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People Just Needed To Get Out

A report from the Wall Street Journal. “More than 200 golf courses closed in 2017 across the country, while only about 15 new ones opened, according to the National Golf Foundation. When a course closes, prices for nearby homes typically fall about 25%, development consultant Blake Plumley said. Prices can plummet 40% or 50% if a contentious legal battle arises, as potential home buyers balk at the uncertainty accompanying litigation.”

“When Mitch Steller first moved into his house on a lush 117-acre golf course in Southern California, ‘this was like the Garden of Eden, having a golf course in my backyard,’ he said. Today, his Poway, Calif., home overlooks dry, dead grass in place of a once-verdant fairway. The golf club closed in 2017. ‘The fairways are brown, the greens are gone, the buildings are being vandalized,’ says Mr. Steller.”

“In Lake Worth, Fla., the Fountains of Palm Beach community in the early 2000s made it mandatory for all of its homeowners to become members of the Fountains Country Club, located within its gates. As the original owners of homes in the Fountains started dying or moving out, mandatory membership made it difficult to sell their homes, says Fountains homeowner Sharon Harrington, who also works as a real-estate agent in the area.”

“The younger people are not interested in golf,’ Ms. Harrington says. ‘They avoid these communities altogether.’ Values started going ‘in the toilet,’ Ms. Harrington said. ‘People just needed to get out.’ Homes that had previously sold for around $400,000 traded for than less than $200,000, she said.”

“Meanwhile club fees were rising; Ms. Harrington said by 2016 her dues had climbed to around $24,000, up from less than $5,000 when she first joined. Feeling that the costs were unjustified, she stopped paying her dues. A number of other residents also stopped paying, and the club filed lawsuits to get them to pay.”

“For some, it is paradise lost. Lou Altieri, a 68-year-old who paid more than $1 million for a house at Kensington Golf & Country Club in Naples, Fla., in 2005, likened his initial experience of living in a golf community to being ‘on a cruise ship all the time.’ When he joined the club, he said he was told he’d get a partial refund of his $45,000 initiation fee if he left. But when he decided to resign from the club several years later, he was told there were about 60 people ahead of him on the ‘resign list,’ each with a membership that had to be sold to a newcomer before Mr. Altieri could receive his refund.”

“Unwilling to accept this, Mr. Altieri stopped paying his dues, and the club sued. The two parties eventually settled in arbitration and Mr. Altieri left the club, selling his house at a loss in 2011.”

This Post Has 114 Comments
  1. ‘Values started going ‘in the toilet,’ Ms. Harrington said. ‘People just needed to get out.’ Homes that had previously sold for around $400,000 traded for than less than $200,000’

    Huh, seems kinda like an asset that’s hard to move in a pinch. And if they need to get out, ouch.

    1. So in a sense the golf course was used as staging – STAGING – to sell, at hefty prices, the housing development that was built next to it, and after all the houses were sold (at some very hefty prices) the golf course was closed.

      I like it.

      😁

      1. Bahahahahaha … I remember an article from some years back talking about how condos were staged by hiring foxy models to do exercises all day long in skin-tight leotards in the condo next door.

        1. This reminds me of what Mark Twain wrote about regarding entire towns whose total existence depended on it being located on the banks of the Mississippi River. The towns enjoyed great prosperty all the way up to the very moment the mighty Mississippi decided to change course.

          After this course-changing event a town may find itself – docks and all – located thirty miles or so from the river.

          Life happens.

          1. Also, states borders often are defined by the course of the river.

            There were actual cases where a slave would go to sleep one night in a slave state and during the night there would be a shift in the course of the river and the slave would then wake up in a free state.

          2. That river, the Mighty Mo, that partners with the Mighty Mississippi … well, this place was x2 the size of Niagra Falls, … But no mas amigos … Rivers gone its own way.

          3. Pardon, but how could a slave go to sleep in a slave state and wake up free? He would have had to float across the (course-changing) river in order for that to happen.

          4. I believe it has to do with the river suddenly shifting its flow to a new channel, and thus redefining a river-based state line. A slave situated between the old and new river flows could hence have changed states.

