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The Easy Thing To Do Is Keep Buying More And More

A report from Bloomberg. “Last month, a risky, new deal hit the municipal-bond market. It came from a small borrower in Colorado that was looking to finance the construction of 1,200 luxury homes in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It was an odd time for such a project. Denver’s decade-long housing boom was beginning to show signs of cooling and, moreover, rival developers had already raised record sums to turn vast tracts of land into new communities.”

“‘There’s no houses to see,’ said Nicholas Foley, a municipal-bond fund manager at Segall Bryant & Hamill in Denver. ‘It’s just dirt.’ No matter. The buy orders poured in anyways and, in the end, about $20 million worth of bonds had been sold for yields as low as 4.75% on 30-year maturities.”

“Last year, Colorado land districts sold $1.3 billion in bonds, the most since at least 2005. The securities, which are typically unrated, are repaid by assessments levied on homeowners and offer few protections to investors if the housing market goes south. In the case of the Castle Rock, Colorado development, even if the district skips interest or principal payments, it won’t count as a default, limiting bondholders’ legal power to recoup some of what they’re owed.”

“Real-estate backed bonds were hit hard by the housing bust over a decade ago, when a wave of them defaulted in Florida. That also happened in California in the 1990s and in Colorado the decade before.”

“Foley said it helps that his firm doesn’t run a high-yield municipal-bond fund and can instead move in and out of securities when they reach ‘irrational’ points. ‘If you make a real call against the high-yield market, you’re making a big call that can cost you your job if it doesn’t go right,’ Foley said. ‘The easy thing to do is keep buying more and more high-yield.'”

The Denver Post in Colorado. “For the first time since the depths of the housing crash in 2009, the pace of new home construction in metro Denver has dropped for three consecutive quarters. The number of construction starts on new homes dropped 10.5 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period a year ago. That was mostly driven by a steep 17.6 percent drop in single-family home starts, according to counts maintained by Metrostudy.”

“Rising mortgage rates, stock market volatility, mid-term elections, and a government shutdown all combined to cause buyers and builders alike to pull back. ‘It created quite a bit of anxiety. Builders took their foot off the gas and it had been down to the floor,’ said John Covert, who watches the Denver market for Metrostudy on a conference call.”

“Covert notes that the average size of the homes that builders are bringing to market is down 18 percent. ‘There has been a dramatic shift. Builders are trying to get more affordable and to get int touch where market demand really is,’ he said.”

“New single-family home permits dropped 18.4 percent through May, compared to the same period a year ago, while the permits pulled for new apartments are down even more, 30.3 percent.”

From Bloomberg. “Wealthy buyers are pulling back from some of the most expensive housing markets in the U.S., the latest sign that sky-high prices and fears of a recession are weighing on a key sector of the economy. Toll Brothers Inc., the nation’s largest publicly traded luxury-home builder, said late Tuesday that purchase agreements fell 3% from a year earlier, worse than a decline of less than 1% that was expected by a Bloomberg survey.”

“The company’s orders in California, home to some of the priciest markets in the country, tumbled 36% from a year earlier. The company said the weakness in California was primarily in the northern part of the state and that order growth will improve in subsequent quarters because the year-over-year comparisons will be with periods that were softer. The sales slowdown for new homes took hold late last summer.”

“‘It’s no secret that lower prices is a better place to be right now,’ Jack Micenko, an analyst with Susquehanna International Group, said after the call. ‘But I think the numbers this quarter were very much a function of how good things were well into the summer last year and then they fell off a cliff.'”

From The M Report on California. “The Orange County Register adds that lawmakers in the state have made little progress, as residential permits have dropped 38% over the past year. CoreLogic states that sales declined across all levels in June. Sales below $300,000 fell annually by 18%, and sales under $500,000 fell 12.3%. Sales of homes listed at more than $500,000 dropped 7.5%, while homes prices at more than $1-$2 million fell collectively by 20.8%.”

This Post Has 113 Comments
  1. ‘If you make a real call against the high-yield market, you’re making a big call that can cost you your job if it doesn’t go right,’ Foley said. ‘The easy thing to do is keep buying more and more high-yield’

    Yellen bucks looking for a place to die is a real phenomenon.

    ‘The company’s orders in California, home to some of the priciest markets in the country, tumbled 36% from a year earlier. The company said the weakness in California was primarily in the northern part of the state’

    Oh dear…

    1. “But with the market still delivering outsize gains, mutual funds have a powerful incentive to stay put, given that they’re judged by the performance relative to their peers.”

