Category Archives: Housing

“Micro-Homes” Sprout Up All Over Bay Area To House The Growing Homeless Population

Roughly one year ago we shared the plans of a billionaire real estate developer in San Francisco who wanted to build communities for the homeless in Bay Area neighborhoods using stackable steel shipping containers (see: San Fran Billionaire Luanches Plan To House Homeless In Shipping Containers).  Not surprisingly, the efforts were met with some resistance from the liberal elites of Santa Clara who, despite their vocal support of any number of federal subsidy programs for low-income families, would prefer that those low-income families, and their subsidies, stay far away from their posh, suburban, “safe places.”

Alas, as the San Francisco Chronicle points out today, like it or not, the boom in “micro-houses” is just getting started in the Bay Area with nearly 1,000 tiny homes, with less than 200 square feet of living space, currently being planned in San Francisco, San Jose, Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland and Santa Rosa.

Planners say that’s just the beginning. “We’re very excited about micro-homes,” said Lavonna Martin, director of Contra Costa County’s homeless programs. “They could be a big help. They have a lot of promise, and our county is happy to be on the cutting edge of this one. We’re ready.”

Contra Costa has a $750,000 federal homelessness grant to pay for 50 stackable micro-units of supportive housing, and Richmond Mayor Tom Butt would like to see them in his city. Developer Patrick Kennedy brought a prototype of his MicroPad unit to Richmond in November, and county and city leaders say they are leaning toward choosing it.

“They’re very fine, and they make a nice-looking building,” Butt said. “They’d be good for anybody looking for housing.”

The beauty of the tiny units is that they can be built in a fraction of the time it takes to construct typical affordable housing, and at a sliver of the cost, which means a lot of homeless folks can be housed quickly.

The homes have also caught on in San Jose where the City Council just approved $2.4 million to build a village of 40 units to help house the homeless.  Of course, just like in Santa Clara, San Jose residents are lashing out at city officials over plans that they say will only serve to increase neighborhood crime.

San Jose resident Sue Halloway told the council she was afraid putting the village near residences would increase “neighborhood crime, neighborhood blight (and) poor sanitation,” and predicted that it would be “a magnet for more homeless.”

City Councilman Raul Peralez said he understands such concerns, but that “there are no facts surrounding these tiny homes and whatever blight or crime they might bring, because we haven’t done them yet.”

“I tell people you really have two options,” said Peralez, who said he wants the village in his downtown district. “You can allow the homeless to live on the streets, or you can provide not only shelter but services in a confined area — with security. In my mind, that’s a way better option for managing this community in an organized way.”

So, what do the stackable units look like?  As seen in the video below, prototypes from one manufacturer, MicroPad, come complete with full bathrooms and kitchens and have up to 160-180 square feet of living space…

“These micro-homes may seem small at 160 to 180 square feet, but they’re actually pretty spacious when you’re in them,” she said. “And they go up very fast.”

Kennedy’s MicroPads have showers, beds and kitchens. Individually they resemble shipping containers, but once they’re bolted together with siding and utilities, they look like a regular building.

…which is more or less considered a mansion by struggling New York artist standards.

Source: ZeroHedge

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Turmoil Grows Over Prepayment Of Property Taxes

A  matter of immediate importance to many property owners – prepayment of property taxes – is rapidly descending into chaos and unfairness.

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Can you prepay property taxes before the end of this year or not? You can for purposes of getting a deduction in 2017 under the new federal tax law, but the problem is whether your county will accept prepayment. It varies by county, which is obviously unfair, and reports are very confusing on what the rules are.

If you own in Cook County, try to prepay your 2017 taxes (due in two halves in 2018) and you’ll find that the county is only set up to allow you to pay 55% of the prior year’s tax. The place to do so is linked here.

But look here and you’ll see suburban McHenry County allows you to prepay a full year’s taxes, apparently, but you have to sign an agreement by Dec. 29. In fact, this article says you can prepay two years worth of taxes. (I don’t know how far out the federal tax code would allow deductibility, however.)

Nearby Kendall County, however, reportedly, is “taking a beating” from irate taxpayers because they can’t accept any prepayments!

