Tag Archives: affordable housing

No Relief In Sight: Housing affordability is weakening at the fastest pace in a quarter century

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  • Rising home prices, rising mortgage rates and rising demand are colliding with a critical shortage of homes for sale. And all of that is slamming housing affordability.
  • This year, affordability — based on the amount of the monthly mortgage payment will weaken at the fastest pace in a quarter century, according to researchers at Arch Mortgage Insurance.
  • Other studies that factor in median income also show decreasing affordability because home prices are rising far faster than income growth.

It is the perfect storm: Rising home prices, rising mortgage rates and rising demand are colliding with a critical shortage of homes for sale.

And all of that is slamming housing affordability, which is causing more of today’s buyers to overstretch their budgets. This year, affordability — a metric based solely on the amount of the monthly mortgage payment — will weaken at the fastest pace in a quarter century, according to researchers at Arch Mortgage Insurance.

The average mortgage payment, based on the median-priced home, increased by 5 percent in the first quarter of 2018 nationally and could go up another 10 to 15 percent by the end of the year, according to their report.

Researchers looked at the median-priced home, now $250,000, and estimated price gains this year of 5 percent in addition to mortgage rates going from 4 percent to 5 percent on the 30-year fixed. Other studies that factor in median income also show decreasing affordability because home prices are rising far faster than income growth.

That is a national picture – but all real estate is local, and some markets will see affordability weaken more dramatically. The average monthly payment in Tacoma, Washington, is estimated to increase 25 percent this year, given sharply rising prices. In Baltimore and Boston, it could rise 21 percent in each. Philadelphia, Detroit and Las Vegas could all see 20 percent increases in the average monthly payment.

“If mortgage rates and home prices continue to rise as expected, affordability will get hammered by year-end as demand continues to outstrip supply,” said Ralph DeFranco, global chief economist-mortgage services at Arch Capital Services. “A strong U.S. economy combined with a housing shortage in many markets means that there is little hope of any price drop for buyers. Whether someone is looking to upgrade or purchase their first home, the window to buy before rates jump again is probably closing fast.”

Barely a decade after home values crashed especially, they are now hovering near their historical peak, accounting for inflation. Prices are being driven by record low inventory of homes for sale. Home builders are still producing well below historical norms, and demand for housing is very hot. The economy is stronger, which is giving younger buyers the incentive and the means to buy homes.

Stretching budgets and pushing limits

Maryland real estate agent Theresa Taylor said the supply shortage is hitting buyers hard. She is seeing more clients stretch their budgets to win a deal amid multiple offers.

“People are having to escalate offers on top of rates going up. I’m seeing it in all price ranges,” said Taylor, an agent at Keller Williams. “I am seeing it when I’m getting five offers, and people are trying to package up an offer where they’re pushing their limits.”

Buyers are taking on much higher debt levels today to be able to afford a home. In fact, the share of mortgage borrowers with more than 45 percent of their monthly gross income going to debt payments more than tripled in the second half of last year. Part of that was because Fannie Mae raised that debt-to-income threshold to 50 percent, but clearly there was demand waiting.

“Family income is rising more slowly than home prices and mortgage rates, meaning that the mortgage payment takes a bigger bite out of income for new home buyers,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “CoreLogic’s Market Conditions Indicator has identified nearly one-half of the 50 largest metropolitan areas as overvalued. Often buyers are lulled into thinking these high-priced markets will continue, but we find that overvalued markets will tend to have a slowdown in price growth.”

CoreLogic considers a market overvalued when home prices are at least 10 percent higher than the long-term, sustainable level. High demand makes the likelihood of a national home price decline very slim, but certain markets could see prices cool if supply grows or if there is a hit to the local economy and local employment.

In any case, the more home buyers stretch, the more house-poor they become, and the less money they have to spend in the rest of the economy.

With no relief in either inventory or home price appreciation in sight, the housing market is likely to become even more competitive this year.

At some point, however, there will come a breaking point when sales slow, which is already beginning to happen in some cities. Home prices usually lag sales, so if history holds true, price gains should start to ease next year.

