Landmark Links: March 24th, 2015

Quote of the day… “We’re about two-thirds the way back to what looks like a normal credit access back in the early 2000s.” – Stan Humphries, Chief Economist at Zillow on loosening credit in the mortgage markets.

Economy

With mean reversion in asset prices from the Great Recession largely over, future growth in the US hinges largely on one factor: wage growth.

There is a compelling argument for the US Treasury to issue more long (30-50 year) bonds: “….let’s have a look at four big problems: crumbling U.S. infrastructure; federal budget deficits; normalizing U.S. monetary policy; and the shortage of investment-grade debt.  There is a single solution to all of them: Issue more long bonds, preferably 30- or 50- year securities.”

The California drought, now in its 4th year is wreaking havoc on the agricultural industry, as well as just about everything else.  Get ready for higher food prices.

Housing

And the bull said…..

Let the healing continue! Household debt service ratios are now approaching their record lows.  The savings could be going into homes as several signs are pointing towards a strong spring buying season.  This morning’s huge new home sale number (and the upward January revision) indicate that this is already playing out and it’s all happening with inventory still extremely low so there is definitely more room for new home building.

And the bear said….

Even if you can afford a house, you may not be able to actually find one for sale.  The move up market has ground to a halt in San Francisco due to a complete lack of resale and new home inventory.  The low end of the market is experiencing exactly the opposite problem as negative equity is on the rise again in some less expensive cities.  See also: mortgage amounts are rising more quickly than home prices which is all about weakness at the low-end.  In addition, record low mortgage rates are masking what would otherwise be some very expensive pricing.

And the people say…..

The concept of “city-loving-Millennials” apparently has more to do with narrative than data.

Corporate

Phones, watches, cars, now healthcare?  Apple and Google are making big pharma companies a bit uneasy as they start to move in on their turf.

The Apple Watch is one of the few products ever introduced that will attack both the high and low end of the market at the same time.  See also: what does the future hold for the “dumbwatch” industry?

TripAdvisor has been a game changer in the travel business.

Profiles

TripAdvisor has been a major disruptor in the travel business.

The music industry may be in decline but roadies have been unlikely survivors of the carnage.

Chart(s) of the Day

From Calculated Risk: The Distressing Gap is (finally) closing

WTF

Spaceship Chasers: Private space travel is soon-to-be-a-thing.  So, of course, lawyers are now specializing in space law. …”For instance, if an American astronaut were to be murdered by a British astronaut on the moon, it is generally believed that U.S. courts could handle the case. But if the same astronaut should happen to have his pocket picked by another astronaut, it is unclear whether the victim would have legal recourse. The rationale is that there isn’t any precedent to assert U.S. jurisdiction in a minor crime.”

The $100MM spec home is the Holy Grail for high end developers.

Real estate agents are now doing $250k per person private plane and Rolls Royce-chauffeured tours to Chinese buyers in the hopes of selling high end homes.

Landmark Links – A candid look at the economy, real estate, and other things sometimes related.

Landmark Links: March 24th, 2015

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