US housing market pain could be ahead, but some affluent New York suburbs are bucking the trend early this year as open houses are packed.
Falling mortgage rates might be stoking demand in a suburb about 20 miles north of Manhattan known as Scarsdale. Or rather, it could be the lack of inventory. Whatever is driving the housing market in the wealthy suburbs of New York has led to homes still selling over ask.
“Demand is very high in all price ranges,” Laura Miller, the listing agent with Houlihan Lawrence, told Bloomberg. She said:
“There are tons of buyers and not enough inventory.”
Even with the 30-year home loan rate doubling, demand for homes just outside of the city is high. Realtor.com data shows New York’s Westchester County, which includes Scarsdale and Bronxville, and New Jersey’s suburbs in Essex and Bergen counties, are still seeing homes sold for more than 10% over the listing price.
With the spring real estate market underway, there will be a lot of housing markets nationwide that will experience unevenness:
“This is going to be a spring season characterized by big differences between markets.”
“In some places new listings will lead to a line of people out the door and in others, crickets,” said Benjamin Keys, a real estate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
No matter a boom or bust in the economy, a group of buyers still need homes. Many of them are finding out that inventory in the suburbs around NYC is shrinking. Realtor.com data also confirmed this and said Westchester had one of the steepest drops in active listing in the US last month, falling 15% from a year earlier. Fewer homes mean prospective homebuyers are chasing less supply which can spark bidding wars.
Meanwhile, the rest of the country’s housing markets are frozen (besides Florida and a few other states) due to an affordability crisis. The good news is that home prices have yet to spiral lower because of limited inventory. However, some economists are warning about a 10-15% slide in overall home prices over the next couple of years.
Tue, 02/07/2023 – 18:40
Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The Miami-Dade Black Affairs Advisory Board apologized to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the weekend after one of its members described him a racist.
Pierre Rutledge, the head of the Miami-Dade Black Affairs Advisory Board, issued a statement on behalf of the organization and apologized to the Republican governor after a member said last week that DeSantis is a racist.
“We take it to heart when someone uses the term racist,” Rutledge said, reported Fox News and the Miami Herald, which reported that he made that comment at a Feb. 3 press conference. “Words matter. And so as chair, I must start by saying we want to pull that back. There’s nothing wrong with saying ‘we’re sorry.’ That’s not what we intended to say or be depicted by anyone. And that’s not the feeling of this board.”
Another official, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, said that he also “can’t call the governor racist. I don’t know him personally. I don’t know his heart,” reported WSVN. However, he claimed that DeSantis’ policies “always [seem] to attack black people and people of color,” without elaborating.
DeSantis’s administration has not responded to a request for comment.
Rutledge, who is also a local school administrator, did not immediately respond to an Epoch Times request for comment. The Miami-Dade Black Affairs Advisory Board also did not respond to a request for comment.
Rutledge’s comment came after Miami lawyer Stephen Hunter Johnson said last week that “our governor is racist” during a Miami-Dade Black Affairs Advisory Board meeting about DeSantis having blocked an African-American studies course, according to the Herald. After the comment, the board members unanimously voted to draft a letter to DeSantis to object against his rejection of the course.
During Friday’s news conference, Rutledge made the apology while also simultaneously saying that the board released the letter to DeSantis to criticize his decision.
“Politics has no place in determining school curriculum,” Rutledge said, according to WSVN. “If we rely on elected officials to tell our children what they can and cannot learn about, that is the epitome of political indoctrination.”
Read more here…
Tue, 02/07/2023 – 18:20
Disney has nixed an episode of “The Simpsons” from their streaming service in Hong Kong which references “forced labor camps” in China.
The episode, “One Angry Lisa,” which originally aired in Ocober, was inaccessible from the Disney+ platform in Hong Kong, according to the Financial Times.
In the episode, Marge Simpson is taking a virtual bike class with the Great Wall of China in the background. Her instructor says “Behold the wonders of China. Bitcoin mines, forced labor camps where children make smartphones.“
Disney+ removed an episode of Simpson (again) in Hong Kong due to reference of China’s forced labor camp. This is what you’ve missed. pic.twitter.com/zdEihr4LuR
— Asian American Conservative (@FactcheckingCon) February 7, 2023
The removal comes after the CCP imposed a controversial national security law in Hong Kong in 2020, under which offenses defined by the regime as ‘secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces’ can result in a lifetime of imprisonment.
