From Stuck Living at Home to Giving Up on Having Children: Visualizing Economic Realities of Young Adults in America

With nearly 40% of young adults in California living with their parents and a $1.6 trillion student debt crisis taking more than just a little bite out of disposable income (and any hope of saving for many), economist Gary Kimbrough of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has thrown together a ton of interesting data to answer the question: “What are the economic realities for young adults, and how have they changed from prior decades?

While much of Kimbrough’s analysis was done in February, he’s revisited his work ahead of a January presentation on the topic of young adults living at home.

Living at home

What’s more, when broken down by categories “living with parents, household head or spouse of household head, living in group quarters (mostly prisons for these ages), and other arrangements like cohabiting and living with roommates,” it’s startling to watch how young adults have been living at home vs. starting their own families over time

Job switching

When it comes to “job hopping” – young adults are largely staying put – and “aren’t even switching jobs at anything close to the levels of those in their age groups before 2001” according to Kimbrough. 

Everyone has a degree

“In 1992, middle-aged men were significantly more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than women or younger men. Now members of every group age 25-34 are more likely to have degrees than those men were,” writes Kimbrough, adding “Women’s college degree rates have shot up significantly more than men’s.”

Men at (part time) work

Since the Great Recession, Kimbrough noticed that “the propensity to work part time is about the same for women as pre-recession, but is up quite a bit for men under 35. Men 25-29 are still more likely to work PT than any time pre-2009.”

Working women are up, marriages are down

As more women have chosen careers over homemaking, Kimbrough provides an illustration of prime-age employment as a percentage of population, by gender. What’s more, young adult marriages have declined markedly over the last decade, continuing a trend which began mid-century

Gaming overtakes TV time

While not an “economic reality” per-se, it’s interesting to note that young men have been swapping TV-watching time for gaming. 

Of note, and unsurprisingly – young men living at home constitute the bulk of gamers watching less TV.

Owned by rent

Using Census/ACS data, Kimbrough shows how young adults are “significantly more likely to live in rental housing than in prior decades.”

What about the children?

Also unsurprising, with lower marriage rates and higher female employment, women in their 20s are “significantly less likely to have a child than a decade ago,” while those over the age of 32 are slightly more likely to have a kid. 

In short:

Source: ZeroHedge

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Bidding Wars For US Homes Collapse To Eight-Year Low

Bidding wars for homes in Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco have crashed in the past year, reflecting an alarming national trend, according to a new report from Redfin.

The report found that the national bidding-war rate in August was 10.4%, down from 42% a year earlier. The rate printed at the lowest level since 2011.

At the start of 2018, the national bidding-war rate was 59%, then plunged as home buyers became uncomfortable with sky-high housing prices, increasing mortgage rates, and economic uncertainty surrounding the trade war. The housing market started to cool in late 2018, as the competition among home buyers collapsed by 4Q18, this is an ominous sign for the national housing market that could soon face a steep correction in price.

Even with eight months of declining mortgage rates in 2019, bidding-wars among home buyers continue to drop. This is somewhat troubling because the government’s narrative has been declining rates will boom housing, but as of Wednesday, mortgage applications continue to fall. Home buyers aren’t coming off the sidelines, and there’s too much uncertainty surrounding the economy with recession risks at the highest levels in more than a decade.

“Despite remaining near three-year lows, mortgage rates have failed to bring enough buyers to the market to rev up competition for homes this summer,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. Recession fears have been enough to spook some would-be buyers from making the big financial commitment of a home purchase. But assuming a recession doesn’t arrive this fall or winter, consumers will likely adjust to the new ‘normal’ of continued volatility in the stock and global markets, and the people who need and want to make a move will take advantage of low mortgage rates.”

As for one of the hottest real estate markets in the country, that being San Francisco, the bidding-war rate was 31% in August, down from 73.5% a year earlier. The lack of demand has certainly cooled housing prices, now expected to fall 1% YoY.

The rate in San Jose was 10.3% in August, down from 77% a year earlier, and in Seattle, another hot city for real estate, it saw its rate at 9.4%, down from 37.8% last August.

“Competition in the Seattle area has certainly slowed down since the second half of 2018. Last year, five out of five offers I submitted faced competition; now, it’s one in five,” said local Redfin agent Michelle Santos.

“Now, for desirable homes, competition is still fierce, and the winning offer is one that’s above the list price and waives contingencies. At the same time, average homes sit on the market for quite some time before they get any offers.”