Here’s a Daily Herald article discussing disparate rules in a few other suburban counties.

Compare that to Wisconsin. It was easy to prepay a full year based on one county I looked at — Walworth. Bills there came out a couple weeks ago for 2017 taxes due in two installments in 2018, but you could send in a full check anytime.

We’re not alone. “Residents can’t prepay property taxes in Montgomery County in Maryland, but they can in Fairfax and D.C,” according to a Washington Post article linked here. So, Montgomery County just announced a special session to to change its rules. In New Jersey, a state lawmaker is pushing the governor to expedite help to allow early prepayments.

This is important because many, many taxpayers will not be able to deduct property taxes under the new federal tax law after this year, or they will find that of no value because of the big increase in the standard deduction. Either way, prepaying to make them deductible this year will save many taxpayers thousands of dollars.

I’ve marked this article “story developing” because I expect a firestorm to develop over the unfairness of having different rules. Also, most of those rules appear not to be a matter of law but instead just an issue of what procedures various counties happen to have set up. I suspect there will be litigation over whether those different administrative procedures can properly be the basis for very different federal tax liabilities. Maybe Congress or state legislatures will act somehow to impose consistency in how much can be prepaid.

Source: ZeroHedge

What’s Hot: Home Trends in the Pipeline for 2018

Every industry tracks innovations in its field, and housing is no different. As a real estate pro, here are the need-to-know products and services promising to transform homes and your clients’ lifestyles over the next year or so.

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The big-picture view on housing trends in 2018 center around integrating technology and creating healthy and connected living environments. That’s why building materials, systems, and products that speak to these concerns are expected to generate greater buzz in the coming year. And with more generations living under the same roof, home-related features that provide an extra pair of hands or calming—even spiritual—influence are also being enthusiastically embraced. Here’s a sampling of coming trends that are important to understand and share with clients.

The Rise of the Tech Guru

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Why now: Smart homes are getting smarter, with homeowners increasingly purchasing devices and apps that perform tasks such as opening blinds, operating sprinkler systems, and telling Alexa what food to order. But not all these helpers speak the same language, nor do they always work together harmoniously. “Even plugs and chargers aren’t necessarily universal for different appliances and phones,” says Lisa Cini, senior living designer and author of The Future is Here: Senior Living Reimagined (iUniverse, 2016). Also, with more devices competing for airtime, Wi-Fi systems may not be strong enough to operate throughout a home, which results in dead spots, she says. “What many homeowners need is a skilled tech provider who makes house calls, assesses what’s needed, and makes all the tech devices hum effortlessly at the same time.”

What you should do: More buyers want to see listings updated to take advantage of all technological possibilities from the moment they move in. Add a home technology source to your list of trusted experts. You might even be able to offer a free first visit as a closing gift.

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Smart Glass Adds Privacy, Energy Savings

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Why now: As more homes feature bigger and more numerous windows, homeowners will naturally look for ways to pare down the energy costs, lack of privacy, and harmful ultraviolet rays that can accompany them. Next year, glass company Kinestral will begin offering a residential option to their line of windows and skylights. Called Halio, the technology allows users to tint glazing electronically up to 99.9 percent opacity. The company claims this can eliminate the need for blinds, shades, and curtains. “You’ll be able to tell Alexa to tint your windows, which will also provide privacy,” says Craig Henricksen, vice president of product and marketing for Halio. He notes that previously, the commercial version only offered the choice between yellow, brown, or blue casts, but that they’ll now add in an appealing gray tint to the mix. Windows come in a variety of sizes, and contractors can install the cable and low voltage system required to change the tinting. Homeowners can control the tint by voice command through an app, manual operation with switch, or with preset controls. Henricksen says Halio can save homeowners up to 40 percent off their energy bill, and that while the initial cost is around five to six times greater than similar low-E glass, the fact that traditional window treatments won’t be needed means the investment gap narrows.

What you should do: This is an important option to keep in mind if buyers are unsure about big, long runs of windows in a listing. It may make sense to price out options for your particular listing to help home shoppers understand how much it might cost to retrofit the space with such technology.

