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Watch: Turns out we’re sitting at our desks ALL kinds of wrong. I watched this video this week that had me change my entire desk set up. My neck thanks me.
Coronavirus Update: Total U.S. confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,961,542 — Total deaths: 182,779 — Total recoveries: 2,140,614
“There will be people who became infected” after attending Trump’s RNC speech, Dr. Sanjay Gupta says.
In Today’s Newsletter:
- Climate crisis = housing crisis
- I’m buying a flying car
- Trump voters are shy, seriously.
Sunday Deep Dive: Housing’s Climate Crisis
Climate change is an enormous looming threat to the housing market, according to a recent report. As major storms rip through the country with increasing frequency, year after year, far more homes than we might think are at risk.
The report shows:
- The federal flood map underestimates the amount of homes at risk by a stunning 67%
- A total of 14.6 million properties are “at significant risk” of flooding
- 5.9 million property owners have no idea of the risk they face because no one has told them.
The Next Housing Crisis
The report is called The First National Flood Risk Assessment and it adjusts the national flood model for climate change at the individual property level. The flawed FEMA map in comparison could lead to a housing crisis of epic proportions, so say the researchers.
The total cost of storm damage in the last 40 years is over $1.75 trillion. This is $300 billion more than the value of all the property that is within 700 feet of the coastline. That means that the government and insurance companies are paying more to rebuild properties in the same risk zones than they could have spent simply relocating these families to safer areas.
The FEMA map is also the tool used by mortgage companies to loan on properties. If this map is flawed, then it stands to reason that billions of dollars in new mortgages are being spent on high-risk properties that could be a ticking time bomb.
Why would Fannie and Freddie take this risk? In some cases they don’t have a choice. Federal laws prevent them from pricing or declining mortgages based on climate risks. Who decided that was a good idea? And what can we do about this?
Well, a few things. Insurance companies, lenders, and FEMA should cross check their maps with this new data, controlled for climate change, which is very real and expensive. The government could start a buy-out program to incentivize at-risk property owners to relocate and allocate this land to preserved land.
Something must be done because this wait-and-see and hunker-down approach to major storms is not a permanent solution.
Raise The Roof
It’s not often that three different generations agree on something. Well that something is housing.
Baby boomers, millennials, and generation Zers (now entering their 20’s) are all on the hunt for homes. That’s driving demand through the, well you know.
Builders can’t keep up
The S&P Homebuilders Select Industry index is a really boring set of data to read so I’ll save you the trouble and give you the highlights.
- new home construction is up 275% in the past ten years
- up 120% since March. You remember March right? That’s when the world started falling apart.
- stock shares of D.R. Horton, the nation’s largest builder, have risen nearly 40% this
- stock shares of Lennar, and Meritage Homes, which are both midsize builders catering to first-time buyers, has seen their stocks shoot up more than 60%.
What the suits are saying
Bill Smead, chief investment officer of Smead Capital Management told Barron’s:
“It would take about a 1½ million single-family homes built for about eight or 10 years to meet all of the demand there’s going to be.”
News By The Numbers
2X. Trump voters are shy. A new online study finds that Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to keep their mouth shut when a pollster calls their phone. A new study finds that Republicans would not give their true opinion in a telephone poll question when asked their preference for president in the 2020 election. That means that recent polls could be dramatically wrong and understate the support for President Donald Trump.
18,000. That’s the number of workers MGM Resorts International plans to lay off starting tomorrow. According to the Wall Street Journal the number represents a quarter of the resort giant’s U.S. workforce. Yet another example of how the hospitality industry has been devastated by the pandemic.
2017. That’s when Sarah Palin filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times for falsely linking her to a mass shooting. A federal judge agrees with her and rejected the Times’ bid to dismiss the suit.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said that while much of Palin’s case was circumstantial, it was strong enough for a jury to find the Times and former editorial page editor James Bennet acted with “actual malice by clear and convincing evidence.” in publishing the editorial.
Workers who have been sent packing from their offices are resorting to making their own pop-up shack offices in the backyard. These studio sheds average between $20,000-$30,000, but who wouldn’t happily pay that in order to work for 10 uninterrupted minutes without hearing, “Look! Mommy, Look! Look! Daddy, Look! Daddy, Look what I can do now, look!”
I’d pay double.
A Studio Shed can be whatever your little heart desires. A guest house? A workout room? A remote office for you to engage in your brilliant career! The company founder said that sales have increased 14-fold since the pandemic began.
Meet George Jetson
A company called SkyDrive is making progress towards flying cars for civilians! This week, the company said that the SD-03 model completed the first human-crewed test flight with a flight time of four minutes. The vehicle flew only 10 feet from the ground.
The SD-03 seats one person and has eight motors and two propellers. SkyDrive has been testing prototypes for the last five years, but this one, they say, is the lightest and most compact so far.
Analysts expect this mode of transportation to be standard by 2040. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has thrown the towel in on this idea; instead, he’s investing in underground transportation through a city-wide tunnel system. He famously said that the stakes were too high for flying vehicles because no one wants to be decapitated by a hubcap come loose.
Good point. Terrifying point.
Yet SkyDrive and other companies persist with their Jetson-inspired future, which means regulators will have to develop some safety and pollution measures. The vehicles cannot deliver a jet plane’s noise pollution to suburban areas, and they have to carry more than just one person. And then there is the matter of civilian licensing. Would you trust the worst driver in your neighborhood to FLY? I bet that these won’t become ubiquitous until autopilot is a bit more seamless.
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