With the rapid decline of competition among home buyers and a flood of inventory entering the market, real home prices are starting to correct in major cities. Real price change over the last 12 months is falling in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York, according to new CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index data.

With competition among home buyers evaporating in a very short period of time, this could mean a downturn in the real estate market is imminent.

Source: ZeroHedge

The Rise of the New Left Urbanists

(City Journal) America’s big cities are, without exception, politically blue cities, with a new class of progressive politicians doing real damage to public order. When it comes to urban development, however, the blue monolith breaks down: socialists, city planners, cyclists, environmentalists, pragmatists, and social-justice activists are often at odds with one another. They might all support more housing, more density, and more public transportation, but they disagree sharply on the means for getting there.

In recent years, a new faction has emerged in city politics: what one might call the new Left urbanists. These activists believe that local governments must rebuild the urban environment—housing, transit, roads, and tolls—to produce a new era of city flourishing, characterized by social and racial justice and a net-zero carbon footprint. The urbanists rally around provocative slogans like “ban all cars,” “raze the suburbs,” and “single-family housing is white supremacy”—ironically, since they’re generally white, affluent, and educated themselves. They’re often employed in public or semipublic roles in urban planning, housing development, and social advocacy. They treat public housing, mass transit, and bicycle lanes as a kind of holy trinity—and they want to impose their religion on you.

Housing is the central political battleground for these progressive activists. As David Madden and Peter Marcuse write in their book, In Defense of Housing: “The residential is political—which is to say that the shape of the housing system is always the outcome of struggles between different groups and classes.” Their goal is not simply to get new housing built but to build new housing owned, operated, and controlled by the state. If they can dictate how cities construct new housing, their logic goes, they can dictate how people live—and set right society’s economic, social, and moral deficiencies.

The urbanists laid out their plans in a widely circulated report from the People’s Policy Project, a crowd-funded organization founded in 2017 that seeks to “fill the holes left by the current think tank landscape with a special focus on socialist and social democratic economic ideas.” They envision the construction of 10 million “municipal homes” over the next ten years. Under this proposal, government would become the nation’s largest landlord and residential construction firm, building more housing units than the entire private construction industry. The abysmal record of public housing in the United States, from the Cabrini-Green Homes in Chicago to the Foote Homes in Memphis, where crime and blight prevailed, makes no difference to these urbanists. They have simply rebranded “housing projects” to “municipal homes,” arguing that public housing has been “unjustly stigmatized” and that these new units will somehow avoid the fate of American public-housing ventures over the past half-century. They believe that the new “municipal homes” will resemble neighborhoods in Stockholm, Vienna, or Helsinki rather than in Detroit, Newark, or Oakland.

The question for the activists is not just how much new housing gets built but who builds it and who will live in it. That is, new developments must also tick off the boxes of identity politics. In cities like San Francisco, some activists have taken the hardline position of opposing all private housing construction, regardless of how it might reduce the cost of housing for middle-class residents. In an essay in the San Francisco Examiner, public-housing activists Andrew Szeto and Toshio Meronek called advocates for more private-market housing part of a “libertarian, anti-poor campaign to turn longtime sites of progressive organizing into rich-people-only zones” and compared them with alt-right white nationalists.

One might dismiss this as radical posturing in a local alt-weekly, but public-housing advocates have seized real power in city hall. They have learned how to use the zoning and permitting bureaucracy to achieve their goals of no new private development. In San Francisco’s Mission District, activists forced Laundromat owner Bob Tillman to spend $1.4 million and nearly five years to gain permission to convert his business into an apartment building. Activists and their enablers in city hall claimed that Tillman’s project would cause gentrification and displace minority residents, and forced him through a gauntlet of Kafkaesque legal proceedings. At one point, the planning commission even hired a “shadow consultant” to offer an expert opinion on whether the shadows cast by the proposed building would create social and racial inequities. To the new Left urbanists, housing isn’t just housing; it must be evaluated on social-justice standards. If it fails to measure up, it must go.

In New York City, progressive urbanists have seized on public transportation as a primary instrument of “social, environmental, immigrant, and economic justice.” New York’s subway system was designed in the early twentieth century to serve the practical needs of city residents, but today’s activists have come to see its tunnels and trains as grand mechanisms for cosmic justice. In its annual “Transportation and Equity” report, for example, the Straphangers Campaign argues that “the most vulnerable New Yorkers suffer disproportionately from high fares, long commutes, polluted air, and dangerous streets,” and therefore, “equity demands that state leaders prioritize transit in the public budget and policymaking process.”