          5. That’s not the way it works, oxide. The river doesn’t actually move across the land. Somewhere upriver, it diverts, and then reconnects down river to the existing river. The part that used to be river usually becomes a large lake, at least for a while. We have a river nearby that did that a lot, and now some of the old river chucks that are no longer connected are just wetlands, wildlife refuge. But the river did’t actually move across dry land. Usually the new diversion is into an already existing tributary that now becomes the main river.

          6. the slave would then wake up in a free state.

            That appears to be pretty tricky, as the states bordering east/west on the Mississippi were generally the same status regarding slavery.

          7. Oxbow lake formation is an example of how this might occur. A slave living on the land inside an oxbow river bend could suddenly find himself on the opposite side of the river at the point when an oxbow lake is formed.

          8. “That appears to be pretty tricky, as the states bordering east/west on the Mississippi were generally the same status regarding slavery.”

            (yawn)

            Here, count them for yourself. Note: Not all of the rivers are the Mississippi River, nor did I claim that they were.

            https://goo.gl/images/5vLnhU

          9. It appears that Illinois and Missouri are the only free/slave states that had their borders defined by the Mississippi. It appears the other free/slave states having their borders defined by a river were the ones bordered by the Ohio River.

          10. It appears that the Ohio River offered the main potential for river channel shifts to free slaves, due to the Ohio River boundary between free (Illinois, Indiana and Ohio) and slave states to the south. The Mississippi River boundary between Missouri and Illinois, including at Hannibal, Missouri where Samuel Longhorne Clemens grew up, was another example.

          11. (yawn)

            I didn’t say it was impossible Combo. The Senecas named it the Good River.

            The part of it I’m familiar is bounded by mountains and doesn’t move around much. My home states of New York and New Jersey were slave states, so maybe this happened in reverse as well?

          12. “I believe it has to do with the river suddenly shifting its flow to a new channel…”

            Rivers have a sediment load that slowly get deposited along the inner radius of a bend where the velocities are slower eventually resulting in an oxbow lake when the flow take a different course.

        2. It was in San Diego, but I can’t remember the publication, and it may have been an alternative media outlet. During a sales presentation, the author looked out the window at the neighboring condo building and saw a lithe, Spandex-clad young woman doing zumba or some similar aerobic dance in her room. Another unit in the building had a buff young man, shirtless, reading a book on a chaise lounge. I’ve since looked for the article, many times, and haven’t been able to find it.

        3. “I remember an article from some years back talking about how condos were staged by hiring foxy models to do exercises all day long in skin-tight leotards in the condo next door.”

          Hunks too. Some of those cat ladies were left with lots of money as their husbands worked themselves to death.

          1. “’skin-tight leotards’ How old are you?”

            OLD!

            Apparantly wearing skin-tight leotards makes one go crazy …

            Watch “Wearing a skin-tight green leotard,  as she repeatedly kicks the car window of the crashed BMW” on YouTube
            https://youtu.be/sChxzJVGLrU

          2. That video has under 500 views. How on earth did you find it? Oh and “leotard” is still a legit term for a body suit, i.e., like a one-piece bathing suit, only made of regular fabric. They’re skin-tight by definition.

      2. Developers along the Brooklyn Waterfront are trying to get the city to spend huge money on a streetcar. Based its route, the streetcar would be little used. But that’s what its about — staging.

        http://gothamist.com/2018/08/30/brooklyn-queens_streetcar_bqx.php

        The Mayor is talking about doing this even as the city’s mass transit system, the foundation of its economy, is going downhill. The developers give lots of money to the pols.

        Unlike the golf course, the city would be stuck with the bill.

        The Governor is doing the same thing with regard to development in Flushing, Queens. He has proposed a rail connection to the airport that runs AWAY FROM Manhattan.

        https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/02/07/cuomos-laguardia-airtrain-possibly-nys-worst-transit-idea-is-actually-happening/

    2. Homes that had previously sold for around $400,000 traded for than less than $200,000, she said.”

      “Meanwhile club fees were rising; Ms. Harrington said by 2016 her dues had climbed to around $24,000

      A 200K 30-yr mortgage is a monthly payment below $1K.

      Meanwhile you’re paying $2K per month for the club fees.

      Yeah, I can see people laughing and walking away from that deal.