This isn’t the first time Disney has bowed to Beijing. In 2021, the company pulled a 2005 episode referencing the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
Simpsons episode with Tiananmen Square sign saying ‘on this site, in 1989, nothing happened’ is missing from Disney+ https://t.co/K0LCP4csgw
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 29, 2021
The decision to censor in China’s favor is probably “to do with the company’s ties, current and future, in mainland China,” said Kenny Ng, associate professor at the Academy of Film at Hong Kong Baptist University in a statement to FT, adding “It could be strategic to eliminate any China-offending episodes.”
More via the Epoch Times:
The pulled episode, “Goo Goo Gai Pan,” features the Simpsons’ visit to Tiananmen Square, where they see a joke placard that reads, “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened.”
In 1989 a student-led pro-democracy movement broke out in China. Protesters called for democratic reforms in the Chinese government and staged mass protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. On June 4, the CCP sent troops to quash the protests, resulting in the deaths of thousands, according to rights groups’ estimates.
In the episode, the family also visits the embalmed body of former CCP leader Mao Zedong, whom Homer Simpson calls “a little angel that killed 50 million people.”
Under Mao’s leadership, historians have estimated that millions died during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) movement.
In 2020, the company came under fire for partly filming the live-action movie “Mulan” in the Xinjiang region, where Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are being detained in internment camps.
The movie features in its credits a “special thanks” to CCP agencies that are accused of participating in human rights violations against Uyghurs in the region, prompting calls for a boycott of the film.
According to a 2020 report by PEN America, a New York-based nonprofit group focused on defending free speech, U.S. studios’ investment in theme parks in China serves as a form of business pressure, given that companies would stand to lose billions of dollars if Beijing decided to punish them.
“Disney, for example, has a 47 percent stake in the Shanghai Disneyland Park, which opened in 2016 and which cost over $5.5 billion to build,” the report reads.
Forced Labor in China
The CCP has been accused of committing genocide against Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The United Nations released a report in August 2022 detailing abuses committed by the regime.
The U.N. report found that the scale and brutality of the detentions, framed by the CCP as compulsory reeducation camps or “vocational skills education centers,” likely qualified as a crime against humanity.
Tue, 02/07/2023 – 18:00
One week ago, when summarizing Powell’s unexpectedly dovish post-FOMC press conference, we retorted to the Fed’s WSJ mouthpiece Nick Timiraos that the “Keyest takeaway: Burns 2.0 just steamrolled Volcker 2.0.“
Keyest takeaway: Burns 2.0 just steamrolled Volcker 2.0 https://t.co/OQixemDItY
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) February 1, 2023
Wall Street, where bearish sentiment continues to dominate…
… did not like this assessment, instead arguing that the bulls only heard what they wanted to hear, that Powell was much more hawkish, etc, etc, and that the real Powell would be revealed today during his interview with David Rubenstein at the Economic Club in Washington, where he would shock the world with his unabashed hawkishness, or something. That did not happen, instead here are the highlights.
- Disinflation has begun but has begun in the goods sector, about 25% of the economy. Long way to go and it will not be smooth, it will be bumpy move lower.
- Labor market is extraordinarily strong. It’s good that inflation is coming down as we have not seen this before with a strong labor market.
- Powell says that he sometimes gets the data the night before but only him with no clarification on which types of data that he receives.
- On rate cuts by year-end, are markets wrong to remove those cuts? He had a data dependency type of response.
- Not considering changing the 2% target
- The shortage of workers feels more structural than cyclical, which is a problem.
- Says labor market is “at least at maximum employment” which he defines as when a person wants a job, they can get a job. Says we may be beyond max employment. As JPM explains, this is the fear factor that full employment triggers inflation. If last Friday’s print is true, it seemingly disproves the hypothesis.
- QT is passive not active and will take a couple years to get to a comfortable level. MBS sales are not on the list of active discussions.
