Landmark Links August 28th – The Heist


Must Read: WeWork is offering tenant leasing brokers worldwide a 100 percent commission on the first year of rent paid by any tenant who switches to WeWork from a top competitor.  Reminder – per their own numbers provided for their bond offering earlier this year, WeWork can only be profitable if their customer acquisition cost is close to zero.  This is headed in the wrong direction and also raises major questions about organic growth at a time that they are trying to grow rapidly.


Narrowing: Will an ever-narrowing yield curve force the Fed to rethink policy?  Perhaps, but there are few signs that it will thus far.  See Also: The Fed may be about to make a mistake by overshooting on interest rates.

All About the Kids: Better job prospects near home and a growing reluctance to disrupt children’s routines prompt more people to stay put.


Another Bite: Mortgage bond investors have been dipping their toes back into the retail sector after having stayed away for a while.  But See: Sears is closing another 46 stores as the march to inevitable bankruptcy continues, unabated.

Winners and Losers: While many retailer’s continue to struggle, Walmart and Target are in the middle of a renaissanceSee Also: Necessity is the mother of invention – the most innovative retail concepts ever are being tested now.


Full Time Gig: Airbnb’s biggest growth driver is in units that are full time rentals rather than housing shares.  See Also: Airbnb is increasingly becoming a smart property company.

Downsizing: Back when tax reform passed, we predicted that rising interest rates and declining tax incentives (with grandfather clauses) would shut down the refinance market and lead to a mortgage industry slowdown forcing lenders to choose between downsizing and looser underwriting.  At least one major lender has chosen to downsize as Wells Fargo lays off more than 600 in its mortgage department citing declining refinance volume.

Stalling Out: A combination of high affordable housing requirements and the inability for developers to continue to pass skyrocketing construction costs on to buyers means that approved projects are increasingly sitting in limbo in San Francisco. (h/t Jeff Condon)


Insider Trading: How a hacker network from Russia (of course) turned stolen press releases from publicly traded companies into $100MM.

The Search For Yield: Institutional lenders used to shun risky personal loans, now they are competing for them.

Timing Is Everything: A company that makes bitcoin mining hardware is about to go public at a time when bitcoin mining isn’t profitable.  Nice timing guys.

Chart of the Day

Starter home affordability has hit a decade low.


What a Relief: A Congressional candidate says that her abduction by aliens when she was younger does not define her because Florida.  I think she should aim higher and run for governor of the Sunshine State.

Kids These Days: The latest craze among high school kids is lighting themselves on fire and then uploading the video to YouTube in an attempt to gain viral fame.  As you can imagine, it hasn’t gone well.  Let me use this opportunity to remind you that there are those among us who think that lowering the voting age is a good idea.  Personally, I’d like to raise it.

Yum: The latest probiotic drink dreamed up by scientists is made from bacteria found in baby poop (h/t Steve Sims).  As someone who has been a professional diaper changer for the past 4+ years, I would rather just continue to suffer from whatever ailment this is supposed to cure.

Why Though?  There is a company making lacy bras and matching underwear for men now and apparently people are…..checks notes…..actually buying them?

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

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