      1. Mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance and repair are enough. Golf course dues, HOAs, etc. are something I’d NEVER be interested in.

  2. ‘Unwilling to accept this, Mr. Altieri stopped paying his dues, and the club sued. The two parties eventually settled in arbitration and Mr. Altieri left the club, selling his house at a loss in 2011’

    I’m guessing Lou never got his refund…

  3. Golf is mainly a Boomer game. As the Boomer die-off accelerates, so will the demise of pursuits that require wealth and a lot of liesure time. In our oligarch-looted economy, the vanishing of the middle class and off-shoring of living-wage jobs means few of the proles will have the time, money, or inclination to take up such expensive, time-consuming pastimes.

    1. When I first got into the foreclosure biz, I spent a lot of time at two gated golf communities in Flagstaff. Very expensive, mostly second homes for people in the Phoenix area. They strategically defaulted in droves. The $25k fees moved that along. Turned out they were betting on cashing in that sweet equity and when that went poof, so did they. There was another golf thing that started late and only a few shacks were built. It also had $25k in fees, no golf course, and every lot and shack defaulted.

    2. Golf is definitely a boomer game. Generally old arrogant rich white males. At least there’s one advantage to being a birth-dearth GenX. When it’s time for me to retire, I’ll have my choice of retirement places begging for my business. It won’t be on a golf course. Heh, I wonder what a Millenial 55+ community will look like. A parking lot of Tiny Houses surrounding an e-sports venue?

      1. ” I wonder what a Millenial 55+ community will look like. A parking lot of Tiny Houses surrounding an e-sports venue?”

        😀

    3. Golf is mainly a Boomer game.

      It’s still forbidden fruit for a lot of mainland Chinese…there may be a way to take advantage of that.

      1. Hmmm…. so you think that the moneyed Chinese will give up on buying air-boxes in New York and Miami and switch to buying golf-course safe-houses just about anywhere else? Hm, they could make that work. Would the Chinese gov allow one of their citizens to take $250-$300K out of the country?

        And you just so happen to be a realtor with Chinese connections. Hmmm…

        1. Would the Chinese gov allow one of their citizens to take $250-$300K out of the country?

          They already can if they are willing to take 5-6 years to do it or have a few relatives do it at the same time. But like I said previously, even though it’s allowed there is suspicion that’s being scrutinized more. Might hurt your social credit score.

          1. I think I would have a social credit score of 0. I do not handle that sort of thing very well and would do everything opposite of conforming.

          2. I do not handle that sort of thing very well and would do everything opposite of conforming.

            I would have similar issues. Perhaps I will need to stay out of China for a while. My response to overzealous authority is puzzling to my Chinese wife…I have had to remind her of American history several times in an attempt to explain it.

    1. “…the Fed’s financial house of cards is collapsing now that the punchbowl has been taken away.”

      Taken away? It was just nudged over slightly, and now everything is dropping. Shows you how robust our economy actually is (not).

  4. “When Mitch Steller first moved into his house on a lush 117-acre golf course in Southern California, ‘this was like the Garden of Eden, having a golf course in my backyard,’ he said. Today, his Poway, Calif., home overlooks dry, dead grass in place of a once-verdant fairway.

    That’s an apt metaphor for the entire state of California, that under its progressive Overlords and their open-borders policies and liberalism run amok has gone from The Golden State to Paradise Lost.

        1. Sorry Bear. He came here legally wanted to be a police officer and now lost his American dream for his family. #2 strange how we have thousands of deaths each year by Illegal guns yet people are scared to death to talk about it. ( and those people never join the NRA)

        2. Of course lots more people are killed by American citizens – there are WAY MORE American citizens than there are illegals. The real question is what percentage of illegal aliens as a group commit crimes, vs non-illegals as a group.

          1. I think you missed my point its americans who kill each other by the thousands with illegal unregistered guns and none of them belong to the nra or take gun safety courses……..but shhhhh we can’t talk about it

          2. “Gonna have to go with 100% of ‘illegals’ there, Alex.”
            I figure you meant violent crimes, but we wouldn’t even need to worry about these calcs if we had a decent border protection plan in place.

