Thursday, December 31, 2009

It Can't Get Any Worse


Right?

Riverpark Bust

Wow, who could have predicted?

At the beginning of this decade, the developers of RiverPark in Oxnard looked at the vacant land, the asphalt plant and the run-down neighborhoods along the Santa Clara River and bet the area could almost be its own little new-suburban city. RiverPark would be a place where the people of 2010 would walk their kids to school, stroll through the neighborhood park, stop to buy organic produce from Whole Foods Market, and head home to chop it on their new granite countertops.
...

Today, RiverPark has about 800 occupied homes, rather than the 2,800 the plans call for at build-out. The shopping center sits vacant and fenced-off, construction equipment the only thing parked in its vast lots. The planned opening keeps getting pushed back, with “late 2010” the latest word from the developer, Shea Properties.

Be sure to read the comments for the different perspectives. Outsiders doing the Nelson Muntz "Hah hah!" The stuccos who lament their trusting the city. The denialists who can't even see reality. Past Riverpork posts here.

The thing that will kill the project will ultimately all come down to a failure of government. Yes, built in a flood plain. Yes, too dense. Yes, taxes too high regardless of home prices. All direct consequences of incompetent leadership at the municipal level. It's too late for Riverpark. Will the city wake up in time to save themselves from Wagon Wheel?

And the hits will keep coming. 800 occupied residences are not enough to service the HOA or Mello-Roos debts encumbered on their behalf. I wonder how many understand they are joint and several liable for the entire amount and not just the pro rata share currently being assessed? If you think the current 2.6% plus municipal burden is excessive, just wait. Riverpark will be a text book study for generations to come.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hide the Decline

Hat tip to Cobradriver for this unbelievable practice revealed:


This two-bedroom house at 1857 Prospect St. in Sarasota, bought for $453,900 in 2007, was just resold for $523,900. But the deal was a deed in lieu of foreclosure and no money changed hands. So why would a bank pay nearly $3,700 in stamp taxes?

The Herald Tribune has the story:
C&M had defaulted on a $408,500 mortgage, and Bank of Commerce was claiming its collateral. No money actually changed hands, according to Charles Murphy, the bank's chief executive.

Then why did the bank bother paying nearly $3,700 in documentary stamp taxes to make it look like the property had been sold for $523,900?
...
"The loan balance is the main consideration," Dart said. "That and any unpaid interest."

--------------------
Any questions?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bad Tentacles

Jim the Reltor has been hacked. It appears to be a breach at the server at this time so there's not a lot that can be done. If anyone has a suggestion or just a comment of support feel free to leave a reply.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

California Default Watch 2

Controller Releases November 2009 Cash Report

PR09:031
12/10/2009
Contact: Jacob Roper
916-445-2636

SACRAMENTO – State Controller John Chiang today released his monthly report covering California’s cash balance, receipts and disbursements in November. The month’s receipts were relatively close to estimates, down by 0.7% or $40.8 million.

“While revenues largely held up for two months, the next eight weeks will be far more telling of the State’s fiscal health,” said Chiang. “Record unemployment, at levels not seen for three decades, continues to aggravate California’s structural budget deficit.”

The receipts from tax deadlines in December and January are generally reliable indicators of expected Spring tax receipts.

Year-to-date revenues remain below the amended 2009-10 budget’s estimates by $835 million or -2.8%. But lower-than-anticipated State expenses combined with an additional $1 billion in external borrowing put the State’s cash position $610 million ahead of its projected level on November 30.

The State started the fiscal year with an $11.9 billion cash deficit in the General Fund, which grew to $24.4 billion by November 30. Those deficits are being covered with a combination of $15.6 billion of internal borrowing from special funds and $8.8 billion in short-term revenue anticipation notes.

November 2009's financial statement and the summary analysis can be found on the Controller’s Web site at www.sco.ca.gov.

====

There's no words for this that discerning readers cannot see for themselves. Internal borrowing is "not paying bills" and "short-term revenue anticipation notes" is more debt.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Weather Sucks Stay Away!






This is the horror left in the wake of the Monday storm. Stay away. There's two more storms behind it.

30 months Too Late


By my estimate $2.5T in MEW is unsupported by reasonable asset valuation. In total somewhere between $7T and $9T in phantom equity is exposed in any retracement to the mean. An orderly retreat will allow inflation to eat away much of this. A decline in the dollar may result in a disproportionate amount of pain to be taken by foreign investors. No matter how the pain is spread, there will be consumer pain. Likewise because of govt spending policies that resemble the proverbial cricket in summer we can expect massive deficits and even larger tax inceases. - Aug 6, 2006


And what does the MSM say?:
U.S. Homeowners Lost $5.9 Trillion Since 2006 Peak
By Dan Levy

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. homeowners have lost about $5.9 trillion in value since the housing market’s peak in March 2006 as mounting foreclosures and the recession weighed on prices, according to Zillow.com.

