Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Fed finally admits they created a liquidity trap.

Fed: US consumers have decided to 'hoard money'.

"One of the great mysteries of the post-financial crisis world is why the U.S. has lacked inflation despite all the money being pumped into the economy.

The St. Louis Federal Reserve thinks it has the answer: A paper the central bank branch published this week blames the low level of money movement in large part on consumers and their "willingness to hoard money." The paper also cites the Fed's own policies as a reason for consumers' unwillingness to spend..

I first posted about this in May of 2013. Also here, because if you own anything you understand completely why this is happening.

More signs of weakness in housing.

Things are going so swimmingly well that mortgage rates hit a new low today. 3.829% /sarc

The last lowest reading a few weeks ago was 3.87%. Also - fully a third of properties for sale in my city now are under price reduction. Although the reductions have moderated. Most are only a few thousand dollars. Which means agents think the properties they are listing are close to the right price. I'm guessing the market doesn't think that because sales have really slowed.

When I told Mr S. the above story he said - why would you bother marking a house down a couple of thousand dollars? When you get down to it - anything under five grand is a negotiating issue. Which he's completely right about. This made me go over and look at these properties more closely to see what the pattern was. Maybe they had all hit the magic 30 day mark and that will trigger the agents to try to get some new traction.

To my shock - a bunch of the houses hadn't even been on the market that long. Some as low as 13 days were being marked down. Mr S. thinks this shows a bit of seller panic. Which I'd have to agree with.

This also tells me that world events are less at play with the lower mortgage rates than actual housing weakness. I'm guessing it is some mix - but people rushing into the safe haven of the US is only part of the picture.

In other news - the world seems to be waking up to the fact that low mortgage rates are fucking the market to kingdom come. I first talked about it in April with the article Low interest rates will alter the housing market for decades.

Monday, September 01, 2014

I tried to get you some interesting stuff this weekend. The traffic was just too crushing. I haven't seen traffic like this for a few years. The kind where it takes hours to go a few miles. And it was everywhere. I almost made it as far as the Richmond Bridge and turned back because there was an accident on it. Took me an hour to ride the back roads through Berkeley and Oakland. The whole weekend I've had to take back roads.

So... as much as I like to entertain you... sometimes it just doesn't work out.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Just when you thought you just lived through some of the craziest shit ever...... now the whole world turns Baghdad bob. And you are stuck with one of the most "JV" Presidents ever. Doesn't he look like a smaller man every day?

Monday, August 25, 2014

We are now at a tipping point.

Supply of homes for sale rises to 6 months from 5.6 months. From MarketWatch.

Six months is the magical line between a healthy market, and a market that is blue-hu-hu. But really - we already know the answer to this. July had some of the most favorable mortgage rates since the beginning of the recession. It's really hard to figure out how this works out. There is some school of thought that bond holders are tired of not making money on high yield bonds and that the only reason rates are so low right now is because of conflict in almost all other parts of the world. You can see how meager home sales are now with rates very near 4% give or take a few ticks. Any rise in interest rates will hurt buying activity. Vaporise refi activity. Falling prices will follow. And the Fed has no tools to stimulate whatever may follow. 

So sack up. I think things are going to get a little bumpy.

Old Timey Ford - retread.

Normally I don't re-post cars that have already been on the blog. That would become boring. But I had to make an exception for this truck. This thing is so hard to get good shots of. Red is a really hard color to color match right in photos. It has a ton of stuff going on. Red on busy is a hard combination. Last time it was out in the sun - so that took the degree of difficulty to a whole nuther level. Seen at Goodguys. Video here from 2010.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Palo Alto Chalk Art.

The shade was trying to eat this piece.

Friday, August 22, 2014

How the media fails James Foley with censorship.

I wasn't going to watch this video at first. I'd seen the Daniel Perl video. But the longer people talked about it it - I finally relented. Only to find out that a great deal of the internet had started scrubbing this video.

Youtube has started a blanket removal of videos with violence. You used to be able to verify you were over 18, then you were able view graphic videos. Twitter has followed suit. And I know the parents asked twitter to take the video down. But it seems like this guys whole mission in being a conflict reporter was to show the horror of the world. It's ironic that Youtube and Twitter now try to make his (and others like him) purpose in life invisible.

