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The long awaited downturn in multi-family construction may finally have happened

  – by New Deal democratWith the relative fading of manufacturing in importance to the US economy, the leading construction sector has assumed even greater…

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 - by New Deal democrat


With the relative fading of manufacturing in importance to the US economy, the leading construction sector has assumed even greater importance. And the most important data about construction are the leading, and long leading, data about residential housing construction.


To give a little additional framework, typically the first data to turn are new home sales. But that data series is extremely noisy and heavily revised. The next data to turn are housing permits, and the subset with the least noise and most signal are single family permits. Next are housing starts, which are much noisier than permits, although they represent actual economic activity. Perhaps surprisingly, next in line are housing completions. Bringing up the rear, but representing the actual sum of economic activity in housing, are housing units under construction. 

And as I have pointed out almost every month for the past year, because of pandemic bottlenecks in production of relevant materials, units under construction have lagged by a particularly long time.

That may finally have changed this month.

Let’s start with permits (Note: In each of the graphs below, blue represents the total (on the right scale), gold single family units, and red multi family units). Permits have rebounded since their bottom in January, and made a 10 month high:



Single family permits, which convey the most signal, participated in that increase, rising to their highest level since May 2022. This is good news (but we’ll come back to that below). Meanwhile, while they did rise, multi-unit permits continued to languish near their 3 year low set in June.

Starts, on the other hand, declined sharply in August. Perhaps most significantly, multi-family starts declined to their worst level since August 2020 (not shown):



Because starts are so noisy, take this with a big grain of salt.

But the biggest news was what happened with units under construction. The total declined slightly, as did single family units. But most significantly, for the first time since February 2021, multi-family units under construction also declined, albeit only by 2,000 units annualized:



Why is this so important? Because, as this long term historical graph shows, total housing units under construction, although the most lagging of housing construction statistics, have also had to turn down before recessions begin:



Even moreso, as shown above multi-family units under construction, which typically turn after single family units, have also usually (except for 2008 and the pandemic) turned down before recessions have begun.

So the fact that multi-unit dwellings under construction may finally have made their turn is significant in terms of meeting the conditions for a recession to begin. If this continues, the final thing to look for is if total units under construction decline 10%, which is the average decline before the onset of recession.

In that regard, finally let’s return to permits. As I have written dozens of times in the past decade, mortgage rates lead permits. Here’s the 40 years between the beginning of the modern data and the end of the Great Recession:


With the exception of the housing bubble (where everyone “knew” that “housing only goes UP!” so continued to buy housing even after mortgage rates increased) and the mirror-image bust, permits for housing reliably followed mortgage rates.

Here’s the subsequent 10+ years through the present:



The typical leading / lagging relationship re-asserted itself. And as you can see, with mortgage rates reverting to over 7%, on a YoY% basis they are forecasting permits to turn back down perhaps by 20% or more from already depressed levels YoY as well.

It will take another couple of months’ worth of data to be more confident, but it certainly appears that the turn I have been waiting for in the housing market has finally happened. This is an important reason why, while I have removed the “recession warning” from the end of last year, the “recession watch” remains, pending a return down of several short leading indicators like vehicle sales and the stock market.

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Everything Now: eating disorder recovery is treated with sensitivity and nuance in Netflix comedy drama

The series should be praised for recognising that it’s not just white, middle-class girls who experience eating disorders.

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Netflix couldn’t have chosen a more resonant title than Everything Now for their new comedy drama series. When I came out of a residential clinic in 2009 for treatment of anorexia, I did a parachute jump, started volunteering and decided to have a baby on my own. Some of these were impulsive – yet heartfelt – attempts to “catch up” on a life that had been passing me by.

Trailer for Everything Now.

This sense of things moving on while you have been trapped in the depths of an eating disorder is probably even more potent in the intensified temporal rhythms of teenage years.

As Mia Polanco (Sophie Wilde), the 16-year-old protagonist of Everything Now, asks as the school bus conversation jostles around her: “Fuck. How can I have missed so much in seven months?”


This article is part of Quarter Life, a series about issues affecting those of us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of beginning a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet or just making friends as an adult. The articles in this series explore the questions and bring answers as we navigate this turbulent period of life.

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Everything Now is a thoughtful, sensitive and entertaining journey through Mia’s experience of teenage life following her discharge from the eating disorder inpatient unit she has been confined to for seven months.