Almost half a trillion dollars was wiped out this year through November as housing headed for a third straight annual decline. New foreclosures and higher mortgage rates in 2010 may hinder a rebound, the property data service said today in a statement.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Let's Play Does It Float?

Not that there's any open bodies of water anywhere near Victorville but there sure are more and more possible signs of a reasonable real estate investment market.
How would this one pencil out?

13752 Bluegrass:
Year Built: 2003 4 total bedroom(s) 2 total bath(s)
2 total full bath(s) Approximately 2277 sq. ft.
Fireplace in the Den 3 car garage
Central air conditioning Lot is 7205 sq. ft.

Decent house, not a mess, established neighborhood. Taxes don't appear too high.

Here's what the whacky z-people think they know.


$70k purchase, $5k costs. You'll need $20,000 and a $55,000 mortgage at ~6%. Payment $340. Taxes $160. I'd put at least $100 toward upkeep. It's gonna cost ya $600/mo to own this place plus $100/month lost opportunity cost of tying up $20k. These are tough times and so I'd have to factor 15% vaccancy. You'd need to rent for $825/month.

Yes, it floats.

Now for a rant. You all know the z data is hopelessly inaccurate. No news there but check out this bit:

That's Bing™ on top with a 2009 Copyright of 2008 NAVTEO material. These houses were built in 2003 no doubt these images are 2001 or earlier. Abusive application of supposed copyrights is getting entirely out of control.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Sears the REIT


Sears Holdings:
KMart 1,321 discount stores, averaging 92,000 square feet
KMart 47 Super Centers, averaging 166,000 square feet
Sears 929 broadline stores averaging 133,000 square feet
Sears Essentials/Grand 73 stores averaging 115,000 square feet
Specialty stores 1,233 averaging 8,700 square feet

Grand total: 272 million square feet of retail space. Monuments fall.


This on the recent news of so many REITs exploding on stock values. Suckers.

The Eyes of Laura St.

1446 Laura St. to be exact.

Check out the listing history:
Oct 17, 2009 Price Changed $235,000 -- MRMLS #I721298
Jul 14, 2009 Price Changed $265,000 -- MRMLS #I721298
Jul 21, 2008 Price Changed $299,000 -- MRMLS #I721298
Jul 21, 2007 Price Changed $309,000 -- MRMLS #I721298
Apr 28, 2007 Price Changed $329,900 -- MRMLS #I721298
Apr 02, 2007 Listed $344,000 -- MRMLS #I721298

As we close in on the 1000 day listing you would think they'd have learned a few lessons. They've made 30 mortgage payments and 5 tax payments in this time while losing equity faster and faster. Had they listed in April 2007 for $275,000 they'd have closed in a month. Instead they've spent $25k and watched another $50k evaporate.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recovery

Everyone is all smiles over the Philly Fed State Coincident Indicators[pdf] and this map showing "green shoots."


Unfortunately a bit of green in Montana doesn't mean much when there are 36 million people in California and a whopping 950,000 in Big Sky Country. Here's a population adjusted cartogram:


A GDP adjusted chartogram would be even less encouraging.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

California Default Watch Initiated

I've been quiet about California just because there hasn't been anything to add. The State went into a terminal dive last summer as covered by the Daily California Watch Series.

Now even the longtime insiders are seeing all other possibilities foreclosed:
Dan Walters in the Fresno Bee:
If some of the bleaker economic forecasts kicking around are accurate and/or the state doesn't act quickly to close the gap, Taylor's $20.7 billion problem could easily balloon to $25 billion or more. Even more ominously, as temporary tax increases expire and deferred spending promises come due, the state faces annual deficits in the $20 billion range for many years to come, Taylor says.
The battle lines are already forming on whether to deal with the crisis with more spending cuts, more new taxes and/or more gimmicks.
...
They've scraped the bottom of the gimmick barrel, voters are livid and new taxes are functionally off the table. This will be one of the bloodiest skirmishes the Capitol has ever seen — with the only option being that the most populous state in the nation default on its debts.

And Federal receivership won't fly either. The terms will prove intractable and the other States will howl.
And vat does our Leader, da Governator haf to say?:
As pieces of the July state budget solution begin to unravel, the Republican governor said judges – especially on the federal level – are preventing California from solving its problems.

He complained in particular about judicial actions that have struck down some state worker furloughs, required reductions in the prison population, imposed restrictions on water delivery in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and this week blocked cuts to in-home care services.

"They are going absolutely crazy," Schwarzenegger said of judges. "So we have to have a very serious conversation with the federal government, because they have to let us run the state." [from Fresno Bee last month.]


