This is a follow up to a previous article.
I’m sure many are confused and have feelings of uneasiness over the housing situation and I don’t blame you. I know back in March of 2020, I was jumping with joy watching the DOW Jones plummet, thinking that finally, we Millennials can get what crumbs are left of the American Dream.
I recall sitting on my friend’s porch around May 2020 when we spotted an obese middle-aged Blackman driving up and down the street, taking photos of houses. We stopped him and asked what he was doing. He asked my friend(the homeowner), are you So&So? My friend replied, “who’s asking?” “You are in forbearance”! The man said and went on to tell us how bad the situation is with homeowners unable to pay their mortgages. He winced and looked at the ground: ” I really can’t say too much, but I can tell you that many people are hurting.” “Be grateful you have a stable job, ain’t too many people lucky like dat.”
Before the scamdemic, we knew in the back of our minds that housing was turning into a game of musical chairs despite Boomerwaffen reassuring us that everything was fine while they cheered on their retirement fund. We wondered if we would ever experience the same kind of stability as our parents? Long story short, the answer is no.
In 2008 during the so-called great recession, most if not all real estate transactions were documented by paper pushers. Today banks have a better grasp on how to make sure the decline is manageable versus a crash, with dedicated departments overseeing what loans are given out. Your paperwork is no longer sitting in some filing cabinet to get lost but is in servers or cloud systems and has been thoroughly vetted. Today’s mortgage application is just short of asking you what your blood type is—questionnaires, pay stubs, references, bank accounts, gifted monies, etc.
With this being stated, it should be no secret that banks and investors want to maximize gains, offset blowback, and minimize risks. The forbearance programs are exactly that. Banks have put the pieces in place before the inevitable, which is to snag the homes and the homeowners who cannot make payments in the mid term and lease out what they repossessed.
Some homeowners already saw the writing on the wall not being able to make mortgage payments and fled, representing 1 out of 74 homes sitting vacant.
Recently Zillow liquidated about half of its I-buying inventory, taking a $168 million loss or 6% during this endeavor that goes back to 2019. Passive readers looking to buy are assuming that this is good news and a sign of cool off. But who’s buying what they are liquidating? Unfortunately, its institutional investors like Pretium Partners who have already amassed some 70,000 units and will take on an additional 2,000 units from Zillow in 20 different areas. Pretium Partners came under fire this past summer for evicting some 5,000 renters despite many being approved for federal rent assistance.
The Case Shiller index reported a year-over-year increase in annual house prices at 18.6% this past June. This is the most significant increase in 30 years for the index.
There are more realtors than active listings in the U.S, which is alarming because every soccer mom has dusted off their license and are pushing people who have no plans on selling to sell for fear of missing out. Has anyone notice a property for sale being sold only to reappear back on the market only after a few months with an a significant increase in asking price? This is nothing new during times of monetary uncertainty. People will buy hard assets and sell them in order to keep up with inflation. You can look at prices of Rolex watches as another good indicator of what inflation is doing to the economy.
Landlords have been getting hammered as renters strong-arm landlords with the eviction moratoriums. Landlords are doing everything they can to incentivize their renters to fill out paperwork for assistance, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that those who aren’t paying rent are probably not going to take the time and help their “oppressor.” Think you can get a good deal renting? Landlords with low occupancy cannot lower rents because if someone is already leasing and sees the same unit next door going for a lower price, they will want that deal. What are some of the big landlords doing? They are seeking greener pastures in pro-property rights states, which puts the power back in the hands of property owners. This fuels the subscription-based boutique economy in states with more civil liberties.
In the commercial real estate sector, the United States allocated millions of acres to retail shopping as much as six times per capita as other western countries.
This led to uneven cityscapes. Before the scamedmic many big box stores were already financially pressed at the margins because of overhead. All of which gave rise to the dark store theory, a tax strategy used by big-box retail stores to lower their property tax value by manipulating appraisals via lease fee instead of fee simple. These retailers contend that their fully operational, often thriving businesses should be assessed the same as vacant buildings. Thus to offset the tax difference small business owners and detached houses have to make up the difference.
