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All Hugely Over Paid So They Are Sitting There

A weekend topic starting with the Globe and Mail in Canada. “In the leafy Vancouver west side neighbourhood of Kerrisdale, there is a lot at W. 35th Avenue that has sat overgrown and empty for several years. A City application sign that shows a proposal for clustered white rental townhouses. ‘Rental for the most part does not make sense,’ says long-time developer Anthony Hepworth. ‘It’s a lousy business,’ he says of rental.”

“He says the problems are the high cost of land as well as climbing construction costs in the past three years. After 32 years, the rents have only doubled, he says. ‘We are capped out at $3,000 a month. The potential for people to pay more than that, is very, very limited. Theoretically there should be a lot of room for rentals to climb – and I think some people are betting on that. But there is a small market for that,’ he says.”

“He is seeing properties intended for family housing sit undeveloped. ‘I do know what has happened in the townhouse market, and people that bought townhouse sites in Cambie phase three, particularly south of 37th Avenue, all hugely over paid and all those projects are not viable. They didn’t get started, because they haven’t got the presales. They haven’t got bank financing and their land costs are simply too high. So they are sitting there.'”

From KGO in California. “As part of Building a Better Bay Area, we’re constantly looking at alternate ways to ease the housing crisis. One company in Southern California is building modular constructed homes in the Bay Area and is looking to buck the perception of ‘prefab.'”

“If you blink, you might miss what’s happening at construction site in Burlingame where a nearly 5,000-square-foot home unfolded before our very eyes. ‘It’s pretty amazing. Just yesterday it was just a hole in the ground and now we’re standing on the second floor,’ said homeowner Byron Lee as he smiled.”

“In just two days, the 6-bedroom home by custom builders ‘Plant Prefab’ will be standing, ready for finishes. Plant estimates the average cost of one of their homes is about $250 to $350 a square foot. The company says this includes finishes, fixtures and appliances but not transport, installation or foundation. In Burlingame the average home is about $1,100 or $1,200 per foot. Including finishes and other building costs brings Byron’s total home cost to just under $4 million, or under $1,000 a square foot.”

“‘Buying the land wasn’t cheap. This is after all the Bay Area so that was a big chunk of our budget,’ says Byron.”

From WKRN in Tennessee. “Nashville’s neighbor to the north is in the midst of dramatic change; known for Austin Peay State University and the military, Clarksville is also a popular place to buy a house. The real estate industry there is like a fire that continues to find fuel– and it’s heating up.”

“Zillow economist, Sarah Mikhitarian, says home values in Clarksville, TN have climbed 23% over the past 10 years with the vast majority of that growth happening in the last 5 years when home values climbed 21%. Clarksville was recently named one of the most popular places to flip a home. It made it in ATTOM Data Solutions Top 10 Markets with the highest home flipping rate.”

“‘I work with investors that do flips and that is really big it has worked in the past to be lucrative where investor could make good return that is slowing down a bit​,’ said Debbie Reynolds, who’s been a broker in the city for 39 years.”

“She added that the affordable home is harder to make for a builder as land costs have gone dramatically up​. ‘We may see a bit of a slowdown because that happens with changes in the economy and figures and all that but even when we went through the recession Clarksville continued to have new construction, continued to expand and grow and I see that continuing​,’ Reynolds said.”

From Urban Land. “Almost $20 billion in commercial real estate traded hands in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in 2018, according to brokerage firm Newmark Knight Frank—and that is only counting transactions over $20 million. Each of those transactions involved a story. A buyer had to find a seller, they had to agree on terms for the purchase, and then the buyer had to get to closing.”

“The standard in the D.C. area is for a purchase-and-sale agreement to give the buyer 30 days to study the property and make sure the buyer understands what it is that is being bought, and then another 30 days before the transaction closes and the deed changes hands. A small, refundable deposit is put up during the initial study period, with a larger, nonrefundable deposit required at the end of that period.”

“The publicly marketed process helps participants avoid the ugly ‘r’ word —re-trade. A re-trade takes place when a purchaser contracts to buy a property at a certain price but before closing declares that the price needs to be lower. Re-trading puts the seller in a bad position because the seller has invested time and effort in the transaction and is not in a good position to find a new buyer.”