Want an example of "out of control" judges? This also from the Fresno Bee:
Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009 - 2:43 pm
The California Redevelopment Association filed suit in Sacramento Superior Court today to block the state Finance Department from carrying out a $2.05 billion shift of tax increment funds from local redevelopment agencies over a two-year period.

California's adopted budget for 2009-10 seeks 1.7 billion in funds from the state's redevelopment agencies to help finance schools and calls for shifting another $350 million in the next fiscal year. The suit challenges the constitutionality of the budget language and cites state plans to use the money for non-redevelopment purposes.

The association prevailed in an earlier lawsuit challenging 2008-2009 budget language that would have shifted $350 million in tax increment funds to the state.


Yeah, stealing and getting caught is the judge's fault.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Amazing Divergence

This is Anadarco Petroleum [red] and the UNG natural gas ETF [blue] from Nov '07 to Nov '08:

This makes sense seeing as APC is very much a natgas company.

Now look at what's happened Nov '08 to Nov '09:

This is where you are left scratching your head. Why is a nat gas company up 60% when its product is getting 60% less when sold?

Unless you think natgas prices are going to return to and blow through last summer's highs I see a fundamental disconnect.

Traditions Best Preserved


The President of The United States of America bows to no one and the US Flag is dipped in deference to none. It isn't arrogance or hubris or bravado. It is homage to and acknowledgement of a revolutionary concept that has changed the face of the world several times over.
That this fundamental precept of our raison d'etre has been abandoned by the office holder of the moment is personally deeply painful. Sorry. I cannot go on without violating decorum.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Price Drop La Loma


Rancho Margarita - A rare find in Somis! This 4BR/3BTH home sits on 11.66 acres with spectacular ocean and valley views from nearly every room. Open floorplan with common areas upstairs and three of four bedrooms downstairs. Numerous balconies, large windows and sliding doors bring the outside in. Large master suite with private patio and ocean/island views from the bathtub. Pool, spa and BBQ area are set to the ultimate backdrop. Four car extra-deep garage with additional work area. Large downstairs laundry room could be second kitchen to create potential inlaw unit. The hilltop home is surrounded by stately pine and sycamore trees, providing ultimate privacy from the few neighbors. A paved private road winds through the orchard, giving direct access to La Loma Ave; stop at the 2-stall barn with separate tack room and outside pen area - ideal for your farm animals. Nine shares of Del Norte ag water and private reservoir irrigate approx 800 avocado trees.
-------
Nov 10, 2009 Price Changed $1,449,000 -- SoCalMLS #F1804770
Oct 13, 2009 Listed $1,550,000 -- VCRDS #90016961
Aug 13, 2009 Price Changed $1,550,000 -- SoCalMLS #F1804770
Apr 12, 2009 Listed $1,750,000 -- SoCalMLS #F1804770
-------
Fifty thousand dollars off. $301,000 off original price. Sorry but 3% doesn't freshen the listing. Hat tip to "Effective Demand" who noticed the price drop. Maybe 20% more and I can afford it and it makes sense.

Backing out the taxable basis ($2100/yr) it looks like a 1989/1990 sale for approximately $160k. Nice.

Tuition Fee Rose Smell


Why Are We Destroying Public Education?
University of California Students and Staff Prepare for System-Wide Strike to Protest Cuts
The governing body of the University of California system, the Board of Regents, is preparing to vote on a major tuition hike for both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate tuition would rise an average 32 percent, while some graduate schools would begin charging thousands of dollars for programs that are currently tuition-free. The Regents are meeting Thursday at UCLA, where students from across the state are converging for what organizers have dubbed a “Crisis Fest,” including mass protests, civil disobedience and teach-ins.

Regents bring debate to campus
By Laura Belyavski
Nov. 17, 2009 at 3:38 a.m.
Beginning this afternoon, Covel Commons will host a three-day UC Board of Regents meeting.
The board is scheduled to vote on the budget proposal that goes through the 2010-2011 fiscal year and includes the controversial 32 percent student fee increase.
The initial 15 percent rise in fees would take effect winter quarter, and a second increase of the same rate would take place fall 2010. Since the second hike would be based on the increased winter quarter fee level, fees would rise a total of 32 percent from their current level.
UC Board of Regents Meeting
The regents will meet at UCLA from Tuesday to Thursday at Covel Commons.
Tuesday, Nov. 17
• Vote on external financing for the Santa Monica/Orthopaedic Replacement Hospital and a parking structure at UCLA
• Vote on the proposed 2009-2010 state capital investments budget
Wednesday, Nov. 18
• Vote on 2009-2010 midyear and 2010-2011 fee increases
• Vote on 2010-2011 professional school fees Thursday, Nov. 19
• Agreement with Los Angeles County on the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital
Compiled by Samantha Masunaga, Bruin senior staff.
Both UC spokesman Peter King and student regent-designate Jesse Cheng said they expect the proposal to pass.
“I would be surprised if it didn’t pass, but I’ve been surprised in my life many, many times,” King said.
...
“They need to do what they’re going to do,” King said.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SoCal ROI for Sept '08 to Sept '09


