Affordable New Homes Shortage Drives Inflation, Senior Fellow At Consumer Federation Of America Barry Zigas, Part 2

Affordable New Homes Shortage Drives Inflation, Senior Fellow At Consumer Federation Of America Barry Zigas, Part 2

Jason Hartman shares a daily digest of real estate news. He looks at IMF figures on advanced and emerging economies in 2020. In the interview segment of the show, he hosts Barry Zigas. They compare student loans to home loans. Jason and Barry examine the shortage of affordable new homes and its impact on inflation. Barry explains the San Francisco market and what caused the high prices.

Jason Hartman 0:02
Welcome to the creating wealth show with Jason Hartman. You’re about to learn a new slant on investing some exciting techniques and fresh new approaches to the world’s most historically proven asset class that will enable you to create more wealth and freedom than you ever thought possible. Jason is a genuine self made multi millionaire who’s actually been there and done it. He’s a successful investor, lender, developer and entrepreneur who’s owned properties in 11 states had hundreds of tenants and been involved in thousands of real estate transactions. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to your financial independence day. You really can do it on now. here’s your host, Jason Hartman with the complete solution for real estate investors. Welcome to Episode 1573 1573. Thank you for joining us today friends, Romans and countrymen.

Anyway, hey, you know, one of the things I was talking about during the maybe the most depressing time of the lockdowns and quarantines was that people were using this time, some people, the smart people were using this time productively, they were learning new skills. They were learning how to start a business, they were working on their big plans. And I’m looking at a US Census survey right now, that talks about this. It says roaring back, Americans are starting new businesses at the fastest rate in more than a decade, new business applications among likely employers, As of mid September, for each year, right for each year. And this is the highest Business Startup rate that we’ve had in 13 years. And there’s two things that are interesting about this. Of course, one thing that’s interesting is the one I was just alluding to, but there is a another interesting thing. And we’ve talked about this before also. And that is the the idea that during tumultuous times, during difficult times, and this time is difficult for some reason. It’s sometimes great for others or, you know, just okay for others about the same. It’s uneven, it’s uneven all around, right, we are doing quite well, economically this year, even with all this stuff, notwithstanding, certainly in the darkest days, many months ago, I was concerned. And I will be the first to admit, I remember saying to Sarah, one of our team members, you’ve heard her on the show many times. And I said you know, Sarah, we may have to make some difficult decisions in the next few months now. I didn’t really know what those difficult decisions might be. But, you know, this deluge of news that we were hearing at the beginning of this, and nobody knew what this would turn into what it meant. And I think we have a pretty fair idea of what it means now. But during recessions during tumultuous times, during times of great change, and struggle, new businesses start, this is my favorite economist concept. Joseph Schumpeter creative destruction, and we have not topped 2007 2007 is still has more new business startups, then we have now although we have the second highest time now, we got to almost 1.2 million in 2007. And right now, in 2020, we’re at about 1.1 million. This is, you know, taken mid September of each year, during these these last 12 third wild diet last 13 years this US Census survey. So it two things are interesting about it, you know, we’re seeing that kind of vibe, if you will, occurring now. Right, where there’s all these new business startups. And we haven’t seen the benefit of that yet. It takes a few years to play out. But when you have new business startups, what comes with that? innovation, new ideas, new and better ways of doing things that creatively destroy old businesses that had inferior ideas and inferior ways of doing things. This is classic. Joseph Schumpeter It’s creative destruction. And it’s a wonderful thing. Now, if Biden wins, sadly, there is a higher likelihood that the government will interfere more with the creative destruction process. And the problem with that is, is that you get in a situation where you have so much crony capitalism, look, you always have some degree of crony capitalism, okay? That’s just the way the world is, that’s never going to change. But the idea is to minimize, right. And so you have the government picking the winners and the losers, and keeping these zombie companies alive, that shouldn’t be alive. And if you would let them die, you know, it’s not like all the people in those companies die, those people go off and scatter in a million different directions, and