News

Landmark Links February 8th – All In

Must Read: Pension funds have increased their allocations for alternative assets – primarily hedge funds, private equity, commodities, and real estate – from 10% in 2001 to approximately 30% in 2016 in an effort to boost their returns.  It has not gone well.

Economy

Best of Times, Worst of Times: Tech is splitting the US workforce in two where a small group of well-educated professions enjoy rising wages while most workers toil in low-wage jobs with few chances to advance.

Filling The Void: Domestic investors are stepping up their purchases of US government bonds as foreign investment wanes (at least in percentage terms), keeping a lid on longer term interest rates.

Commercial

Pushed Out: Some top industrial markets are seeing a noticeable slowdown in leasing activity, not because of a lack of demand but because of a lack of supply.

Residential

Built to Last: Under-development in the class-B space and a pickup in demand if home sales continue to falter mean that the apartment sector is poised to remain strong even in the event of a recession.  Class A luxury product that has experienced somewhat of a building boom could be vulnerable though.  See Also: It’s not getting any easier to buy a house.

Influx: Residents of high-tax states are fleeing to Miami in large numbers in response to the capping of SALT deductions in last years’ tax reform bill.  This is great news for Florida developers who were facing an over-supply of high end condo units after demand from offshore buyers dried up.  Not such great news for high tax states.

Whipsaw: Housing demand is soaring again thanks to a drop in interest rates.

Staying Away: Commercial banks have fled the FHA loan business and are unlikely to return.

Profiles

Cross Hairs: Amazon’s rapid growth in ads and web services, coupled with slowing growth in its traditional eCommerce sector is a good indication that it is now targeting Google and Facebook just as much as brick and mortar retail.

Overhyped? Blockchain doesn’t solve all of the problems that it claims to.

Doomed from the Start: A bitcoin millionaire wanted to create a libertarian paradise in Mexico.  It has not gone well to say the least.

Chart of the Day

Yes, the tax law is having an impact on prices.  No, it’s not anything close to the 10% nationwide decline (or any drop for that matter) that the shills at the National Association of Realtors claimed.

WTF

Stealth Mode: A New Jersey bus driver watched porn in front of elementary school students while his bus was parked because apparently this is illegal and not just frowned upon.

Beefing: Vegans are whining on Twitter again because Hyundai made a joke about a vegan dinner party in a Super Bowl ad (which was awesome, by the way) because there is no one on earth with less of a sense of humor than a vegan.

Lettin’ It All Hang Out: A North Carolina man was arrested for running an illegal strip club out of his garage and illegally selling moonshine, drugs and possibly weapons.  When asked about the stripper pole, he claimed that women just came there to “exercise.”  (h/t William Bussey) As a bonus, there was also a hearse parked on his front lawn.  When reached for comment, Dos Equis would not confirm the rumor that the resident will star in their next Most Interesting Man in the World commercial.

The Other White Beat: A woman was arrested for hitting her boyfriend with a frozen pork chop in the middle of an argument because Florida.

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

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