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In The Beginning, There Was A Lot Of Optimism

A report from the Oregonian. “It appears a relatively good time to be a homebuyer in the Portland area. Mortgage rates have fallen to near-record lows, and more houses are listed for sale. Bidding wars are mostly a thing of the past. But buyers nonetheless are sitting on the sidelines, brokers say. ‘Sellers are putting their homes on the market and feeling it should be like it was just a few months ago, where they get immediate interest, said Micky Lindsay, the president of Oregon First Realtors. ‘People will come in and look, but no one is pulling the rip cord and buying.'”

“Buyers are also showing more willingness to walk away from a deal, said Brian Houston, managing broker for Coldwell Banker Bain on Portland’s west side. ‘Buyers are taking more time to shop around, and they’re also being more picky about sellers’ repairs and the conditions of the homes,’ Houston said. ‘It’s been a seller-ruled market since 2012, and sellers have been’ calling all the shots. Now buyers just are being more demanding.'”

From Socket Site on California. “With listing activity having hit a 13-year high earlier this month, the number of homes currently listed for sale in San Francisco now totals 910, which is 2 percent higher than at the same time last year and an 8-year seasonal high.”

“At the same time, the percentage of active listings which have undergone at least one price reduction has ticked up to 12 percent – which is 2 percent lower than at the same time last year, driven in part by a growing number of unsold properties having been relisted anew with a reduced asking price, but no official reductions according to MLS-based stats.”

The Center Square in Illinois. “In the years since heavy machine manufacturer Caterpillar decided to move its corporate headquarters from Peoria to the Chicago suburbs, the River City’s housing market has become the nation’s leader in ‘zombie homes.’ ‘Peoria’s proportional inventory of homes in foreclosure is the fourth highest in the Midwest and approaching 2008 levels,’ the report said.”

“‘People thought they could hang on, make their payments and do this and do that and now eighteen months to two years later, they’re struggling and they cannot anymore,’ said Marilyn Kohn, a real estate agent who has certifications to specialize in not only foreclosure homes but also high-end homes that she said have been sitting on the market longer. ‘I’m thinking that’s probably why it picked up in 2019,’ she said.”

“Kohn said the sudden flood of inventory when CAT’s corporate personnel began to migrate to the Chicago area had a significant impact on the middle to higher-end properties. ‘In a marketplace like ours that normally has 2,100 to 2,200 homes on the market, all of a sudden we had 3,200 homes on the market,’ she said.  In terms of population loss, U.S. Census data shows Peoria’s total population declined by 3,437 people in the 12 months that ended in July 2018.”

The Kokomo Perspective in Indiana. “In 2017, with just hours to spare, investors in the Firestone Building paid $15,635.54 in back taxes to pull the once-promising downtown structure from the county’s tax sale. But, once again, Howard County listed the 219 N. Union St. property in its upcoming tax sale, this time with $24,007.21 being owed in back taxes. As the possibility of public bidding looms, a sprawling legal dispute to foreclose on the property has developed with nine different entities potentially vying to take control of the largely-abandoned downtown structure.”

“The dilapidated building joins a handful of other properties that were connected to the developer and his various LLCs in being listed in the county’s tax sale, slated for Oct. 16. There are others with various financial interests in the building, according to the suit. There’s Honge Wange, who appears to be an investor from California, who has a mortgage from Home Banc Center on the building from January 2014. Similarly, Wei Xi, of California, also is named due to a $50,000 mortgage from Home Banc Center in January 2014 as well. Another mortgage, according to the suit, was taken out on the property by Xi in August 2014. Fang Wong, also of California, is listed for a mortgage as well, this one from Home Banc Center in August 2014.”

“As the case proceeds, several of the parties named in the suit have filed cross-claims on the structure, and the ownership of the building appears to be up in the air. ‘When I originally filed the lawsuit, we didn’t know if there would be counterclaims or not,’ said developer Scott Pitcher. ‘So we hoped to get paid. But now that the counterclaims are being filed, we’re almost positive we will not be paid.'”

The Rochester Biz Journal in New York. “The Brooklyn group under contract to purchase the HNA Training Center in Palisades from the Chinese-owned property has defaulted on its contract and is seeking relief in the bankruptcy court to buy itself 60 additional days to find the funds to close.
At risk is the debtor’s $8 million deposit on the $40 million contract that was signed on April 4th. “

“According to a declaration attached to the petition, the parties were ‘working toward a closing’ on Sept. 12 but one of the debtor’s cash funders unexpectedly withdrew. ‘The debtor did not anticipate this unfortunate turn of events and now requires additional time to close,’ according to the petition.”

From The Gothamist in New York. “In what is becoming an almost a ho-hum occurrence in New York City, a new skyscraper is about to break a new height record. On Tuesday, Central Park Tower at 217 West 57th Street is set to top out at 1,550 feet, eclipsing 432 Park to become the tallest residential building not only in the city but in the world.”

