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The Situation Is Insane, But It’s Entirely Man-Made

A report from the Palm Beach Post in Florida. “The consensus seems to be there’s no firm consensus about what the future holds this season for Palm Beach homebuyers and sellers, according to conversations with several brokers and agents who do business on the island. One problem, brokers caution, is that some single-family properties seem priced too high for the market, a situation that could resolve itself if those homes remain for sale over an extended period.”

“Brokers and agents have pointed to mid-range homes priced as much as $7.5 million that might attract buyers if their askings were dropped substantially. The problem is that developers who bought land in the past couple of years to build new houses on speculation likely paid a premium price, which in turn means that the final sales price of the house must be high enough to cover construction and overhead costs while still delivering a profit.”

“Several real estate insiders, who didn’t want their agencies identified, confirmed to the Daily News that sales revenue this year has been down, with one agency seeing a drop of 25 percent from levels in 2017 and 2018. The coming season, insiders say, may involve some serious negotiations, as house hunters seek common ground with sellers. ‘The market is going to be a place where buyers are willing to make (lower) offers to sellers,’ said John Hackett, senior managing director for the Corcoran Group’s South Florida offices. ‘As always, the market is going to determine and dictate what the value of a property is.'”

From Click Orlando in Florida. “State regulators recently shut down an insurance company that wrote tens of thousands of policies across the state. Florida Specialty Insurance Co. offered property insurance for homeowners and renters as well as for mobile homes, but state regulators say the company’s financial records violated state law.”

“Claudia Zuco has owned her Kissimmee home for 30 years, and she says she never had a problem with her insurance until now. ‘I know like most Americans, I’m one paycheck away from disaster and ruin,’ she said. She says her mortgage company recently paid FSIC the annual premium of $1,800. She says she has gotten no indication from FSIC that the money will be refunded, and now she owes it back to the mortgage company.”

“‘My mortgage company could foreclose, since I’m $1,800 in arrears,’ she said.”

From WBUR on Ohio. “Driving through Cleveland’s Ward 8, it’s hard to tell that it’s been a decade since the nationwide housing collapse. Thousands of homes are vacant, abandoned and crumbling where owners are evicted, but not informed by the bank that their names remain on the title. That means no one maintains or lives in these ‘zombie homes,’ sometimes for years, and no one claims responsibility.”

“The problem, says Cleveland City Councilman Michael Polensek, is multi-pronged. It started with predatory lending. Polensek points to a structure built by his development corporation and initially sold for $242,000. ‘What did that person put down on the home?’ he asks. ‘$42.13 — and they were given a loan.'”

“People in these neighborhoods have been either unable to make their mortgage payments or have fallen so far behind on their taxes that they can’t put money into the property. Eventually, he says, they just abandon it. ‘Had they collected or foreclosed within a reasonable period of time, you wouldn’t have houses sitting vacant for six, seven, eight years,’ he adds. ‘They would have been sold at a sheriff’s sale and been put back into productive use.'”

“He says the situation is insane, but it’s entirely ‘man-made.’ ‘We weren’t hit by Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Michael. This was a man-made natural disaster,’ he says.”

From Variety on California. “Located north of Sunset Boulevard in the desirable lower Coldwater Canyon neighborhood, controversial social media superstar Jaclyn Hill’s temporary digs are ultra-contemporary in style, containing practically every high-tech gadget known to mankind. Built on speculation by local real estate investor Kambiz Hakim and completed in 2017, the mansion sports its own pedigree of sorts.”

“But unfortunately for the seller, those slick accouterments have yet to woo a buyer in this slumping luxury real estate market. The house has been for sale for over two years, it was first listed in summer 2017 for $30 million, though the price tag has since been slashed all the way down to $19.999 million.”

The Hartford Courant. “Long ago, comedian George Carlin made a name for himself with a bit about the seven words that could not be said on television. Nowadays, you can hear all of those words on cable, and many of them on broadcast TV. But some real estate professionals say there are still some words neither their colleagues nor their clients should use in their listings. These phrases and terms are so overused that they have become meaningless, agents complained in a recent ActiveRain discussion.”

“Take the phrase ‘motivated seller,’ for example. ‘I’d rather lower the price than announce we are ‘motivated,’ adds Steven Beam of RE/MAX Alliance in Parker, Colorado.”

“‘Will not last’ is another unworthy phrase. Nina Hollander of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Shirley Coomer of Keller Williams Realty in Phoenix both call it ‘the kiss of death.'”

“‘If it’s not going to last,’ asks Anna Kruchten of the Phoenix Property Shoppe, ‘then why has it been on the market for four months with no takers? So lame.'”

“‘I have yet to see an MLS entry that states ‘owner unmotivated’ or ‘will look at offers when we feel like it,’ says Juan Juarez of Keller Williams in Fremont, California. ‘Some things are too obvious to state, yet we see that stuff constantly.'”

“Two other hackneyed phrases that ruffle pros’ feathers include ‘almost new’ and ‘will look at all offers.’ There is no degree of new; it’s either new or it isn’t. If a house was lived in for one day, it is no longer new. And if you are not going to entertain all offers, why bother? Otherwise, agents say, you are telling everyone your place is overpriced to begin with.”

This Post Has 151 Comments
  1. ‘Polensek points to a structure built by his development corporation and initially sold for $242,000. ‘What did that person put down on the home?’ he asks. ‘$42.13 — and they were given a loan’

    Two things Mike. You could give the money back. And the guberment is backing zero down loans left and right.