The image of eating disorders

White, middle-class girls with anorexia have long since dominated the representation in film and TV. But eating disorders cut across ethnic boundaries.

Although there can never be any simple correlation between popular media representations of eating disorders and reality, they play a role in shaping wider understandings of eating problems. This includes who might be affected by them. As a result, this under-representation contributes to a culture in which people from minority ethnic backgrounds are under-diagnosed and less likely to access treatment.

Everything Now should be praised for recognising that it’s not just white, middle-class girls who experience eating disorders.

Also, a significant part of the early plot focuses on Mia’s crush on a female student. Historically, clumsy assumptions have supposed that LGBTQ+ girls and women are somehow more “protected” from eating issues than their heterosexual counterparts. This has long since been challenged. Research has shown that sexual minorities may be more at risk due to the complex relationships between oppression, gender identity and sexuality.


Read more: A male character on Heartstopper has an eating disorder. That's more common than you might think


Nuanced representation

Everything Now is one of the first TV shows about eating disorders that did not make me cringe. It is sensitive, carefully researched and it resonated.

The show does a good job of exploring the complexities of recovery – a long and uncertain process that is rarely depicted, perhaps because it is seen as less arresting than the descent into the illness.

Switching between flashbacks of her time in the clinic and her present life at school and home, Mia’s voiceover communicates her struggles and anxieties. It also shows how difficult it is to navigate other people’s perceptions of recovery. Her grandmother, for example, bakes her a coconut sponge to welcome her home, to which Mia internally exclaims: “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

Her grandma then pinches her cheek and says: “You look so wonderful, so healthy.” The implied link between flesh and healthiness can make such comments a minefield for people in recovery.

Mia aims to throw herself back into adolescence, but the series poignantly explores her new status as an insider and outsider – how she is irrevocably changed by her eating disorder.

As the camera pans over the nibbles and drinks at a party she asks: “How can they just eat and drink? How am I 16 and I can’t just do that?” This captures the way spontaneity with food and drink becomes utterly unimaginable, not only during the throes of an eating disorder but during the pressures, regimens and routines of a recovery meal plan.

Representing recovery

The voiceover is particularly good at showcasing the disjuncture between Mia’s eagerness and how her eating disorder pulls the brake: “Shots, OK. At least I can track what’s in that. Maybe I can skip something tomorrow. I need to show them I’m better. That I can be normal.” She is both present and not present – one of her peers yet so separate.

Everything Now depicts positive moments of recovery too, in ways that are touching and insightful. As Mia walks to school for the first time, she reflects on “All the everyday beauty I forgot how to see – and all the things I get to rediscover now.”

While the eating disorder has made the everyday strange (the snacks and drinks at the party seem impossible) it has also made the everyday more beautiful. The scene reminded me of a quote from a student in sociologist Paula Saukko’s 2008 book The Anorexic Self: “I used to be able to see the sky, but now I only think about food.”

Everything Now is an original, heartwarming and insightful story of learning to see the sky again.


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Su Holmes does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Surviving and Thriving in an Ugly Stock Market

Investors Alley
Surviving and Thriving in an Ugly Stock Market
After a wonderful 2021 for stock investors, the last two years have been rough, to say the…

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Investors Alley
Surviving and Thriving in an Ugly Stock Market

After a wonderful 2021 for stock investors, the last two years have been rough, to say the least. The next sustained bull market seems to remain in the unknown future.

So let’s look at a couple of market strategies that have worked and will do so no matter how the stock market goes…

It is extremely difficult (for most investors, I’d say it is impossible) to time the market and generate above-average returns from capital gains. I recommend strategies that provide consistent returns.

My Dividend Hunter service focuses on investing in high-yield securities. It has been my best-performing strategy over the last year. Many investors get high-yield investing wrong and stay too focused on share prices. The focus of high-yield investing should be on the cash income stream. Yield means dividends, which are cash returns that don’t go away when share prices go down.

The goal of high-yield investing is to build a stable and growing income stream. I advise my Dividend Hunter subscribers to track their portfolio income quarter after quarter. As long as the income increases, they are fine, and it doesn’t matter what happens to share prices.

Over the long term, a high-yield strategy naturally leads to buying during market downturns. When share prices drop, yields increase, making shares more attractive for income-focused investors. If you make regular monthly contributions, you will buy more shares when the market is down and fewer at market highs. The result will be a lower average share cost and a higher yield on cost.