First some background and the results for July:

40 years ago Ventura and Orange counties were virtually identical. Obviously they've taken different paths to get where they are today. In one respect however they have roughly paced each other; median housing prices. For one month at the peak the Ventura median exceeded Orange. With the smaller base Ventura is more exagerated and quicker to respond.
Here are the "returns" for your housing investment purchase of the median house in SoCal Jul '08:
Los Angeles $80k down payment $6600/mo equity decline -99%/yr return
Orange $92k down payment $3400/mo equity decline -44%/yr return
Riverside $52k down payment $6200/mo equity decline -144%/yr return
San Bernardino $46k down payment $7500/mo equity decline -195%/yr return
San Diego $44k down payment $3700/mo equity decline -61%/yr return
Ventura $64k down payment $3800/mo equity decline -56%/yr return
I'd like to call your attention to what happened to the knife catchers in the Inland Empire (Riverside & San Bernardino) last year. Now, extrapolate. The IE has in the past been a leading indicator of the Coast. Ruh roh. I expect another leg down in the coastal communities but with substantial local variations.

Here's October:
Los Angeles $72k down payment $2500/mo equity decline -42%/yr return
Orange $85k down payment $340/mo equity increase +4.7%/yr return
Riverside $47k down payment $4375/mo equity decline -114%/yr return
San Bernardino $41k down payment $4580/mo equity decline -134%/yr return
San Diego $66k down payment $250/mo equity decline -3%/yr return
Ventura $77k down payment $1100/mo equity decline -43%/yr return

So much for buying at the bottom. This is definitely a metric worth watching.

Beach Weather



October 3rd Coolest on Record

The Bastards can't even bring themselves to say "coldest" opting instead for "coolest." Excerpt:
The October 2009 average temperature for the contiguous United States was the third coolest on record for that month according to NOAA’s State of the Climate report issued today. Based on data going back to 1895, the monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis is part of the suite of climate services provided by NOAA.

The average October temperature of 50.8 degrees F was 4.0 degrees F below the 20th Century average. Preliminary data also reveals this was the wettest October on record with average precipitation across the contiguous United States reaching 4.15 inches, 2.04 inches above the 1901-2000 average.


This puts a chill into the Copenhagen party scheduled next month.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bond FAIL



The LA Times has the story:
Borrowing $1.9 billion Tuesday via bonds that mature in June 2013, the state was forced to pay a 4% annualized tax-free yield to lure investors to the deal.

Just last Friday the brokerages underwriting the deal, led by Goldman Sachs, had estimated that the bonds could be sold at a yield of 3%.


4% tax free is roughly equivalent to 7.5% taxable. Sad.

Useful Links

Blatantly ripped of from the clever Reformed Broker:

Here are the Periodic Elements of the Financial Blogosphere:

Rocket Science (macroeconomics, monetary policy, real estate, regulation)


  1. BP The Big Picture

  2. EV Economists View

  3. IP Investment Postcards

  4. CR Calculated Risk

  5. BS Baseline Scenario

  6. CA Cafe Americain

  7. BC Bronte Capital

  8. AI Accrued Interest

  9. MS Global Econ Trend Analysis

  10. PF Psy-Fi Blog

  11. MU Musings of a Trader

  12. KD Market-Ticker

  13. NC Naked Capitalism

  14. PK Infectious Greed

  15. EB Econbrowser

  16. GM Greg Mankiw’s Blog

  17. AC Across The Curve

  18. MR Marginal Revolution

  19. WB World Beta

  20. CD Carpe Diem

  21. SP The Capital Spectator

  22. CX CXO Advisory

  23. DS dshort.com

  24. WR Credit Writedowns

  25. L Alea Blog

  26. GR Grasping Reality

  27. BN Bearish News

  28. BR Broke and Broker

  29. GG Gregor Macdonald


Rogues Gallery (misfits, jokers, rebels & knaves)



  1. DB Dealbreaker

  2. LF LOLFed

  3. JR Jr Deputy Accountant

  4. WF Wall Street Fighter

  5. KO 1-2 Knockout

  6. LS Long or Short Capital

  7. MW Money Is The Way

  8. ED The Epicurean Dealmaker

  9. UB Ultimi Barbarorum

  10. ZH Zero Hedge

  11. FO footnoted.org

  12. AU re: The Auditors

  13. RB The Reformed Broker

  14. F The Fly

  15. FB Falkenblog

  16. CU BlogMaverick

  17. DY Kid Dynamite

  18. HL Howard Lindzon

  19. RO Rortybomb


The Establishment (mainstream media bloggers/ news sites)



