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Investors Naturally Have Become More Cautious

A report from Colorado Community Media. “The Denver area’s real estate boom that saw rents and housing prices skyrocket in recent years is slowing down, experts say. Price reductions are becoming more common, Schafer said Jill Schafer, the head of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors’ Market Trends Committee, with high-end homes seeing the biggest shift.”

“‘There are sellers who overvalue their homes,’ Schafer said. ‘People can’t price like they could two years ago. For a long time, people didn’t have to do anything to their house and it would sell. Now, you really need to get the place in shape first. It can take months of work to get the highest price.'”

“An experienced real estate agent can recognize red flags, Schafer said, like fix-and-flip properties that have been done poorly, or multi-unit projects that are in trouble. Some projects have too much inventory building up, in some cases because builders are overpricing homes.”

From USA Today. “Just a few years ago, more than a third of home buyers didn’t blink at throwing down cold hard cash to make their purchases. But the share of all-cash home buyers has trended down since 2014, and the decline has accelerated in recent months. When competitive bidding was the rage, ‘People were cashing in their savings, such as 401(k) plans…in order to beat out’ rival bidders who needed mortgages, says Jessica Reinhardt, a broker at RE/MAX Alliance in Denver.”

“Many are less eager to buy homes than they were a few years ago on fears that prices may have peaked. ‘Investors naturally have become more cautious,’ says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.”

From Market Watch. “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is set to eliminate a regulatory loophole that made getting a mortgage more feasible for thousands of Americans. The consumer watchdog agency announced this month that it will allow a temporary provision commonly known as the ‘qualified mortgage patch’ to expire in January 2021 as originally planned or shortly thereafter.”

“This regulatory loophole or ‘patch’ allowed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase loans where the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio exceeded the standard of 43% set by the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage Rule. In cases where the debt-to-income ratio went above the 43% limit, a loan could still obtain ‘QM status’ if other factors were considered to ensure a borrower’s ability to repay.”

“A March 2019 study from the Urban Institute found that roughly 3.3 million mortgages, equivalent to 9% of the loans sold to Fannie and Freddie between 2014 and 2018, were made possible by the regulatory loophole. Moreover, the policy change’s impact would be most acutely felt by black, Hispanic and low-income Americans. For instance, the Urban Institute report found that black Americans were 29% more likely than borrowers overall to have a Fannie or Freddie loan with a debt-to-income ratio above 43% than below that level.”

From The Yonkers Times. “In Westchester County, Q2-2019 marks the third consecutive quarter of luxury home sales ($2 million and higher) declines. From Oct. 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, the number of homes sold dropped by 28 percent, compared to the previous time period. Luxury sales in the ultra-high end of the market (sales $5 million and higher) suffered the steepest losses in the first half, down by about half or more in Westchester, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan.”

“Supply is inching up in some markets and the number of years it will take to absorb these listings is increasing. Westchester County has seven years of $5 million-plus inventory; Greenwich has more than three years in the ultra-high end.”

“‘Luxury home sales have declined not only north of NYC, but in many luxury markets, including NYC, the Hamptons and Miami’ said Houlihan Lawrence Senior Vice President Anthony Cutugno. ‘We bang the drum with the same message in this seller-challenged market – listings that represent value and appeal to buyers’ aesthetic will capture their attention and have the greatest chance of selling.'”

The Ventura County Star in California. “New reports indicate California faces a weakening housing market, and Ventura County is no exception. Jose Luiz Morales, a local real estate agent with RE/MAX Gold Coast Realtors, believes the main reason for the home sale numbers is that potential buyers are being priced out. ‘Some people just can’t afford to buy a home anymore,’ Morales said. I think that’s true across the state.'”

From Curbed San Francisco in California. “Core Logic summarized housing sales (for both single-family homes and condos) across the Bay Area in June this week and noticed that two counties—Sonoma and Santa Clara—have seen median sale prices decline year over year nearly every month since the start of 2019.”

“The number of homes sold in SF and the larger region tumbled compared to last year, down 21.1 percent (to 482 sales) in the city and 12.6 percent (to 7,357) across all nine counties, which is also in line with what’s happened most of 2019. Core Logic economist Andrew LePage points out one trend that’s been overlooked until now: ‘Santa Clara and Sonoma [counties] logged annual declines in their overall median sale prices in June. In both cases, this was the fifth consecutive month with a year-over-year decline.'”

The Los Angeles Times in California. “Grammy-nominated singer Michael Feinstein is bringing his historic home out for an encore in Los Feliz. The Tudor Revival-style mansion is back on the market for $14.95 million — down 42.5% from the original asking price of $26 million.”