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Spiritual Gardens That Lift the Soul

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Why now: Homeowners have long seen their gardens as a place for quiet reflection, so choosing plants and designs that have a physical tie to spirituality is a natural next move. The trend may have started with Bible gardens, which use any number of the more than 100 plants mentioned in the Christian text to populate a restful repose. “So many are good choices because they are hardy, scented, edible, and can withstand harsh climates and environments,” says F. Nigel Hepper, with the Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, and author of Illustrative Encyclopedia of Biblical Plants (Inter-Varsity Press, 1992). But people of all faiths, or even those simply drawn to botanical history, can appreciate such spaces. “Around for generations, they feed the body and the soul,” says landscape designer Michael Glassman, who designed such a garden in the shape of a Jewish star as a meditative spot at one of Touro University’s campuses. He filled it with mint, pomegranate trees, sage, and other plants that are mentioned in ancient religious texts. Hepper says labeling and providing detailed context to plantings can transform a miscellaneous, obscure collection into an instructive experience.

What you should do: Find out if your local area has a peace garden that could provide examples of this trend. Homeowners might also find inspiration on the grounds of hospitals and assistance care facilities, which often create healing gardens for patients and family members.

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Kitchens That Do More Than Just Look Pretty

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Why now: An emphasis on eating fresh, healthy foods may mean more frequent trips to grocery stores and farmers markets, but it could also change the architecture of our kitchens. Portland, Ore.–based designer Robin Rigby Fisher says many of her higher-end clients want a refrigerator-only column to store their fresh foods, installing a freezer or freezer drawer in a separate pantry or auxiliary kitchen. The container-gardening industry is vying for counter space with compact growing kits that often feature self-watering capabilities and grow lights. Fisher is also getting more requests for steam ovens that cook and reheat foods without stripping them of key nutrients, though she notes that these ovens can cost $4,000 and have a steeper learning curve than conventional ones. Homeowners also want to be able to use their kitchen comfortably, which means having different or variable counter heights that work for each member of the family, ample light for safe prepping, easy-to-clean counter tops, and flooring that’s softer underfoot, such as cork.

What you should do: Be able to point out the beneficial elements of appliances and features in your listing, such as the antimicrobial nature of surfaces like quartzite and copper.

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Home Robots to the Rescue

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Why now: With lifestyles that seem busier by the day and many families inviting elders who require assistance to live with them, robots that can perform multiple services are gaining in popularity. IRobot’s Braava robots mop and vacuum floors, while Heykuri’s Kuri robot captures short videos of key life moments, including pets’ antics when owners are away. Some robots offer health benefits that mimic real pets, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, says Cini. She says Hasbro’s Joy for All line of furry robot dogs and cats can provide companionship for the elderly with dementia.

What you should do: Ask buyers about pain points in their current homes that might be mitigated by these new interactive technologies.

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Black Is the New Gray

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Why now: Palettes change all the time, and some feel the interest in black is a welcome contrast after years of off-whites, grays, and beiges. The hue is coming on strong in every category—appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting, metal finishes, hardware, and soft goods, according to commercial interior designer Mary Cook of Mary Cook Associates. She appreciates black’s classic, neutral, sophisticated touch and notes it can be a universal mixer. “Black is a welcome accent in any palette,” she says. Marvin Windows and Doors launched its Designer Black line this year, incorporating a hip industrial vibe. Designer Kristie Barnett, owner of the Expert Psychological Stager training company in Nashville, loves how black mullions draw the eye out toward exterior views more efficiently than white windows can. Kohler has released its popular Numi line and Iron Works freestanding bath in black. Even MasterBrand cabinets are available in black stains and paints. For homeowners who prefer to step lightly into the trend, Chicago designer Jessica Lagrange suggests painting a door black.

What you should do: Suggest black accents as an option for sellers looking to update their homes to appear more modern.

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Air Locks Preserve Energy, Increase Security

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Why now: Incorporating two airtight doors has become a popular way for homeowners to cut energy costs. The double barrier helps keep outside air from entering the main portion of the house and provides a better envelope seal. “We rarely design a house nowadays without one,” says Orren Pickell, president of Orren Pickell Building Group in Northfield, Ill. It’s not just energy homeowners save, though; Pickell says it also supports the trend of more people shopping online. “It keeps packages safer than being left in full view” because delivery services can leave them inside the first door. Homeowners will need a minimum area of five feet squared in order to make this work. Costs vary by project size but it could run homeowners as much as $10,000 to add a small space beyond a front or back door. This usually costs less in new construction or as part of a larger remodeling project, Pickell says.