  1. FL Floyd Norris

  2. FS Felix Salmon

  3. MB Market Beat

  4. PB Pony Blog

  5. MV Minyanville

  6. DP The Deal Professor

  7. TT Tech Trader Daily

  8. TS TheStreet.com

  9. FT FT Alphaville

  10. DE DealBook

  11. JP James Pethokoukis

  12. HP Huffington Post Business

  13. CU Curious Capitalist

  14. EX Economix

  15. DJ Deal Journal

  16. TB Matt Taibbi

  17. FR Freakonomics

  18. PM Planet Money

  19. DL The Deal


Stock Operators (traders, technical analysis)



  1. FF Fund My Mutual Fund

  2. CC Charts and Coffee

  3. UP Upside Trader

  4. KR Kirk Report

  5. MT My 10,000 Dollars

  6. SH Slope of Hope

  7. BC iBankCoin

  8. ST StockTwits

  9. MI Trader Mike

  10. VX Vix and More

  11. DO Daily Options Report

  12. CM Cara Community

  13. MX Maoxian

  14. QE Quantifiable Edges

  15. AT Afraid To Trade

  16. AL AlphaTrends

  17. JE Jesse Felder

  18. CN Condor Options

  19. SW Andy Swan

  20. TV Tickerville

  21. LD Surfview Capital


Peanut Gallery (multiple voices and sources of commentary, aggregators)



  1. NV Investing Contrarian

  2. BI Business Insider

  3. AB Angry Bear

  4. DC Daily Crux

  5. TM The Money Blogs

  6. SC Money Science

  7. BM The Big Money

  8. TR Take a Report

  9. CS Wall St Cheat Sheet

  10. MM Money Morning

  11. WM Wealth Managers League

  12. GF Greenfaucet

  13. OA Wall Street Oasis

  14. NF Newsflashr

  15. PH Phil’s Stock World

  16. TF TraderFeed

  17. BS BloggingStocks

  18. SA Seeking Alpha

  19. TW 24/7 Wall Street

  20. DR Daily Reckoning


Baby Buffetts (value investors, stock picking, fundamental analysis, activism)



  1. AR Abnormal Returns

  2. A Aleph Blog

  3. BE Bespoke Investment Group

  4. CW Crossing Wall Street

  5. EJ Breakout Performance

  6. GX Gen X Finance

  7. GB Greenbackd

  8. IC Investing Caffeine

  9. DG Dividend Growth Investor

  10. DI A Dash of Insight

  11. JM Jeff Matthews

  12. MF Market Folly

  13. PC The Pragmatic Capitalist

  14. RR Random Roger

  15. VP Value Plays

  16. CE ContrarianEdge

  17. MG ModernGraham

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Rumblings and Ramblings



900+ events is rather a lot really. Predicting earthquakes is what gets even fake psychics discredited but I cannot help wonder if a 7+ someplace won't be trigger event for an already fragile economy. Even the usual home price drop near the epicenter in these conditions could empty out an entire city with walkaways.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The CalPERS Crush Part 1



The CalPERS financial bomb has gone off. The blast wave hasn't arrived to knock us all down is all. Revenues are falling further, unemployment is out of control. The UE fund is projecting a $23.7b deficit.
Employers, who support the fund through a tax on each worker, are expected to contribute $4.3 billion this year but that is nowhere near the $12.5 billion that is projected to be paid out in benefits. After eking out a $326.2 million surplus in 2008, the trust fund is expected to be $7.4 billion in the red by the end of this year.

Hey, no big deal. Nothing a one time $1500 surcharge for every remaining worker wouldn't cover. Right? The big news however is all the rotting fish at CalPERS. The consulting fee scandal. The ignored overpaying for financial services report. The failure to pursue specific performance clauses. CalPERS now even has a special blog to refute the lies being told about it.

CalPERS "stuff" following is intended to be backgrounder for those interested in saying "I saw all this coming." It's like decoding the Japanese diplomatic transmissions in Nov '41. We know lots of things but it all isn't in one place. THe insolvency crisis is long term. Let's talk liquidity. Because of muni pressures and the rats leaving the ship and a demographic bulge and recent "flexibility" granted end of career calculations a lot more people are retiring than was planned. That on top of a contributor (State, munis, districts) cash crunch that has them not making full contributions. Indeed some are reacting like the US at the United Nations. Years behind full dues. This was okay as long as the CalPERS was raking in cash. Those same years also made the watchmen lax in making sure they could met future promises.
Then the cash squeeze arrives. Lots of the crap on their books is so complex it can't be unwound. The people who set it up are gone and the counterprties are out of business. Trying to sell a large complex security in this market and they honestly won't get fair value. At least they have that part right.