“In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that the newly opened sales office at Central Park Tower invited potential buyers to ‘sip Champagne and Johnnie Walker Black Label amid a onyx-clad walls and Lalique crystal chandelier,’ all while listening to Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ playing in the background.”

“As part of an elaborate presentation, a voiceover describes Central Park Tower as ‘1,550 feet of steel, ambition and aspiration anchored to 40,000 square feet of Manhattan schist…a shimmering beacon of class, optimism and chutzpah. ‘Chutzpah’ is apt, as the topping out comes on the heels of a Streeteasy analysis last week that found that one in four new luxury condos built over the last six years remain unsold.”

“In its story about the report on Friday, the New York Times noted that Extell has yet to release sales data on Central Park Tower, but given the data, the project faces formidable obstacles. According to Jonathan Miller, a real estate appraiser and consultant, of the seven luxury towers on and around Billionaires’ Row, including pending sales, almost 40 percent of units remain unsold.”

“Central Park Tower comes on the market approximately seven years after Extell’s One57, which set a lot of the benchmarks for supertalls in terms of height, the role of starchitects and pricing, according to Miller. ‘In the beginning, the market was wide and deep, and there was a lot of optimism,’ he told Gothamist. ‘However, now we are dealing with a weaker global economic picture.'”

“Even before signs of a luxury glut, many have criticized the ‘cloud piercing‘ skyline, noting that luxury buildings are often snapped up by out-of-town investors who pay no city income tax and little property tax.”

This Post Has 127 Comments
  1. I’m getting on a plane in a few hours. I have no idea how much posting I’ll be doing while I’m in Florida. I’m taking my camera, so I might have some video.

    From the Rochester article:

    ‘Vasco Ventures, a south Brooklyn-based, real estate investment business buys commercial and residential real estate. Vasco Ventures, founded by Ephraim Vashovsky in 2008, describes itself as a leader in “distressed and undervalued” real estate.’

    ‘Vasco Ventures also has buildings in Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and New York.’

    ‘In 2017, Vashovsky pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in the first degree, a felony, one count; and endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor; in a case involving a building on East 115th street in Manhattan. Vashovsky had bought the building for $3 million with a plan to renovate and rebuild luxury apartments. A family with five children under the age of 12 were living in the building. To force them out of their $2,400 a month rent stabilized apartment, it was alleged that Vashovsky gutted the building around them, cut off water and heat; and, according to the Manhattan district attorney, orchestrated a campaign of harassment. Vashovsky was sentenced to twenty days community service and forfeiture of $350,000.’

    1. Smooth travels Mr.Ben, you know the old saying, “when ya start off to drain.the.$wamp, make sure you knot finding yer self up to yer a$$ in aligator$!

  2. ‘the River City’s housing market has become the nation’s leader in ‘zombie homes.’ ‘Peoria’s proportional inventory of homes in foreclosure is the fourth highest in the Midwest and approaching 2008 levels,’ the report said’

    ‘People thought they could hang on, make their payments and do this and do that and now eighteen months to two years later, they’re struggling and they cannot anymore’

    Shadow inventory is a conspiracy theory. Zombie shacks are a REIC statistic.

  3. ‘With listing activity having hit a 13-year high earlier this month, the number of homes currently listed for sale in San Francisco now totals 910, which is 2 percent higher than at the same time last year and an 8-year seasonal high’

    ‘At the same time, the percentage of active listings which have undergone at least one price reduction has ticked up to 12 percent – which is 2 percent lower than at the same time last year, driven in part by a growing number of unsold properties having been relisted anew with a reduced asking price, but no official reductions according to MLS-based stats’

    Now why would they not record the price reductions? I guess they probably start off with “day 1” too.

    1. Just from the zip codes I follow in San Diego, I can’t decide which piece of data is more fake, average days on the market or percent of properties with prices reductions.

      1. seems like Zildo keeps a somewhat accurate record of DOM unless realtor decides to change the address / mls #. Realtor.com and trulia are iffy. Zildo estimates on the other hand not so accurate. they seem to have algo’s that use list price, soon as the shack gets a reduction, the zestimate adjust to that price. when you have a whole industry built of greed and fraud led by liars and cheats, what else would you expect!

        1. a whole industry built of greed and fraud led by liars and cheats

          A perfect pairing for the batch of greedy manic debt donkeys hoping to get rich buying things with money they don’t have.

        2. It looks as though Zillow has no control over the MLS itself getting manipulated, unfortunately.

          Since we are only looking in two zip codes at the moment, it’s fairly easy to see a property we clearly recognize as one already having been listed show up again as new, with that prior listing having been scrubbed.

          1. So you see it listed on Zillow with no previous price history? That is the area where it seems like zildo is more transparent. If there is a slight address change I would suspect Zillow would treat it as a fresh listing

  4. To 2 from yesterday why is there no affordable housing in NYC…not even in queens….

    https://licpost.com/citigroup-building-no-longer-queens-tallest-new-development-towers-over-it

    Queens got a little taller last week.