What you should do: If homeowners are thinking about making changes to their main entryway, be sure to alert them to this trend so they can decide if it makes sense to incorporate it. It may be expensive, but it’s not likely to go out of fashion anytime soon.

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Maximized Side Yards

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Why now: As a national trend toward smaller lot sizes combines with surging interest in maximizing outdoor space, one area that’s often neglected is the side yard. But designers are beginning to pay attention, transforming these afterthoughts into aesthetically pleasing, functional places that buffer a home from neighbors, says Glassman. He suggests growing plants such as star jasmine, climbing roses, and clematis vertically along the siding or a fence. He has created a pleasant pass-through to a backyard, with meandering walkways flanked by ornamental grasses or honeysuckle. Homeowners who have extra space here might consider adding a small recirculating water feature or a tiny sitting area.

What you should do: Pay special attention to side yards when evaluating a home that’s about to go up on the market. Sellers don’t need to spend much to make this space stand out, and any little thing is better than the feeling that the space has been “thrown away, since real estate is so valuable,” Glassman says.

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Battery Backup Systems Offer Resilience

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Why now: Any home owner who’s experienced a weather-related disaster, such as hurricanes, forest fires, and torrential downpours, understands the peace of mind that comes from having systems in place to help withstand Mother Nature’s worst punches. One example of this is a battery backup that integrates into a home’s electric system and operates during power outages, says architect Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning in Chicago. The backup batteries can store either electricity from the grid or renewable energy generated onsite by solar panels or other means. A key advantage is that the system doesn’t create the noise and pollution you get with an old-school generator, because it doesn’t use natural gas or diesel fuel. While they’re generally more expensive than traditional fossil fuel systems, prices do continue to drop.

What you should do: Understand the difference between a battery backup system and a typical generator, even if you’re not working in an area that sees frequent extreme weather events.

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Missing Middle Housing

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Why now: Architect Daniel Parolek, principal at Opticos Design in Berkeley, Calif., sees a solution emerging for the mismatch between demand and the housing that’s actually been delivered over the last 20 to 30 years. “Thirty percent of home buyers are single, and their numbers may swell to 75 to 85 percent by 2040, yet 90 percent of available housing is designed for families and located in single-family home neighborhoods,” he says. Parolek says builders must fill in this demand with smaller housing of 600 to 1,200 square feet, usually constructed in styles such as duplexes and cottages communities, and preferably in walkable areas. He cites Holmes Homes’ small townhouses at Daybreak in South Jordan, Utah, as an affordable transit-oriented development that follows missing middle principles.

What you should do: Know where existing missing middle housing may be hiding in your community, so you can help buyers of all ages seeking smaller homes. Also, look for opportunities to invest, either for yourself or your clients, in a type of housing that will likely see more demand than supply in the coming years. 

By Barbara Ballinger | RealtorMag

New Home Sales Smash Expectations: Spike To 10 Year Highs As Average Price Tops $400k For First Time

Following the bounce in exisitng home sales (albeit lower YoY), new home sales ripped back higher in October (up 6.2% vs expectations of a 6.1% drop) following a big downward revision of last month’s manic spike. This is the highest print for new home sales since Nov 2007.

The 6.2% surge is a six standard deviation beat of expectations…

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September’s 18.9% spike was revised notably lwoer to a 14.2% jump to 685k SAAR…

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This is the highest new home sales SAAR print since Nov 2007… but still has a long way to go back to ‘normal’…

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And finally, we note that the average new home sales price hit a new record high, above $400K for the first time ever – $400,200.

Source: ZeroHedge

“Granite Islands And Backsplashes”: Even Singlewide Trailers Are No Longer “Affordable”

 

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Since the early 1900s, millions of Americans have relied on trailers as a source of no-frills, affordable housing.  In fact, roughly 22 million Americans live in trailer parks today, but the industry is hardly the stable source of affordable housing that it used to be…a lesson that 73-year-old Judy Goff of Naples, Florida recently discovered the hard way after Hurricane Irma ripped through her park and destroyed her home, along with roughly 1.8 million others.