The Miami Herald in Florida. “Late Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez’s Kendale Lakes home has gone into foreclosure. According to court documents, the principal amount owed on the 4,030 square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom home at 3991 SW 128th Ave. is $401,372.11. Add interest plus attorneys fees, inspections and other expenses, and the total amount owed is $519,893.68.”

“He purchased the house for approximately $680,000 back in October 2014, three years after being drafted by the Florida Marlins. A final judgment on the home was handed down on July 24; if the accrued costs are not met, a public sale for the property is set for 9 a.m. Sept. 23.”

This Post Has 120 Comments
  1. ‘roughly 3.3 million mortgages, equivalent to 9% of the loans sold to Fannie and Freddie between 2014 and 2018, were made possible by the regulatory loophole. Moreover, the policy change’s impact would be most acutely felt by black, Hispanic and low-income Americans’

    Eat yer crowz jingle male.

    1. ‘Moreover, the policy change’s impact would be most acutely felt by black, Hispanic and low-income Americans’

      That’s racis’

  2. ‘Andrew LePage points out one trend that’s been overlooked until now: ‘Santa Clara and Sonoma [counties] logged annual declines in their overall median sale prices in June. In both cases, this was the fifth consecutive month with a year-over-year decline’

    Overlooked by you Andy, I’ve been “pointing this out for over a year.

    Eat yer crowz Thornberg! Where are you hiding?

    1. And then there’s this:

      “The number of homes sold in SF and the larger region tumbled compared to last year, down 21.1 percent (to 482 sales) in the city and 12.6 percent (to 7,357) across all nine counties, which is also in line with what’s happened most of 2019.”

      Nothing says “Get to sawin’ and slashin’, greedheads!” like sales plummeting and inventory piling up.

    2. Thornberg was on KABC 790 (LA market) last night, taking about how the economy was fine, and all the doom-gloom was unfounded. No recession in-sight he crowed!

  3. ‘Add interest plus attorneys fees, inspections and other expenses, and the total amount owed is $519,893.68…He purchased the house for approximately $680,000 back in October 2014’

    Wa? But we were just told recently that there’s so much sweet equity in a 2014 purchase they they can “just sell”?

  4. ‘An experienced real estate agent can recognize red flags, Schafer said, like fix-and-flip properties that have been done poorly’

    Say it ain’t so Jill. People cashed out their 401ks for these faulty shantys!

    ‘or multi-unit projects that are in trouble. Some projects have too much inventory building up, in some cases because builders are overpricing homes’

    In trouble? Oh dear…

    1. It doesn’t take an experienced real estate agent to recognize a poorly done flip.

    2. “For a long time, people didn’t have to do anything to their house and it would sell. Now, you really need to get the place in shape first. It can take months of work to get the highest price.’”

      And for the realtor to fetch the highest commissions, eh? No wonder these realtors are pushing Minimalist Millenial Gray renovations. They collect 6% of the reno for doing absolutely nothing.

  5. ‘Many are less eager to buy homes than they were a few years ago on fears that prices may have peaked. ‘Investors naturally have become more cautious’

    You got some splainin’ to do Larry. You guys said for years that if there were only more shacks available you could sell them all by noon. You also said there wasn’t any speculation: it’s supply and demand! Now with lower prices, huge amounts of shacks coming on the market every day, lower prices and these “investors” are cautious?

    Somebody is a lion!

    1. If you really want to get a laugh out of the Larry and Diana show, take a look at the 2 RE related articles on CNBCs web site today. One focuses on a rebound in housing after recent slowing.

      The language is some of the most convulated and smoky I have heard. Will give you a headache in a kind of humorous way. Like what they used to call “brain salad” way back when in psychology classes.

      Does it ever end?

      1. Actually the one about increased pending sales does not have the brain salad language. Just went back and checked, however Yun does state in this article that homes are selling at a “breakneck pace” so nonsense none the less. Cant find the second one now. It has gotten buried in the several hours since I read. But it was for sure convuluted as it was quoting a bunch on annualized monthly increase and decrease jargon beyond comprehension.

      2. More FOMO spreading. Yun and his “values only go up” and “rates are going down, you better take advantage”…. nice try Yun

        Diana is just as bad

        “The supply of homes for sale had been rising for much of this year but flattened in June. Some are predicting inventory will be lower again this fall. That is causing more competition in the market.”

        Hurry hurry before all the shacks are gone

  6. At a point near the end of the boom, with near record low unemployment, the Fed is pushing the pedal to the medal on interest rates, while fiscal discipline is out the window, as Republicans only care about budget deficits when Democrats are in charge.

    Hopefully quantitative easing will save the day in the next recession, as a heck of a lot of ammunition is getting spent keeping this boom aloft.

