Vancouver's housing bubble was driven by billions in laundered criminal proceeds

The British Columbia government commissioned independent investigator Peter German to produce a report on the role of laundered criminal money in the province's white-hot real-estate bubble, centred on the city of Vancouver; German's report found that last year alone, CAD7b was laundered through BC, with much of that money going into property (as well as luxury cars and casino gambling). Read the rest

Chinese urbanization has left 25 million vacant homes in rural villages

China is undergoing the largest real-estate bubble in history, and things keep getting weirder and weirder, with the specter of a burst bubble looming overall. Read the rest

Majority of London's newly built luxury flats are unsold, raising the spectre of "posh ghost towers"

Property developers in London built more than 1,900 luxury flats in 2018, the majority of which have so far failed to sell; all told, there are 3,000 luxury flats on the market, a high-water mark for a city whose property market was hijacked by offshore oligarchs and criminals who converted much of the housing stock into empty safe-deposit boxes in the sky. Read the rest

China's "pawn shops" have loaned $43B, mostly secured by real-estate

In reports of China's looming debt crisis, it's common to see references to the "shadow finance" or "shadow banking" system, but it's not always clear what these terms mean. Read the rest

Financialization is wearing out its welcome

On the eve of Apple issuing a credit card (and following Carl Icahn's 2013 advice that "Apple should be a bank"), we seem to be reaching the end of financialization's dominance over the economy, a trend that started in the 1970s and has risen ever since -- but the tricks are wearing thin. See for example, the notorious Brazilian corporate raiders 3G bought out Kraft-Heinz and tried its usual MO of goosing profits by squeezing suppliers, paying its bills late, and cutting costs at the expense of growth -- only to have Kraft-Heinz's value drop by more than 50% in less than three years. Read the rest

London's awful estate agents are cratering, warning of a "prolonged downturn" in the housing market

London's estate agents were notorious profiteers of the property bubble, listing on the stock exchanges and rewarding investors with soaring share-prices that reflected the human misery of a city where life got harder and more expensive every day, where communities were shattered, and where subprime lending and other sleazy financial practices helped to destroy the global economy in 2007-8, triggering more than a decade of crisis from which we have yet to recover. Read the rest

Signs that China's real-estate bubble will burst and take the economy with it

China's real-estate bubble is the largest in human history, and despite years of warning signs, it has grown and grown, spilling over into the rest of the world. Read the rest

Silicon Valley real estate asking prices fall 12% from peak

There are more houses for sale in San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and San Francisco County than at any time since 2013; inventory in December was up 113% year-on-year, and asking prices have fallen by 12% since their peak. Read the rest

Canada's housing market is slowly but surely imploding, and Canadians are more exposed than the US was in 2008

After 20 years of unprecedented lows, Canada's central bank is gradually raising rates; this, combined with strict rules on new loans, empty house taxes in overheated cities like Vancouver, and mandatory ownership disclosures (which keep money launderers out of the market) are depressing the Canadian housing market, and the prognosis is not good. Read the rest

Millennials will be able to buy homes soon, thanks to Boomer senescence and mortality

Fannie Mae predicts a "coming exodus of older homeowners" as Boomers die, downsize or enter retirement homes, which will dump a ton of housing stock on the market and crash prices, finally making homes affordable for millenials. Read the rest

What it's like to be a woman reporter on a cryptocurrency cruise where nearly all the other women are sex-workers

Laurie Penny (previously) got sent on the 2018 CoinsBank Blockchain Cruise -- a four-day cruise filled with "starry-eyed techno-utopians and sketchy-ass crypto-grifters" who solved the fact that there almost no women signed up using the "free market": they paid teen sex workers from Ukraine to ship out with them. Read the rest

84% of stocks owned by richest 10% of Americans

Every time Trump reminds you that the stock market has experienced a feverish, tubercular bloom under his presidency, just recall that 84% of stocks are held by 10% of Americans. Read the rest

The world's richest families got MUCH richer, thanks to the stock market

As low interest rates and terrible bond yields have driven more everyday people into the stock market in the hopes of protecting their savings from inflation and building their pensions, the market has surged -- with the richest people on Earth surfing the wave. Read the rest

Canada's legal weed stock-bubble is a re-run of the dotcom bubble

Canada and Uruguay are the only two countries to have legalised the recreational use of marijuana (the Netherlands has laws on the books against it, but they're not enforced); the Canadian Securities Exchange has been transformed into "the cannabis stock exchange," a latter-day NASDAQ filled with hyperinflated stocks in legal weed companies. Read the rest

New Zealand bans most offshore residential real-estate ownership

With today's passage of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, the Parliament of New Zealand has banned nonresidents from buying most residential property in the country, in an effort to end the skyrocketing housing expenses (Auckland is one of the world's least-affordable cities) by freezing out overseas speculators, though these account for less than 3% of total real-estate transactions, with the majority coming from China. Read the rest

The UK's largest estate agency is on the verge of bankruptcy

Countrywide is the UK's largest property agents (they own estate agencies like Hamptons International, Bairstow Eves and Bridgfords), with 900 locations and 10,000 employees, and they're selling off shares at fire-sale prices in a desperate bid to raise £140 million to service their massive debts; the sum is 300% of the company's market cap, their shares are down 60% on the news, and the company blames plummeting London prices and Brexit jitters for their misfortunes. Read the rest

California home-buyers are increasingly reliant on parental gifts to afford their down-payments

California's housing bubble has pushed prices so high (the median Californian home sells for double the national average) that, in some cities, 48% of first-time buyers could only afford to purchase their homes because their parents gave them the downpayment. Read the rest

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