The Commercial Observer. “When global real estate owner Bizzi & Partners Development broke ground on its supertall 273-unit condominium project downtown at 125 Greenwich Street, New York in 2017, it couldn’t have predicted the super roadblocks ahead. But, the issues started at the time of acquisition, sources said.”

“In 2014, the development group, led by Bizzi and including Howard Lorber’s New Valley Real Estate, paid The Witkoff Group and Fisher Brothers $185 million for the plot, nearly double what it had traded for just over a year prior. By the fall of 2017, the developers had begun construction, and they launched condo sales, which ultimately proved lackluster, according to sources that requested anonymity. The units were priced in the ‘mid-$2,000s to $3,000s per square foot’ in a downtown market where ‘everything’s going for around $2,000,’ the source said.”

“A year later, in the fall of 2018, it was reported that the owners nabbed a hefty $473 million construction package from a bevy of Asian contributors, including Bank of China, United Overseas Bank (UOB) and China Cindat, to finish the build out.”

“Several months later, in March 2019, the project stalled due to a lack of funding after topping out at over 900 feet that month. When the project didn’t meet a desired ‘proof of concept’ sales hurdle as a loan covenant established by its senior lender, Bank of China, the bank declined to fund into the project, a source explained. As of the end of August, the interiors aren’t finished, and sources said ‘it’s not even watertight’ and only around ’65 percent complete.'”

“As it sits dormant, the unpaid debt is rapidly accruing interest and, ‘when you own a [condo] building that height, if you keep tacking on weeks, it’s a lot of money,’ one source said, estimating that the sponsors are incurring costs of at least $2 million per month. ‘[The sponsors have] already built it, but the problem is [that] they’ve spent hundreds of millions more than anyone possibly would ever [buy it for],’ said a source with knowledge of the project.”

“And, in Downtown Los Angeles, Oceanwide Plaza, a $1 billion, three-tower mega development from Beijing-based Oceanwide Holdings Company that’s situated across from the Staples Center, has made waves after topping out in April 2018. Despite the progress, it’s nowhere near completion. Oceanwide stopped work on the site in January. Development first started in 2015, with the Chinese firm joining the waves of foreign capital that poured into U.S. real estate.”

“Oceanwide’s only direction on the future of the project was a statement earlier this year that it needed to be recapitalized. Months later, it still remains empty, with cranes still on site but no news of a future capital injection. It was reported in the spring that contractors were chasing down around $100 million in payments for their previous work, with Lendlease subcontractor Webcor Construction filing a $53 million claim.”

“Oceanwide also has a megaproject in San Francisco called Oceanwide Center that was halted in May in want for additional financing.”

From Arizona Public Media. “Phoenix-based development company El Dorado Holdings plans to build a 28,000-home community south of Benson. In August, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reissued a Clean Water Act permit for the project, giving developers the green light to begin building. The development will house an estimated 70,000 people. Benson is now home to about 5,000 people.”

“Cochise County Administrator Ed Gilligan told The Buzz the county supports the Vigneto development for many reasons. ‘Most importantly, that development really represents a necessary economic opportunity for the county,’ which he says has suffered from a loss of population and jobs following the Great Recession. He says agricultural land, which comprises much of the county, doesn’t earn much tax revenue.”

“‘When we look at a project like Vigneto, a master planned community, 28,000 homes with a median home value approaching $300,000, that is a significant change in revenue for schools, local government economies, businesses,’ he said.”

“Lanny Davis is an attorney representing El Dorado Holdings, the Phoenix company that wants to build the master housing plan near Benson. He says it will be a boon to the area, and is supported by Benson city officials. ‘Young people move out and don’t come home, the economy is stalled,’ Davis says, and the Vigneto development will bring needed economic development and ‘serve as a magnet for future generations’ to stay in the Benson area. ‘What we’re talking about is currently a desert, where scorpions are happy but they don’t offer much benefit to the community around them, which this development would.'”

This Post Has 100 Comments
  1. ‘When we look at a project like Vigneto, a master planned community, 28,000 homes with a median home value approaching $300,000, that is a significant change in revenue for schools, local government economies, businesses’

    Again, financial insanity.

    1. How many entire towers in NYC are in default now? And we’ve had at least 6 in Miami stall out, never reported on again. Now Los Angeles, San Francisco. What will it take for the media to admit there’s a bubble?