    1. Economy
      Mortgage Rates Were Falling Before Fed Signaled Rate Cut
      Average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.75% last week, down from 4.94% in November
      Mortgages accounted for two-thirds of the $13.67 trillion in U.S. household debt in the first quarter, according to the New York Fed. A house for sale in Miami. Photo: Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
      By Paul Kiernan
      July 30, 2019 5:30 am ET

      WASHINGTON—The Federal Reserve is prepared to cut interest rates this week for the first time since 2008, but the biggest source of debt for U.S. consumers—mortgages—has been getting cheaper since late last year.

      Mortgage rates have fallen recently to the lowest levels since late 2016, tracking a broader slide in U.S. Treasury yields. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.75% last week, down from 4.94% in November, according to Freddie Mac .

      “The most significant impact of an expected Fed rate cut is already upon us,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, referring to the drop in mortgage rates.

      1. and the D’s have no plan to stop it. We waste tens if not hundreds of billions in military protecting countries who wont pay for their own defense. Yet we wont bring American troops home to protect our borders and inner cities from rampant crime.

      2. Sorry but the double counting by the MSM to try to make the deficits smaller just does not fly. First Obama did not stick to the original Bush budget he added spending so he needs to own that additional spending. More importantly, most of the deficit spending in the fiscal 2009 was loans to the big banks. Under the bipartisan agreement of the uniparty the loans to the banks were counted as expenditures the year they were made but were counted as income as they were paid back with interest. Thus Obama’s real deficits were even larger than history records since all the bank loans were paid back in full with interest. This is just a Globalist press trying to make a Globalist president look better compared to a non Globalist president who has already demonstrated how much better non Globalist policies work.

    2. Yeah, well there is an election scheduled for next year and things need to keep humming if incumbents want to remain incumbents.

      If all the stops need to pulled out then so be it.

    3. Ponzi finance bonds are turning into a real head scratcher for the curious!

      Markets
      Negative Yields Could Be the Death of Bond Markets
      How long can investors go on pretending that sub-zero interest rates are normal?
      By Brian Chappatta
      July 29, 2019, 3:00 AM PDT
      Is it even a bond if it offers no fixed-income payments and guarantees a loss if held to maturity?
      Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

      Negative yields have never truly made sense.

      And yet, if you work in finance or even just read about markets in general, it’s starting to feel as if the once-absurd (or, at least, strictly academic) is starting to be considered, well, normal. Bloomberg Businessweek’s latest cover in Europe and Asia reads: “No Escape From Low Rates: A Decade of Cheap Money Is Warping the World.” It follows the European Central Bank’s decision last week to keep its key interest rate below zero, and it hinted at cutting the rate even further in the near future.

      1. “Negative yields have never truly made sense.”

        It never truly made sense that this statement had to be made.

      2. “Someday soon, it might be America’s issue, too. Bob Michele at JPMorgan Asset Management is just one of a growing number of investors who say it’s just a matter of time before benchmark U.S. Treasury yields also reach zero.”

        Are the annuity and pension fund managers getting quality sleep these days? Are the trophy wives, (⊙)(⊙), already monkey-branching? Can pensioners survive on cake? Powell needs to think about these things!

        1. “Are the annuity and pension fund managers getting quality sleep these days?”

          This is a joke, right? The annuity and pension fund managers are doing just fine in that they get to collect some very hefty fees in return for applying their “expertise” to the matter.

          Any lack of quality sleep will most likely be endured by the recipients of the annuities and the pensions that are being, er managed.

          1. The annuity and pension managers will be given a pass due the failure to reach their projected seven and a half percent returns (or whatever) because of the same reason every other money manager is give a pass, which is because “Nobody could have seen this coming”.

          2. Are Some Annuity Products Ponzi Schemes? | Seeking Alpha
            https://seekingalpha.com/instablog/393144-the-investment-contrarian/23620-are-some-annuity-products-ponzi-schemes

            (snip)

            Over the past decade, insurance companies have offered products to consumers with features such as:

            1. Stock market returns with no stock market risk.

            2. Guaranteed income, even though the annuity value has gone down.

            I have been warning the public about the risk posed by “too-good-to-be-true” annuity products for over a decade. While most “get it”, there is still a minority of the public that do not. Since the unraveling of the “promises” typically will not unfold until one or both (if married) investors die, mom and dad may go to their graves never knowing that a decision made years earlier may have blown up after their death.

            According to the recent Wall Street Journal article “Getting Smart About Annuities”; the total annual internal fees of these complex “multi-promise” annuity products may exceed 4% annually. My own research of various 200-page prospectuses (that investors fail to read) has concluded the same. The article goes on to say, “due to the complexity of the contracts, they generally need to be bought through financial advisors”.