    1. Given where he built that house, who did he expect to buy it? An upper middle class customer with 20% down payment and a high credit score?

      He built there because he knew that the local broke people could get mortgages. Even though they shouldn’t.

    2. How about “Fixer Upper, Priced to Sell” as a strategy for getting someone to pay your wishing price?

      “Fixer Upper” already raises red flags in a prospective buyer’s mind, as it signals that there are deferred maintenance issues that may be costly to address in order to make the place habitable.

      “Priced to sell” suggests the seller is doing a special favor for would-be buyers, by offering a below-market price to move the home quickly.

      But if the list price looks too high compared to the anticipated expenses of addressing the uncertain and potentially costly deferred maintenance issues, such a listing may sit on the market indefinitely with no offers.

      1. My personal favorite on multifamily is “rents are under market.”

        To the victor come the spoils, seller, so either raise the rent yourself to get that price or lower the price so the existing rent can cover the mortgage payment.

  2. ‘Will not last’ is another unworthy phrase. Nina Hollander of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Shirley Coomer of Keller Williams Realty in Phoenix both call it ‘the kiss of death.’

    ‘If it’s not going to last,’ asks Anna Kruchten of the Phoenix Property Shoppe, ‘then why has it been on the market for four months with no takers? So lame.’

    We’e been told these markets are red hot?

    1. I once saw a real ramshackle and run-down house listed with the phrase “will not last”. I had to agree 😀

      1. “Will not last” can go many ways. I Hear that as “we are desperate to sell”, on a run down shack it definitely means its about to collapse. Realtor: Just stick to square footage, number of rooms, lot size and get rid of all that garbage verbiage. Theres a reason your a realtor not an acclaimed author or poet

    2. In our neck of the woods, “walking distance to downtown…” has become the overused trope for a listing in any city that has one (the irony that these are part of metropolitan Detroit is not lost on me). We have seen some listings located literally hundreds of feet from the city limits with this phrase in the description, along with somewhere that “walk” includes crossing a major multi-lane surface road like Woodward Avenue.

  3. ‘Brokers and agents have pointed to mid-range homes priced as much as $7.5 million that might attract buyers if their askings were dropped substantially. The problem is that developers who bought land in the past couple of years to build new houses on speculation likely paid a premium price’

    What happens to recent buyers if the ‘askings were dropped substantially’?

    Oh…

    1. build new houses on speculation likely paid a premium price’ ??

      It always starts with the land but more importantly the the entitlement process…Municipalities have opened the flood gates it appears just about everywhere driving densities higher & higher…All in the effort for more revenue…Take a vacant lot and approve a single family home that generates X dollars to the muni…Take the same lot and approve 6 condo’s the muni gets 6 X dollars…The muni’s are in this game as much or even more than the developers…

      1. “Take the same lot and approve 6 condo’$ the muni gets 6 X dollar$…The muni’s$ are in this game”

        Ha, so true scdave … & think I’m the $ignage!

        x1, 1234 Main St. … or … x6, “The Loft$ @ Main & Broadway”white

        Redevelopment & increa$ed revenue$, with $tyle!

  4. “Human waste from homeless people makes downtown Miami streets unpleasant, unsanitary.”

    OMG! What is a city to do? Let’s take a look …

    “The city opened its one freestanding bathroom stall last year by the library in a ribbon-cutting ceremony …”

    Wow, a ribbon cutting ceremony for a bathroom.

    “… with attendant Cassandra Strozier, Mayor Francis Suarez and Commissioner Ken Russell, who called the bathroom part of ‘the city’s compassionate approach’ to the homeless population.”

    “… the city’s compassionate approach”. I like it.

    “The solar-powered structure has a steel toilet, hand-washing station …”

    Solar powered, that’s really nifty. What else does it have?

    “… and needle disposal receptacle.”

    Bahahahahahahahahahaha.

    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/downtown-miami/article236262158.html

      1. Thanks Bubbleville, good article. I found this part insightful:

        But surveys in King County, which includes Seattle, show the problem is largely homegrown. Sixteen percent of the city’s homeless population became homeless outside the county, and 5 percent reported being outside of Washington State when they lost their housing.”

        I wish I could find the link to the podcast/discussion posted here a while back about CA’s homelessness. The host was interviewing a local activist and basically debunked the notion that CA’s homelessness was because of it’s weather. There is a common misconception, which I had, that people who are going to be homeless move to more temperate areas. But basically that hypothesis is not born out by the facts because the activist showed with data that the vast majority of those who had lost housing in CA were in fact CA residents and had housing in the months and years before they became homeless. In other words, they did not get a bus/plane ticket from North Dakota in order to pitch a tent in CA.

        1. “they did not get a bus/plane ticket from North Dakota in order to pitch a tent in CA”

          I agree with this, it seems more of a “shuffle” from north to south west coast or vice versa. CA homeless problem is of its own making and simply “shipping” our problems elsewhere is not a fix. Needle disposals and bathrooms for the sole intent to get this off our streets, beaches, parks, etc is just re enforcing the bad behavior.

          1. I think you have to create spartan shelters away from attractive urban areas so that you don’t destroy shopping and livability by mixing in drug addition and mental health issues. These people need serious help, and the state needs to step in. I actually think that creating safe parking spaces outside city centers with portapoties and security is probably the most cost-effective way of solving homelessness.