they start new businesses and come up with new ideas. And some of them just get another job with another company if it’s got a new and better idea, right? So you want the government to get the heck out of the way, and let the creative destruction happen. And you also want them to let that happen in the economy in general. But, sadly, again, that is just not the type of world we live in. So I say at least let it happen with the businesses. Maybe you don’t let it happen with the broader economy, meaning that you have more bailouts and stimulus packages and so forth. And, you know, Trump wants this big giant package that’s interestingly and ironically, bigger than the package the democrats want. Because he’s a money printer. He’s a Keynesian, just like all they’re all Keynesians nowadays. You know, the only non Keynesians are Ron Paul and Rand Paul. Okay. And Ron Paul’s not an office anymore, obviously. But Rand Paul is, so yeah, that’s, that’s the world we live in. But a couple other things before we get to our guests today. And we talk about affordable housing and so forth, um, the World Economic Outlook, published by the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, you’ve all heard of the IMF, of course, and, you know, all the woowoo conspiracy theories, well, they’re not, whoo, they’re true. Okay. Because, you know, at Davos, where the IMF plays a big part, and I and the World Bank, and you know, all these other elites, they just came out and said it, the great reset, right, the great reset is upon us. And so we’ll see what that means. Nobody knows what it means. It’s kind of like George Bush Senior talking about the New World Order in the 90s. Remember that? Oh, boy, nobody left that one die for a long time. And, you know, we’re still seeing the New World Order come about, you know, whenever I hear those pronouncements, I get worried. And you should, too, because it’s kind of like hearing Wall Street, say, financial innovation. Yes, we need more financial innovation. And what that really means, I mean, it sounds good. You know, I like innovation just as much as the next person does. I’m sure you do, too. And Joseph Schumpeter would like innovation. But in in that parlance, it means it means that the people closest to the money will get the richest they can tell you, in effect by I think I’m gonna call Richard can’t tell you my second favorite economist. And I’ve been talking about him for a while now. And the elitist will get all the marbles while the rest of us get the scraps, right. So my mission in life, as the middle class is just getting eviscerated, is to help you move up into the upper classes if you’re middle Now, if you’re in the upper middle, I hope to help you move up a little more. Okay, that’s, that’s our goal here. Because I am a huge fan of the middle class. I love the middle class. You know, when you have a big middle class, you have stability, and you have a good society, and we want to protect the middle class, but, but the elites in this winner take all society, we have, unfortunately, are trying to destroy that. And you know, think back to Obamacare. And think back to the crony capitalist crap with building the healthcare.gov website for you know, what was it like $600 million or billion dollars? I don’t even know that number was so insane. I couldn’t even believe it. I mean, building a website is not quite that complicated or expensive. Okay. It’s, it’s absolutely, you know, it’s just cronyism, and the bigger the government gets, the more More cronyism you’ll have, okay, and the more corruption you’ll have, and the more inefficiency you’ll have, it’ll always be there. So if you shrink the size of the overall government pie, then you have less cronyism, less corruption, less inefficiency, and less bad stuff. And you let the private sector take a bigger portion of the economy, and you have more efficiency and more creative destruction and more innovation. You know, I think any side of the political spectrum should agree with that. But unfortunately, they don’t. Okay, this IMF projection, I want to share this with you. Because it’s pretty interesting. So we all know that 2020 is like a write off here. For the general economy, when you talk about the most widely used measure, of course, which is GDP, gross domestic product, right? In 2024, of advanced economies, like the US, like Japan, Germany, etc, right? advanced economies. And by the way, you might notice that I did not mention China, because I’m gonna be a little vulnerable here. I don’t know, if they would be categorized as an advanced economy. I wouldn’t personally categorize them as an advanced economy, even though China has an amazing story, obviously, and, you know, but it’s certainly not without its host of problems and issues, and China won’t be any big deal in 10 years, trust me on that one, because of one thing, their demographic problem, everything else, you know, they’re probably going to do pretty well on you know, they’re investing tons of money in new technologies, and all kinds of stuff like that. But also, they’re overdoing it with