(video interview)

Source: By Diana Olick | CNBC

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Economists Who Push Inflation Stunned That Rising Home Prices Have Put Buyers Deeper Into Debt

Once again, when the government intervenes – this time in housing – the left hand is starting a fire that the right hand is trying to put out. Rising prices for homes are once again pricing out prime borrowers and nobody can “figure out” why this is happening.

It is news like this article reported this morning by the Wall Street Journal that continues to perpetuate the hilarious notion of Keynesian economics as giving a job to one man digging a hole and another job to another man filling it, simply so that they both have jobs.

There is nothing funnier (or sadder) than “economists” struggling to understand how housing prices got so high and why people are taking on more debt in order to purchase them. However, that is the great mystery that the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday morning, making note of the fact that people are “stretching“ in order to purchase homes. What’s the solution to this problem? How about just easing lending standards again? After all, what could go wrong?

Apparently blind to the obvious – that forced inflation could amazingly make things more expensive relative to income – “economists” have hilariously blamed this price/debt delta on lack of supply. Of course, no one has mentioned the credit worthiness of borrowers getting worse or the fact that homes prices are being manipulated in order to offer home ownership to people who otherwise may not be in the market.

More Americans are stretching to buy homes, the latest sign that rising prices are making homeownership more difficult for a broad swath of potential buyers.

Roughly one in five conventional mortgage loans made this winter went to borrowers spending more than 45% of their monthly incomes on their mortgage payment and other debts, the highest proportion since the housing crisis, according to new data from mortgage-data tracker CoreLogic Inc. That was almost triple the proportion of such loans made in 2016 and the first half of 2017, CoreLogic said.

Economists said rising debt levels are a symptom of a market in which home prices are rising sharply in relation to incomes, driven in part by a historic lack of supply that is forcing prices higher.

The “lack of supply” argument is just wonderful – a bunch of “economists” finding a basic free market capitalism solution to a problem that has nothing to do with free market capitalism. Perhaps “economists” can also argue that building more, despite the lack of prime borrower demand, will also have the added benefit of puffing up GDP. From there, it’s only a couple more steps down the primrose path that leads to China’s ghost cities.

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And of course, people are worried that we could have a “weak selling season” upcoming. In a free market economy, weakness is necessary and normal. In Keynesian theory, it’s the devil incarnate. The Wall Street Journal continued:

Real-estate agents worry that buyers’ weariness from being priced out of the market could make this one of the weakest spring selling seasons in recent years.

Consumers are growing more optimistic about the economy and their personal financial prospects but less hopeful that now is the right time to buy a home, according to results of a survey released in late March by the National Association of Realtors.

At the same time, the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage has risen to 4.40% as of last week from 3.95% at the beginning of the year, according to Freddie Macputting still more pressure on affordability.

These factors “are working against affordability and that’s why you get the pressure to ease credit standards,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. He said that pressure has to be balanced against the potential toll if underqualified buyers eventually default on their mortgages.

CoreLogic studied home-purchase loans that generally meet standards set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federally sponsored providers of 30-year mortgage financing.

The amount of these loans packaged and sold by Fannie and Freddie increased 73% in the second half of 2017, compared with the first half of the year, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry research group. In that same period, overall new mortgages rose 15%.

As if the signs weren’t clear enough that manipulating the economy and manipulating the housing market has a detrimental effect, the article continued that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are “experimenting with how to make homeownership more affordable, including backing loans made by lenders who agree to help pay down a buyer’s student debt“. Sure, solve one government subsidized shit show (student loan debt) with another one!

Is it any wonder that the entire supply and demand environment for housing has been thrown completely out of order?  On one hand, the government wants to make housing affordable so that everybody can have it, which closely resembles socialism. On the other hand, they are targeting prices to rise 2% every single year and claim that this is normal and healthy economic policy that we should all be buying into and applauding. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing!

