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Losing Your Money Is Awful

A report from the Santa Cruz Sentinel in California. “On some blocks in Old Palo Alto, $9 million doesn’t even buy a roof. Take the nice vacant lot with the for sale sign on Bryant Street near Coleridge Avenue. But will the mansions with eight-figure price tags be even too rich for Bay Area titans to snap up? Luxury home sales in the Bay Area have been soft since the market peaked about 12 months ago.”

“The 94301 zip code covering Old Palo Alto and surroundings regularly makes the top ten list of most expensive communities in the country. Since January 2018, at least 26 homes have sold for more than $4 million in the neighborhood, according to MLS Listings. In the last decade, the median sale price has ranged from $1.9 million in 2010 to a peak of $5.4 million in 2017, and is $3.9 million this year.”

From the New York Post. “An Upper East Side abode owned by Topper Mortimer — ‘Real Housewives of New York City’ socialite Tinsley Mortimer’s ex-husband — is now on the market for almost half its original asking price. The classic six at 66 E. 79th St. is now asking $1.4 million — down from its $2.7 million ask last year. That’s a discount of more than 48 percent. (In January, we reported the price dropped to $2.2 million.)”

“Mortimer bought the two-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op for $1.39 million in 2006.”

From The Real Deal on Florida. “April sales of Naples-area houses and condos increased 12.8 percent from last year as the median sale price dropped 5.6 percent, the Naples Area Board of Realtors reported. The median sale price during the month declined to $340,000 from $360,000 last year.”

“The Naples Area Board of Realtors also reported that the combined number of houses and condos listed for sale during April fell 11.1 percent to 6,435 from 7,239 in the same month last year. Listings for nearly 1,000 properties – many of them houses – expired or were terminated during April.”

The Houston Chronicle in Texas. “Noted as one of the finest River Oaks homes built by revered Houston architect Birdsall P. Briscoe, the property at 3229 Groveland just saw a Texas-sized price cut. Situated on more than an acre of land, the stunning five-bedroom, 7,098-square foot estate was originally listed at $14.8 million in 2017. It’s now listed at $12.9 million.”

The Associated Press. “Developers and former managers of Asian-themed Lucky Dragon casino-hotel that was built, open for a year, closed and recently sold in Las Vegas are now facing investor lawsuits. Some plaintiffs are Chinese investors seeking refunds amid complaints they haven’t gained conditional immigration admission to the United States through the federal EB-5 immigration program, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.”

“‘Losing your money is awful,’ Southern California immigration lawyer BernieWolfsdorf told the newspaper, ‘on the other hand, if you don’t get a green card, that’s double punishment.'”

This Post Has 70 Comments
  1. ‘In the last decade, the median sale price has ranged from $1.9 million in 2010 to a peak of $5.4 million in 2017, and is $3.9 million this year’

    Eat yer crow Thornberg!

    1. $1.4 million off since 2017 is the start of a pretty good haircut, especially against a backdrop of near record low unemployment. We won’t know how close to the scalp it will get until the end of the next recession and foreclosure crisis.

      1. Wait.. what about all those newly minted IPO millionaires around that area who are looking to show the world just how awesome they now are??

        (hmm.. lost the cookie with my saved posting info)

      2. a backdrop of near record low unemployment

        OK, record low eligible for benefits. I’ve heard many states have made it much more difficult to collect. Record Labor Force Participation? Unfortunately quite the contrary. They say it’s ageing of the population, but it still looks like more older people working than before.

        the end of the next recession

        Sure, if there wasn’t an underlying Biggest Credit Bubble in Human History.

  2. ‘now asking $1.4 million — down from its $2.7 million ask last year. That’s a discount of more than 48 percent…Mortimer bought the two-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op for $1.39 million in 2006’

    That’s 13 years of bubble wiped out. And it hasn’t sold.

    1. So where is de Blasio going to get the tax revenues for his socialist schemes? Blue states count on economic activity and tax revenue tied to housing bubbles. Those hicks in red states make their money by mining, farming and manufacturing. I guess de Blasio could double the tax rate but what will that do to the price of the house with the SALT limitations?

      1. in Seattle / King County, property taxes are not a percentage based on absolute value. The politicians (and levys) decide the total amount of taxes, and then everyone pays based on relative value of you to others.