    1. Anyone who has spent time in Poway between April and November knows that the climate delivers near-desert conditions with almost no rainfall and many days above 100 degrees F. The water bill to keep the golf course lush and green had to have been astronomical.

        1. Are you still in SD County? If so, where did you end up relocating? We might soon be relocating ourselves.
          (Asked by a parent whose kids are all Poway Unified School District high school graduates…no point in paying the good public education system premium any longer.)

          1. Another good reason not to buy a home in the PUSD, to be sure! District homeowners are sitting on a locally-targeted debt bomb.

            Education Investigations
            Finances
            Where Borrowing $105 Million Will Cost $1 Billion: Poway Schools
            After putting together a bond that will cost taxpayers almost 10 times what they borrowed, the Poway Unified School District has become California’s poster child for a form of exotic financing.
            Will Carless
            August 6, 2012

            Last year the Poway Unified School District made a deal: It borrowed $105 million from investors to fund a final push in its decade-long effort to revamp aging schools.

            In many ways, the deal was unspectacular. Some of the money was used to pay off previous debts from delayed and over-budget construction projects. The rest went towards finishing upgrades that Poway taxpayers had been promised as far back as 2002. To a casual observer, it was just another school bond.

            But Poway Unified’s deal was far from normal.

            In 2008, voters had given the district permission to borrow more money to finish its modernization, and they had received a big promise from the elected school board in return: No tax increases.

            Without increasing taxes, the district couldn’t afford to borrow money in the conventional way. So, instead of borrowing from investors over 20 or 30 years and paying the debt down each year, like a mortgage, the district got creative.

            With advice from an Orange County financial consultant, the district borrowed the money over 40 years in a controversial loan called a capital appreciation bond. The key point for the district: It won’t make any payments on the debt for 20 years.

            And that means the district’s debt will keep getting bigger and bigger as interest on the loan piles up.

            The bottom line: For borrowing $105 million in 2011, taxpayers will end up paying investors more than $981 million by 2051, or almost 10 times what the district borrowed. That’s wildly more expensive than a typical school bond, in which a district pays back two or maybe three times what it borrowed.

            As well as being expensive, capital appreciation bonds work by tapping future growth in property values to pay today’s debts, a concept considered by many in the school bond business to be both risky and inequitable. In 1994, the state of Michigan banned school districts from issuing bonds like this, deeming them too toxic to taxpayers.

            Nevertheless, California’s ever-strapped districts have increasingly looked to capital appreciation bonds to raise money for improvements without increasing taxes on current residents. Across the state, districts have borrowed billions this way, using exotic financing to shift the burden for paying for today’s school construction to future generations of Californians.

            Poway Unified, a district more accustomed to praise for its fiscal austerity, has found itself at the center of the debate over these bonds. For a year now, it’s come under fire from taxpayer groups and concerned elected officials around the state, for whom Poway’s bond has reached legendary status.

            “This is way worse than loan sharking,” said Michael Turnipseed, executive director of the Kern County Taxpayers Association in central California, which has lobbied the state Legislature to tighten laws on school district borrowing. “And Poway is the poster child. What they have done is absolutely insane.”

    1. I see the Chinese just gave the death penalty to a Canadian guy for “smuggling drugs”. Not sure how long it will take before that gets politically resolved or carried out. This could get ugly.

      1. I do not like China and as a result am extremely suspicious of all Chinese people. Translation : I don’t trust them as far as I can kick them.

        1. “I don’t trust them as far as I can kick them.”

          Pretty harsh. I lost a few friends to the Vietnamese, but I don’t hold a grudge against any of them, here or there. They were good fighters then, and they are very ambitious today.

        2. I give the example of the local you-pick farms. Within the past 3 years, the farms have begun to charge admission to enter the farm, take a deposit to enter the berry fields, physically fence off you-pick fields, or stop offering you-pick altogether. Oh, and the DC area is something like 30% foreign-born and the people at I see the you-picks are the same ratio if not more. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

      2. I could tolerate stores full of made-in-China stuff, if only their quality had improved over the last 20 years or so. Instead, it is still junk.

