Happy Sexta-Feira. That’s Friday in Portuguêse. I’m just getting in the mood for Carnival this weekend by dressing up in my son’s storm trooper outfit. What are you wearing?
Did you see this? The Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders are the two front runners to land the GOAT Tom Brady. Boston just froze over.
In Today’s Newsletter:
The best country to raise kids
Dems layout housing plans
The most expensive zoo in the world
Coronavirus threatens global economy
The International Monetary Fund posted a blog in advance of the G20 Summit underlining its concerns about coronavirus. In fact, the organization is calling this the biggest factor of uncertainty.
The organization has been running models based on the trajectory of the virus and almost all of them point to an economic slowdown in China that leads the way for the rest of us.
“And over the medium term, growth is expected to remain below historical averages,” says the IMF.
The report also highlights the negative effects of climate change and how the resulting natural disasters can negatively impact an economy, referring to the Australian wildfires and Puerto Rico hurricane as major examples.
The report calls on policymakers to adapt to economic slowdown by keeping interest rates low, which means that borrowing will continue to favor investors for now. We hate to point out the silver lining of such sad occurrences but the global economy has consequences for us all, every day.
The word “housing” finally entered the 2020 President race. We’ll get to that in a minute. But first, Dems took the gloves off at their 147th debate last night. They scratched and clawed at each other. These usually unwatchable debates had a new comer, Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. My favorite exchange featured the rookie and Senator Bernie Sanders. Enjoy:
Sanders: “We have a grotesque and immoral distribution of wealth and income. Mike Bloomberg owns more wealth than the bottom 125 million Americans. That’s wrong. That’s immoral.”
Bloomberg: “Why are you complaining? Who wrote the tax code? You and the other 99 senators.”
Nice comeback. With that out of the way let’s talk housing.
Bloomberg vs. Buttigieg vs. Sanders
Mayors Mike Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg along with Senator Bernie Sanders rolled out competing plans for America’s affordable housing crisis. Let’s start with Bloomberg who has criticized the Trump administration for rolling back regulations on big banks.
The former mayor is tired of watching Freddie Mac and Fannie May date for so long without getting married. His solution has the two mortgage companies merging in wedded bliss. We’re open to name suggestions. I’m pulling for Fanny Pack.
His plan goes deeper:
Toughen stress tests of the country’s largest financial institutions and give the Fed power to judge them.
Reinstate annual living wills, in which large financial institutions must explain how they could go bankrupt without harming the broader economy – and make the documents public.
Restore the Volcker Rule and make enforcement more effective.
Monitor risks outside the system like insurance companies.
Mayor Buttigieg on the other hand wants to keep Fannie Pack separated.
His plan looks like this:
Increased affordable housing
Equal access to affordable 30-year, fixed rate mortgages for working families.
Combat discrimination and predatory lending.
Beyond that, Buttigieg wants the government to shell out $4 billion dollars for a first-time homebuyer program. That would help cover down payments for those that qualify.
Senator Bernie Sanders wants housing for all with a price tag of $2.5 trillion. To his credit, Sanders was first to speak about the crisis over the Summer. “For too long, this is one of those issues that we just don’t talk about,” he told The New York Times
Build and rehabilitate 7.4 million affordable housing units
Build 2 million mixed-income units
Enact a national rent control standard
Fully fund Section 8 vouchers
Flippers better watch out for Sanders. His plan includes a 25% House Flipping tax to anyone that flips a house for profit within 5 years.
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You listed your house on Zillow. You’re excited to sell. You wake up and you’re listing disappeared. You’re not alone. Zillow is glitching.
This week real estate agents and sellers took to social media to complain about issues with Zillow’s website. Listings were completely deleted, users couldn’t log in, and home pictures vanished.
As a work around Zillow asked people to email in their listings instead of trying to use the website. What is this 1997?
Back up and running?
“For a short time yesterday [Monday], some users may have experienced issues when attempting to log on to our site. The issue has been resolved and everything should be back to normal,” Zillow Spokesperson Viet Shelton said in a statement.
Although Zillow said the bugs were fixed, some users were still seeing issues for the next 48 hours.
If you want to rankle some people tell them their country is not a good place to raise kids. That’ll rankle them. What does rankle mean anyway? We’ll figure that out later.
For now Norway sits atop the list of best countries in the world to raise kids. The Scandinavian nation, former home of the Vikings, boasts the best environment to raise the next generation of sea faring explorers.
The Top 5
The report release this week by The Lancet looked at markers such as health, education and nutrition.
The U.S. ranked 39th place, coming in just ahead of China at 43rd.
ran•kle [răng′kəl]: To cause persistent irritation or resentment.
If you want to be happy, it turns out where you live matters a lot. These are the findings of the latest World Happiness Report. This is a report done by demographers on behalf of the United Nations.
According to the report, “the links between the government and happiness operate in both directions: what governments do affects happiness, and in turn the happiness of citizens in most countries determines what kind of governments they support.”
And what happens when citizens report high levels of unhappiness? They take to the polls. The report shows that “citizen unhappiness has been found to translate into voting against the incumbent government, and this link is likely even stronger when the dissatisfaction is focused in particular on the government.”
Consistent with the Global Peace Index, Nordic countries report the highest levels of happiness. The United States sits at number 19 out of 156. So what does that mean for investors? Well, it could mean that the relative happiness of the US will not swing elections very strongly this year. It could also mean more secure real estate investments as citizens are not likely to die of preventable diseases or terrorist attacks. Of course, it would feel much better to be number 1 but remember that this is just one study and top 20 ain’t half bad.
News By The Numbers
27%. That’s the percentage of people that don’t know their home mortage interest rate accoridng to a new survey. Do you know yours?
20 million. That’s the amount of people that watched the 19th Democratic Debate Wednesday night on NBC. That’s a new record. You can thank Bloomberg’s appearance for making it interesting.
$1,000. That’s how much it’ll cost you to visit the world’s most expensive zoo. Prepare to shell out a cool grand to visit Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium. The cost for admission comes with an invitation to stay the night and sleep next to lions and bears