          1. A million suns shine down
            But I see only one
            When I think I’m over you
            I find I’ve just begun
            The years move faster than the days
            There’s no warmth in the light
            How I miss those desert skies
            Your cool touch in the night
            Benson, Arizona, blew warm wind through your hair
            My body flies the galaxy, my heart longs to be there
            Benson, Arizona, the same stars in the sky
            But they seemed so much kinder when we watched them, you and I
            Now the years pull us apart
            I’m young and now you’re old
            But you’re still in my heart
            And the memory won’t grow cold
            I dream of times and spaces
            I left far behind
            Where we spent our last few days
            Benson’s on my mind

            ‘Benson Arizona’ Opening Credits for Dark Star (1974)

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wbzJxXxhIQ

          2. “Does Benson have something magical that Tuscon is lacking?”

            Cheaper land. In every bubble, the developers “drive until they qualify,” too.

    2. Old school math before the men peeing in women’s bathrooms was a Constitution right and government got involved in housing to “make things more fair” and banks became TBTF.

      An average house would sell 100-150 x average monthly rent

      and about 2.5-3 x yearly average income.

      So, TODAY, an average house in Vancouver should be about…

      “‘We are capped out at $3,000 a month. The potential for people to pay more than that, is very, very limited.”

      1. High housing costs, both for rent and for sale, have extracted all the discretionary income from budgets and are leading to the death of entire industries (retail) which are dependent upon said discretionary income. The FED, and complicit politicians, are to blame.

        I expect there to be zero honest conversations about what is really going on in this eCONomy, and instead just more of the same banker games until the entire sh!thouse goes down. They have showed their hand, and it’s QE to the grave.

        1. A scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung by the scorpion, but the scorpion argues that if it did that, they would both drown. The frog considers this argument sensible and agrees to transport the scorpion. The scorpion climbs onto the frog’s back and the frog begins to swim, but midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog, dooming them both. The dying frog asks the scorpion why it stung, to which the scorpion replies “I couldn’t help it. It’s in my nature.” —wiki

        2. it’s QE to the grave

          Then the question will be “Who’s grave is ti?” The weakness of loose and easy lending is that it is self extinguishing. Easy credit gets wasted on stuff that’s not needed, as Ben’s posts on DOA high rises and housing developments clearly points out. Debtors and lenders get crushed and anyone who has lived modestly and saved will stand upright over their scattered bones.

          I’m still curious enough to watch and comment, but I don’t care much about the so-called economy. A crater is baked in the cake. Not a great time to be a debtor or a speculator out on a limb, but if you like that, have fun. We’ve had over 1 1/2 decade just right here of warning. Anybody still mortgaged or living in fragile high rent districts is in the direct path of hurt.

          I am so lucky. I have several levels of shelter security. Several levels of food security. Several levels of peso security and actually real money if it comes to that. The rest is just exploring, fun, charity and popcorn.

        3. High housing costs, both for rent and for sale, have extracted all the discretionary income from budgets and are leading to the death of entire industries (retail) which are dependent upon said discretionary income.

          I would also think it would reduce over time, in a way that govt statistics won’t pick up on, the rate at which people are able to transition from renting to owning. Not the kind of thing that shows up in YoY stats, but give it a decade or two and see overall ownership rates drop by 10+% would not surprise me.

  2. This is from Wikipedia and will help translate the Indian numbers:

    For example, in India 150,000 rupees is called 1.5 lakh rupees, written ₹1,50,000; while 30,000,000 (thirty million) rupees is called 3 crore rupees, written ₹3,00,00,000 with commas at the thousand, lakh, and crore levels; and 1,000,000,000 (one billion) rupees is called 100 crore rupees or one arab अरब, written ₹1,00,00,00,000

  3. I’m going through the foreclosure auctions I get – every day. Here’s one:

    Foreclosure Est: $284,021
    3 bd2 ba1,668 sqft
    3911 NW 72nd Ln, Coral Springs, FL 33065

    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3911-NW-72nd-Ln-Coral-Springs-FL-33065/42835777_zpid/

    Interesting that the media acts like there aren’t any foreclosures. I can find them in any city or county in the US. And there are whole towers in major cities just sitting there cuz they paid too much. Can’t say I didn’t warn them.

