News

Landmark Links February 26th – Picked Over

 

Must Read: Warren Buffet is sitting on a massive pile of cash but has not found any large opportunities worthy of investment in the past three years.  At the same time, private equity investors have a record $2.1 trillion in private capital ready to deploy (as of June of 2018) and are bidding against each other to buy anything that is not nailed down.  Someone is right here and someone is wrong.  I know who my money is on….  See Also: Smoothed returns – thanks to a lack of valuation adjustments – coupled with the ability to lever up continues to make private equity attractive to institutional investors.

Economy

Mirror Image: The boom in subprime corporate debt – where lenders repackage and sell their loan obligations – bears a striking resemblance to the mortgage frenzy that preceded it.

Losing Momentum?  The Federal Reserve says that the US economy ended 2018 with solid but weakening growth.

Pushed Out: The White House announced that it would delay substantial tariff increases on Chinese goods that were scheduled to be enacted next week.  The move could help keep inflation pressure at bay.

Commercial

Depreciating Assets: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act expanded the federal income tax depreciation breaks available to real estate owners but there are some potential downsides as well.

Fools Rush In: Here’s eight common (and sometimes catastrophic) mistakes that high net worth investors make when buying commercial properties.  This is particularly timely given the current opportunity zone gold rush.  See Also: Non-billionaire investors in commercial real estate are playing an increasing role through direct purchases and closed-end funds.

Stand Out: It’s been choppy but REITs have been easily the best performing major asset class over the past year.

Residential

One Stop Shop: Zillow’s latest earnings report makes it clear that the company has ambition to become the place to go to buy, sell and finance homes.

What’s What: A field guide to boxy, stumpy apartment buildings.

One Sided: It now costs more to own a home than to rent one in every US state.

Profiles

Skin in the Game: Private equity funds are raising larger amounts of capital then ever before, meaning that limited partners are looking for increasingly larger co-invests. This in turn has created a separate industry that exists solely to finance GP capital. (h/t Steve Sims)

Transformation: How the Bloomberg administration’s foresight during the Great Recession turned New York into a technology town.

Back Door: Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now showing vulnerability as sophisticated hackers figure out how to manipulate security holes.

Chart of the Day

Are home builders too optimistic?

The January existing home sales report was awful.

However, inventories are low in both absolute and monthly terms.

Builder confidence and existing sales don’t often diverge but they are now.

Source: The Daily Shot

WTF

Blessing in Disguise: A bride uninvited all of the guests from her wedding who refused to pledge to eat a plant-based diet for the rest of their lives because vegans.  Bonus: the Carl’s Junior commercial on the video accompanying this link is either a coincidence or brilliant AI ad placement.

You’ll Never Believe What Happened Next: A woman in Northern Ireland called the police to report that her drug dealer sold her brown sugar rather than cocaine.

Soft: The University of Wisconsin suspended a fraternity because it made its pledges wear Dora the Explorer backpacks around campus mainly because college kids are overly coddled wimps.

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

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