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

Kleptocracy in America: Russian-style corruption, driven by global oligarchs, enabled by US elites

As Naomi Klein documents in her classic and seminal book The Shock Doctrine, disasters and upheavals are the bread-and-butter of global looters, who use the collapse of civil society or the default of debtor states to privatize state assets at pennies on the dollar, then milk them into further crises, which create more chances for looting -- but the collapse of the USSR was different, because the spies and strongmen who rode out that collapse ensured that public assets were only given to domestic looters, not off-shore oligarchs. Read the rest

Grifter steals dead peoples' houses in gentrifying Philadelphia by forging deed transfers, then flipping them

At least six empty houses owned by the estates of Philadelphians ended up in the hands of William Ernest Johnson III, a violent felon currently on parole; the houses were then sold on to developers who renovated and flipped them. 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

How a millionaire slumlord got sweetheart government deals to maintain armed forces housing and then left them to rot

John Picerne is a hereditary one-percenter whose contribution to his family legacy of "real estate development" was to spend millions on lobbying, which landed him millions more in government loans earmarked for taking over the maintenance of 26,000 units of on-base military housing in 13 locations, with the repayment of the loans coming straight out of enlisted personnel's paychecks. Read the rest

Regulating Airbnb drives down local rents (as well as house prices)

Airbnb has led to much of the rental housing stock in some of the world's most expensive cities being turned into unlicensed hotel rooms, driving up both rents and house prices even further. Read the rest

Wells Fargo blames "computer glitch" for its improper foreclosure on 545 homes

According to Wells Fargo, a "computer glitch" caused the improper denial of 870 loan modification requests, which led to 545 foreclosures in which Wells Fargo customers lost their homes; the bank is now offering those former homeowners -- some of whom saw the breakup of their marriages as the result of the stress of foreclosure -- insultingly small sums, like $25,000. 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

Meet John Horgan and the BC NDP - North America’s most progressive government

If you live outside province you likely haven’t heard much about our new government, but here in British Columbia changes are happening fast, and you should know about them. Read the rest

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can't afford to rent a DC apartment

Proud Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran an insurgent campaign (working nights as a bartender in NYC with her campaigning clothes stashed in a paper bag behind the bar, changing after her shift and working the streets) that conquered New York, went national, and emboldened a "progressive caucus" of new Democratic legislators: now she's going to Congress to serve as the youngest woman ever elected to the lower house. Only one problem: she can't afford to rent a DC apartment for the three months between the election and her swearing-in, when she'll start drawing her Congressional salary. Read the rest

London's new high-rises: speculators' luxury flats designed never to be occupied

London is the epicentre of the British affordable housing crisis, and while there are over 500 high-rises under construction in the capital, consuming nearly every available lot, virtually every one of these towers is designed to serve the high-end luxury market (despite plummeting prices in this category), whose anonymous offshore buyers often never occupy or rent out the flats they buy, merely holding them to flip them later. Read the rest

San Francisco spends $3.1m/year on homeless toilets and $65m/year cleaning up poop

San Francisco's housing crisis is also (of course) a homelessness crisis, and homelessness crises beget public defecation crises -- and San Francisco has a serious public defecation crisis. Read the rest

California tenants receive rent-hike threats that will only be rescinded if rent-control initiative fails

Tenants in California have received threatening letters from their landlords promising massive rent hikes if Proposition 10 (previously), which restores rent control, passes. Read the rest

Slaves - including children - make the bricks for Cambodia's housing bubble

Two bedroom apartments in Phnom Penh start at $260,000 -- equivalent to 2,000 years' worth of average annual wages for Cambodia's workers. Read the rest

City of Seattle's official tow partner impounded a homeless woman's stolen car and wanted $21,634 to give it back

Update: An earlier version of this article misidentified Dick's Towing of Everett as the Dick's Towing of Seattle involved this this story. I apologize to Dick's of Everett for the error.

Seattle is in the grips of a dire housing emergency (though the city has money to burn when it comes to subsidizing multi-billion-dollar sports teams); Amanda Ogle is one of the many people in Seattle living out of a car, in her case, a 1991 Camry. Read the rest

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