      Translation: The billions of dollars looking for a home (or a place to die) will either find a home at their own firm (or die at their own firm) or they will find some other firm to settle down with and generate some hefty fees.

      1. Apt, if they are leaving Denver, where are they going? In about 15 years I’m gonna want to retire in peace, but at this rate there are going to be so many people that there will be nowhere to escape. Like that photo of hundreds of people lined up at the summit of Mt. Everest.

        1. Ah thanks. So they are either moving to farther-out burbs, or moving to Seattle.

          It’s fun to read about all this movement in the West, like coastal libs infecting Nevada, Idaho, and Utah, or Denverites spreading westward or up and down I-25.

          I note that nobody is interested in moving back East. I see this as a good thing.

          1. I note that nobody is interested in moving back East. I see this as a good thing.

            Up until this point, my “oil city” plan has been Montana in a few years. Given all the movement you’ve described, I’ve actually been looking into/considering a few spots east of the Mississippi

          2. It seems like the north east is losing population the quickest. Isn’t Vermont paying young workers to move there since their population is so old? Seems I’ve read a couple of stories along those lines.

          3. drumminj…consider outlying areas around rust belt metros. For instance, lots of the middle class that used to live in St. Louis now lives in upscale communities 20 miles west.

          4. The crap-rag Washington Post had an article about how the state of Maine is getting older and losing workers. You can imagine what the TDS-afflicted comment section said: “This is all Trump’s fault and we need to send a million illegal immigrants up there pronto for butt-wiping duty.”

            To be fair, moving to where the work seems to be a job that Americans refuse to do. ISTM that someone needs to seriously think about reforming the social safety net to move the RV-dwellers and car-dweller and couch-surfers to where the jobs are, instead of handing out SSDI for mental issues. I’ve moved multiple times for jobs, even when I was poor. They can do it too.

          5. Oxide, as I said before the housing bubble(s) have reduced mobility. Houses in Maine or Vermont near a reasonably sized town are expensive. I grew up in Vermont, the house I lived in costs 15 times the price my parents bought it for new in 1970. No substantial updates and the house is showing its age. I would think of going back there when I retire if housing and taxes were more reasonable. Honestly, I am thinking of retiring in Wyoming or Arizona around Flagstaff. However I am really hoping for the bubble to burst in Flagstaff. Growing up in Vermont during a cyclical climatic low in temperatures, cold does not bother me like extreme heat. If I work another five years I am going to have a very comfortable retirement and I really do not want my income taxed away. Florida and Texas are too hot for my taste. I love the state of Washington but I cannot believe that it will not implement an income tax soon given its politics. Maybe in five years it will be trending in the other direction but I doubt it.

          6. I note that nobody is interested in moving back East. I see this as a good thing.

            When people go from a dry environment to a humid environment in the middle of summer they tend to make a mental note to avoid doing that again.

          7. “When people go from a dry environment to a humid environment in the middle of summer they tend to make a mental note to avoid doing that again.”

            I’ll never forget leaving California in August for boot camp in Ft Polk, LA. WTF did I get myself into this time?

          8. To be fair, moving to where the work seems to be a job that Americans refuse to do.

            A big part of this is because such a large percentage of Americans are mortgage-owners and the cost of relocating is high, especially if one is underwater (less of an issue now). Still, many families are less inclined to disrupt school experiences in junior high and high school.

            Compare home ownership rates in the US vs Germany and you’ll see a stark difference in labor mobility.

          9. I love the state of Washington but I cannot believe that it will not implement an income tax soon given its politics.

            One benefit of not owning a home is that it’s relatively easy to vote with your feet if you don’t like your state’s policies and it doesn’t cost you 6%.

          10. There’s no Prop13 in Washington state, so you have to pay the stated property tax. And, eBay now collects sales tax for every on-line purchase despite many goods being previously used. Income tax has too many loopholes for the high earners to evade paying their share.

          11. “And, eBay now collects sales tax for every on-line purchase despite many goods being previously used.”

            For goods shipped to Washington state!