    The Skyline Tower officially became the tallest building in New York City outside Manhattan when its construction surpassed the height of Long Island City’s iconic Citigroup Building on Friday.

    With construction now taking place on the 63rd floor, the Skyline Tower is higher than the Citigroup Building, which is 673 feet tall. Once complete, the 67-story tower will rise to 762 feet, making it the borough’s tallest building.

    Located at 3 Court Sq, the residential tower will house 802 studio to four-bedroom apartments which range in size from 400 to 1,547 square feet. About a quarter of the units have been sold for a total of $223 million, ranging in price from $640,000 to $2.365 million each.

    The tower was designed by Hill West Architects and offers panoramic views of New York City, including the Manhattan skyline. Its glass façade is made up of 358,538 square feet of translucent glass or about six football fields worth.

    Residents will be able to start moving into the building in 2020.

  5. Intense competition for Twin Cities houses attracts flippers

    Young families aren’t the only ones desperately hunting for deals in today’s competitive Twin Cities housing market. Amid record low home inventories in some areas, investors are peppering some Twin Cities homeowners with letters and postcards nearly every day, offering to buy their house “as-is,” with no repairs.

    By one estimate, investors accounted for nearly 10% of all Twin Cities purchases last year — with a focus on low-priced properties also sought by first-time home buyers. Some rehab the homes to sell or rent them out. Others flip the properties to other rehabbers as soon as they buy them.

    And there appears to be more flipping. Nearly 10% of homes sold in the Twin Cities in early 2018 had changed owners within the prior two years, a figure unmatched in recent history, according to CoreLogic.

    “The industry is definitely getting more competitive,” said Josh Zinda, leads and marketing manager with Cash For Houses, which aggressively targets certain homeowners with direct mail.

    Mike Jacka, president of the Minnesota Real Estate Investors Association, said the number of active investors in the Twin Cities has been relatively stable. But competition is fierce, he said, particularly as outside hedge funds quietly scoop up homes by buying bad debt from banks.

    “There’s investor money from all over the world coming to markets like the Twin Cities right now, and we have an extreme lack of inventory,” Jacka said. “I don’t see more investor activity. I see more investor activity concentrated on the same target audience.”

    http://www.startribune.com/intense-competition-for-houses-attracts-flippers/560349362/

    I hate these flippers with the heat of a thousand burning suns. I’ve seen the shoddy work they do with their quick flips. And that Zinda guy? Yeah. He’s sending me letters Every.Single.Day asking to buy my house. But I’d give it away before I’d ever sell to an effin’ flipper.

        1. But the CEO is almost a billionaire at what 30 something having never run a profitable company in his life. So pretty impressive from that point of view.

    1. My e-mail junk filter has started capturing pitches like this, someone offering to buy our home “as is”. Strange how this activity is picking up in some areas but declining in others.

      I wonder if this is some sort of “We Buy Ugly Houses 2.0”.

      1. I still see the occasional ‘we buy houses’ sign. I keep meaning to put a sharpie marker in my car so I can edit the sign to read ‘we buy horses’…..yuk yuk yuk

        1. It’s the Open Door business model. Speaking of which, since the neighbor’s house on Open Door had a first buyer who failed to get financed now the house is just sitting. If I learned anything from that it’s that now if you get some initial interest take the cash offer, not the highest offer. That’s probably the biggest change from a few months ago. Once that first offer falls through it appears to be very difficult to get the other previously interested parties re-interested.

        1. Because the victims aren’t Muslims and the perps aren’t white, which is a requirement for fueling the narrative about Trump’s America.

  6. The debtor did not anticipate this unfortunate turn of events and now requires additional time to close

    LOL. Coming soon to a town near you!

  7. “The result is a mixed-use but indisputably high-end building, with a Nordstrom department store taking up the first seven floors, and 179 condo units with an expected a total projected sellout of more than $4 billion. According to its website, prices range from $6.9 million for a 33rd floor two-bedroom to $63 million for a 112th-floor five-bedroom. “

  8. I’m sad.

    I have been tracking some houses for sale, playing a game with myself if you will.

    The game is… I go to the open house and request the disclosure docs and see if I can guess the final sale price compared to the original offer.

    Specifically because I am hoping that the final price is lower. Looking in Oakland area, trying to find some hope the correction is here.

    This house was listed for 799k. Truth, it was beautifully remodeled. I loved the back yard but the area isn’t that great. My wife actually thought it was a great deal. To my disgust the final price was 1.125 million.

    Who is over paying for these? My gut says this home will take 10 or more years to ever reach this price again. This person(s) messes everything up when they over pay like that such as inflating comps unnecessarily.

    Something like this makes me think this correction is going to take even longer than I anticipated.