            I also like this solution which was posted here a week or so ago:

            https://www.citylab.com/design/2018/11/community-first-village-homeless-tiny-homes-austin-texas/575611/

          2. Portapotties don’t work because (1) they are used for prostitution (2) gangs take them over, charging prices for their use. (or some combination of pimpage)

            As for those tiny home communities, no way. I did *not* pay for a one-bedroom apartment for 15+ years just to watch others get a cute little SFH for nearly free. (veterans are OK)

            For the unemployable, I can get behind the spartan-shelter idea, but you would need to supply the drugs/methadone/counseling on-site for free, or else the addicts would just wander away back to the streets.

          3. “Portapotties don’t work because (1) they are used for prostitution”

            On that note, I doubt I will have much of an appetite for the rest of the day.

          4. “I did *not* pay for a one-bedroom apartment for 15+ years just to watch others get a cute little SFH for nearly free.”

            You may have landed on one of the primary reasons that socialism doesn’t work. Who wants to bother sacrificing in any way, including working for a living, when others get stuff for free? But then who will make all the free stuff if nobody is working?

          5. For the unemployable, I can get behind the spartan-shelter idea,

            I think you hit the nail on the head. You have to make it really spartan, like just bare bones. The perception can’t be that it is a free ride.

            Your comment about working hard while someone getting a SFH for free reminds me of a comment from a friend of mine from college. He actually was from the south and he moved to the midwest. He was of a different faith and we got to talking politics and economics. He was telling me how much he despised food stamps because he said he was working and scrimping and eating ramen while he would watch some person [insert racial slur] browse loading up their shopping carts with mouthwatering steaks while they were just idle and had the state take care of them.

            I have no idea if the story was true or what the circumstances of that situation was because it was in Alabama or Georgia. But regardless of whether he actually knew the details of the situation, it stirred up a lot of resentment. I don’t worry so much about those details. I think some social programs can get abused. The key is to minimize the potential and structure it right. But there will always be people who will be unethical and try to game the system.

          6. Seattle learned a very painful, expensive lesson on self-cleaning toilets. They spent $5 million on them, only to see them used for drugs and prostitution. They removed them and sold them off for $12,000. That is how sh!tlibs spend tax money.

            What is really needed are more cops to start busting kneecaps on all the junkies. If you’re shooting up, you’re going to the slammer. Once there, you have two choices: rehab or hard time. The days of coddling junkies and criminals should come to an end. It’s time to take the streets back.

            https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattles-5-million-automated-public-toilets-sold-for-12000/

          7. He was telling me how much he despised food stamps because he said he was working and scrimping and eating ramen while he would watch some person [insert racial slur] browse loading up their shopping carts with mouthwatering steaks while they were just idle and had the state take care of them.
            This is true. From my mid-teens to early 20’s I was a supermarket cashier in a bad neighborhood in NYC. I worked (sometimes until midnight) on school nights at minimum wage. The people I served bought high end food items (like lobster) on food stamps. On top of that, they were generally rude and sometimes threatening.
            Good times.

          8. Seattle learned a very painful, expensive lesson on self-cleaning toilets

            Are you sure they “learned a lesson”, or is it more that they just “blew a bunch of money”?

            I’m guessing it’s the latter — folks don’t learn lessons when it’s not their money they’re throwing away.

          9. Are you sure they “learned a lesson”, or is it more that they just “blew a bunch of money”?

            There was probably someone there who warned them what would happen, but they’re usually the quiet types who drop the issue rather than lose their job despite being right. I’ve personally seen these non-technical liberal types become rather pugnaciousness when challenged intellectually especially after having gained political power.

          10. “Trying out some new words?”

            It was supposed to be, “pugnacious.” Gotta keep an eye out for the auto-complete and spell-check.

      2. Yo, Portland: Vegas doesn’t need any of your homeless people, we have more than enough already.

  5. One problem, brokers caution, is that some single-family properties seem priced too high for the market, a situation that could resolve itself if those homes remain for sale over an extended period.”

    The situation will resolve itself even faster once the Fed’s frantic attempts to prop up its asset bubbles and Ponzi markets fail and the bottom drops out. Then FBs will be walking away from their underwater shacks and condos en masse, causing cascading defaults followed by true price discovery once these properties go under the auctioneer’s hammer.

    1. The large public and private pension systems will collapse if your prophesy becomes reality. Alpo’s “prime cuts” will become the new Sunday dinner.

      1. Good riddance. Does anybody really think paying retired firefighters almost $200k per year for the next 30 years is sustainable?

        1. PS – I know a retired cop who’s pulling in almost $80k per year in retirement. He’s also got other paying gigs. Half of the poor suckers paying taxes to support his salary aren’t even making half that.

      1. Yes, in the public media. However, I have been saying on this blog for sometime, particularly before the 2018 election.

        1. Granted it is more expansive view of “deep state” than was understood a few decades ago when it was really more a military/ intelligence agency combination. I view the deep state as the globalists’ backed parts of government that are actively working for one world government.

          1. The origins of the expression “Deep State” came from a fatal car accident in Turkey in the 1990s. Inside the crushed car, police found a senior politician, his mistress (who was also a famous actress), a general from the top echelon of the Defense Ministry, and one of the leading figures in Turkey’s criminal underworld (who was supposedly on the run with a warrant for his arrest). The symbiosis of all these disparate but powerful elements, and their impunity from Turkey’s corrupt and complicit judiciary and law enforcement, came to symbolize the “Deep State” concept of a cabal of dirty elites running a puppet-show “democracy” to fool the masses, while the real shot-callers run things from behind the curtain. Sound familiar?