            I failed to mention earlier that the commission a so-called “financial advisor” can earn at the point-of-sale on these products can range from 4-15%.

            1. Bernard Madoff offered his illusion of high returns via numerous placement agents across the country that were paid handsome commissions for directing the business to Madoff.

            2. Insurance companies market their illusion of high returns via agents and brokers who are paid handsome commissions.

            3. As with Madoff, the vast majority of annuity peddlers can tell you how much in commission they will earn, but are unable to describe how the investment works, both initially and over a long period.

            Let’s summarize the key points of these complex annuity products:

            1. Your money can get the return of the stock market, with the safety of a CD.

            2. You can receive a guaranteed income of 4-7% annually, regardless of how the investments you choose perform.

            3. Many agents suggest to the investor that since the insurance company is bearing the risk if the stock market goes down, the investor need not worry about diversification and can go ahead and invest 100% in stocks!

            4. Annual internal fees can exceed 4% annually.

            5. The annuity peddler is paid 4-15% in commission up front at the time of sale.

          3. State and city pension holders should sleep well also. The irresponsible states provided better services by living beyond their means. Meanwhile Wall Street made plenty, politicians got their graft, and when the pensions fail the federal government will bail them out. Moral hazard again.

      3. Negative yields have never truly made sense.

        It doesn’t need to make sense. It merely needs to generate a fee.

    4. “Republicans only care about budget deficits when Democrats are in charge.”

      True but Democrats do not ever seem to care about budget deficits. Limiting Obama to $9 trillion in debts was a major accomplishment of the Republicans. The recent deal between Democrats and Republicans had no fiscal discipline and I said it on this board. Even when the deficit will help re-elect Trump the Democrats could not practice fiscal discipline. It does not bode well for what would happen if Democrats control both the legislative and executive branches of government. I would add many Republicans in the House did vote against the compromise.

  7. I just saw half a duplex, new construction 5 bd 5 ba, $1m/side offering a free Tesla to the eventual buyer. Is Denver finally running out of greater fools? Definitely no shortage of fools overall, but we might be running out of fools who can borrow $1m+ for a shack.

    1. “offering a free Tesla to the eventual buyer”

      Anyone buying something to receive a free anything is preparing to be known in the biblical sense by the seller.

  8. The Tudor Revival-style mansion is back on the market for $14.95 million — down 42.5% from the original asking price of $26 million.”

    Gosh, this is getting perilously close to that 50% haircut figure that a certain REIC shill who oozed onto the HBB assured us was un-possible, before Ben put salt on the slug and made him go away.

    1. What the Democratic Party backs is refusing to solve any problem, because once they do, the formerly unsolved problem ceases to be effective as a political weapon to beat their opponents with.

    2. Marianne Williamson

      “Author and speaker Marianne Williamson’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.”

      I think I know where Marianne would get down payments for troubled borrowers.

      Marianne Williamson and white Americans apologize for racism against African Americans.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0JxNqPYTck

        1. Her crowd seems bigger than Biden usually draws. Her supporters are more passionate if more nuts but at least in a non-violent manner.

    3. It’s easy to make housing affordable. Just remove all government assistance, loans, subsidies, backstops (such as MBS guarantees), and let interest rates normalize.

        1. Such common sense cannot find its way into the political discourse

          Cannot? It must not.

  9. my friends are so glad they sold their Yonkers home for $625k in feb 2018, and moved to tomball tx…..and paid cash for a nicer home.

    For every $1 million in the value of a home, $20,000 in property taxes will be paid by the homeowner every year.

  10. I never really understood it when posters here would say people in China were buying shacks sight unseen and overpaid because they were hiding illegal profits and such as if those people didn’t care about protecting the purchasing power of their money. But, after watching the video, ‘You Are Being Groomed’ by Amazing Polly, things seem a little clearer. The way the social credit system is transforming money from a product – into a behavior – in many cities in China, I can see why some of them might want to get their money out while they can, no matter the cost. Banking 4.0 is super scary stuff. It sure seems like bitcoins and the like are nothing more than distractions and conditioning of the masses when compared to the social credit system in China, and planned for everyone else, by the looks of things. Once it’s rolled out all across China I imagine foreign purchases of U.S. property will be very low and only with party approval. I wonder how fast that process will be?

    1. Chinese President’s Cousin Draws Scrutiny of Australian Authorities

      Ming Chai, who has been a high-stakes gambler, is on radar of investigators probing organized crime, money laundering and alleged Chinese influence-peddling

      ‘In 2011, Mr. Chai’s wife paid nearly $3.8 million for a large home in an exclusive Melbourne suburb, according to property records. Registered by Mr. Chai as his address in company filings, the house has a facade of yellowish brick, an underground garage and sturdy metal gates.’