their government boots on everybody’s shoulder and these, you know, suppressing freedom and free speech and coming in and, you know, cracking down hard on Hong Kong and so forth. And, you know, capital capital flight will happen, and it’s already happening, and it’ll, it’ll only get worse. Anyway, whatever. advanced economies down 5.8%, negative GDP this year. But wait, there’s more. The projection for next year, is that the advanced economies will be up. And this, by the way, ladies and gentlemen, is a pretty strong number i’m about to share with you 3.9% Whoo, that’s good. That is good. You know, I better get my sound effect machine out, because I’m not very good at making sound effects. Okay, so that’s good news. 3.9% positive GDP projection next year for the advanced economies. Now, remember, advanced economies, the numbers never look as good, because it’s harder to grow a big advanced economy than it is to grow a small emerging economy, those numbers better look good, because they got a long way to go to catch up. So emerging this year, down 3.3%. Next year, the projection for emerging economies, and this number is going to knock your socks off. Wow. And remember, all those emerging economies consume the same assets that are the commodities you’ve invested in by following my plan, because you’ve been engaging in what packaged commodities investing that I’ve taught you about for 1516, really, 17 years now, not on the show, because I didn’t have the show back then. But I did a radio show, and I did live conferences, and so forth. So that’s where it is. So negative 3.3% this year, but these economies consuming copper, for copper, wire, lumber, petroleum products, concrete, glass, steel, all the ingredients of the properties, you own those houses you own right, and that makes the value of the existing stock you already have. Because you’ve got your packaged commodities or your assembled commodities in the form of a house. It makes it more and more valuable, because it’s driven by the replacement cost issue. So you’re ready for this number. emerging and developing economies? The projection for next year is a whopping 6% increase in GDP next year. 6% GDP growth next year. That is incredible. Now what about overall, what about worldwide, the entire global economy? Let’s mix everything together all economies, advanced, middle, emerging, developing third world, whatever you want to call it. Okay? So this year down 4.4%. Next year projection is up. 5.2%. Very, very bullish. Very good news. One more thing before we get to our guests, and I’m going to talk about some of these items in much more depth this weekend at our pandemic investing class. So join us for that go to pandemic investing.com. Get your tickets, that’s on Saturday, of course, from 11 to five Eastern, we’ll have a happy hour after five and you know, stick around a little longer to do QA and have a drink together on zoom. So it’s, it’s kind of fun to do a virtual happy hour, we did it for meet the masters and it was a great time. So listen to this. Okay, this really is an indicator of future inflation. For every new ounce of gold minted in the US, the Federal Reserve ads, for every ounce, just one ounce. You know, what’s price of gold nowadays? About 1900 dollars or something like that, give or take? I haven’t looked lately, but it’s somewhere in that ballpark. For every one ounce of gold medal in the US. This number is so staggering. It’s absolutely mind boggling. For every ounce every 1900 dollar give or take ounce of gold. The Federal Reserve, it’s I can’t even say this. It’s so amazing. The Federal Reserve ads for that 1900 dollar ounce of gold. 4 million US dollars of fiat money to the money supply. Wow. If that isn’t a sign that we are going to have some inflation, ladies and gentlemen, that I mean, if gold is the measuring stick the tether that used to be tied to the dollar, right or the dollar used to be tied dead, I should say. And has been the the measuring stick of value for 5000 years. For 5000 years. That 119 hundred dollar ish ounce of gold gets you 4 million US dollars. Wow. I just don’t even know what to say. That number is so insane. It’s just that might be the most mind blowing number of the year. Right. One ounce of gold. 4 million new US dollars added to the money supply. printer is printing Keynesian, you know prime the pump. There you go Keynesian economics right there. JOHN Maynard Keynes. Wow. Your pump is so primed. It’s just absolutely. It’s absolutely unbelievable. I mean, one ounce of gold equals 4 million new US dollars of fiat money fiat currency by authority by decree. Because we said so. That’s what Fiat is by decree. All right, hey, go to pandemic investing.com. Get your ticket for this weekend, we’re gonna have a great time, you’re going to learn a ton of stuff, actionable techniques you can use to not only protect your portfolio, and protect your future, protect your retirement, but to gain ground to dramatically gain ground during these absolutely crazy times. We’re living in pandemic investing.com. We will see you there on Saturday.

