Landmark Links November 30th – Playing Catch Up


Must Read  US public pensions are taking on more risk via opportunistic real estate investments in a very mature part of the cycle in an effort to close massive funding gaps.  I’ve seen this movie before.  It generally ends poorly.


Occupational Hazard: Occupational licensing is an even bigger barrier to employment than commonly thought.

Underdogs: Want evidence that second tier cities are thriving?  Several places that lost out on Amazon’s new headquarters have lower unemployment and faster labor-force growth rate than the winners.

Whipsaw: JP Morgan predicts that a cooling US economy and a potential pause in the Federal Reserve’s rate hiking cycle in the 2nd half of 2019 will lead to a multi-year slide in the dollar.  In other words, look for higher commodity prices if this is true.


Nowhere to Go But Up: Multi-story warehouses are gaining traction in densely populated US cities, fueled by the relentless push for shorter delivery times.

Front Running: TF Cornerstone, the company tapped to develop Amazon’s HQ2 in Long Island City tied up a nearby $300mm development site before the deal was announced.  By the way, this is actually legal and I’m sure it was just a big coincidence.


Sample Size: New apartments keep getting smaller, even as rents are flat to rising in most markets.

Rock Bottom: The housing market may be slowing down but the delinquency rate on single-family residential mortgages is still falling and approaching record lows.

Critical Level: The inventory of new homes for sale has risen to 7.4 months nationwide after bottoming out around 4 months in 2013 (normal is under 6 months).  What remains to be seen is if builders – who are already constructing units at a historically slow rate – will pull back the reigns even further.  If not, price declines could be forthcoming.


Shocking: I know that this may come as a surprise to some of you but crypto issuers are paying promoters to pump their tokens.  I suppose that the good news is that it doesn’t appear to be working very well.  See Also: Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled have been charged by the SEC for promoting ICOs without disclosing payments.

Shakedown: The highest paid public worker in New York City is an obscure city official who made $1.7MM in incentive fees last year helping predatory lenders collect on highly questionable judgments.  The worst part is that its legal.

Misaligned Interest: Financial advisors at some big shops have pay structures that increasingly incentivise them to push clients to borrow against their portfolios.

Chart of the Day

In almost every industry, it’s increasingly good to be yuge.


I’m Lovin It: Every single McDonald’s touchscreen swabbed in a recent investigation found traces of feces.  If you think that’s gross, just wait until they test the food.

She Who Smelt It: A woman who passed gas in a convenience store pulled a knife on a customer who called her out because Florida.

No Justice, No Peace: More than 50 inmates in Iowa prisons are suing officials over a pornography ban, claiming that its their constitutional right to spank while they are in the clank.

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

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