        They get the absolute value they need

      2. Those hicks in red states make their money by mining, farming and manufacturing ?

        You left out government transfers.

        1. The biggest transfer of wealth in history was the obama $4 trillion in QE and bank bailouts.

          And it all went to/thru NYC.

          1. Isn’t it likely to happen again under similar circumstances, regardless of who occupies the WH? There’s now a precedent, and Wall Street is certain to crank up its PR machine to justify a repeat performance in a future moment of need for a hair-of-the-dog hangover cure.

          2. Glad you see it for what it was – transfer achieved via inflating the money supply.

          3. NPR Planet Money episode “Counting the Homeless”:

            “You know, the price of a jail cell – $58,000. The price of a hospital bed – $140,000. The price of a shelter – $30,000. The price of an apartment – $11,000, you know.”

            Yeah, housing the homeless is cheaper than running them through the prison system or the hospital system. But remember, one man’s waste is another man’s profit. Many jobs are tied to the prison-industrial complex and in our current medical system in the US, a lifetime of treatments is more profitable than a cure. Curing homeless sure would reduce a lot of easy hospital revenue. All those MDs, RNs, respiratory therapists, drug manufacturers, medical device companies, building companies kind of rely on a steady stream of homeless people rotating through the hospital system. Taxpayers front the bill and also insurance holders do to. It’s difficult to change the status quo.

      3. “Those hicks in red states make their money by mining”

        “Wyoming face$ big que$tions on $tate budget”
        by Nick Reynolds, Casper Star Tribune

        ” … Case said the long-term outlook for Wyoming’s finance$ is a potentially grim one, and that any reductions in spending will only be cancelled out by dimini$hing return$ from the state’s extractive indu$trie$

        the committee now has to fight against a loss of urgency around diver$ifying the state’s volatile, energy-centric revenue $treams, a task committee co-chairman Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, said is becoming increasingly pre$$ing. ”

        Coming $oon:
        #2: We$t Virginia

        Finland will knot bee able to help U$ black.$oil $tates much in the coming Future$. $ad.

        1. I heard it once said that in Jackson Hole, WY, it was the billionaires pushing out the millionaires. I’m sure there is a healthy tax base there, but I’m not sure there is the ideology or the political will to reform the tax system to get it. You’d need to increase property taxes, otherwise tax monies flee to Ireland, Netherlands, Singapore, and the Caribbean. Read “The Hidden Wealth of Nations” for better perspective.

    2. And this is a “celebrity house” with lots of bragging rights, publicity and, I am sure, lots of renovations.

      Imagine the haircuts the unknown smurfs are taking…

    3. Before anyone thinks $1.4 million for a three-bedroom in prime Manhattan sounds like a deal, bear in mind it’s a co-op, not a condo. So there might be a massive maintenance charge to carry a common mortgages, with the $1.4 million thus not being the full price of the unit.

      You have to be very vary of that sort of thing in New York.

  3. From the previous thread:

    “Castle Rock has been one of the hottest housing markets of the past few years as more and more buyers have been priced out of Denver (and opt out of the joys of living under a “progressive” city government)”

    I just got back from having lunch there. Unlike Denver, there are no panhandlers in Castle Rock. Douglas County is the wealthiest in the state.

    Biggest problem with living there is you will probably commute to Denver every day, in your car, the RTD light rail only goes as far south as Lone Tree.

    1. Only a problem if you have to work, right? Seems like a lot of these wealthy enclaves are for people who don’t have to work, or whose job is not location-specific.

  4. The classic six at 66 E. 79th St. is now asking $1.4 million — down from its $2.7 million ask last year. That’s a discount of more than 48 percent.

    Gets cleaned out by his gold-digging ex-wife, then takes a major haircut on his shack. Sounds like Ole Mortimer has the makings of a good Country song of heartache and woe.

    1. “Gets cleaned out by his gold-digging ex-wife…”

      So whose pony is Tinsley Mortimer riding these days? 🙂

      1. Evidently shoe designer and thigh gap Tabitha Simmons. They started dating in 2014, got engaged at some point, and had a baby 17 months ago. Since then they appear to have dropped out of the public eye.

      2. Now if you mean Tinsley, she dated someone but separated in 2018. I don’t know what she’s doing now. And I’m tired of fishing through the gossip pages to find out what these high-society leeches are doing.