We were on this case back in October 2017 when we wrote an article pointing out that home prices had again eclipsed their highest point prior to the financial crisis. We knew this was coming. We at the time that the ratio of the trailing twelve month averages of median new home sale prices to median household income in the U.S. had risen to an all time high of 5.454, which following revisions in the data for new home sale prices, was recorded in July 2017. The initial value for September 2017 is 5.437.

In other words, the median new home in the US has never been more unaffordable in terms of current income.

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Here we are 6 months later and “economists” are just figuring this out. What’s wrong with this picture?

What’s really happening is clear. Instead of letting the free market determine the pricing and availability of housing, the government has continued to try and manipulate the market in order to give everyone a house. This is simply going to lead to the same type of behavior that led Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fail during the housing crisis.

If we are going to have free market capitalism, the reality of the situation is that not everybody is going to own a house.

Furthermore, while there are many benefits to owning a house, there are also many reasons why people rent. Peter Schiff, for instance, often makes the case that renting is generally worth it because you’re saving yourself on upkeep and it allows you to be flexible with where you live and when you have the opportunity to move. He himself rents property for these reasons, which he often notes in his podcast. Sure, there are some benefits of homeownership, namely that a homeowner is supposed to be building equity in something, but looking again at the situation we are in today, is it worth investing in the equity of a home that might see its price crash significantly again, similar to the way housing prices did in 2008?

The government is creating both the problem and the solution here and instead of trying to continually fix the housing market, they should just keep their nose out of it and allow the free market to determine who should own a house and at what price. Call us crazy, but we don’t think that’s going to happen.

Source: ZeroHedge

How Much Income You Need to Afford the Average Home in Every State

The housing market has not only recovered its pre-recession levels, but some observers are actually starting to worry about yet another housing bubble. Housing prices are on the rise, thanks in large part to extremely tight inventory, so it’s worth asking: are potential home buyers getting priced out of the market? The answer depends on where they live and how much money they make.

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We collected average home prices for every state from Zillow which we then plugged into a mortgage calculator to figure out monthly payments. Remember, mortgage payments consist of both the principal and the interest for the loan. The interest rate we used varied from 4 to 5% in each state, depending on the market. The lower the interest rate, the lower the monthly payment. To keep things simple, we assumed buyers could contribute a 10% down payment. Another thing to keep in mind is that financial advisors commonly recommend the total cost of housing take up no more than 30% of gross income (the amount before taxes, retirement savings, etc.). Using this rule as our benchmark, we calculated the minimum salary required to afford the average home in each state.

Top Five Places Where You Need the Highest Salaries to Afford the Average Home

1. Hawaii: $153,520 for a house worth $610,000

2. Washington, DC: $138,440 for a house worth $549,000

3. California: $120,120 for a house worth $499,900

4. Massachusetts: $101,320 for a house worth $419,900

5. Colorado: $100,200 for a house worth $415,000

Top Five Places Where You Need the Lowest Salaries to Afford the Average Home

1. West Virginia: $38,320 for a house worth $149,500

2. Ohio: $38,400 for a house worth $149,900

3. Michigan: $40,800 for a house worth $160,000

4. Arkansas: $41,040 for a house worth $161,000

5. Missouri: $42,200 for a house worth $165,900

Our map creates a quick snapshot of housing affordability across the United States. There are several pockets in which only the upper middle class and above can afford to own even the average home, most notably across the West and in the Northeast. There are only two states west of the Mississippi River where a worker with an annual salary under $40,000 can afford a mid-level home:  Missouri and Oklahoma. Colorado stands out as the only landlocked state requiring a significant amount of income ($100,200), thanks in large part to the housing market around Denver.

Homes tend to be more affordable in the eastern half of the country, with a notable pocket of “green” (less expensive) states located in the upper Midwest. The North is generally more affordable than the South and the typical home is significantly easier to buy in places like Michigan or Ohio than in Louisiana or Arkansas.  Additionally, our map indicates that workers can more easily afford homes in the East than in the West, which is surprising given how much more land is available out West. It is important to note that there are certainly deep pockets of poverty in all of these places, which suggests that our map obscures the inequality behind averages.