Some more from JPM chief economist Michael Feroli:
Powell’s remarks today at the Economic Club of Washington were pretty similar to what he said after last Wednesday’s FOMC meeting: disinflation has begun, it has a long way to go, and further interest rate increases are likely needed. While he gave no sense that he was aiming to “set the record straight” after the perceived dovishness of last week’s presser, he did warn that the peak in the funds rate could be higher, particularly if the labor market remained strong. In short, this was a message of data dependency.
Anyway, Powell’s speech has come and gone, and just as we warned last night, not only did he not flip his post-FOMC dovishness (instead beat the data-dependency drum), but with positioning so bearish ahead of his speech today, stocks suffered a blistering delta squeeze (this is how JPM’s desk framed it: “For bullish Equity investors, Powell’s speech was a welcome outcome: assuming the majority of the balance of Fedspeaks this week is in the Bostic camp (2x more hikes, avoid a recession, etc) Powell’s speech today could help balance the view.” More amusingly, it was what we said last week after the first Powell appearance, that prompted BofA’s chief economist Michael Gapen to title his Fed Watch post-mortem note today “Volcker has left the building: Hoping for painless disinflation.” At least he didn’t say Volcker was steamrolled by Burns…
Here’s why the chief economist at BofA agrees with what we said one week ago:
Volker has left the building: Hoping for painless disinflation
In remarks today at The Economic Club of Washington, DC, Chair Powell said that the stellar January employment report did not fundamentally change his view about the outlook for monetary policy, though it did “underscore” his belief that reducing inflation to the 2% target would likely “take time” and involve “ongoing rate hikes.” He added that continued strong employment gains could mean a peak policy rate above where markets are currently pricing (circa 5.0-5.25% based on federal funds futures contracts).
As he did during the press conference following the February FOMC meeting, Powell clearly stated that he believes the disinflation process has begun. That said, he emphasized that it is only clear in goods prices, which are only 25% of core CPI, while the process has yet to show through in services inflation. He said he continues to expect that housing services inflation will slow “in the second half of this year” and nonshelter services inflation will cool when wage growth cools. In addition, he said non-shelter services inflation is his “biggest worry” when it comes to the outlook for inflation.
It is what Gapen says next that goes on to explain the market’s eventual meltup, and close at session highs: i.e., “We’re not in Wyoming anymore“
As we noted following the February FOMC meeting, Chair Powell appears to have embraced recent disinflationary trends and expressed optimism that it will continue. In our view, Chair Powell is placing more weight on an “immaculate disinflation” scenario, where inflation pressures subside without some softening in labor market conditions, including higher unemployment. This stands in contrast to the Powell from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, last August, who leaned strongly into doing whatever it takes to bring inflation down and emphasized that inflation was unlikely to subside without some “pain” in labor markets. To be fair, Powell did say the Fed’ s baseline includes a softening in labor markets, but it took forty minutes of continued questioning to get to this answer.
A slightly different way of saying the same comes from JPM’s Feroli who writes:
Late last year Powell and other Fed speakers seemed intent on managing market expectations. More recently, they appear content conveying that they will respond to the data and letting the market take that as fair warning. This is sensible. While Powell has recently questioned the market’s more benign inflation forecast, he hasn’t protested it too strongly—after all doing so would be asserting with vigor that the Fed will miss its inflation target. Nor has he committed to maintaining restrictive rates for a certain amount of time. Instead, he’s emphasizing what conditions require more or less restraint. Last year the Fed guided the market for many steps of the way, which was easier when the goal line was far away. This year, the market shouldn’t expect the same degree of hand holding.
Incidentally, BofA’s Gapen is less sanguine about a favorable, “immaculate” outcome: “In terms of our outlook for monetary policy, we cannot fully rule out “immaculate disinflation” outcomes. We, too, are optimistic about being past peak inflation and have inflation falling back to the Fed’s 2% by then end of 2024. That said, we would be surprised to see inflation fall all the way back to 2% without a reconciling of the imbalance between labor demand and labor supply. The labor market remains exceptionally hot, labor demand far exceeds labor supply, and, although wage growth has moderated , it continues to run at rates above what the Fed believes is needed to achieve its inflation mandate.”