As Bloomberg points out, when Goff went to a local LeeCorp dealer lot to replace her $46,000, 1,200 square foot trailer with something of similar size and value, what she found instead was “manufactured homes” stuffed with high-end upgrades like granite counter-tops and vaulted ceilings that rendered them too expensive for her $23,000 per year of income.

Last month, Judy Goff, a 73-year-old hardware store clerk whose double-wide in Naples, Fla., was blown to bits, pulled into a LeeCorp Homes Inc. sales lot and wandered through models with kitchen islands and vaulted ceilings. In the salesman’s office, she got the total price, including a carport, taxes, and removal of her destroyed trailer: $140,000. “I don’t have that kind of money,” said Goff as she stood amid the wreckage of her old home, whose walls and ceiling were stripped away, leaving her leather furniture and a lifetime of possessions to bake in the sun. “That was all I had.”

Goff—who just wants to replace the wrecked 1,200-square-foot trailer that she bought 17 years ago for $46,000, including the cost of land—says she feels boxed in. Her mobile-home community won’t allow single-wide homes or older used models as replacements. And every home must have a carport. She’s willing to give up such upgrades as the higher-end countertops, but that probably won’t be enough. Between her Social Security check and income from her job at Ace Hardware Corp., she earns only about $23,000 a year. “I just want a home that’s equal to what I had,” she says. “My home was a beauty.”

“I get that higher-end countertops and kitchen islands are where the better margins are, but that’s also going to put homes out of reach for a lot of buyers,” says Doug Ryan, director of affordable homeownership at the Washington nonprofit Prosperity Now. “The storm is revealing a whole lot of problems in the low-cost housing market.”

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Meanwhile, as we note frequently, while the cost of manufactured homes has surged, the pay for the bottom fifth of American wage earners has been somewhat stagnant for nearly two decades now. Even after a modest uptick recently, the bottom 20% of households have seen their income fall 9% since 2000, in real terms.

But, as low-income households have found it increasingly difficult to rebuild after devastating hurricanes, the surge in manufacturing home pricing has been a boon for billionaire Warren Buffett who made a big financial bet on the largest manufactured housing builder, Clayton Homes, back in 2003.

The industry, led by Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes Inc., is peddling such pricey interior-designer touches as breakfast bars and his-and-her bathroom sinks. These extras, plus manufacturers’ increased costs for labor and materials, have pushed average prices for new double-wides up more than 20 percent in five years, putting them out of reach for many of the newly homeless.

Phil Lee, the 74-year-old founder of LeeCorp, has been riding a wave of retiring baby boomers who want affordable luxury. Driving a reporter in his black BMW SUV through Bayside Estates in Fort Myers Beach, where many of the fanciest homes he sells are installed, Lee points out units with pitched roofs that look almost indistinguishable from conventional homes, facing canals with boats tied outside. Their owners, former dentists, doctors, executives, and others, spent upwards of $150,000 to buy aging units just to clear the way for something more luxurious. On a palm-lined street flanked by ranks of 1970s-era trailers, Lee sees profit. “There’s no end to replacing these homes,” he says. “You get a hurricane in there and it really accelerates things.”

Terms such as “mobile home” or “trailer” are now verboten in an industry striving to break free of its downscale origins. Buffett’s Clayton Homes, which produces almost half of all new manufactured housing in the U.S. and competes with such companies as Cavco Industries Inc. and Champion Home Builders Inc., still builds lower-priced units, but there’s barely a sign of them on its website, which is mostly devoted to high-price models. The 2,000-square-foot Bordeaux features a separate tub and shower, a computer station, and a mud room, with prices starting at $121,000 and ranging as high as $238,000, not including delivery and installation costs. Clayton declined to comment.

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Of course, while mobile homes are becoming increasingly cost-prohibitive for low-income families in Florida and Texas, Silicon Valley’s future tech billionaires can’t seem to get enough of them.