  2. “homes prices at more than $1-$2 million fell collectively by 20.8%.”

    over at wolfstreet you can be rest assured this is fake news per SoCalJim…

    1. He is playing the game, the fed’s game.

      “My base case makes sense. The debt levels are so extreme that a bout of deflation would blow up the financial system. That is a fact. So, the central banks will do what ever it takes to avoid deflation. That is why real estate makes sense. Decades ago, debt levels were much lower and some deflation could be tolerated. No more. In 2007, a bout of deflation nearly blew up the system. Since then, the debt levels have increased. So, in my opinion you have to invest with the assumption that the central banks will do what ever QE is necessary to avoid deflation. That is why I am a real estate bull. Of course there is a chance that the central banks are not able to rig the system to avoid deflation. Fact is if deflation happens, we are all screwed. Major screwed. Everyone. The currency will be destroyed. Everything. In my opinion, the trade war may help the world avoid the deflation chance since China exporting deflation may be a thing of the past so I am less worried about deflation. Make no mistake .. if deflation hits, I am wiped out. So are most others.” —SocalJim, May 22, 2019

      1. “Fact is if deflation happens, we are all screwed. Major screwed. Everyone”

        Nope, knot everyone!

        1. I’m pretty well positioned for deflation, too. It’s a great time to knot own an overpriced shack that nobody wants to buy.

          1. Hope you have a well, your own source of electricity, and at least 3 months of storable food. The kind of deflationary avalanche that could occur on this Matterhorn of debt might not leave much standing after it barrels through the landscape.

          2. The Fed will offer U.S. households helicopter drops of electronic cash before liquidity becomes that desiccated.

      2. How’d it work out for the stopped clock thinkers who applied the same logic to Japanese real estate, circa 1989?

        Bubbles keep inflating until they pop, at which point the true belivers that real estate always goes up get burned.

        1. Tokyo condo prices are just about back to where they were in 1989. Now that is not inflation adjusted. However there really has been low inflation over those thirty years. The truth is you would not to have bought many years prior to 1989 for the inflation adjusted price to have been surpassed. It is stunning since Japan is always used as the example of the worse bubble outcome.

      3. I don’t doubt he has some level of competence in RE but his cheerleading over there sounds pathetic as if him telling everyone “all is good” in his coastal SoCal market is going to help his equity from dropping. Just sounds like a MSM paid shill to me

        1. Agreed, his cheerleading irritated me too until I read his post that I quoted. I thought he was clueless, but he is busy making lemon-aid from the lemons dealt us.

          I’m glad that I’m an engineer and that I have led a productive career without having to take advantage of others.

  3. CoreLogic states that sales declined across all levels in June. Sales below $300,000 fell annually by 18%, and sales under $500,000 fell 12.3%. Sales of homes listed at more than $500,000 dropped 7.5%, while homes prices at more than $1-$2 million fell collectively by 20.8%.”

    Chris Thornberg’s mix market is becoming indistinguishable from a cratering market. Sure he’ll issue a mea culpa on his errant call any day now.

    1. Thornberg is speaking at a conference I am attending soon. I’ll try to submit a question to him about the real estate economy and report back to the HBB.

  4. “‘There’s no houses to see,’ said Nicholas Foley, a municipal-bond fund manager at Segall Bryant & Hamill in Denver. ‘It’s just dirt.’

    “The Emperor has no clothes!” moment.

    1. Same thing happened with Reagonomics. Then he had to raise taxes. I am not a fan of either parties, but I would like Republicans more if they cared about deficits all the time—not iust when Republicans were in the white house.

      1. It is the size of government which truly matters how you fund it is really secondary. If you borrow from the private sector or you tax the private sector you remove that money from the private sector, it has a very similar detrimental impact. Now if you create the money out of thin air like we did in the last administration then you really can cause a bubble and collapse. QE is really MMT in disguise.

        1. Is this really a function of the policies of either party? The monetary system requires constant expansion of the money supply to pay the interest on the existing debt. And that money can’t be created without creating, in turn, more debt attached to it. Expand the money supply or die. If the private sector is not borrowing enough to create enough money to keep the money supply expanding, the federal government has to step in and borrow. Which is why neither party will ever succeed in long term deficit and debt reductions.

          1. Between the parties, really no difference on economic issues they both are owned by globalists. They are allowed to differ on social issues i.e. abortion, gay rights etc. In fact, it is the MSM job to make them big issues before elections. What we are not suppose to discuss especially in opposition is “free trade” or open borders thus the venom expressed towards Trump for making those issues. Japan was forced by Reagan to move the yen from 240 to the dollar to 120 to the dollar. Japan was no longer allowed to manipulate it’s currency to run up huge trade surpluses. Since then all trade has been considered good and the cheaper the goods are produced the better no matter for what reason. At least that is what the Globalist owned media is telling us. Right now, the MSM is coming unhinged, not because Trump is losing to China but because he is destroying the world’s biggest sweatshop which Americans should not have to compete with.