          2. Boo it is much older than the 90’s. This is from Wilipedia, although I have seen references to Turkey but going back to the 1920s:

            The term “deep state” has been associated with the “military–industrial complex” by several of the authors on the subject. Potential risks from the military–industrial complex were raised in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”[32] Stephen F. Cohen in his book War with Russia? (released November 27, 2018), claims that “At least one U.S.–Soviet summit seems to have been sabotaged. The third Eisenhower–Khrushchev meeting, scheduled for Paris in 1960, was aborted by the Soviet shoot-down of a US U-2 spy plane sent, some think, by ‘deep state’ foes of detente.”[33]

          3. (a snip)

            Interviewed on CNN-Turk on April 17, 2005, former President Demirel said, “The deep state is the state itself. It is the military. The military that established the state always fears the collapse of the state. The people sometimes misuse the rights provided…. The deep state is not active as long as the state is not brought to the verge of collapse. They are not a separate state, but when they intervene in the administration of the state, they become the deep state.” The deep state is shady, vague and ill-defined. Events like the 1955 Istanbul riots, Susurluk and Semdinli, the Dink 301 trial and subsequent assassinations have long haunted public life.
            Turks are statists in that they have been inculcated to believe in an immanent, authoritative State power disconnected from, and superior to, the role granted by the constitution to elected politicians. At the same time, the great majority of Turks are frustrated, distrustful, even fearful of the State as an increasingly out-of-date, authoritarian, inefficient and unaccountable brake on their freedoms.

          4. Yawn. If DJT wins another term, another president will come to power and then the “deep state” will be all the appointees of this administration. DJT’s shifts have been rather abrupt in both tone and substance from his predecessor. A lot of people work for a boss they dislike, or who believes something they don’t believe in. But it is a huge leap to see every shadow as some cabal or coordinated effort. There seems to be no shortage of paranoia these days.

          5. ‘it is a huge leap to see every shadow as some cabal or coordinated effort’

            Click! BTW people that are bored are boring.

    1. At current housing prices, the Fed has to cut interest rates in order to make things more affordable. Every little bit helps. Don’t get me wrong, I think cutting interest rates is the wrong way to go. But if we are not willing to have a major asset correction in housing, then we’re going to have to cut to near zero. It won’t make it affordable, but it will buyers at these prices pay less interest since the Fed and the govt seem determined to support asset prices at whatever cost.

      1. The Fed is cutting to support world growth not US growth. If you leave US rates at these levels when the rest of the world is cutting rates to support growth, money will flee those countries and come here, thereby slowing their economies more. The deep state wanted to hurt Trump thus the quick rate rises when neither the inflation outlook nor the yield curve supported the need. However, what happened is money flowed into this country from place like China and India and numerous other countries slowing their economies even more than the US. A lot of it of course went into US housing. Thus, the change in policy was due to unintended consequences in the rest of the world, if the world was not hurting so badly, the Fed would have continued to raise rates to hurt Trump.

        1. I don’t see it that way. I think it is more a story of supporting US housing than a DJT story.

          Even if we normalized rates, we could still could put restrictions on how cash comes into this country similar to what many Canadian provinces are doing now, albeit a bit late. We could put a surtax on foreign ownership of property and make it so that residents only can buy up housing stock. There are lots of ways to take foreign investment capital and use it to build plants, factories, and make investments without having it gobble up the housing stock.

          Let Masayoshi Son continue to feed the money furnace over at WeWork if he wants. Instead the Fed is going to keep inflating housing prices. Last year things were moving in the right direction. This year with the rate cuts the housing correction has stalled.

      2. Yet the smartest move is to heloc the house and pay off your kids student loans, or prepay college, then default in a few months

          1. Funny how no one did this in 2006-7-8 yet it was so obvious to me. and i dont owe anyone. but this trips to disney and the man cave and his and hers SUV’s…

          2. I think that the fly in the ointment is that by the time an FB would consider doing this it would be too late as they would be already underwater.

      3. One, if the Feds were primarily concerned about housing affordability by lower rates it would not have risen the rates in 2018. The same affordability issues existed when they did it. In fact, it was worse since housing prices were higher in many areas. Your theory makes no sense, the best way to make houses more affordable is lower prices not lower interest rates.

        1. True, but they don’t want houses to become affordable. They want people to have equity they can tap so they can go on spending sprees.

          1. Or they want prices to stay high because voters are more likely to be paying PITI than rent, HBB notwithstanding. I believe that’s true for boomers and GenX. I don’t know about Millenials. They might vote for affordability. (Then again, Millenials move a lot, so they may not be interested in mortgages.)

        2. One, if the Feds were primarily concerned about housing affordability by lower rates it would not have risen the rates in 2018.

          The Fed still cares about the banks and the net interest margin. Banks are moribund in Japan.

          The idea for blowing an asset bubble with low rates is basically this: prices rise because the monthly payment is increasingly the same even though the purchase price rises precipitously. Therefore, housing prices and interest rates have an inverse relationship (one reason why housing was dirt cheap when my father bought his first house in the 80s even though there were sky-high interest rates).

          The point is that if interest rates were allowed to normalize, the bubble would have deflated. But that is not being allowed, partly to help the banks. So path B to affordable housing (well, not really affordable per se, but maybe a little better) is to go full-on ZIRP and constrain house price increases for a couple years as we’re certainly increasing inflation.

  6. “Long ago, comedian George Carlin made a name for himself with a bit about the seven words that could not be said on television.

