Must Read: With the housing market slowing, builders have resorted to offering everything from 6 figure price cuts to free vacations and broker incentives to lure buyers and move inventory. The housing industry will likely be a headwind to GDP in the near and intermediate term. However, it’s recovery was so lackluster that economists are debating whether or not the slowdown is the same harbinger of recession that it typically is.
Overhang: Companies are carrying a $9 trillion debt load which poses a potential threat should rates continue to rise.
Of It’s Own Making: OPEC is increasingly caught between booming (and low extraction cost) US oil output and softer demand growth. See Also: Oil’s recent drop should come with a sign that says “Made in the USA.”
Perpetual Cycle: Three in 10 shoppers are going into this holiday season still carrying debt from last year’s festivities.
Who Could Have Seen This Coming? In central Washington, investors dumped $47MM into a Bitcoin mining company that local officials claimed would transform the local economy. A year later, mining is no longer profitable and the company has been evicted and filed for bankruptcy, owing creditors $7mm.
No One Knows For Sure: Believe it or not, despite anecdotal evidence there is still no comprehensive market report for ground floor retail space in Manhattan, which has made it incredibly difficult to quantify how much vacancy has actually increased in recent years.
Haven’t Found Bottom: Mortgage refinance applications have hit an 18-year low as affordability troubles continue to grind refi activity to a halt. See Also: ARMs are just about the only segment of the mortgage market with a pulse right now (h/t Doug Jorritsma)
Motives: Refinance volume is way down but the loans that do close are more likely to involve a borrower taking cash out of their home than any time since 2007.
Ground Zero: A dying mall near Apple’s headquarters has become the epicenter of the affordable housing debate in California.
Golden Age: Brutal competition and advancing technology mean better food, lower prices, and loads of convenience when it comes to grocery shopping.
Imagine That: Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett were correct about last year’s Bitcoin bubble and a bunch of crypto enthusiasts trading in their basements were not.
Sign of the Times: There are now agencies that specialize in managing “pet-influencer” accounts on Instagram and they are pulling in a lot of money.
Chart of the Day
Any way you look at it, this is not a pretty picture.
Source: JBREC and Calculated Risk
Tastes Like Chicken: A burger restaurant in Hawaii has closed after someone uploaded a video of employees cooking a rat on a grill top.
If This Mall’s a Rockin’: A mall in Great Britain issued a public apology after someone re-arranged their Christmas polar bear display into an orgy.
Isn’t That The Point? A Canadian curling team was kicked out of a competition for being too drunk.
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