        2. It is the size of government which truly matters how you fund it is really secondary.

          What do you consider the ideal size of government? Are you looking for a % of GDP or lower? Is a smaller government always better?

          I think there is definitely such thing as too large of a government, and definitely such thing as too little of a government. But I think large and small can work. What matters to me is how efficient and free from corruption/waste/abuse a government is. A non-existent government in a central African country is probably not better than a larger government in the Nordic block. Size alone isn’t a good proxy for effective government.

    1. It looks like the current use is agriculture, but where is the water coming from and who pays to pump it up there?

  5. San Diego, your days of being Americas Finest City are a distant memory but I thought you would pass from old age and not suicide:

    https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/communities/san-diego/story/2019-08-01/san-diego-approves-plan-for-mid-rise-housing-near-new-trolley-stops-in-linda-vista-pacific-beach

    https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/growth-development/story/2019-08-13/bay-park-apartment-complex-transit-development

    Residents are fooked. They’ll be forced to spend hours every day, instead of in their own cars, rubbing elbows with the homeless, deranged and ghetto goblins.

    1. There is basically only one road in and out of pacific beach and when I lived there15 years ago it was already horrible to get in and out and the parking situation was a disaster. Every street lined with cars parked bumper to bumper. I can’t imagine what it will be like after they cram more high density housing in there. Maybe that’s the plan. Make traffic so bad people have to take a trolley.

  6. How The Finance Prof Who Discovered The ‘Inverted Yield Curve’ Explains It To Grandma
    Carmine Gallo, Senior Contributor
    Leadership Strategy
    I write about leadership communication to grow sales and build brands.
    Dow Plunges Over 800 Points Over Bond Market Recession
    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 14: A board displays the closing numbers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on August 14, 2019 in New York City. Following news of an economic slowdown in both Germany and China, concerns over a recession
    Getty Images

    On the morning of Wednesday, August 14, an unusual event took place in the bond market. Longer-term interest rates fell below shorter-term interest rates. It caused quite a tizzy in the financial markets. You won’t find ‘tizzy’ among the 2,500 words in the Dictionary of Economics, but it’s a good word to use if you’re talking to your grandmother.

    The event that caused the ruckus (another good word) was an inverted yield curve, a phenomenon than spooked investors and triggered an 800-point drop in the stock market. If you don’t understand yield curve inversions, don’t feel bad. Most people—including journalists—can’t explain it, either. And that’s why they turn to people who can explain complex topics simply, concisely, and clearly.

    Since the inverted yield curve is a confusing and complex topic with a huge impact, it’s worth studying the method good speakers use to explain it to general audiences. After all, communicators who stand out in any field can translate complex topics into words mere mortals can understand.

    This weekend I reached out to the one person who knows the most about inverted yield curves—Campbell Harvey, a Duke University finance professor. Harvey wrote a dissertation in 1986 that first showed the yield curve’s ability to predict recessions. At the time, his model had correctly predicted the previous four recessions. It has predicted all three recessions since its publication, too.

    With professor Harvey’s help, I’ll demonstrate how to explain the inverted yield curve to your grandmother. Why your grandmother? Because it’s the way a national news outlet asked Harvey to explain it.

    1. “You don’t really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother. ” — Albert Einstein.

      1. Great quote. It is so true, people who cannot answer a question and hide behind it is complicated either do not know what they are talking about or are lying.

        1. Maybe it’s worth pointing out the last sentence, which the author thinks is the best for getting the layman to understand the implications of an inverted yield curve:

          The simplest explanation of the inverted yield curve appeared in a headline on Vox.com. It read: A recession is coming! Maybe. Sometimes the fewest words convey the most information.

    2. Iffin’ Corporation$ are “people” & “people” are $ponges & “people $ponges” ab$orb a fixed amount$ of $aturation of debt$ … How can you ea$ily make the “people $ponges” even bigger so they can ab$orb more debt$?

      (Grandma would like to under$tand, because she has a lot of debt$ pooled on her new/remodeled kitchen counter$ @ the moment.)

