Thursday, August 30, 2012


Home Prices Rising
They are still going up, and according to one report – Everywhere! With pent up demand and a growing population this is not a shock. And considering little things like the number of college graduates every year, growing families, and a new term I want to invent, “Emerging Adults,” it's just demographics. Sure there are young adults living with mom and dad and the overall hot apartment market (and rising rents) to confuse the numbers and absorb these demographics, but demand is growing. As we climb out of this disaster look for substantial increases in both new home and existing home prices, and don’t be surprised by dramatic increases by 2014. Here are a couple of interesting articles:
Retail – Competition is a GOOD thing
The Shakespearean tragi/comedy that is General Growth Properties (GGP) continues. After the largest bankruptcy in financial history, the unceremonious dumping of the family that built the company, and the takeover (with 42% ownership) by Brookfield Asset Management, Inc., it is still a ship trying to find a port. The man who kicked this all into gear and helped resurrect it from the dead was Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman (10% ownership). There is too much history to go into (the following sites will help if interested), at least for now. But Ackman wants GGP to essentially sell itself to Simon Property Group or some other entity. If Simon absorbs GGP there will be a major shift in the retail firmament. My guess is that many national retailers are holding their collective breaths. The stock holders may be happy but the consumer may be in for another surprise.
Here are some interesting articles:

High-Speed Rail – I will never give up!
High-Speed Rail is like the strange aunt that lives in the basement, you know she’s there, she won’t leave, and you hope she doesn’t come upstairs when there are guests, especially in California. After November all sorts of things may happen. In one scenario HSR will be dead as a doornail, in another it could be like suddenly declaring the end of Prohibition. You choose since it will be based on your choice and your money. The old saw, “Throwing good money after bad,” comes to mind. In 1938 you could take a train (steam driven) from New York to Chicago (the 20th Century Limited) in 16 hours – exactly. And more often than not it ran exactly on schedule. This is the train that made famous the term “Red Carpet Service.” Elegance and style also made it famous – the scene in North by Northwest with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint was shot on that train. Today Amtrak (using the same route) takes from 18 to 27 hours (and the last is direct!). And I’ve heard you should safely double it. I give up; go build the dinosaurs, pad the union labor ranks, buy the trains and engines from China and France and who knows where else. The rails will probably be rolled in China, the only small bit of pleasure will be knowing the natural gas used to fuel the power plants will be American.
Here’s a great take:
And lastly thanks, as always, to Aaron Renn (GO HERE) , for the following videos. Every city should market itself, brand itself. Here is Memphis, Tennessee’s shot, followed by Dubai. Just think about it.

 Memphis, Tennessee

and Dubai

Stay tuned . . . . .

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