  5. Denver anecdotal about “Homeless People In My Alley:

    “I politely asked them to relocate to the nearest shelter for the day because I am working on coding boot camp classes from home on my MacBook Pro, which is in fact decorated with a sticker supporting the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. They said words that are inappropriate for a child’s ears in response, and I know for certain that it is possible that my neighbor’s children heard the words I’m referencing here.

    They also smelled kinda badly like BO and marijuana, or cannabis as some may call it.

    I’m wondering if I did something wrong like perhaps mis-pronouning someone while I was very politely and reasonably informing them that their existence made me uncomfortable. I’m paying $2300 a month for my studio in cap hill and I’m not sure how much longer my parents can afford that if I don’t get a good coding job soon, so it’s really imperative that I have some peace and quiet and normal smelling air to study properly.

    Should I call 911?”

    1. “I politely asked them to relocate to the nearest shelter for the day because I am working on coding boot camp classes from home on my MacBook Pro, which is in fact decorated with a sticker supporting the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

      This has to be satire. If not, some soy boy SJW just got a reality check on the joys of living in a progressive utopia where parasitism, personal irresponsibility, and anti-social behavior are virtues to be exalted and enabled.

  6. Q: Will we see a real crash if rates stay low? The “how much a month crowd” will always take anything that costs a PITI of $1500 or less.

    1. I never cared for those split-entry homes where half the place is below grade, which is nothing but trouble, IMHO.

      1. This particular house-thing is not a traditional split level (raised ranch). It’s all above grade. The advantage I see is that it’s probably wheelchair accessible.

        By the way, did anyone check out the description?

        “When u enter you’ll be wowed by clean lines, spacious flpln, lux, & the incredible amt of nat. lgt that pours into every rm. Main flr incl.fantastic chef’s kit, fm&din. rms, den,2nd mstr w/hkup 4 wash/dry.Stunning hrdwds flow throughout much of main level. Ascend upper level by custom design staircase. Up.level incl. mstr ste, 3lg. bdrs, enormous bonus rm, & launrm. Each rm has its own high eff. htg &AC sys. There’s so much more to describe, visit & c 4 yourself.”

        I don’t know about yous guys, but my old self finds it a lot easier to write out the full words than to stop and think of all these abbreviations.

      1. Mrs. Chino and I have a fun game we play with these listings — we open another browser tab to YouTube and play the theme from Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” in the background as we peruse the posted photos.

      2. This is my style. I don’t know, but I just really like the way these look. I don’t need something huge, but to me these McModerns look a lot better than the McMansions of yore. But maybe I just can’t see things straight because of where I land in demography.

      3. “So what makes McModerns so popular? For one thing, Wagner said, modernism is a design language that has been enthusiastically embraced by wealthy millennials, who are attracted to its simplicity.”

        Aren’t wealthy millennials unicorns?

  7. I don’t believe in Bitcoin or any crypto. I think they’re nothing more than tools for drug dealers, money launderers, Wall St. grifters and speculators to make money via the “greater fool theory.” I do not equate crypto with blockchain. I think blockchain has promise.

    That being said, I am starting to think that, as things get worse globally, specifically in China, that the Chinese money launderers and fraudsters who are trying to get money out of China could easily drive the price of Bitcoin to unheard of levels. The market cap right now is $150 Billion. Who’s to say they can’t drive that market cap up to $1 trillion?

    There is so much excess funny money in the system that nothing is shocking anymore. I’m tired of hearing about “crypto millionaires” and “real estate investors” and all of this wealth going around that has nothing to do with working for a living and earning an income. It’s all via jumping into the right thing at the right time as a speculator. It’s a sick world.

    1. There is so much excess funny money in the system that nothing is shocking anymore. I’m tired of hearing about “crypto millionaires” and “real estate investors” and all of this wealth going around that has nothing to do with working for a living and earning an income. It’s all via jumping into the right thing at the right time as a speculator. It’s a sick world.

      Took the words right out of my mouth. Unfortunately I believe our central banks will double down on QE type events a couple more times in the decade ahead, and if we’re not able to somehow get some of that metaphorical ‘water from the firehose’ we’ll wind up further back from the gulf of have and have nots.

