Landmark Links March 30th – Stuck in the Middle

What I’m Reading: 

Stuck in the Middle: There is a mortgage crisis building, brought about by a wave of new originations, thanks to low interest rates, followed by a second wave of deferred payments thanks to a stopped economy.  This has left servicers – who are obligated to make payments to bond holders whether they receive money from borrowers or not – on the hook for more than they can afford to pay out. (h/t Marc Kleiman) This article is a great primer on how the modern mortgage industry functions and its written in plain English.

Opportunity Knocks: The pandemic is creating a compelling buying opportunity for real estate investors – but only for those who are flush with cash as numerous debt sources have left the marketplace.

Shifting: The coronavirus pandemic is forcing the fastest reallocation of labor since World War II, with companies and governments mobilizing an army of idled workers into new activities that are urgently needed.

Growing Pains: Major supermarkets are struggling to meet surging demand for home delivery, but the coronavirus crisis will (eventually) leave their web businesses sharper.

Going Big: Oaktree is once again seeing compelling distressed debt opportunities and is backing up the truck to load up.

Dystopia is Here: Companies are ramping up purchases of spy software to keep tabs on now-remote workers and are watching everything from keystrokes to which websites they visit.

Shifting Attitudes: How cannabis went from illegal to an essential service during the outbreak.

Can’t Give It Away: In an obscure corner of the American physical oil market, prices have actually gone negative.  Expect more of this as demand continues to fall and the cost of storage rises, thanks to a lack of capacity.

Chart of the Day

If any of you were waiting to earn a 33% yield for lending to WeWork, your opportunity has arrived.



Neighborly: A man trying to recreate the neighborhood serenades in quarantined Italy by singing out his window was promptly told to ‘shut the fuck up’ because New York.

Risking It All: One thing that coronavirus has exposed is just how little the Zoomers care about anything other than online klout.  The latest example: a Missouri man who licked items at Walmart in an attempt to go viral (pun fully intended) has been arrested.

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

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