  7. Would you pay a foreign government for the privilege of loaning them your money, even though your own government is willing to pay you interest on money you loan them?

    How good can it get for the foreign government!?

    1. Markets
      Negative-Yield Debt in Japan Hasn’t Looked This Good Since 2008
      By Stephen Spratt
      and Masaki Kondo
      August 20, 2019, 3:01 AM PDT
      Updated on August 21, 2019, 1:08 AM PDT
      – Foreign buying of super-long JGB climbs to highest since 2014
      – Global-growth slowdown drives funds toward JGBs, Daiwa says

      Japan’s negative-yielding bonds were a surprise beneficiary of the collapse in global rates in July.

      Foreign investors more than doubled purchases of the nation’s debt last month to 2.88 trillion yen ($27 billion) from 1.28 trillion yen in June, according to data from Japan Securities Dealers Association. The bulk of purchases were in the two-to-five-year bracket, where the extra yield that can be gained over Treasuries using currency forwards swelled to the highest in a decade.

    2. Market Insider
      Investing in the strange negative yield world — ‘It’s very hard to wrap your arms around’
      Published Tue, Aug 20 2019 3:53 PM EDT
      Updated Tue, Aug 20 2019 6:05 PM EDT
      Patti Domm
      Key Points
      – About a third of the tradeable bonds in the world have negative yields, and bond strategists say yields could keep moving lower until the trade wars are resolved or there are improving signs of global growth.
      – The ultimate unwinding of the world of lower yields could be painful, especially if there is an abrupt reversal, but strategists say low yields could be here for a long time to come.
      – The U.S. 30-year Treasury bond hit a record low of 1.91% last week, and some strategists are targeting a low of 1.25% for the benchmark 10-year Treasury later this year.

      1. “The U.S. 30-year Treasury bond hit a record low of 1.91% last week, and some strategists are targeting a low of 1.25% for the benchmark 10-year Treasury later this year.”

        So we should all dump our stocks and back up the truck to load up on long-term Treasurys?

      2. What’s the yield on cash? Zero percent? What’s the yield of a negative interest rate bond? Less than zero percent?

        If all of this is true then somebody please tell me what the incentive is of trading cash for a negative yield bond.

        1. 1) A negative yield bond is apparently a series of cash payments, made at different future points in time. The negative yield is an indication that investors expect cash in the future to be more dear than cash in hand today.

          2) Institutional investors who feel compelled to invest in them may have too much money on hand to hide under a mattress or put into a money market account.

          3) Domestic investors in negative yield bonds can achieve capital gains if yields go still more negative.

          4) Foreign investors can make money if their own currency weakens over time relative to the currency in which the bond is denominated.

          1. “The negative yield is an indication that investors expect cash in the future to be more dear than cash in hand today.”

            If this is the case then investors should keep their cash in the form of cash. If they keep their cash in the form of a negative yield bond then …

            1. The yield from the bond will trail the yield from cash.

            2. There is a risk that the bond will not pay off. This risk will intensify as cash in the future becomes more dear.

          2. 2. There is a risk that the bond will not pay off. This risk will intensify as cash in the future becomes more dear.

            There’s also a risk of “bail-ins” with your cash in the bank, so….risk abounds!

          3. “Institutional investors who feel compelled to invest in them may have too much money on hand to hide under a mattress or put into a money market account.”

            So their response of having “too much money on hand” is to place this money at risk. And for doing this they get to charge their clients a fee.

          4. “Domestic investors in negative yield bonds can achieve capital gains if yields go still more negative.”

            Translation: If greater fools are to be found that will willingly (or otherwise) pay up for a negative yield bond then the seller of the bond will make a profit. This is the same mentality that drove the price of tulips through the roof.

          5. ‘There’s also a risk of “bail-ins” with your cash in the bank, so….risk abounds!’

            A bail-in could dilute the value of cash whilst further suppressing yields. Bond HODLers would win the gamble.

          6. “There is a risk that the bond will not pay off. This risk will intensify as cash in the future becomes more dear.”

            This suggests the following possible strategies:

            1) If you want to only gamble on favorable exchange rate movements, buy the currency, not negative yield bonds.
            2) If you want to gamble on negative yields, avoid bonds with credit, exchange rate, or currency devaluation risk.
            3) In all cases, good night and good luck!