    2. It’s a sick world

      It’s dishonest. Based on a debt pyramid and Bitcoin is just a bizarre manifestation of gross dishonesty. Most people don’t even remember what honest money is or why it’s vitally important for a healthy society.

        1. “Every major city in California is spending tens of millions or more on programs for the homeless
          By Edward Ring, May 28, 2019 2:15 am”

          I’ve been wondering where our hefty state tax payments go every year.

        2. “(9) Recognize that the rights of the homeless must be balanced with the rights of local residents, and that homeless accommodations should be safe but should never be better than the cheapest unit of commercial housing.”

          Excellent op-ed. Agree with almost every single point. I still believe that the RV solution is a viable for homelessness. But the RVs should be outside of city limits and located next to porta-potties and makeshift shower facilities. That would seem to get rid of the graft from of overpriced permanent housing and remove the problem of homeless taking over public spaces and tourist attractions.

        3. $oylent Green … 2022, Coming $oon!

          From the linked article:
          10) Confront the fact that a lot of homeless people are homeless by choice, not because they’ve ran out of option$.

          Fir$t, get your True.Believer’$ to believe “Thee Lie”

          (In 1973 it won the Nebula Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film.)

          In the year 2022, 40 million people live in New York City, and there is a $hortage of water, food and hou$ing. Only the city’s elite can afford clean water and natural food, and even then at horrendously high prices. The home$ of the elite usually include concubines$ who are referred to as “furniture” and serve the tenant$ as $laves. Within the city lives New York City Police Department detective Frank Thorn with his aged friend and police analyst Solomon “Sol” Roth. Roth remembers the world when it had animals and real food. Thorn is tasked with investigating the murder of the wealthy and influential William R. $imonson, and quickly learns that S$imonson had been assassinated and was a board member of $oylent Indu$trie$.

          $oylent Indu$tries, which derives its name from a combination of “soy” and “lentil”, controls the food supply of half of the world and sells the artificially produced wafers “Soylent Red” and “Soylent Yellow”. Their latest product is the far more flavorful and nutritious “Soylent Green”, which is allegedly made from plankton and is in short supply. As a result of the weekly supply bottlenecks, the hungry masses regularly riot, and they are brutally removed from the streets by means of police vehicles that scoop the rioters with large shovels and dump them within the vehicle’s container.

          1. They are probably not homeless by choice. The homeless expert interviewed by NPR’s Planet Money team refers to this group as “the least housable”. The chronic homeless in the grips of mental health problems and addictions are not really choosing to be homeless, they are in the throes of forces they can no longer control due to and interplay of choices, genetics, and environment.

          2. The chronic homeless in the grips of mental health problems and addictions are not really choosing to be homeless

            Kind of. My ex was diagnosed bipolar. But also made bad choices even during stable times. The only reason she’s not homeless now is because of choices I made for her when we were together coupled with me responsibly paying my court ordered obligations. In our world of “eating bread by the sweat of your brow” sometimes you make choices simply by not making other choices.

          3. In our world of “eating bread by the sweat of your brow” sometimes you make choices simply by not making other choices.

            Excellent points. I always remind myself that not making a choice is a choice in and of itself. That is why the whole concept of opportunity cost that we first learned in Econ 101 is still so powerful. Everyone makes poor choices though. The question becomes to what degree those poor choices imperil our health and financial security. It sounds like your ex-wife had a safety net in you, even if undeserved.

          4. “Everyone makes poor choices though. The question becomes to what degree those poor choices imperil our health and financial security.”

            And supposedly we live in a republic with individual liberties where you are not responsible for your neighbor’s poor choices.

          5. d supposedly we live in a republic with individual liberties where you are not responsible for your neighbor’s poor choices.

            To a degree, yes. But also, no. I mean if your neighbor starts a bonfire in his backyard because of his liberty and it engulfs your house, then you’re kind of screwed. So the repercussions of unfettered liberty can be detrimental. Though I was thinking more along the lines of families with resources can afford to bail out their kids when they make stupid decisions. But for those of more modest means, the margin of error is very slim.

  8. The only thing worse than losing your money is losing borrowed money that you don’t have.

    1. The only thing worse than losing your money is losing borrowed money that you don’t have.

      These days you’ve got that backwards.

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