It’s unclear how the market interpreted that last bit, but judging by the double reversal in stocks and final surge in risk (as well as yields) to close the day, traders were confident enough that “Volcker leaving the building” is good enough to push spoos back to 4300 which appears to be the market’s next destination, at least until such time as bears like Marko and Wilson capitulate.
More in the full note available to pro subs.
Tue, 02/07/2023 – 17:40
Currently, at least twenty-one states in the US are in the process of passing legislation to ban “gender affirming care” within their borders while a handful of states are debating future steps. Under specific scrutiny are transition surgeries and drugs for children. In response, far-left institutions like the ACLU are seeking to intervene and trans protest organizations are raging.
States presenting legislation or debating legislation against gender reassignment for children include: Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Indiana, Wyoming, West Virginia, New Jersey, Kentucky, Mississippi, Kansas, Oregon, Hawaii, Virginia and South Carolina.
It’s likely that any such legislation will fail in Democrat controlled states, but red states will probably succeed. This has created anger among LGBT groups, many of them busing activists into state capitols to protest.
All these people are in the Oklahoma capitol building protesting a bill that will prohibit the sterilization & mutilation of KIDS.
Regardless of their screams, the children must be protected. And that is what will happen, little by little, state by state. pic.twitter.com/B6PwjNkx9G
— Gays Against Groomers (@againstgrmrs) February 6, 2023
Part of what many refer to as the “trans trenders” movement, clinics offering gender affirmation procedures have exploded, going from 1 clinic in 2007 to over 100 clinics today. Corporate sanctioned trans propaganda has also skyrocketed in the past five years. With kids being exposed daily to trans ideology, the number of minors identifying as trans has jumped from less than 1% to around 5% in five years.
The notion of “gender identity” was created by researcher John Money and the Kinsey Institute in the 1960s. It has been repackaged and rebranded in the past five-to-ten years as a “human rights” issue with trans activists declaring themselves an oppressed minority deserving of special treatment.
Part of John Money’s experiments in gender identity included the involuntary gender reassignment of a child named David Reimer, who was born a biological male but suffered irreparable damage to his genitalia as an infant. David was treated as a girl for his entire childhood and not told of his condition.
Despite his upbringing, Reimer rejected the female identity as a young teenager and began living as a male. He suffered severe depression throughout his life, which culminated in his suicide at thirty-eight years old. (John Money was also later exposed for experiments involving pedophile-like behaviors). The majority of today’s gender fluid ideology is rooted in John Money’s failed and in some cases criminal projects involving children, so, it’s not surprising that trans activists would be so insistent that gender bending surgeries and chemical therapies be legal for young kids.
To this day, gender identity remains a subjective concept, making victim group status for trans people an exercise in existentialism rather than constitutional law.
With little to no science backing the notion of “gender” or gender fluidity other than studies into a rare mental illness called Gender Dysphoria, ethical questions are rising. Should states sanction or enable the proliferation of a mental illness? Should states allow the potentially permanent mutilation or chemical castration of kids who have not even fully developed their brains or emotional maturity? Should states look the other way simply because parents want to virtue-brag about having a “trans child?” Is there any proof that trans children even exist, or are they simply indoctrinated and brainwashed victims?
These are the issues that governments and communities are wrestling with. While certain globalist groups such as the Ford Foundation pour millions of dollars into the trans agenda, and the imposition of gender affirmation procedures is hyper-accelerating, there has been little time for Americans to analyze and digest what is happening. All we are told is, if we don’t accept the trans trend at face value and if we don’t support gender procedures for kids, we are bigots.
In terms of constitutional protections, laws regarding children are not as clear cut. The law generally recognizes that children are not competent enough to manage their own medical decisions. By extension, the law also recognizes that some parents are abusive and should not be allowed to expose their children to certain adult situations and conditions.
The same restrictions are at times applied to mentally ill people as well. Not everyone has the right to do everything they want to do in the moment – Some people have to be protected from themselves and others until they are of sound mind. In the case of children, this should be a given, but for whatever reason the political left has chosen the transitioning of kids as the hill to die on.
Tue, 02/07/2023 – 17:20