Landmark Links February 19th – Unclear


Must Read: Despite multiple Treasury Department hearings (the latest of which was on Valentine’s Day) there is still a lack of clarity on Opportunity Zone regulations and the clock is ticking for potential investors to deploy capital.


Help Wanted: Job openings have posted another record high.

Hitting a Wall: Retail sales in December 2018 were incredibly weak, adding to a list of consumer economic casualties amid year-end turmoil in financial markets and implying slower economic growth than previously projected.  But See: Beware of a recessionary bias among analysts.

The Terrible Divide: A social and financial divide is forming between those who have student debt, and those who do not that will have ramifications for decades to come.


Under Pressure: The 30 month clock on deploying capital for “substantial improvement” for Opportunity Zones is going to be a nightmare in California where entitlements can take years to obtain.  The end result will likely be massive premiums for sites that are already zoned.

Scorecard: Here’s a great rundown of who won and who lost in the Amazon HQ2 New York debacle.  See Also: The story of Amazon pulling out of New York is really more about extremely poor execution then anything else.


In the Cross-Hairs:  Lawmakers throughout the U.S. are proposing tighter rent controls or new taxes on big property owners.  Of course, this will lead to less building and exacerbate an already-massive shortage, but who cares so long as it means throwing red meat to your base.

Long Way Down: Cities around the world are succumbing to downward pressure on luxury home prices from the U.S.-China trade war, uncertainty in Europe, rising interest rates, or a combination of all three.

Fading Away: The Bay Area is losing thousands of affordable housing units thanks to expiring subsidy agreements with landlords and not enough new development to keep prices under control.

Pulling the Ripcord: Homestreet Bank sold off nearly its entire mortgage division after pressure from an activist investor.  With a combination of higher interest rates, housing inventory constraints and a costly regulatory environments, expect more banks to follow their lead.


Who’s In? Ja Rule wants to put on another Fyre Festival and people will probably give him money again because Millennials are suckers.

Closing Window? A declining core, aging pitching and massive payroll may have cost the Cubs a chance at becoming a dynastySee Also: The reason that baseball’s free agent market has been so soft this season is that teams are increasingly run like quant funds.

Chart of the Day

Amazon’s profits are soaring – it’s tax burden, not so much.



Unlucky: A burglar unwillingly turned himself in after mistaking an unmarked police car for his Lyft ride.

Whom Amongst Us… A British family detained in Syria claimed they joined ISIS by accident while on vacation and now want to return home.

Marking Territory: A security camera caught a scruffy man going around licking doorbells because Florida.

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

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