    1. BTW the Commercial Observer report is basically about how the vultures are picking apart the bodies of the crater the MSM hasn’t told you about. These distressed debt funds have been operating for over a year now.

      1. “…distre$$ed debt fund$”

        Wanker.Banker Mega.Bank$ $uper.$trong! … NON.bank$ of $helter.$hack loan$, $acrificial.lamb$ awaitin’ to bee $laughtered!

        What is those polyester pants $alespersons with rented phone$ gonna do when it all goes $outh? (Anyone care?)

      2. Ben, I know you’ve posted about the distressed debt funds stockpiling cash and now making deals. In your opinion, are they knife catchers? Surely the deals they’re striking now aren’t down that much from the top. Will this just be more Yellenbux going to money heaven?

        1. We saw one where they got $600 millions off the loan, so I’m sure they are making money. These are big projects. I imagine they wouldn’t do a deal if it wasn’t a sure thing. I hope to meet up with Jack McCabe in Florida later this month. Last I heard he had a debt fund. I’ll ask him some questions about how it works.

  4. No “pent-up demand” for $500,000 starter homes happening here:

    “To investigate the man drought, researchers created profiles of potential husbands, based on real husbands as logged in American Community Survey data. They then compared these hypothetical spouses with actual unmarried men.

    They found that a woman’s made-up hubby makes 58 percent more money than the current lineup of eligible bachelors.

    “This study reveals large deficits in the supply of potential male spouses,” the study concludes.

    “Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women’s educational levels on average now exceed their male suitors”

    https://nypost.com/2019/09/06/broke-men-are-hurting-american-womens-marriage-prospects/

    1. “Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women’s educational levels on average now exceed their male suitors”

      In other words, a shortage of Beta Bucks. And no one saw it coming.

        1. that’$ “old.school” Dan … new.school is: “girls.just.wanna.have.fun!”

          Think rock climbing & 500+mph speed car racing.

    2. “This study reveals large deficits in the supply of potential male spouses,” the study concludes.

      Too many of the young ladies are “atrophied plumpers” before they’re 20-yrs old, and they’re all holding onto large sugary gourmet drinks; tack on another 5-yrs and it’s “Free Willy.” Who wants to sign up for that, seriously?

    3. Saw that the other day. tl;dr – what a load of crock, but obviously pushes some women’s narratives to provide a convenient scapegoat.

      Was discussing this with Mrs Spiffy the other night as we both have sons in high school. (Mrs Spiffy is pretty red-pilled; for example she’s got me a Leykis subscription for a Christmas one year).

      In short, we can clearly see our sons facing a near literal minefield in the years ahead when it comes to women, and would rather they didn’t get married (at least before 35-40). It’s a situation that has gotten progressively worse with each generation/decade. We’d actually be happy if sons wound up more as ‘players’ – they’d be getting valuable experience at dating and with women and less likely to make the mistakes that both of us made when we were quite young.

      As for the article; the behavior of (especially American) women in aggregate (yes, there’s always outliers) and changes in the social (kicked out college just for breaking up with a girl that clearly psycho?) and legal frameworks (false accusations in these #believeAllWomen times, the Deluth Model, etc) have made it more dangerous for young men if a woman ever gets unhappy with them. Along with that, it’s women have actually been pushing the marriage age upwards with the change in emphasis to their careers and on “having fun” while they are young. ‘The wall’ is an abstract at best to a majority of young women (“but the party will never end”) but biology is what it is – it causes pain for both men and women at various ages.

      1. Your wife just agrees with you because you’re still married and getting along. Get back to us when there’s a storm on the love boat.

        “Oh, oh, oh, after the love has gone
        What used to be right is wrong”

        -Earth, Wind and Fire

        1. Chinbabwe

          That might take a while. We’re into our second decade with no real issues that have threatened us. Remember, we both got burned pretty badly in our first marriages and came out of it with similar mindsets. Also, no kids of our own (we got enough with priors) and they primarily live with our ex’s – so there’s that source of unhappiness in marriage minimized. We also have no joint accounts and both pull our weight economically, so there’s nothing really to be unhappy with there.

      2. would rather they didn’t get married (at least before 35-40)

        At which point they should marry someone 5-10 years their junior if they want kids. Thirty to forty-five is not a good age bracket for women to start a family.