The Straphangers estimate that an additional $30 billion in tax revenues would be needed to complete its desired overhaul of the mass-transit system, with a ten-year goal of upgrading 11 subway lines, building 130 new accessible subway stations, and purchasing 3,000 new subway cars and 5,000 new buses. While state and local leaders haven’t signed up for such an ambitious plan, they do support some of the Straphangers’ funding proposals to expand the transit system—including congestion pricing, a “millionaire’s tax,” marijuana tax, stock-transfer tax, and even a $3-per-package tax on Amazon deliveries.

Most New Yorkers would agree that investment in mass transit is a necessity, and there is a reasonable argument for congestion pricing in traffic-glutted Manhattan—but the activists don’t formulate their arguments on these practical grounds. A close reading of their reports reveals that the long-term vision involves elimination of the automobile, which remains a staple for middle-class residents in New York’s outer boroughs. In the Straphangers’ plan, activists want to restrict curbside space for cars dramatically by building “protected bike lanes on all major arterial streets across the five boroughs,” “giving developers incentives to contribute toward sustainable transportation over private vehicle usage,” and eliminating parking requirements for new housing projects. Activists deploy euphemisms like “transportation alternatives” and “transportation choices”; but at heart, their vision for mass transportation is not about choice but control. They want to remake the urban infrastructure in their own image: green, moral, healthy, just, and in solidarity with the masses—at least as those masses exist in their imagination.

The new Left urbanists’ fatal mistake is their failure to absorb the reality that cities are not just buildings, roads, tunnels, and bike lanes, but living entities. The urbanists can demolish and rebuild the physical environment, but they cannot pave over the people who make up our cities. Life in a metropolis is simply too complex, too variable, and too ephemeral—it will evade even the most careful planning. If we want better, more beautiful, cities, we must bring neighbors, developers, employers, and governments into the conversation. Our cities must be built through cooperation, not compulsion.

Source: by Christopher F. Rufo | City Journal

Trump Wants Middle Class To Bail Out Banks With Zero And Negative Interest Rates

(Volfefe begins today) One day before the ECB is expected to cut rates further into negative territory and restart sovereign debt QE, moments ago president Trump resumed his feud with the Fed piling more pressure on Powell to cut rates “to ZERO or less” because the US apparently has “no inflation”, while also crashing the conversation over whether the US should issue ultra-long maturity debt (50, 100 years), saying the US “should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term.” 

At least we now know who is urging Mnuchin to launch 50 and 100 year Treasuries. What we don’t know is just what school of monetary thought Trump belongs to – aside from Erdoganism of course – because while on one hand Trump claims that “we have the great currency, power, and balance sheet” on the other the US president also claims that “the USA should always be paying the lowest rate.” In a normal world, the strongest economy tends to pay the highest interest rate, but in this upside down world, who knows anymore, so maybe the Fed has just itself to blame.

Trump’s conclusion: “It is only the naïveté of Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing. A once in a lifetime opportunity that we are missing because of “Boneheads.”

Expect even more badgering of the Fed once the ECB cuts rates tomorrow.

One parting thought: if Bolton was fired for disagreeing with Trump over the Taliban, we wonder just how stable Powell’s job will be once the market actually does drop.

Source: ZeroHedge

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JPMorgan Launches “Volfefe Index” To Track Impact Of Trump’s Tweets On Market Volatility

(Australia) Banks Are Now Referring Borrowers to Foodbank to Help Keep Up On Mortgage Payments

Foodbank South Australia has been approached by banks wanting to refer their clients to the charity, in the hope it will prevent people from defaulting on mortgage payments.

It comes as a new report has shown mental distress is increasing in older Australians, with nearly half of all homeowners aged 55 to 64 still paying off a mortgage — up from just 14 per cent 30 years ago.

Foodbank South Australia is now working on a new agreement which would enable clients to access its food services directly, with a voucher funded by the major bank.

However, Foodbank South Australia chief executive Greg Pattinson told ABC Radio Adelaide it was still exploring how the program would work.

“That’s what we are exploring with some of the banks at the moment … it hasn’t started yet because we are still working through the process.

“We’ve never been approached by financial institutions in the past and the banks, to their credit, are doing the right thing in trying to find a way of keeping people in their houses.”