    On the rare occasions the corporate media mentions George Carlin, they always mention him in relation to obscene words you can’t say on TV. They NEVER reference his far more important and relevant contribution: telling Americans that they are dumbed-down serfs on the globalists’ incorporated neoliberal plantation. “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.”

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

    1. Nor do they mention his routine about soft language. The most familiar example is his description of the evolution from “shellshock” to “post-traumatic stress disorder.”

  7. WeWork valuation plunges $29 billion to $8 billion in a matter of months, on its way to zero. Now imagine what it’s going to look like when every insanely overvalued tech company starts seeing similar cratering in their Yellen Bux valuations when the Fed can not longer forestall the implosion of Tech Bubble 2.0 with its frantic repo operations and QE4. Oh dear….

    https://www.axios.com/wework-value-8-billion-c65ba7d7-32d8-4748-a33f-c0c159d2fd84.html

    1. From Matt Levine’s column the other day:

      “There isn’t really any new news in the WeWork saga, but there are a lot of people who have waited patiently in a long line to say something mean about WeWork, so we might as well give a few of them their shot. Here you go John McClain:”

      Lending to WeWork is so potentially dicey that one junk-bond investor, Diamond Hill Capital Management’s John McClain, said anybody brave enough to do it would “be taking on substantial career risk.”

      “Good good. Vicki Bryan do you have anything to add?”

      “WeWork’s credit metrics remain off-the-chart ugly,” Vicki Bryan, chief executive officer of Bond Angle, a high-yield credit research company, said in a note Tuesday.

    2. I agree the recession is going to start when the high tech bubble really pops. However, it looks more and more like it will happen in 2021 and not 2020. With interest rates negative in a lot of the world, people are still willing to put money into these schemes based on the story of huge profits in the future. As long as you can convince people that self driving vehicles are just around the corner most of the big names can be propped up. If people start to believe it is a few decades away Uber, Lyft similar companies which become profitable with cheap delivery and even Amazon and Tesla start dropping like stones.

      1. Everybody is yammering on about a stock market/everything bubble collapse. For that very reason it seems to me that things will keep inflating. When you have unlimited liquidity care of the Fed, things can go on a long, long time.

        1. The youtube channel Real Vision Finance is airing a series of interviews about gold vs. bitcoin. These videos are in front of the paywall (they’re free), the interviews or months or years old. Strangely they’re still relevant even after months. Some of them have been calling for recession since mid-2017. So yeah, it’s going to drag out.

        2. CR8R

          Why stock investors shouldn’t ignore this warning signal from the oil market
          By William Watts
          Published: Oct 19, 2019 8:00 a.m. ET
          Trade-related worries about growth are taking a toll on oil, could stocks be next?
          Getty Images

          Oil prices might be acting like a warning light when it comes to the stock market, which is trading near all-time highs despite growing concern over the U.S.-China tariff battle and rising global trade tensions.

          “Equity and corporate bonds in the U.S. have so far shrugged off the worrying signs for the global economy coming from lower oil prices. But we suspect that it won’t be long before slower global growth, including in the U.S., takes a toll on both,” said Simona Gambarini, markets economist at Capital Economics, in a Friday note.

      2. The biotech bubble is just as bad. And the commercial real estate that’s grown up around it is just ripe enough to fall off the tree.

      3. As long as you can convince people that self driving vehicles are just around the corner

        You do realize that Waymo is doing full self-driving in several US cities already right?

        Amazon is taking lots of ad revenue from Google. All the tech companies know that the car is the last platform for eyeballs. Google knows that they need to get to self-driving to maintain their monopoly on eyeballs. It’s debatable how quickly self-driving will roll out to the masses and in areas with poor weather. But as the saying goes: “The future is already here, it just isn’t evenly distributed.”

        As a side note, I think I freaked a lady out in the parking lot when I summoned my model 3 to pick me up in the rain so I didn’t have to walk out from IKEA.

        1. “You do realize that Waymo is doing full self-driving in several US cities already right?”

          Looking forward to seeing the self-driving car kill statistics some time soon.

          1. Do you have status quo bias professor defending humans driving, the most dangerous activity in the world?

          2. I just don’t want Elon and like minded researchers to have a free pass to conduct lethal human subject research on public roadways. If that’s what you call a status quo bias, then I have it.

          3. I just don’t want Elon and like minded researchers to have a free pass to conduct lethal human subject research on public roadways.

            The lethal human subject research is already proceeding, but its with people who are browsing instagram on their phones despite the laws outlawing it. Distracted driving is now more dangerous than drunk driving (which is still a huge problem) and I see no way of putting the genie back in the bottle. As much as you dislike Elon, he is actually doing something helpful for humanity by advancing self-driving.

          4. he is actually doing something helpful for humanity by advancing self-driving

            That must explain the exodus from the AutoPilot team.

          5. From Business Insider, May 24, 2018: Elon Musk doesn’t care about you

            You seem to care an awful lot about Musk and Tesla. Their self-driving team is still incredibly strong from what I can tell. However, as the stakes for talent becomes higher (the prize is so big), there will be lots of potential for key players to be poached. This is what happened with Levandowski and Uber/Waymo.

            “I think people don’t appreciate what he [Elon] is doing for humanity.” – Mate Rimac

            There are just a few companies that I think are doing something positive for the world, other than just trying to rake in money. Tesla is one of them in my view.

          6. You seem to care an awful lot about Musk and Tesla.

            You seem to be missing the correlation between your posts and my posts. I’m countering the propaganda you’re spreading. I’ll gladly stop if you do.

