Must Read: HUD secretary Ben Carson has begun to talk about using federal power to discourage cities from using zoning to keep out poor people by requiring that cities that receive federal housing grants reduce their use of exclusionary zoning. If actually implemented, this would be a game changer in terms of allowing for production of more housing.
Warning Signs: Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio’s seven bubble indicators are ‘flickering but not flashing. For the record, they are:
1. Prices are high relative to traditional measures
2. Prices are discounting future rapid price appreciation from these high levels
3. There is broad bullish sentiment
4. Purchases are being financed with high leverage
5. Buyers have made exceptionally extended forward purchases, such as of inventories, to speculate or to protect against price appreciation
6. New buyers have entered the market
7. Stimulative monetary policy threatens to inflate the bubble even more.
Finally: Middle class income is back above where it was in 1999 at last according to the US Census. But See: “People who possess tradable assets, especially stocks, have enjoyed a recovery that Americans dependent on savings or income from their weekly paycheck have yet to see.”
All Clear: Outside of trade, it’s hard to find much in the way of weak economic indicators. See Also: The Small Business Optimism Index increased in August.
Nowhere to Go But Up: Demand for same day delivery of goods in urban centers is slowly but surely leading to multi-story distribution warehouses in North America.
Big Money: Ultra high net worth families have become the new go-to lending source for real estate developers.
Still on the Upswing: A new office tower leased to Facebook is poised to set the record for highest price per square foot in San Francisco.
False Positive: The housing price-to-rent ratio is not all that reliable of a leading indicator.
Help Wanted: Labor and subcontractor costs are substantially outpacing inflation,contributing to higher home prices. See Also: How Labor shortages have impacted housing costs.
Trillion With A “T”: Tappable home equity hit $6 trillion in the second quarter. However, a recent report by Black Knight estimated that only $65 billion in equity was withdrawn through cash-out refinances or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) this past second quarter, down more than 3 percent in the second quarter of last year. The $65 billion withdrawn represented just 1.13 percent of what was available to be tapped, a four-year low in overall equity use. This is exactly what is to be expected in a rising interest rate environment with massive disincentives for people to move or refinance.
Up In Smoke: California’s illegal cannabis industry is still thriving despite legalization mostly thanks to high taxes and regulatory red tape. It’s starting to look like the space is faced with a somewhat dystopian future of legal operators ratting out the black market ones in order to gain a competitive advantage. See Also: A lot of cannabis products are failing new, more stringent potency and purity tests that began on July 1st, leading to a shortage of legal weed. Again, this plays right into the hands of the black market crowd….until they get busted.
Chart of the Day
Real median personal income hasn’t moved much since the 1980s once rent is factored in.
Its Always the Ones You Least Suspect: A novelist who wrote a book called “How to Murder Your Husband” was recently arrested and charged…..with murdering her husband.
Filling A Niche: Vending machines selling crack pipes have been popping up on street corners because Long Island.
Gone with the Wind: A woman who was arrested for possession of cocaine claimed that it blew into her purse on a windy day because Florida. (h/t Elizabeth Poston)
Landmark Links – A candid look at the economy, real estate, and other things sometimes related.
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