News

Landmark Links October 4th – Bargain Bin

Must Read: Mall investment sales volume is down.  However, while few class-A malls are trading hands, opportunistic investors are buying class-B and-C assets for redevelopment plays.

Economy

Stretched Out: About a third of auto loans for new vehicles taken in the first half of 2019 had terms of longer than six years. A decade ago, that number was less than 10%.  This is a sign of middle class consumers unable to afford their lifestyles.  It won’t immediately show up in many economic data points but is absolutely worth keeping an eye on.

Ugly: The ISM US manufacturing purchasing managers index came in at it’s lowest number since 2009 in September.  See Also: Weak manufacturing data gives the Fed an excuse to cut rates this month.

Dark Clouds: Recession risks are on the rise as consumer sentiment falls.

Commercial

Shut Out: Commercial landlords have zero interest in leasing to WeWork, grinding New York’s office market to a near-halt.  This is sort of problematic given that WeWork’s entire business plan is to sublet office space.  See Also: WeWork is a distressed asset. And: Startups that were purchased by WeWork were banking on its massive balance sheet funding their growth.  Now they are on the auction block and worth a lot less than they were when WeWork bought in.

Digitized: Simon Property Group, the largest mall owner in the US, is launching an eCommerce site in an attempt to lure bargain shoppers.

Residential

It’s All Relative: Fresno is extremely affordable in nominal terms compared to the rest of California.  However, low area incomes and limited supply have resulted in 60% of renter households being classified as rent burdened – worse than affluent coastal cities.

Click of a Mouse: The digitization of home buying is well underway.

Profiles

Too Big to Succeed: SoftBank’s Vision Fund is so large that it can only efficiently invest its capital by placing massive bets.  WeWork’s collapse and Uber’s terrible post-IPO performance have highlighted the weakness of that strategy.

All Clear: For years, public health officials have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other medical problems.  However, earlier this week an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence, triggering vegans across the globe.

Train to Somewhere: A private equity firm wants to build a train from 90 miles outside of LA to Vegas and plans to finance it by selling bonds.  This is something that could actually work, unlike California’s boondoggle train to nowhere that is burning through tens of billions of dollars to go from Bakersfield to Fresno.

Chart of the Day

Does the weak ISM number mean that rates are headed even lower?

Source: Piper Jaffray

WTF

Metaphor: The charred remains of an unidentified body were found in a burning port-a-potty because Florida.

Cat Lady: A woman climbed into the lion den at the Bronx Zoo to prove that she had no “fear,” remarkably emerged unscathed because Darwinism was apparently taking the day off.

Fighting Back: A vegan activist who was protesting in a British pizza restaurant was punched in the face by a fed up customer.  If there were a pizza restaurant where you got to punch a vegan activist in the face as part of the dining experience, I would go.

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

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