    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1920-5th-Ave-Oakland-CA-94606/24760053_zpid/

    Thought?

    1. Gary,

      First off dont be sad, be grateful you didn’t jump into the height of the current buble. Looking at the history and the agents involved will shed a little light, this Nobu Ito realtor had his hands on this listing on the previous 2016 sale and then likely listed it low for a bidding war (look at the comps they are all 1m+). My gut tells me this is his flip. Sometimes you can access the county records and see who the true buyer and seller are. Ive dug up some info from the county tax assessor and GIS websites for 2 specific shacks in my neighborhood that got listed within the last 6 months and they go back to the same LLC. These two have been sitting for 180+ days with many price reductions.

    2. The money they can track indicates the influx of black market laundered Asian money has been stymied. But anecdotally it looks like there is still enough of it leaking into the real estate market that it is still having an impact around where I live, SoCal. People who launder money into real estate have an incentive to overpay because they want to move as much money as possible as quickly as possible. I have no specific knowledge of course regarding the property to which you refer.

    3. Thought?

      I don’t know. But I am starting to wonder about my assumption that this would be a lot faster due to memories of ten years ago causing people to pull back quickly. But where I am at least, maybe it just seems slow because it’s kind of frozen at the moment. Maybe the foreclosures have to start before it speeds up?

      1. Hearing from friends up in your neck of the woods (El Dorado County) that its slowing down considerably. One of my high school friends who lives up there now, said he is losing his insurance policy is getting cancelled in a month due to the fire risks, he doesnt seem very optimistic that its going to get any better for him or any of his neighbors. Worser and worser is what it sounds like to me

        1. Slowing down yes. But almost nobody trying to get out quickly yet as far as I can tell. That’s why I refer to it as frozen. It seems like we’re in standoff mode at the moment and I’m not sure what it takes to break it loose. Maybe a bad spring?

          1. “Maybe a bad spring?”

            What about the post-Souper Bowl bounce?

            And where (source?) is the origin of that Realtorbabble phrase? Real Journalists have been eagerly pimping that lie for a view years now…

            See also:

            “red hot”
            “white hot”

          2. CA is CR8R everywhere. Just different pace in different areas. Silicon Valley is going down faster than most other areas, my area appears to be frozen as well due to the “not gonna give it away” and “my neighbor sold there’s for x $s last year” mentality but CURRENT true price is shown on the actual sale price which I track and a vast majority are far below initial list. I don’t think the run up in price exceeded 2005/2006 pricing by much if any in your area whereas down here it doubled or even tripled. Bay Area is going to get hammered IMO.

          3. I don’t think the run up in price exceeded 2005/2006 pricing by much if any in your area

            I have noticed that. Lots of prices aren’t much above what they were at the peak of the last bubble. But I don’t think that means they can’t go down. I think it just means that it’s the same bubble and still needs to unwind. It’s just less stupid than the bay area.

        2. What happens then? The bank calls the mortgage? Or is insurance at a far higher price available? Isn’t insurance required in the mortgage? Or does everyone look the other way and hope?

      2. Yes the interest rate slashing gave San Diego RE market a six month lifeline. But the effect is wearing off. Time for more rate cuts. San Diego looks to have flatlined at “permanently high plateau”. It’s torture watching the glacial pace at which it is moving. I don’t think they can manufacture new highs at this point but I think they can drag out the decline in most places for at least another year or two before prices drop enough to start to look interesting.

    4. Gary, have patience. When I lost an arm and leg in the last crash I was in a skybox in Charlotte. It took 2 years of slow bleed to loose my down payment being a responsible sucker by putting down 20%.

      I have lived in the Bay Area and looked where you looked during Tech Bubble 1.0. Several years back I looked at La Honda after a few Google interviews but I just couldn’t see myself back in the Bay Area. It will correct.

      So perhaps in 2 years if/when the prices have come down, you may completely reevaluate where you want to be. The time to buy in the Bay Area was at least 5 years ago but to be honest I could not move back due to the taxes and political environment. The place is beautiful to be sure but the progs have fk’d it up immensely. NIMBYism + economic illiteracy will be a long term slow burn on CA quality of life.

    5. Gary,

      Don’t be sad. There will always be another house and with prices falling you are in a good position. I have my DP saved and am shopping for a house this fall/winter. One house that sat all summer here (NoVA) at $660K was pulled from the market, unsold. It is just listed again with a new agent, and the price? 700K! That’s right, if you couldn’t sell it all summer just get a new UHS and tack on $40,000.

      People are morons. Be patient, it’ll come to you

    6. Who is overpaying? Well anyone that can look to the floor and say…”Yeah I can see this 1-sq ft of tile being worth $800. That’s who

    7. 5+ years down from here, bro…

      It took Japan much longer to bottom out in their 1990s deflationary real estate correction.