Starwood Property Trust (STWD) is a long-term Dividend Hunter recommendation. I started my solo 401k in late 2017 and bought my first shares of STWD in January 2018. The first purchase cost $21.18 per share. Over the last six years, I have added STWD shares at prices ranging from $10.96 (at the bottom of the pandemic-triggered crash) to $24.38. My average cost is $17.45 per share, giving me a yield on cost of 11%.

For my Monthly Dividend Multiplier service, I use a dividend growth strategy. You can build wealth by investing in stocks that grow their dividends. You will likely get frustrated with the process before you reach your wealth target.

History shows that the compound annual total returns from a dividend growth stock will end up very close to the average dividend growth rate plus the average dividend yield. For the famous Dividend Aristocrats, this math puts annual returns in the single digits. The realized returns tend to get lost in the short-term market swings, but the math works as you look at five-year and longer time frames.

For the Monthly Dividend Multiplier portfolio, I search out dividend growth stocks where the yield plus dividend growth math gives numbers in the mid-teens. That level of compounding returns will double your money about every five years.

I’ve ensured that the portfolio is diversified across as many sectors as possible that meet my dividend criteria. I track results quarterly and am always surprised by the short-term gains and losses among individual stocks and market sectors. For example, for the third quarter, the Monthly Dividend Multiplier individual returns ranged from gains of over 30% to a loss of more than 30%.

To take advantage of the intermediate swings, I have set weightings for the portfolio stocks, and we rebalance every quarter.

NextEra Energy Partners (NEP) was the big loser for the third quarter. The company reduced its dividend growth guidance from 12% to 15% per year to 5% to 8% through 2026. The NEP share price dropped by 20% in one day and is down double that year to date. But… after the drop, NEP now yields 9%. Add that to 5% dividend growth, and you have potentially mid-teens total annual returns in the future.

Our end-of-Q3 rebalance allowed my subscribers to average down their cost basis on NEP to benefit from future dividend growth.

Tim Plaehn’s controversial new investing strategy

For years, I’ve stressed investing in dividend stocks for income. However, I’ve recently stumbled on a strategy that could generate up to triple digit winners from dividend stocks. This is brand new and you can see the strategy here.

 

Surviving and Thriving in an Ugly Stock Market
Tim Plaehn

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Ripple’s XRP price jumps 5% fuelled by Singapore licensing acquisition amidst crypto market downturn

Ripple’s XRP emerged as one of the rare gainers during a subdued 24 hours in the cryptocurrency market that saw Bitcoin (BTC) and other top digital assets…

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Ripple’s XRP emerged as one of the rare gainers during a subdued 24 hours in the cryptocurrency market that saw Bitcoin (BTC) and other top digital assets lose their value.

Data from CryptoSlate reveals that XRP surged by approximately 5%, reaching $0.53018 as of press time. This uptick follows Ripple’s significant victories during the reporting period as it secured licensing in Singapore and Judge Analisa Torres rejected the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) plea for an interlocutory appeal.

Ripple’s Singapore licensing

Earlier today, Ripple said its subsidiary, Ripple Markets APAC Pte Ltd, secured a “full” Major Payments Institution (MPI) license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to provide digital payment token services in the country. The crypto payment country received an in-principle approval from the regulator in June.

The MPI license enables businesses to operate free from daily and monthly transaction limits. To qualify, the business must possess a Singaporean-registered company or branch, maintain a permanent business address for record-keeping, have a minimum capital of $250,000, and appoint at least one director with Singaporean citizenship or residency.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse described Singapore as a “progressive jurisdiction” that has ” developed into one of the leading fintech and digital asset hubs striking a balance between innovation, consumer protection, and responsible growth.”

Besides that, Judge Torres’s decision provides a closing chapter to the legal tussle between the company and the SEC for this year, with both parties scheduled for trial by April 23, 2024.

Selling pressure on the horizon

Despite this recent surge, XRP still confronts substantial selling pressure due to Ripple recently releasing one billion tokens from its escrow system.

Top 10 Assets by Market Cap. (Source: CryptoSlate)

While the crypto payment firm immediately relocked 800 million XRP, the company still holds 200 million tokens that could add more than $100 million in selling pressure to the market, potentially altering the current upward momentum of the asset.

The post Ripple’s XRP price jumps 5% fuelled by Singapore licensing acquisition amidst crypto market downturn appeared first on CryptoSlate.

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