        1. Or…don’t have kids, and have more money and time for yourself. And it’s better for the environment than those stupid paper straws!!!

          1. those stupid paper straws!!!

            Isn’t that ridiculous? We’re not the ones throwing garbage into the Atlantic Ocean. Us switching to plastic straws will have no effect. They aren’t even coated in paraffin and collapse before the drink is finished.

            As a single man (single parented four kids in the past) with three score and ten just about under my belt, the dynamic with the opposite sex is less complicated. Companionship is an equal exchange, there won’t be another round of kids.

        2. We’re already trying to give them the mindset that kids can wait (or aren’t necessary). Neither of us are feeling any compulsion to be grandparents.

          1. or aren’t necessary

            That doesn’t bode well for human race, either in numbers or average intelligence.

          2. That doesn’t bode well for human race, either in numbers or average intelligence.

            Our numbers could stand to dwindle quite a bit. Average intelligence, not so much. But perhaps without smart people, the stupid people won’t be protected from themselves any longer?

    4. “Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain,”

      “Marriage – A contract between someone with means to give someone without means a future – Generally in exchange for nothing of value.” – some radio host I can’t remember.

      In the day and age of equal rights – women seem to view marriage as if we were in the 50s.

      1. Culturally, we should be encouraging women to be self-sufficient and not emasculating men with “toxic masculinity” BS.

    5. “Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women’s educational levels on average now exceed their male suitors”

      The language here is interesting. They write it as though it’s the young men missing out due to their deficiencies. When clearly it’s the women who are more stressed about it. You’ve got 100% of the women chasing the top 10% of the men and turning their nose up at the rest and blaming them for not measuring up.

      It never goes well when you try to hold other people responsible for not meeting your expectations if they’re not dependent on you for anything. Hopefully expectations can be adjusted.

    1. “…Just about everything I click on has a price reduction….”

      Ditto here in Irvine.

      Here is the subject line from an email I have received just a few minutes ago from one of the local REIC folks:

      >>>>>>
      REIC Email:
      Subject: Sellers are kissing buyers feet

      Hi
      about how cheap money is.

      “….So if you are thinking to buy, let’s catch the sellers who couldn’t sell over the summer; they are agreeable. …”

      now is the time to buy…..

      Yours truly,
      Your local REIC agent
      <<<<<<<

    2. price reduction

      The “rehab” house, which is now the front runner for the 1031 exchange, hasn’t had any price movement in its 31 DOM market. Another prospect just went pending after 74 DOM without a price adjustment. Property taxes for both of these properties are above the SALT cap.

    3. Sierra Foothills report above Sacramento: about 50% of the houses listed for sale are showing price reductions of $10,000 or more.

      That Folsom house is about 5 minutes from me and typical for its price range. They were selling well this spring but those that missed the window are sitting now. I find the 2% price drops encouraging but inadequate. I’m guessing that most of them are thinking they’ll sell for sure next spring if all else fails.

      An interesting thing about my house, I’ve finally concluded I can’t show my wife houses even just for examples or discussions. If we don’t look at them she doesn’t think about it, but as soon as I show her anything she gets obsessed with buying and I have to talk her down and it gets too tiring. I didn’t realize people could be so easily triggered with that stuff. No wonder those shows do so well.

      1. easily triggered

        My husband and I went neighborhood shopping yesterday and drove by two properties I’m considering. He had problems sleeping last night. It’s just now dawning on him that we’ll be buying a place we’ll be living in for at least the next 10 years.

        1. “It’s just now dawning on him that we’ll be buying a place we’ll be living in for at least the next 10 years.”

          Sounds like a cut man, broken and domesticated. 🙂

          1. Nah, we each have battles we know we’d lose. This is one he’d lose, particularly since we keep our finances and inheritances separate and the property we’re selling for the 1031 exchange was my mother’s house.

          2. This is one he’d lose

            It’s hard to explain, but for some people the thought of losing half a fortune on a house can make one feel physically ill.

            Tell him to cheer up. It will be cheaper than paying taxes.