And without further ado, let’s get to our guest. And let’s talk about the huge opportunities. Really, I hope you hear this as opportunity because there is a massive affordable housing shortage in the United States. So here is our guest and we are talking about that right now. First, let’s talk about student loans. And would you say it’s a fair comparison to compare the student loan market that really started getting its foothold in the 70s and the inflationary cost of college tuition to Fannie Freddie? Why isn’t that the same thing? Or? I mean, do you think that didn’t happen? Because

Barry Zigas 19:38
I honestly, I don’t know enough about the student loan mark to comment on that. I do know that when I was a Fannie Mae, we watched the growth in house prices very, very carefully. And we were very disturbed in the latter part of my term there by what we saw as an increasing disconnection between income growth and house price growth. And if you chart that on a graph, which Bob Schiller has done and others have done, you can see a big discontinuous jump, when, in the beginning when these new new kinds of mortgage financing became available through non traditional means, and more and more people were qualified for mortgages that in fact they weren’t qualified for. And that did help drive a big inflation and house prices. Look, if you tell me, you come to me and say, I want to buy a house for $100,000. And I look at your qualifications and say, based on traditional underwriting, with, you know, the size of your income, your other debt obligations, your history of repaying credit, you can really only qualify for a $75,000 loan. Well, you know, I’ve put a cap on the market, that’s very different than if a lender comes to you and says, Jason, how much do you think you can afford to pay for a mortgage and you say, $500 a month, which might be enough to get you I’m making these numbers up to the point of an illustration, $75,000 home, but you really want $100,000 home, if I say to you, no problem, we can find a way to get you that mortgage. That means I have to reduce my standards, I get to raise the price. And then I sell that premium mortgage to an investor who thinks that I’m actually paying attention to the credit quality every night and gets screwed. No one that’s exactly what

Jason Hartman 21:15
the breaks, there was. Nobody was paid to put on the brakes in that hole.

Barry Zigas 21:20
Exactly. Right. That’s why today we’re facing a big supply problem. And one of the things that’s exacerbated the recovery, housing recovery from the crisis is the lack of affordable supply. Yeah, partly driven by the capture of so many foreclosed homes by wall street funded corporate landlords, right converted homes, it used to be available for sale. But that’s

Jason Hartman 21:42
a pretty small, I mean, that’s a lot compared to before, but it’s still a small percentage of the overall market. I mean, it is a, it’s a lot of homes for them, but it’s not much compared to the market.

Barry Zigas 21:53
But house price growth takes place on the margins, right? It’s in that space of buying and selling right, most Americans stay in their homes for in a work seven to 10 years. It’s the it’s a part of the market that’s moving, that really matters. So you had you had supply taken up, you have lenders now in the shock after 2008, much more conservative in their lending to builders and builders much more conservative about what they build, and focusing as a consequence on much higher price stock. There’s a tremendous shortage of affordable new homes to buy for newly forming households. And that’s part of what’s driving the inflation, because mortgage credit is actually much less readily available today than it was in housing. How

Jason Hartman 22:33
did how do we solve the mortgage? How do we solve the shortage of housing problem?

Barry Zigas 22:38
Well, one step at a time. It’s nothing you can do overnight. But number one, we have to get back to standard to much more open and responsible credit policies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as at FHA. Number one, right now, it’s much much harder to get a mortgage from those places than it was in 2001, when the markets were very stable. Number two, we need to encourage through zoning through building codes, and other means the construction of new housing. I just

Jason Hartman 23:05
want to be clear. Before we move on to that supply part. You’re saying that the mortgage market has overcorrected? They’re being too tight with mortgages, right. Yeah. Okay.

Barry Zigas 23:14
I agree. And Urban Institute has done plenty of studies about this tracks this every month, and you can see, you know, the comparison of total mortgage risk now versus total mortgage risk, you know, before the crisis, and there’s a huge difference. So, some people might say, well, that’s very prudent because I want the taxpayers protected through the mortgage system. And I don’t want anybody to be at risk. But a system that is so tied up on guaranteeing success on every bar, or it means that many borrowers are excluded. But to get back to supply, we have a real supply problem, you know, I’d say some of which is based on zoning and code restrictions at the local level, some of which is based on the inability of builders to get credit, and some of which is just on the type of homes builders are choosing to buy in a tight market, they look for the highest profit margin, those are not entry level, smaller homes that that newly emerging households can afford to buy.