        2. Your mattress gets really lumpy when you put a billion dollars under it. Also your maid is likely to tip herself.

          1. Now you know why apartment complexes with good NOI are still commanding top dollar at good cap rates. It seems like a relatively safe bet in a shrinking yield world.

      3. “Caron said investors continue to buy bonds for performance, and they are finding it as rates continue to drop. ‘People are getting socialized to lower yields…It’s bizarre,’ said Caron. ‘It could definitely stay like that for awhile.’”

        “People are getting socialized to lower yields …” Bahahahahahahaha. How about negative yields, are people getting socialized to embracing negative yields too?

        Probably so; It would take a totally dumbed population to accept such a deal and from what I can see we are already there.

        1. ‘People are getting socialized to lower yields…It’s bizarre,’ said Caron. ‘It could definitely stay like that for awhile.’

          +1 Yellow is the new White…turning Japanese! 🙂

    3. Bond markets likely suffer because the population pyramid has morphed into an upright cylinder. If every family were educated, living longer and having 1.2 children per household…things fall apart. Clevon is a necessary member of the community.

    1. Sure, but would they actually vote differently? I saw in the news recently that they figured out that it wasn’t that Trump was so loved by most of his base. It was that he was capable of getting people who don’t like everything about him to still vote for him MUCH better than his opposition was able to. I don’t expect that to change.

  8. Watching the hysteria of so much of the media, cable news, and 90 percent of the New York Times, it’s as if the media are saying to the American people, “We’re just going to keep screaming, ‘Bloody murder!’ every single night, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, unless you sign right here and agree to stop making Donald Trump our president .

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/08/21/ann-coulter-media-blackmailing-america-vote-out-trump-or-our-hysteria-and-madness-will-go-on/

    1. I was stuck in a waiting room last week and there was a TV with MSNBC on. I jettisoned my TV about ten years ago so I am out of touch with TV broadcasting content. It was a nonstop deluge of incendiary race baiting class warfare identity politics. It was disturbing and horrifying. If there are any significant number of people who concur with the views expressed, I don’t see how the gap can be bridged politically. It’s worrying.

      1. “If there are any significant number of people who concur with the views expressed, I don’t see how the gap can be bridged politically.”

        I don’t know how to find out how many people concur with the views expressed by MSNBC but according to Wikipedia:

        “As of February 2015, approximately 94,531,000 households in the United States (81.2 percent of those with television) were receiving MSNBC.”

      2. Yet Trump gets the blame for the polarization. Decades of people teaching that straight white Christian males are responsible for all the ills of the West and when a few nuts reach their breaking point it is his fault for standing up for straight white Christian males.

        1. Yet Trump gets the blame for the polarization.

          I can’t imagine why. His language seems so conciliatory.

      3. Ha ha…I bought a guitar to preoccupy myself when I might otherwise be tempted to watch the news. It works great! I’m happier, and have surpassed my childhood level of guitar playing skill.

          1. It’s kind of like if you could buy a Stradivarius violin for $2400. (Mine actually went for $200 less.)

          2. acoustic/414ce

            I feel like we my have had this conversation already, but I used to have a 414ce and traded it for the 410. The ovangkol has a unique sound but it just wasn’t for me.

        1. and have surpassed my childhood level of guitar playing skill.

          Just finger-picking and strumming on your own? Any online/youtube lessons you’d recommend?

          Have a Taylor 410R that I haven’t really played in the last 7 years. Going to have a bunch of free time over the next few months and am hoping to make a habit of picking it up in the evening, but am starting over from scratch/without any callouses…

          1. I was skeptical about applied music courses in an online format, but nonetheless took this one:

            https://www.coursera.org/learn/guitar

            It surprisingly served to revitalize my guitar technique over the course of two months, following a hiatus of several decades. (Note that I played many public performances on the violin in the interim.)

            Now if I could only motivate myself to finish and publish the songs I subsequently wrote!

          2. PS You could take the course free of charge when I took it a couple of years ago. Not sure if Coursera still offers it for free. (I have too many pieces of paper already to want to collect another one…)

    1. Low supply of affordable housing seems pretty close to saying prices are too high. It’s kind of semantics in my opinion.

  9. Headlines in close proximity on p. 3 of today’s dead tree edition of the Wall Street Journal:

    “Risky Mortgages Rise Decade After Crisis”

    and

    “Home Sales Climbed In July.”

    It’s great to see the WSJ editors have such a good sense of humor.

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