      1. A debt-deflation trap seems inevitable at this point. The central bankers can keep printing to try to stave off a liquidity crisis, but their asset bubbles are toast. As shack and CRE valuations crater, debt donkeys with no skin in the game will walk away in their millions, while other FBs trapped because they would have to bring too much money to the table if they sold at a huge loss will try to hang on waiting for the mythical recovery the MSM will assure them is right around the corner. Meanwhile, in our oligarch-looted economy, shack prices will have to sink dramatically before they become affordable to proles in non-living wage jobs. This is going to get ugly.

          1. It’s still the same bubble. Still inevitable.

            OK, I agree that in the long run it is inevitable. But that may be after we are dead. I won’t be shocked if they can go around at least one more time. As long as the dollar has any value they can still print more to get what they want. I think losses much bigger than 2009 are required to actually get back to a real economy.

          2. losses much bigger than 2009 are required to actually get back to a real economy.

            An understatement to be sure. This credit culture has been in the Petri Dish for at least 40 years. A peak a decade ago and then the mother of sucker’s rallies. I’d expect the next swing to be of significantly larger magnitude, but I don’t actually know. It’s what we’re here watching. It will crash and burn though, that’s the nature of manias. I think it will end (again) with a generation that rebels against the debt-is-the-path-to-prosperity lie.

            They say the Crusades were a mania. That lasted 200 years.

  9. “In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that the newly opened sales office at Central Park Tower invited potential buyers to ‘sip Champagne and Johnnie Walker Black Label amid a onyx-clad walls and Lalique crystal chandelier,’ all while listening to Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ playing in the background.”

    I can only imagine the gruesome stiffs that were in attendance.

  10. “Who is over paying for these? ”

    I ran across this …

    How to Win a Bidding War When Buying a House
    https://www.maxrealestateexposure.com/win-bidding-war-buying-house/

    This (obviously) are instructions for winning a bidding war directed to someone who wants to buy a house. Note: There are no instructions for simply walking away.

    So, an answer to your question “Who is over paying for these?” Just might be found in this article.

    Buffett said something about combining ignorance and borrowed money can produce some interesting results. Vastly overpaying for a house just might be one if these interesting results.

    1. “Fabulous post about the best methods on how to win a bidding war for a home that you want to purchase. Writing a personal letter and using an escalation clause for this purpose sounds like winners to me. Thanks so much!”

      – Emma Metson, DebtDonkey

  11. So I’m moderating and commenting from 37,000 feet for the first time. Is that blogger dedication or what?

    1. If you really want to impress me, moderate, comment, and join the mile-high club all at the same time while aloft.

      Pics or it didn’t happen….

      1. You’re gonna have to take my word for it. It’s actually pretty fast. I’m on Delta headed to Atlanta and using the Gogo wifi system. I’ll have wifi in Atlanta and on the last flight to Miami. Getting there late, after midnight FL time.

        Plus I’m watching the Bad News Bears, haven’t watched it in years.

        1. I’m interested in Tampa and St Pete, will be visiting there early next year.

          I can remember flying into Fort Lauderdale from the west after the last bubble burst and flying over the Gulf into Florida and wondering what all the ghost bubble suburbs below me were. Cape Coral? Port Charlotte?

    2. Give yourself a little downtown while you’re there, Ben – go out and have some fun that doesn’t involve laughing hysterically at clueless buyers or desperate seller. (I mean, keep doing that too, but you know what I mean..)

      1. I’m stayin’ downtown! Well, Brickell. Only a thousand restaurants within walking distance. It’s going to be fun.

  12. Thank you guys for the comments. I follow this religiously but have only posted a few times. I am comforted knowing I’m not the only one. Thanks Ben for doing this. Hey I have a question… any of you guys do meet ups? Like grab some beers and talk in real life about this stuff. My wife is sick of hearing me blab so I just keep to myself and read this blog. God forbid I bring up housing with someone in this area. We have some friends who bought in SF late 2016 and you would think I was talking about murdering their pets saying I wish housing would correct soon.

    1. I had the good fortune of buying Mr. Jones a beer in Denver once. There haven’t been any threads about meetups recently but send him an e-mail if you’re trying to get in touch with some locals.

      See also: Jeff, I owe you a lunch next time I’m in South Florida.

          1. given that we are anonymous

            Well, the scar on my leg will give it away. 🙂

            I’m game if we can hit critical mass.

    2. you would think I was talking about murdering their pets saying I wish housing would correct soon.

      LOL!

      1. You are murdering their pets, they will not be able to afford them if houses correct a little and they may have to eat them if they correct a lot. Their Chinese neighbors probably have good recipes. Just a bad joke bit seriously in the last downturn a lot of pets were just abandoned when the houses went into foreclosure. People living on the financial edge can be very difficult on children and pets. Based on today’s numbers looks like a lot of apartments being constructed, I hope a lot will take pets.

        1. Just a bad joke

          I used to think it was a bad joke until I learned about the dog meat festival in Yulin. Google at your own risk. They say it tastes really good, FWIW.