The best takeaway from our map is that housing remains affordable in large swaths of the country, even though there will always be places like California and New York where there is simply too much demand for the available inventory. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean that buying a home is suddenly out of reach for average Americans in Ohio or Mississippi, for example.

Source: HowMuch

In Nearly 70% Of US Counties, The Average Worker Can’t Afford To Buy A Home

Housing, as we’ve pointed out in the past, is perhaps the most reliable bellwether of widening economic inequality in the US. And in its latest quarterly report on housing affordability in the US, ATTOM discovered that median-priced homes aren’t affordable to average wage earners in an astounding 68% of US housing markets.

In its report, the company calculated affordability by incorporating the amount of income needed to make monthly home payments – including mortgage payments, property tax payments and insurance – on a median-priced home, assuming a 3% down payment and a 28% maximum “front-end” debt-to-income ratio.

That required income was then compared with the median home price.

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The 304 counties where a median-priced home in the first quarter was not affordable for average wage earners included Los Angeles County, California; Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona; San Diego County, California; Orange County, California; and Miami-Dade County, Florida. Meanwhile, the 142 counties (32 percent of the 446 counties analyzed in the report) where a median-priced home in the first quarter was still affordable for average wage earners included Cook County (Chicago), Illinois; Harris County (Houston), Texas; Dallas County, Texas; Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan; and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

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Already, the “hottest” housing markets are seeing an exodus of working- and middle-class individuals who can no longer afford to pay the high rents – let along afford to set aside enough money for a down payment.

Eight of the top 10 counties with the highest median home prices in Q1 2018 posted negative net migration in 2017: Kings County (Brooklyn), New York (25,484 net migration decrease); Santa Clara County (San Jose), California (5,559 net migration decrease); New York County (Manhattan), New York (3,762 net migration decrease); Orange County, California (3,750 net migration decrease); and San Mateo, Marin, Napa and Santa Cruz counties in Northern California.

Furthermore, ATTOM’s data found that this problem is getting worse, not better, with 41% of housing markets less affordable than their historical average during the first quarter. That’s up from 35% the quarter before.

Meanwhile, a staggering 73% of markets posted worsening affordability compared with a year ago, including Los Angeles, Cook County (home to Chicago), Maricopa County (Phoenix) and Kings County (Brooklyn).

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The counties where the average wage earner would need to spend the highest share of their income to buy a median-priced home are Baltimore, Bibb County (Macon, Georgia) and Wayne County (Detroit).

Continuing with the trend of home prices rising more than twice as quickly as wages, home-price appreciation outpaced wage growth in 83% of housing markets.

When Fed Chairman Jerome Powell warned last month that “valuations are still elevated across a range of asset classes” and that he fears “signs of rising non-financial leverage” it’s possible that he was still understating the problem.

Source: ZeroHedge

 

US Home Prices Surge Most Since 2014

For the 29th month in a row, US home prices rose at a faster pace than incomes with November prices rising a better than expected 6.41% – the highest since July 2014.

The 20-City Composite rose 6.41% YoY in November (above the 6.30% expectations)

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The 20-City Composite price index is within 1% of its record highs from 2006…

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“Top”? or “Breakout”?

Source: ZeroHedge

 

Home Prices Set To Soar In 2018

 

https://martinhladyniuk.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/0acf0-lereahd.png?w=287&h=432The temperature may be frigid across much of the nation, yet home prices are sizzling and sellers are in the hot seat.

Sales prices jumped 7 percent annually in November, according to a new report from CoreLogic. That is the third straight month at that pace, far higher than the price gains in the first half of 2017. Low supply and high demand are fueling the spurt and neither of those is expected to ease up anytime soon. Supply is actually falling even more now, and a strengthening economy is pushing demand. This will have potential buyers out early this year, trying to get a jump on the spring market. “Rising home prices are good news for home sellers, but add to the challenges that home buyers face,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic, in the report. Nothaft said the limited supply is the worst at the lower end, and will hit the growing number of first-time buyers hardest.