With the ongoing decriminalization of petty theft across democratic strongholds and the rise of online retail buying, we will see the continuation of brick-and-mortar businesses destroyed and repurposed.
While the great reset is in its gestation phase, there is no doubt in my mind that these empty commercial buildings will be used to house the masses and those who wait to be dispersed at the border and airport terminals.
Until 1975 there were only three megacities, Tokyo, NYC and Mexico City. Today there are 34 and in 1800, there was only Beijing with a population of over 1 million. 55% percent around the world live in cities. 80% of Cairo’s population lives in slums, 1 in 5 people in Sao Paulo also live in slums, 2/3rds of Mumbai’s population lives in 5% of its land. Dharavi city has a density 13 times greater than Manhattan, with the average housing unit being 190sqft for a family of 6. It’s projected that 80% of South America’s population will reside in an urban area. Less than 1 in10 are full-time residents in NYC and in Hong Kong, home prices are 15% higher than household incomes. The list of statistics like these goes on and on around the world.
Plenty of evidence shows garbage collection, medical care, fire protection, utilities, telecommunication, surveillance, and other services are cheaper in high-density areas. The shorter the distance, the more affordable and more eco-friendly it is without “experts” acknowledging heat islands and epidemics. Silicon Valley is an aggressive backer of clean-energy policies, along with most if not all multinational corporations backing sustainable development goals under the guise of “good governance.” With BlackRock and Vanguard becoming larger shareholders in the fossil fuel industry, they are now dictating the energy sector’s direction and promoting “clean energy.” This means subsidizing things like solar panels and reclaimed water, causing a rise in energy prices and thus blaming rising energy prices on inflation and embellishing other market variables.
Let us venture down the rabbit hole of mass surveillance with Google maps having the ability to triangulate its users’ locations. Now even Alexa is being summoned as a witness for a murder trial. Has one ever given the thought of why we can longer remove the battery out of our smartphones? Outdoor dining with talks of it being permanent along with the never-ending chores of ending automobile usage gives us all exposure to street cameras and permanent drone surveillance. As this article is being written, there are protests in working-class neighborhoods on the outskirts of NYC where nobody can park because of outdoor dining. New construction architecture benefits the surveillance state with no setbacks from the street, no balconies, no overhangs, no alleyways and increased use of key fobs and proof of vaccination to gain entry into dwellings. This is what I like to call “tyranny under bistro lights.” You may think I’m being facetious, but consider that business owners are not taking COVID restrictions lightly. They are happy to abide by the new governmental mandates for the simple fact that they do not want to lose what little they have left.
Currently, living in a dense region makes it easier to go unnoticed and commit crime much easier, like in subways where one can attack, get off at the next stop, get on the next train, and repeat. It takes quite a bit of manpower to figure out time stamps on MetroCards and view CCTV recordings of when a crime transpired. Males will engage in antisocial behavior since they feel cut off, defensive, afraid, and suspicious; high population density will aggravate the already bad situation. Large numbers of people, especially in demographically diverse locations, cause unpredictable variables with too many interactions for one to handle. If you see 30 people regularly, it is much easier to get to know them than if you see 200. Factor in that no one owns property(homeownership is 1/3rd in NYC); your neighbors are constantly changing. People feel it’s a situation out of their control and the typical reaction is to withdraw.
Encroachment causes humans to have overactive adrenaline glands, decreases one’s attention span, decreases libido, increases the chances of developing stomach ulcers and lowers testosterone. The caveat to all of this, though, is the more food there is, the more life support (as noted by John B Calhons Behavioral sink experiment). According to Calhoun’s studies, the presence of ample food and water reduces or perhaps eliminates the call for violence from territorial encroachment hence why we have seen zero pushback from the “silent majority.”