      ‘In 2016, Mr. Chai was among six passengers set to board a chartered jet at an airport on Australia’s Gold Coast who were searched by federal agents, the Australian officials said. The search, they said, was triggered by the presence of a casino-junket operator whom police were investigating. “Our interest was piqued because he was on that flight,” one of the officials said.’

      ‘Mr. Chai also “loved the nightlife,” according to the former partner, who said he was told at the time by other partners in their business that Mr. Chai would spend hundreds of thousands of yuan, or tens of thousands of U.S. dollars, in an evening out drinking with others in Shanghai.’

      ‘In 2017, Australian officials said, Mr. Chai used a company masquerading as a plastics importer to receive “significant” sums of money from abroad. The officials said the company, registered to a residential address on a quiet suburban street in Melbourne, was used by casino gamblers and suspected organized-crime figures to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars in and out of Australia during a 15-month period in 2017 and 2018.’

      ‘The company is “basically invisible” and “just there to move massive amounts of money,” one official said.’

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-presidents-cousin-draws-scrutiny-of-australian-authorities-11564500031

  11. “When competitive bidding was the rage, ‘People were cashing in their savings, such as 401(k) plans…in order to beat out’ rival bidders who needed mortgages, says Jessica Reinhardt, a broker at RE/MAX Alliance in Denver.”

    This will end well :-0 …. See bitcoin

  12. I have a strong suspicion that this article was written on assignment and under direction. Because yes, there’s a subset of inner-city white hipsters who are this fussy, but the greater number of millennials are just looking for decent affordable housing. A whole lot of them do want the suburban home with yard for their kids.

    The article also doesn’t mention the Twin Cities’ very large Hmong/Southeast Asian population. Their millennials have differing goals: large affordable multi-bedroom homes they can fix up themselves (they are really skilled DIYers), with yards for their vegetable gardens and family get-togethers, and big garages/driveways to accommodate all the family vehicles. Because they’ve got cars, their multiple offspring have or will have cars, granny and grandpa who’re living with them and providing child care have their cars, too.

    What do Twin Cities millennial home buyers want? Not what boomers are selling
    http://www.startribune.com/what-do-twin-cities-millennial-home-buyers-want-not-what-boomers-are-selling/513250402/

  13. The two biggest industries in USA that are taking to big of a bite of people’s wages is the real estate and medical industry.

    Real estate has been corrupted by faulty lending,speculation and low interest rates.

    Medical industry has been corrupted by price fixing monopoly and government interference with charging based on income rather than medical risk, basic commie plan with price fixing.

    So, the third sector that is gouging is the education sector. Again price fixing with government sponsored loans for students propping up prices.

    I’m kinda surprised that food and gas hasn’t been messed with as much, but those sectors aren’t what I would call cheap either.

    The point is this isn’t capitalism in the normal sense.

      1. I went to that site, couldn’t think of any representatives other than I think there was a guy nearby named Rocky Chavez. I put in Chavez and had a heart attack.

        A “Tree Superintendant” pulling in 300K!? The police officers are a well known racket so I wasn’t surprised at the 300k comps, and don’t forget early retirement for a bad back… you try sitting in a car all day!

    1. Not coincidentally, healthcare, housing, and education are all low-productivity yet high-paid sectors.

  14. MB – “Yeah, well there is an election scheduled for next year and things need to keep humming if incumbents want to remain incumbents.

    If all the stops need to pulled out then so be it.”

    – Both DJT and the Fed are working/tweeting furiously to keep the game going. DJT through Nov., ‘19 election. The Fed’s nefarious plans are murkier, but looking for a way out from their precarious position after painting themselves into a corner.
    – Q: If the economy is so great, why cut rates? Shouldn’t they be raising them instead? Something must be seriously wrong.
    – Cutting rates at the end of the cycle tells investors that the economy is slowing down. History says the stock market is lower soon after as reality bites. Time will tell.
    – The FFR is already rock bottom. The Fed has very little room to maneuver. I don’t see a good outcome here no matter what they do.
    – Humpty Dumpty

  15. In part three of Hello World Shenzhen, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ashlee Vance heads out into a city where you can’t use cash or credit cards, only your smartphone, where AI facial-recognition software instantly spots and tickets jaywalkers, and where at least one factory barely needs people. This is the society that China’s government and leading tech companies are racing to make a reality, with little time to question which advancements are net positives for the rest of us.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydPqKhgh9Mg

    1. Shenzhen

      I’ve hung out at Lenovo and Huawei there. Lenovo is cool. Huawei is a very difficult customer.