          But the “civilized” city folks hate that stuff now and there are cases of dog thieves being injured or killed when caught during or after stealing family pets for this sort of thing.

  13. Even before signs of a luxury glut, many have criticized the ‘cloud piercing‘ skyline, noting that luxury buildings are often snapped up by out-of-town investors who pay no city income tax and little property tax.”
    ——————————

    And out of town investors don’t shop at the local bodega, or eat at a local restaurant or bar, or do anything but just buy an empty box in the sky. At least a renter will inject themselves in the local economy.

  14. Interesting comments about NObu… thanks. Hadn’t thought of that.

    And trying not to be sad but I kind of was using this house as a marker as we truly did love it and would have wanted to put in an offer. It had some wood rot that could have been an underlying issue and I thought for sure would give some people pause and stay near the price. Never imagined that it would go over a mil.

  15. The letters Mr. Flipper Zinda have been sending me are via US Mail, not email. I throw them away every day. I figure if he’s willing to waste the cost of paper and postage, let him – but I certainly won’t waste my time entertaining any flipper’s lowball offer. Ironically, two of my neighbors who’ve also been plagued by this guy’s incessant pestering decided if there was money in flipping, they’d do it themselves – so they played the typical flipper game of superficial updates to their homes, then put then on the market at fairly steep asking prices (for the neighborhood). And they got their asking prices, too – mainly because of the location, which is very popular with older couples and young families.

    And yes, here in the Twin Cities, the “we buy houses for cash” and “looking for real estate apprentice” bandit signs still appear along the roadways in all their poorly-spelled, hastily-scribbled glory.

  16. https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2019/09/12/ex-employee-arrested-payroll-embezzling-scheme-moorpark-company/2306163001/

    PennyMac LLC the old Countrywide back at it

    Authorities said they learned that Joe R. Rodriguez, who worked in the company’s human resources division before being laid off in March, altered the payroll earnings of several employees and stole the marked-up earnings. The money amounted to several thousand dollars per month, authorities said.

  17. I know of a guy who drives from Peoria to the Quadcities, everyday. Whoa, what a way too long of a drive, but I guess that’s a short daily commute for those in California/DC/Boston-land?
    Thing is, with all that’s going on in Illinois, it seems to be driving people into Iowa (you can work in Illinois and live in Iowa) and holding up prices in Iowa, or so it seems. I wonder if the same is happening in Indiana and Missouri? There might be a lot of foreclosures here in Iowa, but mang, the houses I see for sale here in the Quadcities, on the Iowa side, are flying off the shelf lickety-split, while on the Illinois side, the inventory is piling up big time.

  18. I try very hard not to comment here, as my opinions are not popular, and even BlueSky puts his fingers in his ears when I post, much as I like a lot of what he writes, but I must say, yeah – “My wife is sick of hearing me blab so I just keep to myself and read this blog. God forbid I bring up housing with someone in this area. We have some friends who bought […] and you would think I was talking about murdering their pets saying I wish housing would correct soon.” – Well said.

  19. you guys make me laugh 😂

    If anyone in Bay Area would do a meet up I would love to help organize. I would do Seattle if I was closer.

  20. When the Culture War Comes for the Kids

    George Packer
    OCTOBER 2019 ISSUE

    The school’s approach—the year-long second-grade unit on the geology and bridges of New York—caught his imagination, while the mix of races and classes gave him something even more precious: an unselfconscious belief that no one was better than anyone else, that he was everyone’s equal and everyone was his. In this way the school succeeded in its highest purpose.

    And then things began to change.

    around 2014, a new mood germinated in America—at first in a few places, among limited numbers of people, but growing with amazing rapidity and force, as new things tend to do today.

    The bathroom crisis hit our school the same year our son took the standardized tests. A girl in second grade had switched to using male pronouns, adopted the initial Q as a first name, and begun dressing in boys’ clothes.

    The school didn’t inform parents of this sudden end to an age-old custom, as if there were nothing to discuss. Parents only heard about it when children started arriving home desperate to get to the bathroom after holding it in all day. Girls told their parents mortifying stories of having a boy kick open their stall door. Boys described being afraid to use the urinals.

    I wished that our son’s school would teach him civics. By age 10 he had studied the civilizations of ancient China, Africa, the early Dutch in New Amsterdam, and the Mayans. He learned about the genocide of Native Americans and slavery. But he was never taught about the founding of the republic. He didn’t learn that conflicting values and practical compromises are the lifeblood of self-government. He was given no context for the meaning of freedom of expression, no knowledge of the democratic ideas that Trump was trashing or of the instruments with which citizens could hold those in power accountable. Our son knew about the worst betrayals of democracy, including the one darkening his childhood, but he wasn’t taught the principles that had been betrayed. He got his civics from Hamilton.