        1. 20 years ago it was almost impossible to make anything right there. Even if all the decision makers on both sides were on the same page and quality materials were specified and paid for, somebody inside the factory would find a way to divert the good stuff and replace it with junk. And it was impossible to watch everybody all the time.

          Now it’s at least possible to make good stuff there with enough oversight. But yeah…in most cases that level of oversight is still not being paid for or even really asked for. And the Chinese get frustrated because frequently the good stuff that does manage to get made there, they are not allowed to buy without importing back from America or wherever. There’s probably a connection between the two issues :-).

        2. They can build anything… the customer provides the specifications. I have a Dell Workstation with e5-2687w cpu, 64gb main memory and 2tb of Intel pci solid state drive space, all made in China.

  5. The residents voted no to have the course repurposed for new homes and now they have homeless and vandals running a muck in the once active clubhouse. The golf club owner shut the place down the day after his proposal failed to pass. Kinda well deserved for all sides here. If your buying a home on a golf course you should be aware of what your buying into. Like an HOA bound property with a pool. If no one wants to pay for maintaining it, it will delapitate and become unusable and your shack value will suffer. Guess these entitled golf course FBs wanted a free golf course in there backyards…

    Video in the link for the Poway article:

    https://www.10news.com/news/local-news/poway-resident-weigh-in-on-housing-plan-for-shuttered-stoneridge-country-club

  6. Do you notice how down days on the Dow are contained to 100 points or so? Seems like an increasing degree of stock market overvaluation could result.

    1. The Wall Street Journal
      Commodities
      Weak Chinese Data Drags on Copper Prices
      The industrial metal is down about 20% from its June four-year highs
      By David Hodari and
      Amrith Ramkumar
      Jan. 14, 2019 9:23 a.m. ET

      Copper prices fell on Monday, hurt by the latest round of lukewarm Chinese economic data.

      Copper for March delivery fell 1.3% to $2.6270 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The industrial metal is down about 20% from its June four-year highs and has largely traded sideways in recent weeks, hurt by fears that a slowdown in Chinese growth and tariffs will lower demand of materials heavily used in construction and manufacturing.

    2. Trading Nation
      The 10-year yield just entered a death cross, and that could be a breaking point for bond market
      Published 3 hours ago Updated 2 hours ago
      Pippa Stevens
      Warning sign for rates?

      Bond bulls take note: Treasury yields are moving lower, and according to one technical indicator, the slide may only just be getting started.

      On Friday the 10-year yield entered the death cross, when the 50-day moving average crosses below the 200-day moving average. This technical indicator is typically viewed as a sign of further weakness.

    3. Economics
      Inverted Curves Not Only Signal Recession. They Might Cause One
      By Alister Bull
      December 27, 2018, 8:42 AM PST

      An inverted yield curve can potentially harm U.S. economic growth and even cause a recession by pinching bank-lending margins and causing a contraction in loan activity, according to a blog posted on Thursday by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

      An inversion, when yields on short-term Treasuries rise above returns on longer-dated debt, has preceded every U.S. recession for the past 60 years. It’s currently not inverted, though the spread between two- and 10-year Treasuries has flattened.

    4. Given Mr Market’s chronologically overvalued state, plus the apparent efforts of the man behind the curtain to prop up valuations, I’m struggling to grasp the relevance of earnings to the near-term direction of stock prices.

      The Wall Street Journal
      Markets
      Slowing Earnings Growth, Gloomy Forecasts Add to Stock Market’s Woes
      String of lowered estimates raises investors’ concerns that biggest U.S. companies are losing momentum
      By Akane Otani
      Updated Jan. 13, 2019 9:22 p.m. ET

      The U.S.’s biggest public companies are warning that their earnings may not be as strong as they hoped this year, intensifying pressure on a bull market that has struggled to regain its footing.

      Firms in the S&P 500 were projected back in September to report fourth-quarter earnings growth of 17% from the year earlier.

      But dimmer expectations for global growth and disappointing holiday sales have forced many companies to slash their forecasts, pushing the estimated earnings-growth rate for the quarter closer to 11%, according to FactSet.

      The drop-off in estimates—the steepest since 2017—is the latest sign that U.S. corporations, from retailers and airlines to phone makers, are losing momentum after several quarters of standout growth.