          3. losing half a fortune

            That’s why we’re doing the 1031 exchange. We’re transferring existing liability and equity inland rather than assuming another $600K in debt and potentially losing another $300K in cash. My husband lucked out with wife 2.0. 😉

  5. “A year later, in the fall of 2018, it was reported that the owners nabbed a hefty $473 million construction package from a bevy of Asian contributors, including Bank of China, United Overseas Bank (UOB) and China Cindat, to finish the build out.”

    Those aren’t “contributors.” They’re bagholders.

  6. Front Range residents speak yesterday at an EPA hearing in Denver about air quality and health problems. Flatlanders, this is what you have to look forward to when you move here:

    “My family lives in eastern Boulder County,” resident Leslie Weise told officials at the hearing. “My fiancé has a fourteen-year-old with Down Syndrome. Since they moved here four years ago, I have watched her health deteriorate. In the last year alone, she has spent double-digit [days] in the hospital with breathing and respiratory problems. We’re trying to determine whether we have to leave the state.”

    Linda McKibben, a nurse from Erie, told officials that the many patients she treats for respiratory issues on a daily basis can’t afford to wait.

    “I go into multiple rooms each shift, too many of them have the diagnosis of ‘respiratory exacerbation,’” McKibben said. “So I have to go into room 215 and say, ‘Wait, I’ll call respiratory; COGA needs [until] 2021.’ When I go to room 216 and I’m bumping up the oxygen from four to six, and we’re thinking of ICU — wait, COGA needs till 2021.”

    https://www.westword.com/news/epa-mulls-downgrade-as-denver-area-residents-highlight-human-costs-of-ozone-pollution-11474211

    Come for the $500,000 starter home, stay for the asthma and COPD.

    1. “Since they moved here four years ago … ”

      “Come for the $500,000 starter home, stay for the asthma and COPD.”

      “Keep Colorado Blue” refugee$ … How’$ the wacky.tabacky tax deposit$ fairin’ for the gubbermint these days?

    2. From the article:

      “Ozone levels along the Front Range have remained high over the past several years, driven by population growth and a corresponding increase in transportation emissions, as well as emissions from industrial sources like oil and gas facilities.”

      This is almost the exact same store just one state over in the Wasatch Mountain range in the Salt Lake Valley, Cache County, and Provo-Orem area. With the “inversion” and temperature change plus the insane growth, air quality is deteriorating. The current EPA is run by oil/coal insiders and is watering down pollution regulations regarding air quality. When it comes to the EPA, the fox is guarding the hen house as the fossil fuel industry is deliberately delaying action and watering down the rules. Look at the methane announcement recently, or the weakening of fuel efficiency standards. It’s really a tragedy what is happening because not only will it cost more for Americans, but it will hurt their health.

      1. “population growth and a corresponding increase in transportation emissions”

        On any given winter Saturday morning, how much more carbon does a vehicle driving from Denver to Summit County to go skiing produce when it takes three plus hours to drive from Denver to Summit County than in the hour and fifteen minutes it would take to drive there in no traffic?

        Why do that when you could drive an hour and fifteen minutes to go backcountry skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park, and for free?

        Or you could move to Summit County, take the bus to go skiing, and eliminate some of those transportation emissions.

    3. “Come for the $500,000 starter home, stay for the asthma and COPD.”

      Just wait, Gov. Polis will eventually sign a bill that phases out the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines in the Centennial state.

      Better get a Nissan Leaf before they’re all gone.

        1. a 500 mile range

          You can have that, you’ll just need a 4,000 lb battery. Things less efficient aren’t going to be cheaper, it’s just reality.

          I’ve got an idea. Short sprint electrics with a small battery, like the golf courses have had forever. You go 25 miles and switch out to a fresh ride. Technology used by the old Pony Express.

  7. ‘[The sponsors have] already built it, but the problem is [that] they’ve spent hundreds of millions more than anyone possibly would ever [buy it for],’ said a source with knowledge of the project.”

    I though Asians were supposed to be good at math.

    1. Kind of reminds me of an anecdote that my sociology professor gave when I was at university. It was about how an Asian family moved into the school and the boy was automatically put into AP Calculus, well, because he was Asian. The first day he was like, “Um, I don’t understand any of this.”

      1. Even more ironic that the children and grandchildren of the original revolutionary communist “heroes” almost all became millionaires and billionaires through ill-gotten wealth, much of which later flowed to mansions in London, Vancouver, Seattle, etc.

