falling, based on Manhattan and SF. His question was, is it spreading to lower tier segments/markets? The answer was yes. I think a different guest noted that keeping rates artificially low really only benefited the 1% as very little middle class housing was built in this cycle. Thanks yellen, how about setting your ugly ass self on fire?

Must be next to impossible to ignore the elephant in the room otherwise they would be spinning like crazy since they carry a big NAR funded RE program on the weekend.

Comment by Ben Jones
2016-10-26 09:35:43

20% in Vancouver, 30% in Dubai, total loss in India on 50% down-payments. Earlier I posted a UK report saying pre-construction in London being offered in bulk at 10-15% off, cutting prior buyers off at the knees. Where are the media reports on this potential global bubble pop?

Comment by Ben Jones
2016-10-26 09:59:54

‘Housing bubble fears have returned’

‘So is the housing market about to overheat again? Some experts aren’t so sure. Voya Global market strategists Douglas Coté and Karyn Cavanaugh wrote in a report last week — titled “Housing Industry is NOT in the Doghouse” — that limited inventory and a 55-month streak of increasing prices have strained affordability for first-time buyers.’

Nothing to see here:

‘a 55-month streak of increasing prices’

Comment by snake charmer
2016-10-26 11:37:30

The mainstream media, for reasons of perceived expediency, is ignoring a lot of things at the moment. If the bubble was revealed to be popping, populist candidates might be elected.

Comment by azdude
2016-10-26 15:08:05

donald trump kissed a lot of women out of lust.

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Comment by rms
2016-10-26 17:24:56

I’ve seen the ladies “serve-it-up” for those thought to be rich enough for five or six vacation trips a year; can’t imagine what the billionaires are offered.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2016-10-26 15:42:58

Yellen the Felon will pull out all the stops to make sure that fellow Goldmanite Hillary Clinton gets elected. That means propping up the Fed’s asset bubbles and Ponzi markets until after the elections.

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Comment by Sean
Comment by oxide
2016-10-26 10:10:06

Get you in for free the first time, then sign you up for a more expensive class. The next class sets you for an even more expensive class, etc. This is the classic model for all of the scam classes. House flipping, tracking devices, stock trading, multi-level marketing, financial management, selling insurance, you name it. And people still fall for it.

I think it would be funny for a well-funded Buffet/Soros minion to actually sign up for ALL of the classes just to see if there was actually anything at the end of the chain.

Comment by Sean
2016-10-26 10:48:19

It just amazes me that people still fall for this. If I had any secret to being a millionaire many times over I sure as heck wouldn’t bring people into a ball room to share it.

A flight attendant I flew with a few years ago sold Mona Vie, an energy drink that turned out to be bogus and part of a MLM. Whenever you brought up “scam” said how she wasn’t going to make money with it, she was already preprogrammed with the responses. Some people you just can’t say anything to.

Comment by azdude
2016-10-26 12:03:27


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Comment by oxide
2016-10-26 18:25:17

Evidently, the first “homework” assignment is to go home and sign up for a $15,000+ credit card to cover “unexpected expenses,” in running the flipping, when in truth they try to hoodwink the suckers into using that credit card for the expensive advanced classes.

But the $64,000 question is: what credit card company is giving $130+K of unsecured credit to these suckers? The rubes are obviously not making much in salary to pay back the CC. More Yellenbucks come over from the mortgage division to die in the CC division? (after extracting late fees etc.)

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Comment by Ben Jones
2016-10-26 10:29:50

I just got this in an email:


‘WASHINGTON – The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today announced that, under certain circumstances, it will lower its required owner-occupancy standard for approved condominium developments effective immediately. FHA currently requires that approved condominium developments have a minimum of 50 percent of the units occupied by owners. However, the agency determined this requirement can be lowered to 35 percent for existing condo developments provided the project meets certain conditions.’

‘The Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) directed the FHA to issue guidance regarding the percentage of units within an approved condominium development that must be owner-occupied. While having too few owner-occupants can detract from the viability of a project, requiring too many can harm its marketability. It is FHA’s position that owner-occupants serve to stabilize the financial viability of the projects and are less likely to default on their obligations to homeowner associations than non-owner occupants.’

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2016-10-26 13:33:44

FHA currently requires that approved condominium developments have a minimum of 50 percent of the units occupied by owners.

If you go further back in time, wasn’t it a 75% requirement at some point? I have a vague recollection of that being the case, or maybe I’m just basing that on a building whose covenants I became familiar with. Were they just being overly conservative, or has the FHA been loosening this for a LONG long time?

Comment by azdude
2016-10-26 11:11:16


Comment by new attitude
2016-10-26 12:26:40

Down goes oil..

Last year was a huge turning point for clean power, with renewable energy surpassing coal to become the largest source of power capacity in the world for the first time, according to a new report.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2016-10-26 13:39:12

largest source of power capacity in the world for the first time,

Largest source of NEW capacity, or largest source of total capacity? Big difference.


Comment by new attitude
2016-10-26 14:07:45

Last year was a huge turning point for clean power, with renewable energy surpassing coal to become the largest source of power capacity in the world for the first time, according to a new report.


Comment by Blue Skye
2016-10-26 14:45:38

Someone once said that “Attitude is no substitute for intelligence.”

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2016-10-26 16:57:46

Sounds like the answer to my question was “both”, then:

Last year was a huge turning point for clean power, with renewable energy surpassing coal to become the largest source of power capacity in the world for the first time, according to a new report.

And not only have renewables now overtaken coal, but the rate of their adoption keeps getting faster. In another first, growth in renewables outstripped all other forms of new power generation in 2015, with clean energy accounting for more than half of the world’s new electricity capacity added last year.

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Comment by Jesus Navas is my Lord Savior
2016-10-26 12:28:21

Did you vote twice today?

Comment by azdude
2016-10-26 15:04:45

“when you create so much new debt, eventually the end users run out of capacity to service that debt and you get a recession.”

Comment by new attitude
Comment by Rental Watch
2016-10-26 13:06:52

A while back, some folks here were intrigued by the idea that different REITs might have different performance based on the product type (industrial vs. apartment REITs, for example).

There is an article in the WSJ titled “REIT Earnings to Diverge Along Sectors” from yesterday for anyone who finds this topic interesting.

The gist:

Industrial is strong at the expense of retail
Office is “meh”
Hospitality is location dependent, but there are concerns about too much supply being built

No mention of apartments.

Comment by azdude
2016-10-26 15:00:39

u peons need negative rates on your savings to support the debt potus racked up!

Comment by azdude
2016-10-26 15:24:23

U guys better back up the truck on the sierra nevada octoberfest before they quit selling it, it wont last much longer. It was a collaboration season with a brewery in Germany. Picked up another 12 pack today with some of the equity I pulled.

Another beer I really enjoyed was Lagunitas “sucks”. U cant go wrong.

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