List of $100,000 retirees:
California Pension Reform's 'The CalPERS 100K Club'
Plug in you favorite city/district and read the list. Shocking.

CalPERS resorts to counter propoganda:
CalPERS tweets back at 'misinformation' - Los Angeles Business from bizjournals:
The propoganda itself:
CalPERS Responds
Funny relations:
CalPERS reviewing tie with Apollo Management after steep losses -- latimes.com
More funny business:
He earned $53 million opening doors to CalPERS money -- latimes.com
CalPERS discloses more fees paid to Alfred Villalobos -- latimes.com
Calpers Knew of Foreign-Exchange Trading Hits - WSJ.com

I'm still working on evidence of massive overpaying to retirees and the instances of outrageous double dipping.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Technological Leadership


Was at Disneyland yesterday. Fun, short lines, etc. Went to the ASIMO demo. Honda in 1950 made motors for bicycles. Today FCX and Hondajet and a robot that can actually run. GM? They have GMAC and an iPod jack in their Buicks.







I weep for the Republic. Spend six minutes with Race Against Time to see what we've lost.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

House Prices in Gold


Feb '06 median Ventura County home: $680k
Price of gold: $560/oz.
Median home price in gold: 1214 ounces.

Oct '09 median Ventura county home: $419k
Price of gold: $1000
Median home price in gold: 419 ounces.

Value today of the gold you bought in 2006 after selling your house: $1,214,000.

Turn one house into 3 in 3 years. Sounds like something Casey would do (in reverse).

Monday, November 02, 2009

Better Than HSR


More pictures and a fun little website touting the future of air travel at Aeroscraft.

Quick write up at SonyRadio. Excerpt:
It's the Aero craft, and when it's completed, it will ferry pampered passengers across continents and oceans as they stroll leisurely about the one-acre cabin or relax in their staterooms Unlike its dirigible ancestors, the Aero craft is not lighter than air It's 14 million cubic feet of helium hoist only two-thirds of the craft's weight. The rigid and surprisingly aerodynamic body, driven by huge rear-ward propellers, generates enough additional lift to keep the behemoth and its 400-ton payload aloft while cruising During takeoff and landing, six turbo-fan jet engines push the ship up or ease its descent. This two-football-fields-long airship is the brainchild of Igor Pasternak, whose privately funded California firm, Worldwide Aeros Corporation, is in the early stages of developing a prototype and expects to have one completed by 2010 .

Pasternak says several cruise ship companies have expressed interest in the project, and for good reason - the craft would have a range of several thousand miles, and, wit h an estimated top speed of 174 mph, could traverse the continental United States in about 18 hours. During the flight, passengers would view national landmarks just 8,000 feet below, or, if they weren't captivated by the view, the cavernous interior would easily accommodate such amenities as luxury staterooms, restaurants - - even a casino.

To minimize noise, the aft-mounted propellers will be electric, powered by a renewable source such as hydrogen fuel cells.


What do I think?:

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Starve The Squid


The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. - Delaware
Goldman, Sachs & Co. - New York
Goldman Sachs (Asia) Finance Holdings L.L.C. - Delaware
Goldman Sachs Paris Inc. ET CIE - France
Goldman Sachs Services Limited - British Virgin Islands
GS Power Holdings LLC - Delaware
Goldman Sachs (UK) L.L.C. - Delaware
Goldman Sachs Group Holdings (U.K.) - United Kingdom
Scadbury UK Limited - United Kingdom
Scadbury Funding Limited - Cayman Islands
Scadbury II Assets Limited - Cayman Islands
Killingholme Generation Limited - United Kingdom
KPL Acquisitions Limited - United Kingdom
GS Killingholme Cayman Investments Ltd. - Cayman Islands
GS Killingholme Cayman Investments II Ltd - Cayman Islands
GS Killingholme Cayman Investments III - Cayman Islands
GS Killingholme Cayman Investments IV, L.P. - Cayman Islands
KPL Finance Limited - Cayman Islands
Goldman Sachs Holdings (U.K.) - United Kingdom
Goldman Sachs International - United Kingdom
Goldman Sachs Asset Management International - United Kingdom
Forres LLC - Delaware
Shire UK Limited - United Kingdom
GS Funding Investments Limited - Cayman Islands
GS Liquid Trading Platform II Limited - Isle of Jersey
GS Capital Funding (Cayman) II Limited - Cayman Islands
MLQ Investors, L.P. - Delaware
Goldman Sachs Realty Japan Ltd. - Japan
Nephrite Equity Co., Ltd. - Japan
GK Blue Square (1) - Japan
GK Frangipani (1) - Japan
K.K. Minato Saiken Kaishu - Japan
GS Financial Services L.P. (Del) - Delaware
Chiltern Trust - Isle of Jersey
Laffitte Participation 10 - France
Laffitte Participation 12 - France
GS Longport Investment Corporation - Delaware
GSFS Investments I Corp - Delaware
GS Leasing (KCSR 2007-1) LLC - Delaware
GS Global Investments, Co. - Delaware
GS Global Investments UK, Inc. - Delaware
County UK Limited - Cayman Islands
County Funding Limited - United Kingdom
County Assets Limited - Cayman Islands
Goldman Sachs Global Holdings L.L.C. - Delaware
GS Asian Venture (Delaware) L.L.C. - Delaware
Brasilia Cayman Investments Limited - Cayman Islands
Goldman Sachs (Japan) Ltd. - British Virgin Islands
Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd. - Japan
J. Aron Holdings, L.P. - Delaware
J. Aron & Company - New York
Prop — GS Fundo de Investimento Multimercado Credito Privado - -  
Investimento No Exterior - Brazil
Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. - Delaware
Goldman Sachs Asset Management Co., Ltd. - Japan
Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies LLC - Delaware
Goldman Sachs (Cayman) Holding Company - Cayman Islands
Goldman, Sachs & Co. oHG - Germany
Goldman Sachs (Cayman) Trust, Limited - Cayman Islands
Goldman Sachs Global Services II Limited - Cayman Islands
Goldman Sachs Services (B.V.I.) Limited - British Virgin Islands
Goldman Sachs (Asia) Corporate Holdings L.P. - Delaware
Goldman Sachs Holdings (Hong Kong) Limited - Hong Kong
Goldman Sachs Foreign Exchange (Singapore) Pte. - Singapore
J Aron & Company (Singapore) Pte. - Singapore
Goldman Sachs (Asia) Securities Limited - Hong Kong
Goldman Sachs (Asia) Finance - Mauritius
Goldman Sachs Financial Markets, L.P. - Delaware
MTGLQ Investors, L.P. - Delaware
ELQ Investors, Ltd - United Kingdom
GS European Opportunities Investment Fund B.V. (1) - Netherlands
Matterhorn Acquisitions Ltd. - United Kingdom
NEG (TPL) Limited - United Kingdom
South Wales TPL Investments Limited - United Kingdom
Western Power Investments Limited - United Kingdom
Poseidon Acquisitions Ltd - United Kingdom
Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC - Delaware
Liquidity Assets Holding Limited - Cayman Islands
Liquidity Assets Limited - Cayman Islands
GS Macro Investments LLC - Delaware
GS Macro Investments II, LLC - Delaware
GS Mehetia LLC - Delaware
Mehetia Holdings Inc. - Delaware
Mehetia Inc. - Delaware
Goldman Sachs Bank USA - New York
Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company - New York
William Street Equity LLC - Delaware
William Street Funding Corporation - Delaware
GSCP (DEL) Inc. - Delaware
Goldman Sachs Credit Partners L.P. - Bermuda
Litton Mortgage Servicing, LLC - Utah
Litton Loan Servicing, L.P. - Delaware
Goldman Sachs Holdings (Netherlands) B.V. - Netherlands
Goldman Sachs Mitsui Marine Derivative Products, L.P.(1) - Delaware
GSSM Holding II LLC - Delaware
GSSM Holding II Corp. - Delaware
GSTM LLC - Delaware
SLK LLC - New York
Goldman Sachs Execution & Clearing, L.P. - New York
GS Financial Services II, LLC - Delaware
GS Funding Europe Limited - United Kingdom
Amagansett II Assets Limited - Cayman Islands
GS European Funding I LTD. - Cayman Islands
GS Funding Europe II Ltd. - Cayman Islands
Commonwealth Annuity and Life Insurance Company - Massachusetts
GS Diversified Funding LLC - Delaware
GS Diversified Investments Limited - Delaware
GS Capital Funding (UK) 1 Limited - United Kingdom
Reserve Liquid Performance Money Market Fund - New York
GS Ayco Holding LLC - Delaware
The Ayco Company, L.P. - Delaware
Rothesay Pensions Management Limited - United Kingdom
Eastport Capital Corp. - Delaware
EPF Financial, LLC - Delaware
GS Investment Strategies, LLC - Delaware
GS Mezzanine Partners 2006, L.P. - Delaware
Goldman Sachs Canada Credit Partners Co. - Canada -

-  
(1) These entities are partially owned by third-party investors.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Valuable $250 Coupon Inside!