Source: ZeroHedge

Beware The Marginal Buyer, Borrower, And Renter

 

Bubbles always look unstoppable, yet they always burst.

When times are good, the impact of the marginal buyer, borrower and renter on the market is often overlooked. By “marginal” I mean buyers, borrowers and renters who have to stretch their finances to the maximum to afford the purchase, loan or rent.

In bubble manias, buyers of real estate reckon the potential appreciation gains are worth the risk of buying a house they really can’t afford with the intention of flipping the home for a profit.

Workers moving to high-rent cities reckon they’ll either make more money going forward or find a cheaper flat later, so they pony up the high rent.

When there’s steady overtime or generous tips adding to the household income, buying a new car or getting a new auto lease looks do-able.

It’s difficult to assess how many recent buyers, borrowers and renters are marginal, but given the stagnation in household incomes and rising debt loads, it seems reasonable to guess that a substantial number of recent buyers, borrowers and renters are one lay-off or one missed bonus or one unexpected expense away from being unable to pay their mortgage, loan payment or rent.

On the surface, home and auto sales and the rental market all look robust because there’s no differentiation in sales data between people paying cash, qualified buyers/renters and marginal buyers/renters for whom every month is a stretch.

There have been times in my life when I was down to my last $100, and if things don’t turn up very quickly and in a sustained fashion when finances are that fragile, then payments will be missed at the first unexpected drop in income or first unexpected expense. Budget-killers include medical emergency, illness/lost work time, major car repairs and a host of other everyday risks.

There’s another layer of recent buyers who don’t feel they’re marginal–but their financial stability is more contingent than they realize. Their employment seems solid, but their employers sales and profits are more contingent and fragile than they realize.

When good times reverse to bad times, every enterprise with marginal sales takes a hit, and layoffs follow as night follows day. When times are good, layoffs are not even on the horizon. But when the economic tides recede, skittish, hollowed-out, and/or debt-burdened employers push the layoff button sooner rather than later because their own financial structure is so fragile.

Those laid off assume they will find another job quickly because in good times, there appears to be a labor shortage. But when the tide ebbs, the job offers dry up seemingly overnight.

The Grand Illusion being pushed by central bankers and conventional pundits is that another round of interest rate cuts and quantitative easing (QE) will restart the economy should it falter. This is illusion because it ignores how much of the market is dependent on marginal businesses, buyers, borrowers and renters who will not benefit from QE or a tiny decline in interest rates.

Conventional economists don’t quantify marginal businesses, buyers, borrowers and renters, and so the rapidity of the next drop in the economy will come as a great surprise to them. There is little to no awareness of how many enterprises, buyers, borrowers and renters are hanging on by a slender thread–and how many who reckon their finances are robust are one layoff away from insolvency.

Bubbles always look unstoppable, yet they always burst. The symmetry in this chart of the Case Shiller Housing Index for San Francisco suggests the clock is ticking on markets being propped up by marginal buyers, borrowers and renters:

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By Charles Hugh Smith | Of Two Minds

Rental Insecurity: Survey Finds 1 in 5 American Renters Missed a Payment in Past 3 Months

A new survey conducted by ApartmentList.com recently found that Americans, despite historically low unemployment levels and surging stock indices which would both seem to suggest that ‘everything is awesome’, are having a very difficult time making ends meet.  Per the survey, some 20% of renters admit they were unable to make their monthly payments on time at least once over the preceding three months with the results being even worse among minorities and those lacking a college degree.

 
 
  • Analyzing data from Apartment List users, we find that nearly one in five renters were unable to pay their rent in full for at least one of the past three months. We estimate that 3.7 million American renters have experienced an eviction.
  • Evictions disproportionately impact the most vulnerable members of our society. Renters without a college education are more than twice as likely to face eviction as those with a four-year degree.
  • Additionally, we find that black households face the highest rates of eviction, even when controlling for education and income. Perhaps most troublingly, households with children are twice as likely to face an eviction threat, regardless of marital status.
  • The impacts of eviction are severe and long-lasting. Evictions are a leading cause of homelessness, and research has tied eviction to poor health outcomes in both adults and children. These effects are persistent, and experiencing an eviction makes it difficult to get back on one’s feet.
  • Performing a metro-level analysis, we find that evictions are most common in metros hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and in those experiencing high rates of poverty. Perhaps counterintuitively, expensive coastal metros have comparatively low rates of eviction, in part because strong job markets with high median wages offset expensive rents in those areas.