    The fifth-grade share, our son’s last, was different. That year’s curriculum included the Holocaust, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. The focus was on “upstanders”—individuals who had refused to be bystanders to evil and had raised their voices. It was an education in activism, and with no grounding in civics, activism just meant speaking out. At the year-end share, the fifth graders presented dioramas on all the hard issues of the moment—sexual harassment, LGBTQ rights, gun violence. Our son made a plastic-bag factory whose smokestack spouted endangered animals. Compared with previous years, the writing was minimal and the students, when questioned, had little to say. They hadn’t been encouraged to research their topics, make intellectual discoveries, answer potential counterarguments. The dioramas consisted of cardboard, clay, and slogans.

    We were back to the perversions of meritocracy. But the country’s politics had changed dramatically during our son’s six years of elementary school. Instead of hope pendants around the necks of teachers, in one middle-school hallway a picture was posted of a card that said, “Uh-oh! Your privilege is showing. You’ve received this card because your privilege just allowed you to make a comment that others cannot agree or relate to. Check your privilege.” The card had boxes to be marked, like a scorecard, next to “White,” “Christian,” “Heterosexual,” “Able-bodied,” “Citizen.” (Our son struck the school off his list.) This language is now not uncommon in the education world.

    When his teacher assigned students to write about how they felt about their identity, letting the class know that whiteness was a source of guilt for her, our son told her that he couldn’t do it. The assignment was too personal, and it didn’t leave enough space for him to describe all that made him who he was.

    “Isn’t school for learning math and science and reading,” he asked us one day, “not for teachers to tell us what to think about society?” He was responding as kids do when adults keep telling them what to think. He had what my wife called unpoliticized empathy.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/10/when-the-culture-war-comes-for-the-kids/596668/

    1. “A few weeks after the election, our daughter asked if Trump could break our family apart. She must have gotten the idea from overhearing a conversation about threats to undocumented immigrants. We told her that we were lucky—we had rights as citizens that he couldn’t take away. I decided to sit down with the kids and read the Bill of Rights together. Not all of it made sense, but they got the basic idea—the president wasn’t King George III, the Constitution was stronger than Trump, certain principles had not been abolished—and they seemed reassured.
      “Since then it has become harder to retain faith in these truths.
      Our daughter said that she hated being a child, because she felt helpless to do anything. The day after the inauguration, my wife took her to the Women’s March in Midtown Manhattan. She made a sign that said we have power too, and at the march she sang the one protest song she knew, ‘We Shall Overcome.’ For days afterward she marched around the house shouting, ‘Show me what democracy looks like!’
      “Our son was less given to joining a cause and shaking his fist. Being older, he also understood the difficulty of the issues better, and they depressed him, because he knew that children really could do very little. He’d been painfully aware of climate change throughout elementary school—first grade was devoted to recycling and sustainability, and in third grade, during a unit on Africa, he learned that every wild animal he loved was facing extinction. ‘What are humans good for besides destroying the planet?’ he asked. Our daughter wasn’t immune to the heavy mood—she came home from school one day and expressed a wish not to be white so that she wouldn’t have slavery on her conscience. It did not seem like a moral victory for our children to grow up hating their species and themselves.”

      1. I believe that the Communist hijacked the education system, the Judicial system, and politics.

        I think the whole idea is to topple the American structures like capitalism and our Constitution. The Communist are using racism and idenity politics , as well as a break down of law and order to accomplish the takeover.

        The Communist have tried to undermine every structural institution we have. This is what explains the lawlessness and quest for lack of borders.
        Shaming white children into thinking they are responsible for all the evils that occurred in World History is another ploy in the long term plan to destroy America from within.
        The Communist party doesn’t want anything to be corrected, they just want more anarchy and breakdown. They support any big government idea to take over industry or freedoms to move them one step closer to the goal.

        The brainwashing started a long time ago. They play into the greed of the Globalist who they will eat for lunch once they obtain critical mass.

        This is the only thing that explains the Insanity which we all witness today. Everything is peddled under the banner of noble cause for some sort of equality and
        free stuff is offered as if we could even afford it or if it wouldn’t bankrupt the USA.

        The whole idea is to erode the power of the USA, by any means possible and divide as many people as possible, by any means possible. The gutting of a strong middle class is also necessary, as well as fake emergencies such as Climate Change to justify big government taking over.

        These methods have been used before , just think about what was done in Russia, in Nazi Germany, and Red China.

        A big play for a power takeover is being made now, and apparently the election of Trump was a wrench in the Grand scheme of things.
        You might think I’m nuts for thinking this is what is behind the Insanity we witness today , but it’s the only thing that really explains the madness along with the Coporate elite being played to gut a strong middle class, which is a big block to Communist takeover. It’s the only thing that explains the slow gradual erosion of the majority working class to the point they became a political non entity. This has been a long range plan and they are so pissed that it’s not going as planned.

        So in terms of fake price housing, I would hold out from buying based on political instability.