Improvement in skyscraper construction has given rise to the needles that now pepper NYC Skyline. New developments now block out views of the “obsolete” Manhattan. The densification of urban cores causes darkness during the daytime thanks to incentivizing the transferring of air rights.
Destruction of mass transit as we know it was something most climate change activists could only dream about. The scandemic has now made their dream come true. The hollowing out of strong locomotive unions with ridership at all-time lows, yet we see the continuation of railway expansion projects. For what purpose? Will we see a BTS sky system where we no longer need conductors or engineers? The truth of the matter is outside the mid-Atlantic region; railway systems are not economically viable considering they would carry less than 2 percent of the nation’s passengers traveling and no freight. When we hear so much about the wonders of China’s speed rail systems and Europe’s transit systems, the return on such an investment ( if there would be any) will take decades upon decades and we have no way of knowing what the world will be like by 2050.
Local newspapers love to give a few pages about “revitalized downtown’s” and the joys of living so close to a train station. One wagie opined on what it’s like living next to a train station:
“Hearing the train’s air horn if my windows are open or watching it [the locomotive] pass by from the rooftop are things I enjoy,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
It’s easy to say something like this at 24 as young adults have hopes and aspirations to be part of the laptop class, but it is not so enjoyable at 34, where reality is much more glaring. Not to mention the days of vomiting on a car fender at 4 am aren’t much fun in middle age.
The densest cities in America house the most childless women. A mind-blowing 70% of childless women above the age of 40 reside in the D.C metro area. Women usually adapt well to crowds with feelings of opulence(neoteny/solipsism), grandeur(insta-thot) and excess (decadent consumer habits) as she lives the “Perpetual Disney Dream”.
On the other hand, men have feelings of anonymity, fear, aggressiveness, and are depersonalized. In San Francisco, there are 80,000 more dogs than children and has the lowest number of people under 18 in any U.S. major city. In Manhattan, nearly half of its population is singles and people under the age of 17 accounts for 6% of its population. In the past decade, the number of babies born in Manhattan dropped almost 15 percent; already home to most single households, the nation’s most populated urban center could see its infant population cut in half in 30 years.
In the rest of major U.S cities, children aged 5 to 14 have dropped three times the net gain of those aged 20 to 29. The situation in European cities it’s no different; the more dense the place is, the fewer children. The mechanics of density is everything the elites want since density is a natural contraceptive.
Then there is the abysmal record of “inner-city schools.” No school reform has changed the downward trajectory and now, with the sexualization of children, furthers the distrust of public schooling. Private and charter schools are under assault, so there is no safe space(no pun intended) for children to learn the ABCs anymore. It’s easier said than done to home school kids with rents for a two-bedroom is over $4000.
The concept is to treat the shared outdoor area like your living room and your apartment as your bedroom(less is more Bugman!). Social Engineers emphasize the style of rooms over the size and sacrifice personal space to get tenants to meet in the public domain informally. But the idea is an utter failure since the idea of getting on an elevator or walking downstairs to sit in a coffee shop or on a bench in a pop zone is not appealing. The death of informal hangouts or gatherings gives rise to Privately Owned Public Spaces. Clubs and bars play loud music to discourage conversation and promote consumption. Those living in these Khrushyovka style apartments will undoubtedly be dissatisfied and that’s why there is such a heavy emphasis on “social interaction.” Trying to break isolation by making units smaller only encourages more of what it’s trying to prevent.
It’s all dystopian and wrought with contradictions.
How do ideologues explain the mangy coffee-colored junkie covered in born to lose tattoos asleep with a syringe in his arm outside of the bougie pilates studio?
It’s funny in retrospect what people said to me when I was trying to convey some key facts about where we are going and why a decade ago. “This is Merica,” “Never gonna happen here”! “That’s communism, can’t happen,” “Too much corruption won’t happen.”
Well, here we are with an outright overthrow of the way of life as we know it as we enter the lull phase before the next shock to the system.
To be continued….