          7. I’m countering the propaganda you’re spreading.

            You bring the propaganda. I merely respond.

            Fact: there are already self-driving pilots in the US right now in certain cities and it is expanding. Fact: driving is super deadly, 40,000 US deaths per year. Fact: self-driving has 5 total deaths cumulative.

            Tesla, Waymo, GM Cruise Automation, and Argo AI are all trying to solve the problem of human drivers. Which approach they take to solve this problem is what is being debated, not that the problem doesn’t need to be solved.

        2. Autonomous vehicles
          Driverless cars are stuck in a jam
          Blame Silicon Valley hype—and the limits of AI
          October 10, 2019

          FEW IDEAS have enthused technologists as much as the self-driving car. Advances in machine learning, a subfield of artificial intelligence (AI), would enable cars to teach themselves to drive by drawing on reams of data from the real world. The more they drove, the more data they would collect, and the better they would become. Robotaxis summoned with the flick of an app would make car ownership obsolete. Best of all, reflexes operating at the speed of electronics would drastically improve safety. Car- and tech-industry bosses talked of a world of “zero crashes”.

          And the technology was just around the corner. In 2015 Elon Musk, Tesla’s boss, predicted his cars would be capable of “complete autonomy” by 2017. Mr Musk is famous for missing his own deadlines. But he is not alone. General Motors said in 2018 that it would launch a fleet of cars without steering wheels or pedals in 2019; in June it changed its mind. Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary widely seen as the industry leader, committed itself to launching a driverless-taxi service in Phoenix, where it has been testing its cars, at the end of 2018. The plan has been a damp squib. Only part of the city is covered; only approved users can take part. Phoenix’s wide, sun-soaked streets are some of the easiest to drive on anywhere in the world; even so, Waymo’s cars have human safety drivers behind the wheel, just in case.

          1. Dr AutoPilot and Mr Autopilot: Why We Should Want Waymo’s Go-Slow Approach To Win

            Google had extensively tested a freeway-only “driver in the loop” system prior to that point called… “AutoPilot.” According to Google/Waymo consultant Larry Burns’s book Autonomy, “AutoPilot” [Burns doesn’t use this name] was developed through 2011, tested it in 2012 and decided by the end of the year that it wouldn’t pursue the product.

            The problem, of course, was simply that Google abandoned AutoPilot for good reasons. The video of test “drivers” using AutoPilot, which Krafcik showed publicly for the first time in Frankfurt, shows drivers becoming profoundly inattentive, putting on makeup, plugging in phones and even falling asleep. The leaders at Google’s self-driving operation rightly realized that partial automation created a thorny human-machine interaction problem that was in a way almost harder to fully manage than Level 4 autonomous drive technology itself. Without incredible amounts of work on driver monitoring, operational design domain limits and other HMI work, AutoPilot was an irresponsible product to foist on the public… and one which didn’t even really provide the main benefits of autonomy.

          2. From the Economist article:

            “The problem is so hard that some firms, particularly in China, think it may be easier to re-engineer entire cities to support limited self-driving than to build fully autonomous cars (see article).”

            This is probably true. Many US cities are already equipped with carpool lanes. At some point these could be segmented into self-driving lanes for computer-driven vehicles only.

          3. Anyone here old enough to remember how robotics was also going to take over the world?

            Not the first time we’ve seen technology fail to live up to the futurist hype.

          4. “Anyone here old enough to remember how robotics was also going to take over the world?”

            Can’t recall that, but I do remember the “dawn of the paperless society,” e.g., the end of paper. I should have invested in Sticky Notes.

          5. I should have invested in Sticky Notes.

            “agile” software development and SCRUM sure have been good for 3M!

          6. Not the first time we’ve seen technology fail to live up to the futurist hype.

            The hype, yes. But make no mistake, automation has taken lots of jobs and will continue to do so. The effects this will have on individuals and communities will be varied.

        3. summoned my model 3 to pick me up in the rain

          How entitled of you to alpha-test your 3800 lbs remote control car on the non-consenting public. It’s only a matter of time before a child gets hit.

          1. Willful or reckless public endangerment so that Tesla can recognize some deferred FSD revenue.

          2. I know. I didn’t consent to people ghost riding their cars on public parking lots and streets that I use. Very expensive lawsuits wait in the wings, I am sure.

          3. It’s only a matter of time before a child gets hit.

            A neighbor in the townhouses next to our apartments backed over her toddler. I immediately heard wails and screaming and went over and was 3rd on the scene. EMT was already their. Child died and it was tragic:

            https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2018/07/23/jcw-updated-toddler-dies-after-being-hit-by-mom-backing-out-of-parking-space/#.Xa2zieNKjIU

            The reality is that my car now is far safer than a human driver at low speeds. You have a classic case of status quo bias because you are defending humans, which kill hundreds of innocent children in accidents every year.

          4. I didn’t consent to people ghost riding their cars on public parking lots and streets that I use.

            I didn’t consent to people texting and browsing internet on their smartphone while barreling down the highway at 70, 80 mph, yet here we are.

          5. You have a classic case of status quo bias

            A patent attorney and biotech entrepreneur suffering from status quo bias. 🙄

          6. A patent attorney and biotech entrepreneur suffering from status quo bias. 🙄

            Sure, sure. It’s the internet.

          7. Moral relativism is not an effective debate tool.

            There is no debate. Just bashing Tesla. Redhead is talking about a hypothetical child being hit, which hasn’t happened yet. It almost seems as if she wishes it would happen though. Ikea furniture has killed children than all the self-driving fatalities combined.