The largest metropolitan areas are seeing the biggest gains.

In the nation’s top 50 markets, half of the housing stock is now considered overvalued, based on market fundamentals, like income and employment. CoreLogic defines an overvalued housing market as one in which home prices are at least 10 percent higher than the long-term, sustainable level. Las Vegas led the November report as not only being overvalued, but showing a double-digit annual price gain of 11 percent. San Francisco was not far behind at 9 percent, and Denver came in third at 8 percent. Las Vegas and Denver are both considered overvalued, but San Francisco is not, as incomes in the tech capital far exceed the national level. Of the nation’s 10 major markets with the biggest price gains, seven are overvalued. These include Washington, D.C., Houston and Miami. Boston and Chicago are still seeing price gains but are considered at value. Without a significant jump in home construction, prices will remain high and likely move higher. Mortgage rates could also move slightly higher, and new tax policy limiting mortgage and property tax deductions, is hitting homeowners in some states hard.

All will combine to make housing less and less affordable in the new year.

By Diana Olick | CNBC

Baby Boomers Who Refuse to Sell Are Dominating the Housing Market

Jake Yanoviak is hunting for houses. On a weekday afternoon in North Philadelphia, the 23-year-old painter cruises along on his bike, its black paint obscured under stickers from breweries and rock bands. He turns onto a side street, where he spots a few elderly neighbors, standing on adjoining porches. He parks, leans on one handlebar and makes his pitch.

“Anybody on the block considering selling?” Yanoviak asks gently. “I’m not a developer, I’m not interested in renting to students. I’m just a kid trying to buy a house, fix it up and live in it.”

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“We’re not going no place,” replies a 70-something woman, relaxing in fuzzy white pig slippers in the row house where she’s lived twice as long as Yanoviak has been alive. “All these houses are taken.”

Like much of his generation, Yanoviak is desperate to get a piece of an increasingly scarce commodity: prime American real estate. Millennials are finding themselves out in the cold because building has slowed, and longer-living baby boomers are staying put, setting up a simmering conflict between the two biggest generations in U.S. history.

 

To succeed, buyers and real estate brokers must show uncommon persistence and, at times, diplomacy. Yanoviak has tried sheriff’s sales, lost two bidding wars, ridden miles on potholed streets and left notes in mailboxes, all to no avail.

People 55 and older own 53 percent of U.S. owner-occupied houses, the biggest share since the government started collecting data in 1900, according to real estate website Trulia. That’s up from 43 percent a decade ago. Those ages 18 to 34 possess just 11 percent. When they were that age, baby boomers had homes at almost twice that level.

Public policy contributes to the generational standoff. Property-tax exemptions for longtime residents keep older Americans from moving. Zoning rules make it harder to build affordable apartments attractive to senior citizens.

“The system is gridlocked,” says Dowell Myers, a professor of urban planning and demography at the University of Southern California. “The seniors aren’t turning over homes as fast as they used to, so there are very few existing homes coming online. To turn it over, they’ll have to have a landing place.”

In Lexington, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, broker Dani Fleming offers pizza and refreshments to entice the mostly elderly homeowners to attend seller seminars on “how to unlock the potential of your home.”

In Alameda, California, east of San Francisco, 38-year-old Angela Hockabout, her husband and their two children live with her 76-year-old mother-in-law, who is holding onto the home because the real estate taxes are so low. Under the almost-40-year-old ballot measure Proposition 13, they are tied to the property’s value when the house was purchased in the 1970s.

“Dear Homeowner, I have been looking to buy a house for almost a year and have not found one.”

Kale, Tomatoes

In Omaha, Nebraska, Bill and Peg Swanson, a couple in their late 60s, say they might move if they could find affordable single-family homes aimed at seniors nearby. Still, like many from their generation, they like aging in place, tending their garden of green peppers, kale and tomatoes.

