Lead Story…. The home ownership rate has ticked up slightly in recent months. The fact that this increase coincides with an uptick in low down payment FHA mortgages provides some evidence that such mortgages are helping to pull demand forward and enticing renters to become buyers earlier than they otherwise would.
It’s Complicated: The US economy is sending some major mixed messages about its health, leaving the Federal Reserve in the difficult position of having to figure out exactly WTF is going on.
Feel Good Story of the Week: Citi says that the world economy is in a “death spiral” brought on by a negative feedback loop of the rising dollar, falling commodity prices, low growth and slowing trade. Have a nice day.
Take With a Large Grain of Salt: Moody’s thinks that the banks will be ok even as oil and gas loans go bad. They may very well be right but keep in mind that Moody’s also said that subprime was contained so their track record isn’t exactly perfect.
Plateau? Equity Residential is seeing a flattening of apartment rents in Manhattan as more than 6,700 new units come online. We’ve discussed the bifurcation of the apartment industry previously: rents are flattening out at the high end which is where nearly all of the development in recent years has taken place. At the same time, rents on lower-end units are rising rapidly as very little development has occurred in that segment, causing a supply crunch.
Rocket Mortgage Redux: Quicken Loans is taking a lot of flack for their ‘Rocket Mortgage’ Super Bowl ad that sure looks like a flashback to something that you would have seen in 2005. However, a closer look at the actual product and underwriting shows that the critique may be misplaced. Either way, it is leading to a fascinating discussion over whether or not risky home lending is making a comeback.
Losing Interest: Lenders are starting to give high-end condo developers the cold shoulder as concerns about over-supply mount.
Parabolic: The price increases that San Francisco’s housing market has experienced since 2011 is truly amazing. See Also: American’s are beginning to leave big cities for more affordable ones in the South and Northwest.
Blind Faith: Investors are putting money into Uber with literally no knowledge of its financials.
Getting Physical: Amazon first made its mark selling books…and subsequently putting book stores out of business. Now the online retailer is getting into the brick and mortar game.
Losing Proposition: A 30-second Super Bowl spot this year cost advertisers $5mm, a new record. Evidence shows that the high-priced TV spots aren’t terribly effective at selling products either. Here’s why advertisers are willing to shell out big bucks for so little return.
Charts of the Day
You Get What You Pay For: Some people with incredibly unhealthy eating habits are suing McDonalds for not having enough cheese in their new “cheese sticks” and using starch filling instead. In the Landmark Links Court of Justice, if you have poor enough taste to 1) go to McDonalds; and 2) order cheese sticks from McDonalds, you deserve whatever you get.
Darwin Award Nominees: Since 2014, 49 deaths have been recorded with the cause of death noted as “taking a selfie.” India is in the lead with a stunning 19 of such deaths with Russia (of course) in second and the US in 3rd. I can’t really add anything else here so I’m just going to leave you with this:
Wise Investment: A St. Louis attorney spent a fortune to buy a local market TV spot during the Super Bowl just to tell Stan Kronke that he is a dick.
Landmark Links – A candid look at the economy, real estate, and other things sometimes related.
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