The Resolution Foundation's Living Standards 2017 is an eye-opening look at the current state of the British experiment in allowing wealth inequality to expand without any check, to use a combination of austerity, the elimination of protection for tenants, reckless lending, offshore money-laundering and public subsidies for speculators to turn the human necessity of shelter into the nation's leading asset-class. Read the rest
More news on the Chinese crackdown on money-laundering and its impact on the global property bubble: the controls the Chinese government has put on "capital outflows" (taking money out of China) are actually working, and there's been a mass exodus of Chinese property buyers from the market, with many abandoning six-figure down payments because they can't smuggle enough money out of the country to make the installment payments. Read the rest
Atlas Survival Shelters sells huge corrugated pipe shelters outfitted for living with air filtration systems, Co2 scrubbers, and power generators. A 10' x 20' shelter goes for $30-$40,000 and the "Hillside Retreat," a 10' x 51', runs as high as $109,000. Options include a big screen TV, electric fireplace, oak flooring, hatch camouflaged as a boulder, and many other fine amenities. From their pitch:
The only bunkers manufactured today that has actually been tested against the effects of a nuclear bomb and has passed, is the round corrugated pipe shelters (used in the 1950s) by the U.S. Army Corps of Enginneers..
The round shape worked then and still works today! There is little difference between the bunkers made 50 years ago and the bunkers made today except the addition of modern interiors, NBC air filtration systems, Co2 scrubbers, generators, and high-tech electronics. There is no other shape other then round that will allow you to reach the depth underground that you need for maximum protection for your family and to allow the climate to be controlled underground.
"Beware the Square". No pre-manufactured square metal bunkers passed the nuclear test and should only be regarded as a fallout shelter or tornado shelter at best!
Atlas Survival Shelters (via Uncrate)
Read the rest
China has adopted stringent new anti-money-laundering rules that will make it nearly impossible for small investors -- for example, middle-class families who pool their savings -- to get their money out of the country in order to buy condos in Canada's superheated property market (not just Canada, of course!). Read the rest
The housing recovery has been famously uneven, in every way: for one thing, it's allowed hedge-fund and publicly listed landlords to acquire a greater proportion of America's housing stock than ever, even as mass foreclosures created a new class of desperate tenants who pay rent to these corporate giants, who charge higher rents than ever. Read the rest
Steve Mnuchin, Trump's pick for Secretary of Treasury, has a checkered past (he once foreclosed on a 90 year old customer who was $0.27 short on her mortgage payment) but a leaked memo from the California attorney general's Consumer Law Section reports that Mnuchin's leadership of Onewest Bank involved "widespread misconduct" in foreclosing on Californians, through which the bank was able to fraudulently confiscate their customers' homes. Read the rest
Yesterday, Wesley Clark Jr -- son of retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark -- met with North Dakota law enforcement officials on behalf of the 2,100 members of the Veterans Stand for Standing Rock group, who have pledged to come to the conflict site and build barracks to shelter the water defenders fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Read the rest
New Yorkers renting in the Trump Place buildings on the upper west side have forced the building's owner to take Trump's name off their homes. Read the rest
Tom Adams, a lawyer and 20-year veteran of the securitization business, compares a map of America's largest foreclosure inventories with a map of key battleground states. Read the rest
Chloe Eudaly, whose zine emporium Reading Frenzy (previously) and publishing makerspace the Independent Publishing Resource Center are PDX institutions, is running for Portland City Council, campaigning on affordable housing for all in a city whose longterm residents are being left behind by runaway rents and spiraling housing prices. Read the rest
Vancouver has been wracked by a white-hot property bubble driven primarily by offshore speculators, mostly Chinese, who have driven up the price of housing beyond the means of working Vancouverites, crippling the city's daily life as workers, students and families struggle to find somewhere -- anywhere -- to live. Read the rest
Sales of Manhattan co-ops and condos have plunged 20% in Q316, relative to the same quarter last year -- sales in excess of asking price dropped from 35% to 17%; days on market before sale increased from 67 to 72; median growth in sale price fell to 2.6% from 18%. Read the rest
Wang Jianlin made billions speculating on Chinese real-estate; now that he's diversified into buying Hollywood movie studios and chains of movie theaters, the richest man in China is prepared to say what many have known: the Chinese property market is a huge, deadly bubble that's ripe to burst. Read the rest
New York's elderly people qualify for the Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemption and the Enhanced School Tax Relief Exemption, but the city's Finance Department is supposed to solicit confirmations of eligibility every two years to make sure that the people receiving the tax-breaks are still alive -- a duty the department failed to perform for a solid decade, costing the city nearly $60M in lost revenue. Read the rest
For the first half of the 20th Century, it was common for New York's libraries to have live-in superintendents, whose families would live on-site in hidden apartments -- the last one of these apartments wasn't vacated until 2006. Read the rest
America is in the grips of one of the worst housing crises in its history, with 1 in 3 households spending more than 30% of their income on mortgage or rent payments; the US government has two kinds of housing subsidy, one for poor renters and the other intended for middle-income mortgage payers, but guess who gets most of the money? Read the rest
A Russian home-buyer pulled out of a "agreed offer" of £6.95m for a six bedroom Kensington flat, now it's listed for £6.75m; a three-bedroom in Swiss Cottage is down to £1.05m from £1.5m; a £1.1m 2-bedroom in Whitechapel is now £720,000; a 2bm maisonette in Notting Hill fell from £1.59m to £1.35mk; a £1.3m 5br in St. Reatham is down to £850,000 and estate agents have mutually agreed to go back to calling it Streatham. Read the rest