“There are a lot of reasons to stay here,” Bill Swanson says. “We still enjoy putzing around the yard.”

That kind of thinking ends up costing young home shoppers such as Yanoviak. After graduating from Carleton College in Minnesota with a degree in media studies, he now lives in West Philadelphia with his parents, an arborist and a director of a nonprofit. For a living, he does carpentry and helps paint movie sets. He’s looking at homes costing as much as $200,000 and may rent out rooms to friends.

https://assets.bwbx.io/images/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/iORwGYGK2SdE/v3/1000x-1.jpgYanoviak looks at a Philadelphia zoning notice outlining a plan for multifamily units on that site.

Yanoviak scouts property with Google Maps, Zillow and the city’s property-record site. When he finds something, he calls his real estate agent, Cecile Steinriede, who checks it out. He also keeps an old-school sheaf of letters in the rear pocket of his pants, so he can hand them out or slip them in mailboxes.

“Dear Homeowner,” they read. “I have been looking to buy a house for almost a year and have not found one.”

Brewerytown

Yanoviak has his sights on a neighborhood called Brewerytown, a community of brick, masonry and vinyl row houses that range from tidy to decaying, with paint peeling, holes in roofs and weeds growing from cracks in sidewalks.

Along with inter-generational tension, Yanoviak’s search raises delicate questions of race and class. He’s white and college-educated, and he’s often knocking on the doors of working-class black homeowners who see their homes as key to an affordable retirement and a way to pass wealth to future generations. (None would give their names.) Yanoviak acknowledges the awkwardness. It doesn’t help, he says, when developers assault residents with insulting, low-ball cash offers.

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Yanoviak inspecting a house in the Brewerytown district.

“It’s inevitable for me to be perceived as an outsider,” Yanoviak says. “But I’m not trying to change the community. I’m trying to contribute in positive ways and be a neighbor.”

Resentments fester in neighborhoods of all ethnicities. In a traditionally Italian section of South Philadelphia, which is now out of Yanoviak’s price range, 70-year-old Nick Ingenito, sits on the front steps of the three-story brick house his grandmother’s aunt bought in the early 1900s.

‘Wouldn’t Move’

“Where do these young people get this money?” he says, looking out at the street where he played stick ball as a kid. “This neighborhood still has the soul of the past. Everybody I know — people older than me — wouldn’t move from here for nothing unless they couldn’t afford it no more.”

On a recent Thursday evening after work, Yanoviak, wearing a black T-shirt, jeans and a brown belt emblazoned with the Schlitz logo, mounts his bike to make the housing round. 

On one of his first stops, a black cat slinks under the wooden gate next to an abandoned house with bay windows that piqued Yanoviak’s interest. Using his bike as a ladder, he stands on the seat and stretches his chin over barbed wire. All he can see are bed springs and junk.

Yanoviak starts cycling again, taking both hands off the handle bar to tap on his iPhone, noting the address of a property he might want to revisit.

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Yanoviak carries pitch letters with him to hand out to homeowners and slip in mail boxes.

Church Properties

He stops to chat with the pastor of a church, which owns a handful of properties but isn’t selling.

“No, we’re holding out for God to do what he said he was going to do and that is to give us the block,” the pastor tells Yanoviak.

Then, he sees a gray-haired man puttering in his garage.

“I’m looking at properties in the neighborhood, there isn’t a whole lot on the market so I’m cold calling,” Yanoviak says.

“Give me $2 million,” the homeowner replies. “I don’t want no low number.”

It turns out the price is for the whole block. Even then, the potential seller has second thoughts.

“I wouldn’t sell even if you gave me $2 million — this is my retirement,” he says. “If you gave me a bag of money, I wouldn’t sell.”

After a few hours chatting with a half dozen owners and visiting eight properties, Yanoviak gets back on his bike, his pitch letters still hanging from the back pocket of his jeans. He heads back to his parents’ house, deferring for yet another day his search for a home.

Exercise self discipline, practice and consistency …

By Prashant Gopal | Bloomberg 

 

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