Lead Story…. People are flocking to Oregon in general and Portland in particular driving rents and property values higher. For the second straight year, Oregon topped the list for the most in-migration in the US. The primary reason: JOBS (although culture and quality of life were drivers as well). Looks like the dream of the 90s is still alive and well.
Storm Clouds: US Economic growth is looking increasingly frail as GDP estimates fall.
Chaos: Even by Chinese stock market standards, what happened this week when markets crashed seven percent in a 29 minute period was insane as investors and traders raced to sell, crashing circuit breakers. See Also: George Soros sees echoes of 2008 crash in China debacle.
Hot Mess: Saudi Arabia’s economy is beginning to resemble a circular firing squad as the Gulf country continues to hurt it’s own economy by flooding the world’s oil market in an effort to crush competing producers. But it’s very difficult to have an economy based on redistributing oil money when there isn’t much oil money coming in due to plunging crude prices.
Uptick: Nationwide apartment vacancy climbed in the 4th quarter (albeit from a very low level) as new units came on line. However, don’t let the headline mislead you: most of the softness was at the high end which is where the vast majority of development is taking place. Vacancies in B and C properties, where many middle class people live actually fell.
Generous: The latest Congressional budget package has plenty of goodies for the multi-family industry.
Whither the Suburban Office Park? Suburban office parks are struggling with steadily climbing vacancies as tenants increasingly gravitate towards the urban core.
Safe Haven: Foreign investors plan to invest more in US real estate in 2016 than they did in 2015 as global turbulence pushes investors towards stability.
Do Not Apply: Mortgage applications fell dramatically over the past two weeks (even after adjusted for the holidays). Pretty much everyone who was planning on refinancing a home rushed in before the most telegraphed interest rate move in history so I wouldn’t read into this too much.
Look Out Below? Astronomically-priced Hong Kong’s property market has been going nuts for the past 12 years. 2016 could be the year when that trend finally reverses as China struggles, US interest rates rise and supply increases.
A Sucker Born Every Minute: Terrorists and other nefarious characters are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars per kilogram for a super weapon known as red mercury that has incredible destructive properties and could flatten an entire city. What they don’t know is that red mercury doesn’t actually exist.
Rise of the Machines: Amazon’s genius order-fulfilling army of Kiva robots are nothing short of incredible.
To Your Health: Want to ensure that you stick to your New Years resolution to work out more? Start drinking more beer. (h/t Tom Farrell)
It’s Alive! The LA Drainage Ditch…er River sprang back to life this week as El Nino finally arrived.
The Best Two Minutes of Your Day: There are very few things as enjoyable as watching a bridge shave the tops off of trucks. Now there’s a webcam site that films an 11’8″ undersized bridge in Durham, NC responsible for over 100 such incidents. Sorry for ruining your Friday productivity.
Chart of the Day
It Can Wait: Earlier this week we told you about a man in San Diego who walked off a cliff and fell to his death because he was texting. A woman in China fell into a canal and drowned earlier this week because she was too busy texting to notice that she was about to walk off of a pier.
Monkeying Around: A monkey in north India stole a bus while it’s driver napped and crashed into 2 parked vehicles. I’d still take the monkey over California drivers in the rain.
Back to the Future: A man in Florida (of course) crashed into two business. When questioned by the police, he said that he was “trying to travel through time” and was “entering a time portal.” Drugs are bad, mkay.
Landmark Links – A candid look at the economy, real estate, and other things sometimes related.
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