      1. Can you guesstimate, even a WAG, how much the Chinese actually innovates vs steals as far as intellectual property?

        1. I may be guilty of bad grammar. Is “Chinese” considered singular or plural? Skye??

        2. Can you guesstimate, even a WAG, how much the Chinese actually innovates vs steals as far as intellectual property?

          Not really. My experience is with Chinese companies using American test equipment. So far they have not tried to steal test equipment IP, although there are rumors that might be changing. But they do like to play games with not paying for stuff they ordered and had installed for as along as possible to try to get extra attention and help. Some Americans do that too but they know we hate them. It doesn’t occur to the Chinese to know or care. They have the upper hand at that moment so it’s just expected.

          My complaint with Huawei is cultural. They treat their people (and me if I hang around too long) in a way calculated to intentionally ramp up stress and urgency to the breaking point. It kind of works in China (they are mostly not an honor/shame culture so it takes a lot to stress them out) but it makes Americans want to bring a gun to work. Not my preferred management style at all.

    2. Okay, so “AI” sees you jaywalking and initiates a facial recognition scan, and in less than 20-sec the state debits your bank account for the fine. Dystopian?

      1. It’s at least overt. The Chinese then manufactures consumer products that Americans covet and use in the name of convenience while waiving their Fourth Amendment rights for covert surveillance.

    1. As brokers also report, “It’s really hard living on discarded Happy Meal leftovers out of the McDonald’s dumpster.”

  16. A bit off topic, but then again maybe not. I saw this game show up on gog.com the other day:

    House Flipper
    Genre: Simulation – Building – Managerial
    Works on: Windows (7, 8, 10), Mac OS X (10.11+)

    I have to wonder if the creators included the possibility of a housing crash in their simulation…

    (grumbles something about Unity facilitating a race to the bottom)

      1. Is it any good?

        There have been sort of managerial simulations released in the last few years as indie devs look for anything not already done that doesn’t look too difficult to make. Plenty of meh, but some real gems out there as well. I’d try it but I don’t see a demo and don’t have an Aperture Labs employee account anymore.

    1. I left the gaming world with Diablo II. I’ve been listening to some gaming news and it’s all different. I remember the good ol’ days when you just bought a game and brought it home. Now it’s all Steam accounts(?), DLC, and microtransactions.

      I just got done playing Forge of Empires for a couple weeks. I quit because I refuse to segment my life into 4 and 8 hour blocks and I definitely wasn’t going to buy any diamonds (microtransactions). But at least FoE was a free game. I was stunned to see that microtransactions are in games like FIFA and Battlefront. Don’t people pay $60+ for this stuff? And you’re nickel and dimed on top of that? Who falls for this crap?

      1. “Who falls for this crap?”

        My kid for instance. Fortnite took this gaming model to the next level. They made a “free” game for every gaming platform (even your smartphone) and got enough subscriptions, then bait and hook with all the “cool, have to have” items that cost real money. It is like crack. My son prefers the Fortnite currency (vbucks) over toys or anything else. Epic games is a cash cow which I would have highly invested in if they weren’t a private company.

    1. This one also came up when I checked out your link. I’ve heard Vivaldi’s Four Seasons probably hundreds of times, and participated in any number of live performances over the years, but the music never loses its fascination for me. And this recording, by an orchestra of beautiful young ladies, is most stunning.

      Antonio Vivaldi – “Summer” Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Four Seasons, Ospedale della Pietà
      Agnieszka Uścińska – violin
      Andrzej Kucybała – conductor
      Stanisław Moniuszko School of Music Orchestra in Bielsko Biała, Poland
      La Folle Journee de Varsovie
      recorded at Polish National Opera House in Warsaw, 27 september 2016

      1. For those of you who don’t know the story, Antonio Vivaldi, nicknamed The Red Priest for the color of his hair, taught music to the girls in a Venetian orphanage called Ospedale della Pietà, long before the Me2 movement made such arrangements unlikely. The video I posted seems to be reminiscent of the setting where this music was most likely first performed.

  17. Is it five, or more like forty American cities that are in danger of another housing crash? Or might the actual number of cities at risk even be far higher!?

    1. This list of five cities seems small and arbitrary. For instance, it omits all the American cities where prices are already falling that Ben documents each and every day.

      Buyers beware: These 5 cities are in danger of a housing crash this year
      By Megan Henney
      Published July 30, 2019
      Personal Finance
      FOXBusiness

      More than 10 years after the financial recession and the bursting of the housing bubble, another economic crisis could be looming on the horizon in the U.S.

      According to a study published on Tuesday by GoBankingRates, there are at least 40 American cities in danger of another housing crisis.

      That’s based on the percentage of mortgages that have negative equity, meaning the home is ultimately worth less than the total cost of the mortgage, in addition to vacancy, delinquency and foreclosure rates.