2010 Audi R8 5.2 Coupe -
Date: 2009-10-23, 5:50PM PDT
Bodystyle: 2 door Coupe
Engine: 5.2L V-10cyl
Ext. Color: Phantom Black
Int. Color: Ebony Stock
Number: AX00029
VIN: WUAANAFGXAN000210
Model Code: 42352B

Print out this page for a $250 discount at dealer. Vehicle service history and Car Fax available.

LOL! $250! Asking price? $168,650.
Craigslist ad here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Tale of Two Neighbors Part 1 The Ranchos

The paths to putting houses in strong hands are varied and interesting. Here we have two neighbors that have taken roads less travelled. This is the Somis Area of Ventura County.

Our two market competitors are in the lower left:
5577 La Cumbre Rd
Somis, CA 93066
Price: $750,000
BEDS: 4 BATHS: 3
SQ. FT.: 3,631 $/SQ. FT.: $207
LOT SIZE: 2.16 Acres
YEAR BUILT: 1973

And at the upper right:
4386 Palomino Dr
Somis, CA 93066
Price: $628,300
BEDS: 4 BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 2,486 $/SQ. FT.: $253
LOT SIZE: 0.66 Acres
YEAR BUILT: 1976

Now look at the differences in their descriptions.
La Cumbre
Short Sale: Subject to Lender Approval. Great value property in rural Somis, Horses Allowed! Spanish Ranch Style 4 Bedroom/4 Bath single level home with in-ground pool on two acres. Family and Living rooms. Game room includes a wet bar. This home is clean. Multiple fruit trees. Home sets on back of part of acreage. Call your Realtor today and schedule a private showing!
-
Palomino
Just REDUCED over $56,000! Exceptional opportunity for this gated corner lot property with over 1/2 acre and views front and rear from front & rear balconies/deck. Property is dated, but in good condition. 4 car garage with 1 tandem space plus an RV garage and plenty more room for storage. All bedrooms upstairs. Great potential. .. great area. Property is sold as is and buyer is responsible for any & all inspections.
----
50% more house in obviously better condition on 3x the land and privacy. No contest here especially since Palomino all but screams that there are structural problems. It probably isn't an oversight that it wasn't picked up by the aggressive third party buyers for a flip. The question is whether La Cumbre is really a short sale that isn't obvious from the records and whether it will eventually go back to the bank for an even better deal.

In part 2 we'll graduate from rachos to a pair of nearby neighboring ranches.

Gas Up Diesel Down


SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
Betty T. Yee, Chairwoman of the Board of Equalization (BOE), today released
gasoline and diesel consumption figures for July 2009.California gasoline demand
rose by 2.2 percent
in July compared to the same month of the previous year.
Demand for on-road diesel fell a substantial 11.2 percent in July from the same
period in 2008.

Up 2.2% is okay but diesel off 11.2% is a flashing danger sign for the economy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Alright it is behind us



There's at least another 50 years to go. Advice as to what to talk about will be appreciated.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

CRE Overbuilding

LATimes this morning:
The exodus from office buildings that started in late 2007 accelerated during the third quarter as the anemic business climate took its toll on the real estate rental industry, according to the Cushman & Wakefield real estate brokerage.
"These vacancies are a direct reflection on unemployment," said Joe Vargas, an executive vice president at Cushman & Wakefield. "Companies continue to reduce their workforce, or they are not hiring."

Snark translation: Thank you for choosing Cushman & Wakefield. We know you have many choices when analyzing the Southern California CRE market and we are dedicated to making your meal here with us a pleasant one. One note; the entire company is a hopium smoking section for your convienence. On the menu this morning ; one large cup of denial, buttered statistics, a steaming bowl of hypocrisy. For the main course; only the finest hand packed sausage made from the same secret ingredient entrails that go into our projections. For dessert; dollops of a most distracting concoction, blame of unemployment, is piled on top of the truth of overbuilding so that the resulting melange simply transcends understanding. We call it hoocoodanode parfait. And for your entertainment your server will read from his latest book.

IMO SoCal CRE suffers more from shadow overcapacity than does RRE. There were a lot of perfect storm trends that came together to produce this historic imbalance. Those general trends can be broken down into several categories. Economic, demographic, geographic, sociological, technological and competitive. We can spend hours on any but just an example of competitive. The Oxnard Target store is moving. A whole 1/2 mile across the freeway, further away from its cachement locus. Why? Because if they don't a competitor might take that new space and predate their customers. Now you've got a surplus full size Target store close to the core of a large population center.

Ventura Star story:
The closure of Oxnard’s existing Target will increase the barren surroundings of the area, which has seen its share of shuttered businesses: 24 Hour Fitness next door to Target; the abandoned Wagon Wheel area across Oxnard Boulevard; and a nearby boarded-up building that formerly housed Levitz.

Curtis Cannon, the city’s community development director, said he’s not concerned.

The green arrow is the new Target location: