Scott Pruitt is such a colossal asshole that the lobbyists who were bribing him with nearly-free lodgings evicted him

Scott Pruitt, an asshole, was Donald Trump's pick to head the EPA. Read the rest

Beautiful art made from ashes of euthanized shelter animals

For her Stardust and Ashes project, Shannon Johnstone wanted to memorialize local shelter animals "with nobody to mourn their passing," so she used their ashes to make cosmic cyanotypes. Read the rest

Muji is now selling $27,000, 98sqft micro-home "huts"

Muji -- the Japanese minimalist design house that's something of a local equivalent to Ikea, but with clothes, stationery, toiletries and groceries -- has finally shipped its long-awaited Mujirushi micro-home, a ¥3,000,000 (USD27,000) "hut" with a slanting roof that can be ordered for delivery and assembly in many Japanese suburbs. Read the rest

On the road with America's post-homed nomads

Housing costs Americans more than at any time in history, and it's only getting worse as foreclosures open the door to market-cornering by inconceivably vast hedge funds who buy all those "distressed properties" and turn then into bond-coupon factories where the rent ratchets higher and higher, well ahead of inflation, wages, or affordability. Read the rest

Local council requires Grenfell survivors to bid against each other for new homes

It's been more than two months since a deadly blaze in Kensington, London -- the richest borough in the UK -- killed at least 80 people when the decorative cladding installed to make the building look nicer to rich people in nearby buildings caused the building to go up like a matchstick. Read the rest

In NYC, every tenant facing eviction is now entitled to a lawyer

America's hedge-fund driven eviction epidemic is most keenly felt in New York City, where deep-pocketed corporate landlords use dirty tricks to evict families from rent-controlled apartments, creating an epidemic of homeless working families with children. Read the rest

Toronto's insane real-estate bubble is finally bursting

Toronto's crazy-insane property prices stayed high even through the 2008 crash and its aftermath, but sales volumes of houses of all types plummeted by 40.4% for July 2017-vs-July 2016, new listings are up by 5% over the same period -- and the average selling price has fallen by 19% since April. Read the rest

London house-purchase volume falls off a cliff

In May 2014, 259 Islington homes changed hands; in May 2016, 139 houses were sold in the Borough: this May, it was 89. Read the rest

New York property speculators have figured out how to evict everyone

New York's catastrophic homelessness is about to get much, much worse: the skyrocketing property values (driven by speculators who buy apartments in order to get their money out of corrupt and failing states abroad, leaving them empty with the understanding that they can be cashed out on short notice, thanks to the white-hot market of other money-launderers) have attracted very deep-pocketed, anonymous hedge-funds that are snapping up buildings with rent-stabilized and rent-controlled units, who use a ruthless set of highly refined tactics to kick out all their tenants and then flip the building. Read the rest

A Hong Kong parking space just sold for USD664K

The 188 square foot parking space went for HKD5.18m (USD664,300) -- HKD27,500/sqft. Read the rest

London fire: just last year, Tory landlord-MPs rejected Labour's tenant safety law

The death-toll on London's Grenfell Tower fire continues to mount, it's worth remembering that there are no "natural disasters," only human disasters, created by people who weigh different interests in the balance and create policies based on the way the scales come up. Read the rest

Real estate bubbles lower the birth-rate

Shelter is a human necessity second only to food on Maslow's hierarchy of needs; but it's also an asset-class that is increasingly relied upon by the world's super-rich for money-laundering, rent-extraction and simple investment -- this creates a dilemma for governments, who are under pressure to ratchet up the cost of a fundamental human necessity in order to enrich a minority of wealthy land- and property-owners. Read the rest

Weaponized shelter: a website that lets tenants bid against each other for apartments, in 1000 cities

Rentberry -- run by a Travis Kalanick-style markets-fix-everything doctrinaire named Alex Lubinksy -- collects renters' personal information and their bids on apartments, then presents them to landlords, who get to choose among high bidders to rent to. Read the rest

Australia leads the world in selling housing to money-launderers

A new Transparency International report ranks the world's most superheated urban property markets to find the most corrupt and finds that Australia is a playground for offshore criminals looking to launder their money, because "real estate agents are not subject to the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering and CounterTerrorism Financing Act 2006," thus, "70 per cent of Chinese buyers pay in cash and they represent the largest proportion of foreign purchases in the country." Read the rest

Gorgeous, humbling photos of Manila's super-dense shantytowns

German photographer Bernard Lang has produced a photo series documenting the incredible overcrowding in the slums of Manila, a city whose mean density is 36,000 people/square mile, rising to 200,000 people in the city's 500 riverside slums. Read the rest

More anti-money laundering measures hit China as top three Bitcoin exchanges freeze withdrawals

Bitcoin's spiking prices have been driven almost entirely by Chinese money-launderers trying to beat the country's currency controls -- controls that have tightened so much that it's tanking the world's real-estate markets as offshore buyers abandon their deposits and disappear. Read the rest

Chinese government creates gate-guarded private village for hedge-funds near Hangzhou

Yuhuang Shannan -- an hour's high-speed train journey from Shanghai -- is a newly formed, walled village in which only hedge fund employees and their visitors are allowed to venture, a kind of Canary Wharf with Chinese characteristics, with schools staffed by non-Chinese teachers, a private club, and its own health care facilities. Read the rest

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