            If we are worried about safety and children, one could start with elevators:

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/home-elevator-deaths/2019/07/18/27b53434-968e-11e9-830a-21b9b36b64ad_story.html

            But this isn’t about child safety, it’s about bashing a good, growing, American company.

          8. When it comes to raising children the family needs a single story rancher, no swimming pool and a level neighborhood street. You don’t want to be Eric Clapton.

    3. I still have a hard time thinking of a business that doesn’t sell technology as a “tech firm”.

      1. “tech firm”.

        “Commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks in American English; dashes, colons, and semicolons almost always go outside the quotation marks; question marks and exclamation marks sometimes go inside, sometimes stay outside.” —grammerly

        1. Yeah, I’ve been told that. It doesn’t make sense to me, so I don’t do it, especially since the Brits don’t agree.

          But calling a business that uses IT to facilitate renting out cubicles a “tech firm” makes even less sense to me. That’s a property rental firm.

          At least Amazon rents servers on their cloud.

        2. grammerly

          … produces the most annoying youtube ads ever, especially the clip of that young woman who says “if you write anything, you NEED grammerly.” Oh really. Not only do I not need her advice, I resent that she thinks I need her advice. Never mind that I learned all this in 8th grade, and then again when I read “Elements of Style.” BTW, “Elements of Style” should really be in italics, but I don’t know how to do that fancy stuff in this new format.

        1. Pretty much. And it’s impacting investment in biotech sector. Forget new therapeutics when you can get a cheap app or an “AI” black box instead.

      1. I don’t think the dips will be deep enough for the buy to be worth the risk and effort. IMO it’s a good time to hodl cash, assuming we can stay solvent longer than they can stay irrational.

        It shouldn’t long. According to the MSM, ist/ism Trump is going to shoot some black swan out of the sky with a pointed tweet. Yup. Any day now.

        1. It seems very well propped up for now. But we’ve seen in the past that these interventions have finite duration.

  8. “Claudia Zuco has owned her Kissimmee home for 30 years, and she says she never had a problem with her insurance until now. ‘I know like most Americans, I’m one paycheck away from disaster and ruin,’ she said.”

    Real Journalists FAIL.

    How does one “own” a home for 30 years and find themselves “one paycheck away from disaster and ruin?”

    You’re not “like most Americans,” some of us actually have money and live well below our means.

    1. “How does one ‘own’ a home for 30 years and find themselves ‘one paycheck away from disaster and ruin?’”

      Come see me at my bank and I will give you a personal demonstration as to how it is done.

  9. “disaster and ruin” occurs when you have sucked all the equity out of your overpriced shack and now must pay Mr. Banker back.

    1. I have no debt.

      And more “equity” in savings, retirement, brokerage accounts than most home “owners” have equity in their rotting, depreciating shacks.

      Debt = SLAVERY.

        1. +1 Good call. A wife would“henpeck” 401 to take her and the kids to local theme venues and annual visits to Disneyland, not on long ascending hikes in the mountains.

          1. I think a girlfriend could be more expensive than a wife, if you look at the wasteland that is Tinder, and the prevalence of female profiles listing “international travel” as an interest like it’s a hobby they do every other weekend.

            Going to the mountains for the weekend costs a tank of gas and maybe a restaurant meal.

            Flying to California for the weekend can cost less than $500.

            Flying to Florida (I’m going in January) and staying with relatives will cost less than $500.

            Maxing out the 401k and Roth IRA wins vs. international travel done for Instagram likes…

          2. What happened to the squadettes?

            I recall you saying that “ordering a girl” on Tinder was akin to a ordering a pizza. Perhaps they have become more demanding.

          3. International travel is expensive because of flights. But regional travel within driving distance with Airbnb is super affordable. I host all sorts of travelers (increasingly solo, and boomers even) who are just going to explore a new city on the cheap. I had a military guy and his out-of-state girlfriend this weekend. I also had an ASU fan come in for the U game. Lots of travelers from everywhere are always coming. You can travel cheap if you use Airbnb.

          4. My guess is that “international travel” is a dogwhistle phrase meant to identify and flush out the seeking-arrangement type sugar daddies.

          5. International travel just means they did study abroad in college. They speak a little Spanish or something and think thy are uber-cultured, and they are seeking a similar egoist. At least for the remainder of their early to mid 20s.

      1. “Debt = SLAVERY.”

        Correct. And debt is the best type of slavery ever devised because with this type of slavery the slaves eagerly volunteer themselves to becoming enslaved.

        Like it, love it, want more of it.

    1. The globalists promise that helicopter drops of cash are coming soon!

      World finance officials pledge to combat global economic slowdown due to trade war
      By Associated Press
      Published: Oct 19, 2019 7:14 p.m. ET
      In trade wars, “everybody loses,” IMF chief says

      Global finance ministers and central bank officials wrapped up their fall meetings on Saturday with a pledge to “employ all appropriate tools” to combat the weakest global economic growth in a decade, but there was little evidence of progress in easing tensions over international trade policy, a major source of the slowdown.

      The policy-setting committee for the 189-nation International Monetary Fund said in a closing statement that economic growth should accelerate next year.

        1. The last time that happened was with the Bush tax rebates in 2008, which were limited to a mere $1200 per household.

          I suppose we could also count the temporary SS tax reduction under Obama as a helicopter drop.

