GDP vs human thriving: a "healthy" economy means debt-haunted people, desperately searching for housing

GDP and stock market performance are the two metrics that economists (and politicians) use to measure the health of a nation's economy, and by those metrics, Trump is doing a hell of a job. Read the rest

Full time minimum wage workers can't afford the rent on a 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in the USA

In the US, states and cities have their own minimum wages, keyed to the local cost of living -- but every one of these minimum wages is insufficient to provide that most basic of needs: a roof over your head. Read the rest

New York surpasses Brexit London as the world's second-hottest luxury property market

If you are an oligarch or criminal looking to exfiltrate and launder your money, London property markets have been your go-to asset class: London lux is real-estate that behaves like cash, thanks to the long line of oligarchs and criminals who'll pay cash for your safe-deposit box in the sky on a few hours' notice, should you need to liquidate ahead of a purge or an indictment. Read the rest

US housing prices skyrocket for homeowners and renters alike

Since the crash of 2008, both home ownership and renting have been getting steadily more expensive, with median house prices rising to levels surpassing pre-crisis levels, while the ballooning private equity megalandlords pushed prices for renters to never-seen levels, using an eviction mill that saw more Americans thrown out of their homes than at any time in history to keep renters paying. Read the rest

Wisconsin clears the way for Foxconn by bulldozing working peoples' homes and paying them pennies on the dollar

Last July, Wisconsin's far-right state government declared victory for its "free market" agenda when it announced that it would transfer $3,000,000,000 in taxpayer-funded corporate welfare to Foxconn, in order to tempt the company to open a factory in the state -- despite the company's long history of broken promises and outright lies about the jobs and spending in other places that had welcomed it in. Read the rest

Eviction Lab: a comprehensive database of every eviction proceeding in America for the past 16 years

The Eviction Lab is a collaboration between Princeton University and Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Paperback; the lab's team gathered the court records of ever landlord-tenant proceeding in every court in every county in America for the past 16 years. Read the rest

To solve America's housing crisis, build public housing

You know what works better than giving tax-credits to property developers, or mandating a few poor-door accessible affordable housing units in a new luxury high rise? Just building affordable housing on public land that's publicly managed. Read the rest

The Manhattan property bubble is bursting

Donald Trump's budget sought to punish blue states by removing income tax deductions for mortgage interest on high-ticket real estate; this was enough to prick the Manhattan property bubble, with co-op and condo sales volume dropping 25% year-on-year for Q1/18; the majority of red ink is in the luxury property market, where Q1 prices fell 15% year-on-year. Read the rest

Brexit is deflating the London housing bubble, with prices down 15% in some neighbourhoods

London's housing bubble has appeared unprickable, stabilised by influxes of offshore money from "investors" who saw property in the capital as a safe, easily liquidated bet even after the 2008 crisis when the rest of the UK saw housing prices tumble. Read the rest

After Airbnb hosts converted New York's available housing stock to unlicensed hotel rooms, rents soared

Airbnb hosts are supposed to be smallholders: people who rent out a spare room or let out their homes while they're out of town -- but in New York (and other cities), the system is dominated by professional landlords who have illegally converted huge swathes of the city's available housing stock into unlicensed, highly profitable hotel rooms. Read the rest

Toronto's real estate market is imploding

Toronto is one of the many great world cities that has been rendered nearly unlivable by real-estate speculation, both from onshore investors and offshore ones. Read the rest

California State Senator wants to remake cities with midrises near public transit, but he is facing a wave of nimbyism

Scott Wiener is California State Senator for San Francisco, whose SB827, co-sponsored by State Senator Nancy Skinner, will move some zoning responsibility from cities to the state, forcing cities to allow the construction of higher-density housing (duplexes, eight-plexes and midrise, six-story apartment buildings) near public transit stops. Read the rest

LA's soaring homelessness is distorting the national statistics

LA's homeless population is up 75% over the past six years; remove LA from the national statistics and the rate of American homelessness is actually in decline. Read the rest

Australia put an algorithm in charge of its benefits fraud detection and plunged the nation into chaos

In a textbook example of the use of big data to create a digital poorhouse, as described in Virginia Eubanks's excellent new book Automating Inequality, the Australian government created an algorithmic, semi-privatised system to mine the financial records of people receiving means-tested benefits and accuse them of fraud on the basis of its findings, bringing in private contractors to build and maintain the system and collect the penalties it ascribed, paying them a commission on the basis of how much money they extracted from poor Australians. Read the rest

Berlin regulates Airbnb and safely deflates its housing bubble while returning 8,000 rentals to the market

Berlin is one of many European cities that have faced new housing crises -- or worsening existing ones -- attributed to Airbnb, where homes were converted to unlicensed, super-profitable hotel rooms, driving up housing prices, shrinking rental inventory, and making the city unaffordable for the people who lived and worked there. Read the rest

To keep their bond-ratings, hedge-funds have to publicly demonstrate that they are the most ruthless of landlords

After the subprime crisis, vulture funds swept into the hardest-hit areas and bought thousands of foreclosed-upon homes at firesale prices and floated bonds based on the expected returns from the rents they'd be able to charge in an America with the lowest levels of home-ownership in modern history. Read the rest

Leaseholders in building sheathed in flammable Grenfell cladding sent a £2m bill for repairs

In the UK, many people who live in multiunit buildings -- the sort of thing that would be a condo or co-op in the US -- live under the leaseholder/freeholder system, a relic of feudalism that has been updated for the age of inequality thanks to hedge funds and other socially useless financial engineers. Read the rest

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