He said traditionally, Foodbank worked through charities and the welfare sector but it had seen an increase in the number of people who require food assistance that are working.

“Increasingly we are being approached now by organisations other than traditional charities, so schools for example, where the schools have identified the children of parents who are doing it tough,” he said.

“Each year we’ve seen an increase in South Australia of anywhere up to 20 per cent in the number of people seeking food assistance.”

‘Cost of living’ is causing a shift

Mr Pattinson said the stereotype of a person or family that required food assistance was diminishing.

He said more people must be suffering from mortgage stress because more of those needing help were from working families.

“We certainly do provide services to the unemployed and to people who are homeless,” he said.

“But we are seeing an increase in the numbers of working families and working Australians who are needing to seek food assistance because of cost of living increases.

“We see an increase in demand, for example every three months, when people get their electricity bills.

“It’s a case of those weeks where people are saying, ‘we’ll make sure the kids are fed, the roof is over our head but mum and dad don’t eat this week’.”

Trying to help clients ‘balance their budget’

Mr Pattinson said the fact it had been approached by the banks had shown a significant shift and Foodbank was working on a project to support those in need.

“We’re getting inquiries from schools, pastoral care workers, from principals at various schools around the state,” he said.

“And increasingly, we are now seeing inquiries from banks and financial institutions who are looking to try and find a way of helping their clients balance their budget.”

He said the program was still in its early stages, but he hoped Foodbank would have a concrete program in place within the next two to three months.

“It may even be as simple as the banks referring their clients to the Foodbank food hubs,” he said.

“But there would obviously be conditions to that which would have to be assessed by the bank to make sure those people … are genuinely in need of those services.

“We don’t want to shift the food away from people who are genuinely needing it.”

Source: by Brittany Evans | ABC.net.au

Gold and Silver Have Become The Strongest Money Since Q2

Recently, one big name money manager after another is on record telling people to buy hard assets. Why? Financial writer and precious metals expert Bill Holter says they all know what is coming. Holter contends,

“They understand that this is going to be the biggest monetary debasement in the history of history. They understand it’s hyperinflation that is on its way. They are late to the game, and they do manage billions and billions of dollars, and I don’t see how people talking about buying gold and buying silver are going to be able to get actual physical silver and physical gold in their hands or in their vaults.”

Holter is warning of a failure to deliver metal because demand is out-running supply. Holter says, “So far, this year . . . for gold, they have already EFP (Exchange for Physical) 4,200 tons just for the first eight months. . . . They don’t have the inventories to deliver. . . . The point being that is 4,200 tons in eight months. The world only produces 3,300 tons (of gold a year) and if you take out Russia and China, which do not export (gold), the whole total for the year is 2,800 tons. So, it looks like we are going to end up with 6,000 tons of gold EFP demand for delivery in a world that is only producing 2,800 tons. In silver, it’s worse. In silver in the first eight months, there has been 1.6 billion ounces EFP. That number is going to end up to about 2.4 billion of silver ounces (EFP) and the world produces less than 800 million ounces a year. The bottom line to what all this means is there is going to be a failure to deliver. Once there is a failure to deliver, only the Lord knows what kind of prices we are going to be looking at for gold and silver.”

Holter says a failure to deliver is not a maybe but a sure thing. Holter says, “Whether it is this year or the first few months of next year, it doesn’t matter. It is going to happen. . . . I can basically guarantee there is going to be a failure to deliver, and that failure to deliver is going to unmask and scare the crap out of the entire fractional reserve banking system and the fractional reserve commodity system. The whole thing is going to come down in a panic because somebody gets a failure to deliver. . . . If you listen to what Trump is saying, he wants a lower dollar. How much of a lower dollar does he want? He’s talking about debasing the currency to make the debt payable. . . . That is the most palatable way for any government to pay debt and that is to debase the currency and pay it off in monkey money.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with precious metals expert Bill Holter

World’s Largest Pension Fund Warns About Risk of Losing on Every Front

Max and Stacy discuss the synchronized markets causing pension fund managers to lose money in every single asset class. As trillions and trillions of freshly minted fiat money sloshes around the financial system looking for any return, Japan’s pension fund manager warns this time is different. Max continues his interview with Craig Hemke of TFMetalsReport.com about gold markets and how negative interest rates, hyperinflating at a rate of $1 trillion per week, will impact fiat currencies.

Check-Mate For Central Banks: Negative Rates & Gold