          Not like anyone is going to rush out and buy a $30,000 car with those rebates.

  10. “A report from the Palm Beach Post in Florida.”

    “Several real estate insiders, who didn’t want their agencies identified, confirmed to the Daily News that sales revenue this year has been down, with one agency seeing a drop of 25 percent from levels in 2017 and 2018. The coming season, insiders say, may involve some serious negotiations, as house hunters seek common ground with sellers. ‘The market is going to be a place where buyers are willing to make (lower) offers to sellers,’ said John Hackett, senior managing director for the Corcoran Group’s South Florida offices. ‘As always, the market is going to determine and dictate what the value of a property is.’ ”

    – “Several real estate insiders, who didn’t want their agencies identified, confirmed to the Daily News that sales revenue this year has been down,…” – The truth is starting to leak out, just like the air out of the housing bubble (2.0), but Realtors don’t want their names associated with that, which clearly says something, no?

    – ‘The market is going to be a place where buyers are willing to make (lower) offers to sellers,’ – So, playing devil’s advocate here, what, exactly has the market been until recently? A gigantic asset bubble, perhaps?

    – ‘As always, the market is going to determine and dictate what the value of a property is.’ – Well, maybe going forward. “As always” didn’t apply during the recent mania phase (multiple, over-asking offers, foreign speculators, massive flipping, love letters to sellers, etc.). Yeah, that’s “normal.”

    1. If the corporate debt bomb explodes, how long will it take for central bankers to pass another round of bailouts?

      The Financial Times
      Opinion Global Economy
      US corporate debt triggers recession concerns
      The weakness in company finances is a danger to the rest of the economy
      Gavyn Davies
      Lael Brainard, Fed governor, has warned that corporate financial vulnerabilities have been markedly increasing © AFP via Getty Images
      Gavyn Davies yesterday

      Very high and rising levels of corporate debt in the major economies have been troubling central banks and regulators for several years, but until now there has been little willingness to take direct policy measures to reduce the associated financial risks.

      Last week, however, the IMF issued a strong warning that action is “urgently” needed to head off the danger of a financial meltdown in the corporate sector, which could potentially spread into the banking and shadow banking sectors. Policymakers and investors should pay close attention.

      Among the three largest economies, the IMF argues, the eurozone is currently the least at risk of a major collapse in its corporate sector, largely because it addressed some of the problems of excess debt after the euro crisis in 2012. In China, these problems would become severe in a recession, but the policy response is already under way.

      That leaves the US, where corporate debt continues to rise extremely rapidly and could be stimulated further by the latest interest rate reductions by the Federal Reserve.

      I argued in March that this problem was not yet dangerous, but that was probably too complacent.

    2. Are you looking forward to having your bones dissolve?

      Europe Economy
      Negative rates are like steroids that will ‘dissolve your bones’ in the end, UBS advisor says
      Published Fri, Oct 18 2019 11:06 AM EDT
      Matt Clinch

      The central bank policy of negative interest rates received a resounding rejection at the IMF and World Bank annual meetings this week, with experts lining up to warn of the damage it could inflict on the global economy.

      “Negative rates, and going more negative here, is a bit like steroids. They are great in a short, sharp usage but long-term usage of steroids starts to dissolve your bones and makes the patient weaker,” was the analogy employed by Huw van Steenis, UBS senior advisor and former senior advisor to the Bank of England.

      A negative deposit rate essentially charges banks to park cash at a central bank, which can dent profits at lenders. It has fueled concerns that it’s also stifling investment and potentially causing fund managers to overstretch in the search for yield.

      Japan has used the policy tool for decades and the European Central Bank (ECB) notably deployed the same tactic after the sovereign debt crisis of 2011. It recently reduced its main deposit rate by another 10 basis points to -0.5%, a new record low, alongside the launch of a substantial package of quantitative easing (QE).

      Van Steenis told CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore in Washington, D.C., Friday that he was worried that negative rates were starting to do more harm than good.

      1. Markets
        Negative U.S. Interest Rates? Options Traders Say Yes
        Wagers via Eurodollar options indicate investors’ belief that ‘negative rates are not just possible but reasonably probable’
        Negative yields are occurring with greater frequency in global bond markets. What generates negative yields and why do investors continue to buy these money-losing bonds?
        By Gunjan Banerji
        Oct. 17, 2019 5:30 am ET

        Derivatives traders are betting on something once considered inconceivable: zero or negative interest rates in the U.S.

        They are scooping up options that would pay out if interest rates fell below zero. The number of bullish contracts outstanding on Eurodollar futures that pay out if interest rates hit zero or below has increased to about 1.2 million, according to CME Group data through September.

    3. Opinion: The skyscraper indicator shows we’re near a market top
      By Howard Gold
      Published: Oct 19, 2019 12:01 p.m. ET
      Building booms like this often coincide with stock-market bubbles
      Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
      More than two dozen supertall skyscrapers are in development in New York City, potentially more than tripling the existing number.

      When stocks go to the moon, buildings head for the sky.

      Historically, bull markets in stocks and real estate bubbles, especially in commercial property, go hand in hand. The same irrational exuberance that persuades mediocre stock investors that everything they touch turns to gold also infects developers who leverage themselves to the hilt with cheap money near the peak of a cycle.

      And the most visible indicator of that is the skyscraper.

      In the past, the completion of record-high skyscrapers has been the proverbial bell that rings at the top of the market. Right now, massive construction of super-tall residential and commercial towers, especially in Manhattan, may be signaling the bull’s end is nigh.

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