        1. Truth is all around us. If we keep our eyes open, we may spot it in the unlikeliest of places.

  18. Low rates freakout moment on world financial stage continues…

    The Financial Times
    Opinion Global Economy
    Profoundly low interest rates are here to stay
    Investors and policymakers must recalibrate their assumptions on capital and investment
    Robin Harding yesterday

    This will be a discomforting, defining week for the global economy. That is not because the US Federal Reserve is set to cut interest rates. Rather it is because of the strikingly low level of rates from which the Fed will start: a range of just 2.25 to 2.5 per cent.

    After more than a decade of economic expansion, and despite everything from tariffs to tax cuts, it seems this is as high as US interest rates go. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is debating whether to reduce its negative rate still further. Until this month, it was possible to imagine that pre-financial crisis levels of 4 to 5 per cent might eventually return. No longer.

    According to their own projections, Fed officials believe rates will settle at 2.5 per cent in the long run. Subtract their 2 per cent inflation target and the real reward for capital is going to be a miserable 0.5 per cent. The equivalent rate in Europe and Japan will almost certainly be much lower. Such low levels of interest rates are a profound change from the past. (The federal funds rate was 6.5 per cent, and the real rate was about 4 per cent as recently as 2000.) Although interest rates touch almost every aspect of economic life, the developed world remains deep in denial about the consequences. Here are eight themes for investors and policymakers to ponder.

    1. Credit Markets
      Global Bond Rally Leaves U.S. Yields on Top
      Fed is widely expected to begin easing even as 10-year government bond yields elsewhere fall below zero
      By Daniel Kruger
      July 28, 2019 9:00 am ET

      In the global bond rally, the U.S. stands alone.

      More than 90% of developed-market government bonds have yields that are lower than the Federal Reserve’s benchmark overnight interest rate, according to Bianco Research, up from about 40% in 2015. Even the yield on 10-year debt from Greece, buffeted in recent years by economic and political toil, trades below the federal-funds rate.

      The…
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  19. Here yesterday, gone today.

    fastFT Australia
    Australia developer Ralan collapses in property downturn
    Group owes A$500m to creditors and leaves billions of dollars worth of projects in doubt
    Jamie Smyth in Sydney 4 hours ago

    One of Australia’s largest private developers has collapsed amid a severe downturn in the property market that hit sales and pushed up funding costs in the sector.

    Grant Thornton Australia said on Wednesday that it had been appointed administrator to Ralan Group, which specialises in building, developing and managing residential and commercial property in Sydney and the Gold Coast.

    It said the group owed about A$500m ($345m) to creditors and had a pipeline of more than 3,000 apartments in the construction or pre-sales phase.

  20. The steady drumbeat of bad news is making it harder for Diana Olick and the rest of the MSM parrots on the REIC’s shoulder to keep squawking the “green shoots” narrative. Of course they’re still propagating the “low inventory” myth from the usual REIC dissemblers to explain away the lack of buyers:

    “Despite healthy demand, inadequate supply levels continue to hold back some would-be buyers,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/31/mortgage-applications-fall-for-third-straight-week.html

    1. You know its a crash when sales continue contracting against a backdrop of low rates, right at the height of the red hot summer sales season. By this fall, it will be undeniable.

  21. ‘A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit on Tuesday from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) against members of President Trump’s campaign, WikiLeaks and the Russian government. The lawsuit claimed that these parties conspired together to hack the DNC emails and sabotage the 2016 election.’

    ‘Judge John Koeltl, a Clinton appointee, said, “In short, the DNC raises a number of connections and communications between the defendants and with people loosely connected to the Russian Federation, but at no point does the DNC allege any facts … to show that any of the defendants — other than the Russian Federation — participated in the theft of the DNC’s information.”

    ‘Koeltl also pointed out the danger of holding a publisher like WikiLeaks liable, “If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet.”

    https://news.antiwar.com/2019/07/30/federal-judge-dismisses-dnc-lawsuit-against-trump-campaign/

  22. Could now be a good time to sell your stocks and batten down the hatches for the coming market storm?

    1. The end of ECB restraint is not good news
      A new round of aggressive monetary stimulus from the ECB is likely to have negative consequences for German and European industry, in the long run
      Handover: But is Mario Draghi (L) trying to bind his successor, Christine Largarde (R)? Getty Images
      By Hans-Werner Sinn
      July 31, 2019 12:01 am GMT

      Expectations — and, for many economists, rather bad ones — have been confirmed: the European Central Bank has decided to inflate the eurozone.