Jason Hartman 24:06
So it sounds like your basic answer is we need to be more liberal on zoning laws and allow an easier process to entitle land to build and construct more homes and also be more liberal on the mortgage lending, because we it’s just tightened up too much. Right, be more liberal on

Barry Zigas 24:25
both sides and broad terms. That’s exactly right. Obviously, every jurisdiction is different. There are still some cities that are suffering, the after effects of the 2008 crash, where real estate is not recovered its value and their homes are very affordable, but consumers can’t get credit for them because of a variety of appraisal issues, lack of credit providers and a surplus of property in a market which has seen population decline, but still has lots

Jason Hartman 24:50
of houses. It sounds like you’re talking about Detroit,

Barry Zigas 24:53
Detroit, Toledo a lot of the Midwestern you know Rust Belt cities. Okay suffer from this problem. It’s The reverse of what we see in places like San Francisco, Phoenix, San Jose, rapidly growing Msh

Jason Hartman 25:06
Yeah. So San Francisco, what’s going on? there? Are people leaving the city there, you know, you can’t socially distance in these high density areas and to make it twice as bad. Those are the areas that have been largely affected by the race riots.

Barry Zigas 25:21
Well, you know, I, I’d be cautious about drawing conclusions about San Francisco. First of all, San Francisco itself, while we did have some civil unrest was really quite modest and contained and hasn’t had, as I anything, I can see any long term effect, the biggest impact San Francisco is suffering from is simply had this rapid growth of employment, high income employment from the technology firms, and no corresponding increase in the construction of housing or at least not well matched. And so there’s been a tremendous supply demand imbalance here in the city. That’s number one. Number two, I don’t think we yet know what the consequences of COVID is going to be for the city. There’s some indication that at the very high end, condo prices have softened, high end rentals have softened, landlords are under a lot of pressure. And of course, as unemployment continues, you know, more and more tenants. And more and more landlords, as a consequence, are going to be under a lot of financial pressure, particularly at the end of this month when the supplemental unemployment benefits expire. So we’re, I think, at the edge of seeing some really serious consequences from COVID and the unemployment crisis. But we have actually been cushioned. And this is a good thing, by the federal efforts that were enacted earlier this year, is especially in terms of the extra unemployment benefits, which have been the means by which many people have been able to keep paying their rents, and many landlords have been able to keep going. But the eviction moratoria that were put in place early in the crisis are starting to expire both nationally and locally. And I think we are going to see a big wave of evictions, The Washington Post reported earlier this week, that of 100 and 10 million renter households in the United States, as many as 20% of them 20 million households are at risk of eviction over the next 60 to 90 days.

Jason Hartman 27:04
Right. Right. And I would argue that the biggest segmentation in that market, you said the high end condo market and so forth. But I would say it’s it’s the properties in high density areas with elevators, and mass transit, where you find it impossible to socially distance, New York being the worst of these areas, but even you know, of course, San Francisco’s affected. I mean, you’ve got some special things there financial district tech, etc. But, you know, even downtown Seattle, downtown San Diego, LA, you know, any of these areas where people have got to live in a high rise mass transit environment where they can’t take stairs. And you know, elevators are have got to be the biggest danger zones and mass transit, right?

Barry Zigas 27:51
Well, I think it’s very risky to make these broad generalizations. In every Look, I live in San Francisco, I live in the heart of the mission. I’m in a two storey building, no elevator, the whole this whole area, much of San Francisco is actually a low density. I know. Yes. And yeah, so that’s not the big issue. Now in a city like New York, which is very different, a very high density situation there. That’s number one. Number two, remember, the sheltering in place for many people has simply meant their work has shifted from an office to their home that’s raised lots of other issues, childcare. But people are still able to work. The people who are most affected by this are folks who, regardless of what their housing situation is, have to go to work in higher risk environments, whether it’s your sanitation workers, or it’s your municipal transit employees, or your farm workers or your packing plant workers. And you know, the big outbreaks in the Midwest among the packing plants are not in places with high density housing, they’re in places with high density employment, right, where it’s very hard to create protection. So I think we’re seeing a very variegated picture, one of which we don’t fully understand the implications of there’s no question that the drive to reopen the economy is putting millions and millions of people at risk. And we’re seeing the consequences of that now. So we have not figured out an answer to this. And I don’t think it resides in just the real estate sector or just the employment sector. It’s a complex of issues and it’s a public health problem that has to be addressed like a public health problem.