As ApartmentList notes, some 3.7 million Americans, of roughly 118 million total renters, have experienced an eviction at some point in their life.  Meanwhile, “rent insecurity” is even more prevalent with nearly 30% of folks making less than $30,000 per year saying they have difficultly making monthly rent payments.

3.7 million Americans have experienced eviction, with rental insecurity affecting nearly one in five.

Our Apartment List estimates show that 3.3 percent of renters have experienced an eviction at some point in the past, and 2.4 percent were evicted from their most recent residence. With an estimated 118 million renters in the U.S. today, we estimate that 3.7 million Americans have been affected by eviction at some point. If we assume that some share respondents fail to report informal evictions, this estimate is most likely understated.

While experiencing eviction is a worst-case scenario with dire effects, a much larger share of renters still struggle with some form of rental insecurity. Our analysis shows that 18 percent of respondents had difficulty paying all or part of their rent within the past three months. The issue is particularly acute for low-income renters, 27.5 percent of whom were recently unable to pay their full rent.

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Renters with just a high school diploma are more than three times as likely to have faced an eviction threat in the past year than those with a Bachelor’s degree.

Of those who did not attend college, 4.1 percent cited an eviction as the reason for their last move, compared to just 1.9 percent of those with at least some college education. This trend points to a broader issue of the housing market leaving behind less educated Americans. A recent Apartment List study showed that the gap in homeownership rates between high school and college graduates widened from 1.6 percent in 1980 to 14.9 percent in 2015.

A similar trend holds when broken down by income. Of those earning less than $30,000 per year, 11 percent faced an eviction threat in the past year, and 3.4 percent were evicted from their previous residence. In contrast, for those earning more than $60,000 per year, these figures are 3.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

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Meanwhile, households with children were found to be twice as likely to face an eviction threat, regardless of marital status.

Single parent households are at the highest risk, with 30.1 percent reporting difficulty paying rent within the past three months. However, married couples with children do not fare much better, with 27.2 percent struggling to pay rent. For those without children, the rates are 14.7 percent for single respondents and 13.3 percent of married respondents. Our findings are consistent with previous research showing that, among tenants who appear in eviction court, those with children are significantly more likely to be evicted.

This result points to the fact the child care represents an essential but often overwhelming expense for many families, even those with both parents in the house. Analysis from Care.com shows that average daycare costs for toddlers range from $8,043 to $18,815 per year. Furthermore, one-third of families surveyed reported that childcare costs take up 20 percent or more of their household income.

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Not surprisingly, evictions were found to be most prevalent in metro areas where poverty rates are the highest.  

Of the 50 largest metros in the nation, evictions are most prevalent in Memphis, with 6.1 percent of users reporting a prior eviction. Most of the metros with the highest eviction rates are located in the South and Midwest and include Atlanta, Indianapolis and Dallas. We find that the factors most strongly correlated with eviction rates include (1) the rate of foreclosures from 2007 to 2008, during the height of the foreclosure crisis, and (2) current poverty rates.

Memphis, for example, has the highest share of its population living in poverty at 19.4 percent, and it also has the highest eviction rate. In metros with high poverty rates, many households may qualify for assistance through programs such as Section 8, but, unfortunately, only a small share of those eligible for such benefits actually receive them, leaving the majority of low-income households struggling to pay rent.

Las Vegas had the second highest foreclosure rate from 2007 to 2008 at 9.2 percent and now has the sixth-highest eviction rate at 5.5 percent. This correlation suggests that many of the areas hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis have had a difficult time recovering. Despite lower housing costs, renters in these areas — some of whom are likely former owners who had their homes foreclosed upon — face a lack of opportunity that makes it difficult for them to pay their rent.

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Of course, with rental rates steadily climbing since the great recession, in spite of stagnant wages, it’s hardly surprising that the Federal Reserve Bank’s controlled “recovery” hasn’t helped all Americans equally.

Source: ZeroHedge