      Following the ECB’s latest policy meeting on July 25, outgoing President Mario Draghi made it clear that the bank’s seemingly harmless inflation target of 1.9% will in fact be the basis for a new phase of expansionary monetary policy over the next few years. This will go well beyond the ECB’s stimulus measures to date, and is likely to pose further risks to the European economy.

    2. This top-heavy stock market might need an interest-rate hike, not a cut, says Nobel-winning economist
      By Shawn Langlois
      Published: July 30, 2019 11:58 a.m. ET
      AFP/Getty Images
      Robert Shiller, 2013 Nobel laureate for Economic Sciences.

      The two-day Fed meeting kicks off Tuesday and a rate cut, with a not-so-gentle nudging from the president, seems like a slam dunk at this point.

      But is it the right call?

      Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Shiller isn’t so sure. In fact, he says hiking rates at this point could perhaps be the correct move.

      The Yale professor says the Fed is doing a “brilliant job,” but he doesn’t see why slashing rates makes sense at this point.

      “While the inflation rate is below the target, it’s not that much more below it. The target is 2% and the inflation rate is 1.5%,” Shiller told CNBC. “We just set a new record. We passed 3,000 on the S&P 500. We are at a really high market.”

      1. Saw a recent article that admitted the only reason to cut was to try to stimulate housing because it’s looking scary for those dependent on it. Everything else is BS justification.

  23. Illegal Immigrant Bought Baby for $80 in Guatemala to Get Priority Release in US

    The legal loophole that is fueling the sharp increase in family units was opened in 2015 by a California judge, who amended the Flores Settlement Agreement to prohibit the detention of families for more than 20 days. Previously, the 20-day rule was applied to unaccompanied minors only.

    An immigration case cannot be adjudicated within 20 days, so families who cross the border illegally are now released by Border Patrol within days, with a future court date that most fail to honor.

    One of the most telling statistics is that of men crossing the border with a child. In 2014, fewer than 1 percent of all men apprehended by Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley Sector had a child with them. That number now sits at 50 percent, according to Rodolfo Karisch, chief Border Patrol agent for that sector.

    McAleenan said smugglers pair up adults and children. “If they have an individual who wants to go to the United States and someone else has a child that they might want to make some additional money renting [out], or they want the child delivered to a relative in the United States,” they’ll buy fake documents and then get smuggled to the border.

    Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) told McAleenan at the hearing that a Democrat-controlled House will not amend the Flores agreement, nor will it provide funding for more detention beds.

    McAleenan pushed back, saying he’s not ready to accept that a system that worked under the Obama administration five years ago would not be accepted by Congress today. He said back then families were kept together for 40 to 50 days in a campus-like setting with education, recreation, medical care, and courtrooms on site.

    1. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

      — Ralph Waldo Emerson

  24. Comment on debates last night.

    Concerning Warren and Sanders, they propose Medicare for all, open borders, pay off school debt,government pays for child care, wealth taxes, ect.

    Warren also said that she would tell other countries that the USA would never strike first in terms of military, ( is she dumb or what ) .

    The Love fest lady thinks all we need is love, but she brought up the special interest lobbying , which was probably her best point.

    Over all the questions were soft ball and nobody really explained how they were going to pay for these hand outs.

    For me nobody last night came close to anything I would want, course I don’t like big government.

    1. Missed them, but glad to hear the debates were so acrimonious. Democrats are at their stupidest when in politically correct, harmonious agreement.

      1. First it’s faux news, and now this free-thinking conclusion? Please report within the next 12-hrs to your local citizen’s patriot center so that we may flash you with the latest cognitive firmware. There is no charge for this upgrade.

      2. I also tune out with this racism talk by the Dems.

        Ok, so this Nation was built with a higher percentage of white people. Africa was built with a higher percentage of black people.

        Most Americans in the history of USA were hard working and didn’t have slaves. I don’t really go along with this white privilege idea. Workers, white or black, were paid low wages until gains started to be made in the early 19 th century. The rich class screwed everybody. To me it’s been a big struggle for the working middle class that has nothing to do with race. If whites were working for gains, than everyone benefited by it. The Great Depression made everybody poor, so all ethic groups had to start from scratch again.

        If anything Asians were held back during World War 2 when they were put in camps.

        Should women be pissed they didn’t get the vote until way after the black man got the vote? Should women demand that they get paid back for how this held them back for not having the right to vote for so long?

        I’m just saying you cant go back and pay for every unequal period in history.

        1. has nothing to do with race

          It has everything to do with a class of self identified predators. None of this is charitable. It has to do with controlling the wealth (no matter how meager) of others for an undeserved cut.

  25. this racism talk by the Dems

    It’s ALL about keeping the black vote. Democrats will use emotion and handouts while Trump highlights their failures and points to his economy as a better future.

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