Jason Hartman 29:21
Would you say that we should continue to lockdowns it sounds like it would be your

Barry Zigas 29:25
pain? Well, I think the CDC and others have put out the guidelines. What’s been so disappointing is how many of the guidelines have been ignored in certain places. And places have reopened even when they haven’t met the benchmarks for the for the reopening in places that have been more cautious. That doesn’t mean go back into lockdown. It means more slowly open up. I think we’re seeing a true flattening of the curve. We’re seeing different results here in California, some parts of the state have seen a big increase. The counties here around San Francisco, which have remained pretty tightly locked down, have actually not seen big increases. We’ve seen some But not big enough.

Jason Hartman 30:01
But the good news is, though, in all these stats is that even in areas that have reopened, there have been more infections, but a much lower mortality rate. I mean, it really is getting a lot better. In that, it seems that this is as the mutation occurs, it seems to be more infectious, actually, but less severe. And, you know, again, we’re early in this. So these, you know, this is

Barry Zigas 30:28
not a doctor, I’m not a health expert. I’m what I read this a couple of factors leading to that one of which is, as you say, Well, it seems more infectious, it is seems to become less deadly. But but there’s some evidence that that’s partly because the infections are taking place among a younger population, which we’ve always known is less resilient, has lower mortality. And second, we’ve learned much more about how to manage the hospital treatments or better fully treat them patients. Yep. But on the other hand, if I said to you, I tell you, what, Jason, how’d you like to sign up for a program? You know, where 125 to 200,000 Americans will die in the space of nine months? Does that sound like a good bet? Yeah, I mean, all of us would say, of course, that’s not. Right. Right. Exactly. The situation we’re in. Yeah.

Jason Hartman 31:11
Well, you always have to ask yourself compared to what and you know, I mean, when I was a kid, parents had chicken pox parties. So I don’t know if there’s, there’s all kinds

Barry Zigas 31:20
of different obviously beef, and people said this, I was just like the flu and nobody wants that. I know. Now, I don’t think

Jason Hartman 31:25
that for a moment I’ve had I’ve I’ve debunked that theory many times on the show. It’s not

Barry Zigas 31:30
that deadly. You know, compare it more to polio. Yeah. Right, which was deadly and predates me. But I have friends who are slightly older than me who suffered from polio, you

Jason Hartman 31:40
know, a friend’s mom had polio. Yeah,

Barry Zigas 31:42
yeah. And it was it was a similar effort. I remember the campaign and what you remember the March of Dimes originally was about raising money from individuals to pay for pay for research to create a vaccine for polio, which did, yeah. And we’ve eradicated polio. So I think we have a lot of a lot of issues that have to be resolved. In this crisis, your question about what’s the impact on real estate going to be? I think we don’t know. Yeah, I think it’s an unfolding story. And I think it’ll be very different depending on the locations. And I think we haven’t yet seen how this is going to affect the shape of work or retail. You know, I mean, I’ve been reading about all these malls that aren’t going to come back, that’s going to completely change the face of retail that has big employment implications. And employment implications have housing implications. And I think those echo effects are really going to start rippling through the system. And they will have less to do with our standards for lending and much more to do with how we treat income policy in this country and how we deal with income and wealth inequality in this country. And see how it’s been exacerbated and highlighted by this public health crash. Look at

Jason Hartman 32:47
I mean, Jeff Bezos is just be Yeah, I mean, all of us super rich are just getting richer and richer and richer. In this crisis. It’s on I saw a chart on that. Maybe two weeks ago, it was mind boggling. And I think we’re only seeing the start of it. I mean, this wealth has just been so concentrated at the top top top.

Barry Zigas 33:06
traded wealth is a is is we know, historically, is a very negative trend for a vibrant and open democracy. No question about it to be concerned about going forward. Yeah, I agree. But how do we solve that problem?

Barry Zigas 33:22
For another podcast? Yeah, definitely.

Jason Hartman 33:24
Well, hey, thanks for joining us. Barry. Did you want to give it our website?

Barry Zigas 33:26
My website is www.zs Associates all spelled out.com. And the Consumer Federation of America’s website is www consumer. fed.org.

Jason Hartman 33:37
All right, excellent. Barry, thanks for joining us.

Barry Zigas 33:40
Thanks so much, Jason.

Jason Hartman 33:46
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