And the weird thing about this - the Foley video wasn't anywhere near as graphic as the Perl video. They are not even in the same ballpark.  They didn't show more than a few seconds of the beheading and then a snap to an image of the tragic final result.

I don't take saying these things lightly. I personally have seen one of my family members in a body bag on the evening news. Not killed horrifically like Foley. He was killed in a fire. You see this stuff on the news all the time, but when it's your family member it shakes you to the core. However - it is reality. Maybe you don't want to see it, but the record should be there for future generations.

It's just frustrating to see the internet regressing in freedom right at the time we need it the most. Making it hard for people to see what is happening in the world only makes less people want to spend the time searching this evil out. Just not looking at the images does not make it go away. Nothing can illuminate the horrors of the world like a camera. And for those images not to have a chance to make the light of sun just makes me think the terrorist win. They don't stop because we are too weak and turn away.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

California employment participation rate lowest since records began in 1976.

It is super nice to know that according to the Fed the labor force is closer to what they consider "normal". Which is kinda confusing because California just released it's budget with the above gem. Here.

California simultaneously says they have recovered all the jobs lost from the recession, but goes on to say the participation rate is the lowest since they began keeping records in 1976. I really don't understand how both of these things can be true.

"California's unemployment rate remained steady at 7.4 percent in July. This narrowed the gap with the U.S. to 1.2 percentage points, as the national unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percent to 6.2 percent. However, California's labor force participation rate, at 61.9 percent, is now the lowest it has ever been since records began in 1976. This is in contrast with the U.S. rate, which rose slightly to 62.9 percent in July."

It's also notable that tax receipts are down 11% for California this year. No Facebook to save them I guess. Maybe they could retroactively tax some more people.

Since we are now growing at 4% I thought it would be interesting to see how much progress California was making at paying the Feds back for the unemployment trust fund loans. We now owe more than half of the outstanding balance. What was even more interesting though was Arizona and Wisconsin. They started borrowing again in July. That totally sounds like a 4% growth economy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sometimes I see the craziest things.

I'm not sure really what to say about this guy. This seems like the most dangerous way to ride a bike I've ever seen. Especially because he would continue to ride like this while he was splitting lanes. But he drove this way from San Jose through Fremont until I lost him. Traffic was too tight to catch up with him and get more shots. But I could see him in the distance and he rode this way the entire time until I lost sight of him.

BMW i8 concept.

I didn't get that many shots of this car because I thought I'd already seen it. Plus, I'm not really a BMW sort of chick. But, BMW does create some pretty interesting concept cars.

The interesting thing I found about this car is the roof line doesn't connect to the rear quarter panel. I should have tried to get this in more detail, but I was excited about that McLaren. You can see in the last photo the roof line comes down, and then there is a gap between where it connects to the rear quarter panel. Also -apparently is has lambo doors.

Monday, August 18, 2014

After the show.

I hate myself a little for saying this - but I didn't think McLaren's thrilled me anymore. I see them fairly often. I go to a lot of car shows. Though I've never seen one in the wild yet.

That is until I saw this McLaren P1 without the wing. Well, technically I saw the swarm of photogs before I saw the car. I was hunting a Pagani. You may all flip me off now.

Maserati Alfieri

Note - Door is not completely closed. So that's why it looks like it has a weird line. They always want to display these cars with all the doors open, but that makes it hard to get a nice clean shot. And I think the people working the show didn't have access to the security system to open the door so they couldn't close it all the way.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sooooooo bad ass.

When I was taking pictures of this car Mr S. said to me - the weird thing is that without the Mercedes emblem, you wouldn't even know this was a Mercedes. To which I replied - I know! That's why I love this car. I'm pretty amazed my shots even came out that well because the Pebble Beach Councours is always shrouded in grey fog. And this is a grey car. Which isn't even a color!

It's a Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo. I guess this car was spawned from the game of the same name on the PS3. Here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Here, there. Everywhere. Even in my area.

Bay Area home prices plateau on slowing sales.

"Real estate agents in the East Bay report seeing an increasing number of price reductions, with many homes taking longer to sell than they have for much of the year."


"Sales were down or just slightly up in most counties, with Santa Clara seeing the biggest dive ---14.8 percent from July 2013.

For the nine-county Bay Area, sales were off by 6.7 percent.

Investors appeared to be retreating from the region's housing market, as absentee buyers -- mostly investors -- made up 18.8 percent of all Bay Area home sales, the lowest since September 2012"