        “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” — “Animal Farm” – George Orwell

        1. I despise these Chinese crooks and their money, and wonder why they are allowed into the United States. They should be arrested, their assets seized, then deported back to China to face charges.

  8. What next…negative yield junk bonds?

    Oh wait!

    The Wall Street Journal
    Credit Markets
    U.S. Junk Bonds With Negative Yields? Yes, Kind of
    Some investors are buying corporate bonds that could lose money even if prices don’t decline
    By Sam Goldfarb
    Updated Sept. 6, 2019 9:06 am ET

    In today’s topsy-turvy markets, some investors are buying junk-rated corporate bonds that could lose them money even if their prices don’t decline.

    They are simultaneously hunting for yield in a low-interest-rate environment while trying to avoid the very riskiest kinds of debt.

    1. What is wrong with people….sabotage and put people’s lives at risk so you get a few hours over overtime??

      Back to the thread about there being work/opportunities for those who want it….if our culture doesn’t come down hard on the “Get rich quick” and “screw you, Immagonnagetmine” type, we’re gonna have a bad time.

      The incentives are all in the wrong places. Those of us working hard and following the laws to get ahead in life are idiots.

        1. How familiar are you with multi-level marketing schemes or the direct-selling industry?

          I’m aware of them, and once had a coworker try to enlist me. Beyond that, I’ve just steered far clear.

          At their core, I suppose there’s some element of “building a business” and getting people to work for you. I don’t imagine most folks are just trying to find a greater fool, but perhaps I’m naive.

          1. I’ve just steered far clear.

            Good for you. The entire US is awash with some scheme or another. John Oliver did a great segment on the MLM industry and it is very eye-opening. It’s the theft of main street because the losses are real and substantial, but they induce shame among those who get involved and try to enlist their personal acquaintances and then end up with a garage full of overpriced drinks, oils, shakes, pills, etc. all striving for some elusive “passive income” that will unlock the American dream for them.

  9. Thanks Ben for today’s housing humor article post!

    ‘What we’re talking about is currently a desert, where scorpions are happy but they don’t offer much benefit to the community around them,..’

    Benson, AZ: “The overall median age is 56.3 years, 52.7 years for males, and 57.5 years for females.”

    Benson, AZ is between Mescal (population 1800) and Dragoon (population 200) on I-10.

    And yet,

    From Arizona Public Media. “Phoenix-based development company El Dorado Holdings plans to build a 28,000-home community south of Benson. In August, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reissued a Clean Water Act permit for the project, giving developers the green light to begin building. The development will house an estimated 70,000 people. Benson is now home to about 5,000 people.”

    – I’m sure there are ample water supplies for everyone and plenty of jobs to support these $300K median priced houses… Only 45 min. from Tucson.

    – Weed must be legal in AZ now too (?).

      1. Speaking of dispensaries, I can’t believe no one has brought up the lung disease epidemic that is sweeping the US. I think we now have 3 deaths and 450+ severe cases. The common link seems to be THC in cartridge form, though not all of the lung cases have been THC related. The latest hypothesis is that it is Vitamin E acetate that is basically greasing and coating the lungs to the point that the lungs shut down from inflammation and fluid.

          1. Who is your we?

            US population in general. I try to keep tabs on the CDC reports, even though not practicing.

          1. 5 deaths this morning. Yes, I would say that it is a developing epidemic because of how many severe cases are in the pipeline and because it looks like this may only be the tip of the iceberg. The rapidity of which the illness and deaths are occurring, coupled with the fact that we have very little concrete knowledge about the cause is somewhat alarming.

    1. The pathetic liberal media was busy talking about how devastating tariffs would be for the American people, meanwhile ignoring the reality that the US is by far the number one customer of China. In a business, when you lose your main customer, you’re in trouble. China is in big trouble.

      1. And the money paid in tariffs stays in the US, and over the long-term brings jobs back home (it’s now competitive to manufacture here) and increases the tax base, provides jobs, etc.

        It’s like no one thinks of the long-term cost/benefits anymore. “I won’t have a job or be able to afford rent in 5 years, but my gadget will be 5% cheaper next week? SIGN ME UP!!!!”.

    2. China could find new customers and loan them the money to purchase their goods. That’s what Germany does around the poorer parts of the EU.

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