        1. just think about what was done in Russia, in Nazi Germany, and Red China.

          Consider that what happened in those places was done from within. Add to the list if you will the French Revolution.

          1. So BlueSkye , based on your post does that mean you agree with me ?

            You know back in the 1930’s the Communist party was growing strong here in America following the Great Depression.

            The whole World War 2 thing and Cold War and a anti Communist approach here in America pushed the Communist party underground. So, it had to be a long range plan of taking over from within. No doubt some big Communist Countries are in on it also.

          2. some big Communist Countries

            I think there is plenty of rot in our own society to explain all of what you say, without requiring a big country.

        2. “I would hold out from buying ba$ed on political in$tability.”

          Knot based on humongou$ $helter.$hack.price$ due to Mr. bankers dotted.line.signatorie$ belief$ in continuou$&forever equity extraction$?

          Mania$ = $uckers!

      2. “Everything is peddled under the banner of noble cause for some sort of equality and free stuff is offered as if we could even afford it or if it wouldn’t bankrupt the USA.”

        “The people always have some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” —Plato, Republic

  21. That was a short lived global oil crisis. So much for $100 oil and the amazing prosperity some of our friends here said we’d enjoy because of it.

    1. Let the record show that on September 15th, at 5:00 pm I stated that ” This may or may not be huge depending on how long it takes to repair the equipment”. Later I stated in response to a post comparing an oil rise in 2008 helping to cause the collapse, I pointed out that we had more than doubled our oil production and now higher oil prices were net positive for the US and the Economist magazine had published a study which showed the US benefited from $100 a barrel oil. I stand by both posts.

      1. Let the record show

        Don’t be silly.

        Wild swings in the price of oil (or anything else we sort of need) is associated with speculation, malinvestment and waste both coming and going. This only enriches a few and makes the rest poorer.

  22. People who control limited liability corporations (LLCs) that own residential rental properties in New York state can no longer hide their identities.

    Sen. James Skoufis, D-Woodbury, and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, D-New City, announced this week that their legislation requiring the disclosure of such LLC operators’ names has been signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

    Under the new law, which takes effect immediately, LLCs that own residential properties containing one to four units “will now be required to share the names and contact information for all owners, managers and agents associated with the company at the time of a real estate transaction,” the legislators said in a prepared statement.

    “Currently, it is difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain the true ownership of anonymous LLCs, leaving municipalities with no person to hold responsible for code violations, illegal building or fines,” the statement continued.

    Until now, a limited liability corporation buying, say, a residential property at 1234 Main St., had been allowed to identify itself only vaguely, such as 1234 Main Street LLC.

    Skoufis, whose Senate district includes parts of Ulster, Orange and Rockland counties, said the new law “will rip the mask off of these anonymous LLCs that continue to purchase massive amounts of real estate in the Hudson Valley.”

    “Neighbors have a fundamental right to know who owns the home next door to them,” Skoufis said.

    “Likewise, municipalities are desperate for this disclosure when they seek to hold property owners accountable for … violations.”

    https://www.dailyfreeman.com/news/local-news/new-ny-law-bans-anonymity-by-limited-liability-corporations-that/article_d2cd0d9a-d957-11e9-8bf3-a3cdcaabb754.html

    1. “LLCs that own residential properties containing one to four units “will now be required to share the names and contact information for all owners, managers and agents associated with the company at the time of a real estate transaction”

      1-4? So LLCs with 5 or more are clear to continue hiding? I like that this is happening but it sounds like the higher stake money launderers are in the clear.

      1. LOL Democrats. The absolute masters of creating the appearance of solving a problem without actually accomplishing or changing anything.

      2. “…residential properties containing one to four units…”

        That seems like duplex and quadplex properties, which are typically sprinkled in many lower middle-class neighborhoods. Anything larger would likely be an apartment building.

  23. S&P slips below 3,000. The PPT usually don’t rouse themselves to prop up the Ponzi before 12:30 EST, but with liquidity issues churning under the surface they might start their interventions early today.

      1. Oh, May bee things are knot $o $unny!

        New York Fed plans repo operation for third straight day

        MarketWatch | Sunny Oh |Published: Sept 18, 2019

        Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in a Wednesday press conference that the central bank would stand ready to use its current tool$ to addre$$ pre$$ures in money market$.

        “Q.E. Lite” #2 is outta.thee.gate & headin’ in to the muddy 1$t turn …

  24. Hey, my Hummer is bigger than your car so this means my d**k is bigger than yours too!

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/18/heres-what-its-like-on-the-123rd-floor-of-the-worlds-tallest-condo.html

    Height in today’s top cities is like money: a clear and brutal measure. In New York, which is teaming with millionaires and billionaires and masters of the universe, Central Park Tower is selling the physical experience of utter domination. Of reaching the definitive top. Of waking up every morning and literally looking down on everyone else.

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