      The wobbling stock market reflects anxieties about how swiftly firms have been lowering their forecasts.

      1. A$$ets in money market fund$ $urge past $3 trillion$

        Money market mutual fund assets reached $3.066 trillion last week, the highest since March 2010.

        Money started flowing back above $3 trillion$ in money market funds in December, coinciding with a sharp sell-off in the stock market.

        Retail inve$tors “blinked,” says Oppenheimer’s John Stoltzfus.
        Liz Moyer CNBC| Published 1/14/2019

    5. This sounds ominous!

      Opinion Markets Insight
      Cracks are opening in the global monetary system
      Central bankers have bought growth by sacrificing financial stability
      Russell Napier 3 hours ago

      While many investors are fretting over what stage of the business cycle we are in, the global monetary system is collapsing — with a whimper initially, but ultimately a bang. The whimper is causing losses for equity investors. The bang will impact global asset prices as much as the end of the Bretton-Woods system or the end of the gold standard.

      The system that is ending has no name. It is a system patched together in the embers of the Asian economic crisis, when many countries intervened in the foreign exchange markets to prevent the appreciation of their currencies. The impacts for investors were profound. The roughly $10tn rise in world foreign exchange reserves between 1999 and 2014 resulted in the forced purchasing of US Treasuries. Foreign central bankers owned just 13 per cent of the Treasury market in 1995, but held a third of it by 2014.

      1. “Low intere$t rate$ will be with us into the future, said former Federal Re$erve Chair Janet Yellen during an appearance at the National Retail Federation’$ annual conference”

        MarketWatch / Tonya Garcia / 1/14/2019

        NRF … National Retail Fudgefe$t

    6. More ominousness:

      Opinion The FT View
      The impact of China’s slowdown is spreading
      Trade war with the US has exposed a deeper economic malaise
      The editorial board
      The editorial board 9 hours ago

      Since the start of the year, companies from Apple of the US and South Korea’s Samsung to Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover in the UK have warned their businesses are being hit by the slowdown in China. In some cases, other corporate issues were also at play. But the warnings are a sign of the deepening economic distress in the world’s second-largest economy, and that this will have a far bigger external impact in the coming year than it did in 2018.

      China’s benchmark stock market indices were the worst performing of any major economy last year, losing about a quarter of their value. But this dismal performance had relatively little effect on the outside world, thanks to the country’s strict capital controls and lack of integration with global markets. Now that China’s slowdown has spread from capital markets to the real economy, the external impact will be much greater.

      China is the world’s biggest automotive market and sales fell last year for the first time since 1991. Manufacturing output contracted in December and the real estate market is floundering. Consumer sentiment, retail sales, fixed asset investment and foreign investment have shrivelled in recent months.

    1. I smell … VICTORY!

      But now the last step…how to make their kids responsible for it so that you don’t even have to loan more money to enslave them too?

  7. Here’s a contrarian buy signal! Ignore the gloomsters, and buy the dip.

    Individual investors are in their most bearish mood in 3 years, according to E-Trade survey
    Published: Jan 14, 2019 1:14 p.m. ET
    Investors are buying the stock market’s dips, though
    By Chris Matthews
    Markets Reporter

    Individual investors have turned pessimistic about the stock market, with 54% describing themselves as “bearish” in a survey of experienced traders on the E-Trade Financial Corp. (ETFC, -0.58%) platform that was conducted from Jan. 2–10.

    Even as the S&P 500 index (SPX, -0.45%) has staged an impressive recovery from Christmas Eve lows, this bearishness ranks as the second highest level recorded in the survey’s three-year history, and registers as a notable increase from just 32% in the first quarter of 2018 and 38% last quarter.

    “Volatility and concerns of a global slowdown are clearly on the hearts and minds of investors today,” said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E-Trade, in a statement accompanying the survey results.

    1. Here’s a contrarian buy signal! Ignore the gloomsters, and buy the dip.

      Don’t pull the trigger until you see the whites of their eyes…

      1. The sad pandas in this episode are the folks who bought “balanced” funds with, ay, a 60%/40% stocks/bonds allocation. Returns on stocks and bonds are supposed to be negatively correlated, but in the Quantitative Easing era and its aftermath, they aren’t.

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