How the Surge of Hot Money Pushes San Francisco to the Brink

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter

The median home price in my beloved and crazy San Francisco – that’s for a no-view two-bedroom apartment in an older building in a so-so area – after rising 13.3% from a year ago, hit an ultra-cool, slick  $1,000,000.

It made a splash in our conversations. People figured that nothing could to take down the housing market. Yet, as before, there will be a devastating event: the moment when the billions from all over the world suddenly stop raining down on San Francisco.

Every real-estate data provider has its own numbers. The Case-Shiller placed the peak of the prior bubble in “San Francisco” in June 2006 with an index value of 218, well above the current index value of 191. Though named “San Francisco,” the index covers five Bay Area counties that include cities like Oakland and Richmond where home prices, though soaring, haven’t gone back to previous bubble peaks.

The $1,000,000 that DataQuick, now part of CoreLogic, came up with is for the actual city of San Francisco. In the data series, San Francisco’s prior housing bubble peaked in November 2007 when the median home price hit $814,750. People thought this would go on forever, that San Francisco was special, that the national housing bust would pass it by. A month later, the median home price plunged 10%.

It was the beginning of a terrible bust – the moment when money from all over the world stopped raining down on San Francisco. Real estate here lives and dies with the periodic storm surges of moolah from venture capital investors, IPOs, and corporate buyouts.

Now we’re in another storm surge. The Twitter IPO transferred billions from around the world to Twitter investors and employees in the city and the Bay Area. When Facebook acquired Whatsapp for $19 billion, its 55 employees and some investors started plowing some of this money into the local economy, money that didn’t come from heaven but indirectly from Facebook shareholders. In the current climate, hundreds of transactions, large and small, take place every month, including a slew of IPOs. That’s the great hot-money-transfer machine. And San Francisco sits at the receiving end.

There are some drawbacks, however. Number one, it won’t last. It just prepares the way for the next bust. Number two (and in the interim), it forces out real businesses with real revenues and profits. And it drives out people who find themselves – though well-employed – financially unable to live here any longer.

Take the story of Bloodhound that was catapulted into the limelight by ValleyWag. In January 2013, a Series A round brought its total funding to $4.8 million, based on its conference app, an “ambitious vision to fundamentally change how buyers meet sellers,” as TechCrunch put it. “Its hardcore dedication to product and the fact that it can reuse everything it builds puts it leagues ahead of….” Etc. etc. The article was dripping with startup hype.

Companies like Bloodhound are flush with money from investors and have no need to make revenues or profits, and they have no clue how to manage expenses, or that expenses even need to be managed, and there’s nothing to constrain them in any way and force them to be prudent with investors’ money. Armed to the teeth this way, they dive into the local real estate market.

As the startup bubble in San Francisco was coming to a boil, and billions started showing up in bits and pieces, landlords began lusting after this money. And so in October 2012, the Million Fishes Art Collective – “an incubation program” for artists – was not able to renew its lease on a 10,000 square-foot space on Bryant Street at 23rd Street, in the Mission, which had been an iffy area and therefore affordable. After ten years, Million Fishes was gone, and so were the artists and the shows that had been open to the public. It reportedly had been paying over $13,000 per month.

The space was prepared for a startup armed with hype, hoopla, and Series-A money piped in from VC-fund investors around the world. Along come Bloodhound with whatever remained of its $4.8 million in funding. It signed a 5-year lease for $31,667 a month in rent and $564 in fees, or nearly 150% more than Million Fishes had paid. The neighborhood wasn’t amused, but hey, big money rules, and it was a done deal.

So Bloodhound was blowing $387,000 a year on rent, and it didn’t care because expenses were no objective because profits weren’t even on the horizon. It was just building a thingy that would forever change the world. But now Bloodhound is gone as well. Stopped paying rent, ran out of money, just packed up and disappeared. ValleyWag reported:

When emailed for comment, Bloodhound co-founder Anthony Krumeich simply stated “We moved out of the office. No longer fit our needs.” However court documents indicate Bloodhound has gone AWOL and abandoned their office. The landlord’s attorney has not been able to issue the company or its founders a summons….

Bloodhound didn’t change the world. But its hot money changed San Francisco. It helped drive up rents. Each transaction impacts a number of future transactions via the multiplier effect. This scenario is repeated over and over. Enterprises with real cash flows are pushed out because they can’t compete with the hot money that briefly comes into town looking to multiply itself.

But occasionally, it goes too far, even for San Francisco. A little while ago, Pinterest jumped into the fray. It has raised $800 million so far, and sports a valuation of $5 billion, but has no noticeable revenues, doesn’t even dream of profits, and has no idea how to control expenses – and no need to. Armed with this distorted attitude and hundreds of millions of dollars in global hot money, it set its sights on the beautiful, historic 600,000 square-foot San Francisco Design Center at 2 Henry Adams St., where 77 design businesses were plying their trade the hard way by generating the cash flow necessary to sustain themselves.

The Design Center’s owner, according to the SFGate, “had sought to take advantage of a city zoning ordinance that allows owners of designated historic landmarks to change zoning from so-called PDR – production, distribution and repair – to traditional office space. That would have allowed Pinterest to locate its offices there.” The tenants would have been booted out in favor of a company that had no reason to care about how much money it blew on office space. Alas, after an uproar, the Board of Supervisors Land Use & Economic Development Committee voted to table the matter indefinitely.

The ratchet effect continues as each transaction impacts future transactions, pumped up by hot money that doesn’t care about actual expenses and profits. And the space Million Fishes had leased for $13,000 a month, and that Bloodhound had leased for $31,667 a month, went back on the market, ValleyWag reported, at $37,500 a month.

This too is happening to homes where one sale price of one home impacts the price on average of 60 others via the multiplier effect [How Wall Street Manipulates The Buy-to-Rent Housing Racket]. That’s how the median home price of $1,000,000 came about: powered by hot money that follows hope and hype about the next big thingy that will change the world. As before, someday the hot money will suddenly evaporate, with devastating effect. To pinpoint that moment, we just have to watch the IPO market. When it blows off its top, so will San Francisco.

UBS is already preparing for that moment. The world’s largest wealth manager is “very worried” about “the lack of liquidity” that could wreak havoc during the expected sell-off. So UBS reduces risk “over the full spectrum of assets.” Read…. UBS Warns Everything Is Overpriced, Prepares For Sell-Off

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
novictim's picture

Great article.

Yes, this economy is all boots and no cattle.  It is a system that sells the water one sees in a desert mirage for its value as lake side property.  Half of the "specu-vestors" know it is a mirage and the other half don't care one way or another.

Hey!  This is Zero Hedge.  "The market knows best", right?  Am I right here?  LOL

JRobby's picture

Bubble after bubble after bubble........................

novictim's picture

...leading to rubble.

toadold's picture

In Business 101 they used to talk about the "prostitute trap"  this was when so much of your business came from one source that if you lost it you went under. Some big companies would take advantage of this and rape their smaller suppliers.

dvfco's picture

By the 'PROSTITUTE TRAP' are you referring to the situation in which appraisers of real estate for mortgages find themselves?  I am an appraiser and I have always refused to do bank work for that exact reason, but it's the first time I've heard that term.   It is so accurate.

Appraisers often fumble by in life until they get brought under the wing of a mortgage lender.  All of a sudden, they are making $4,000 per week and now can buy themselves their own house, put their kids through college, pay for their daughter's wedding and retire at 55.  Then. . . all of a sudden the get the call . . . "I'm sorry, but we received an appraisal from you that happens to be $15,000 below the actual sales price.  We'd like for you to take a ook at the report and maybe, uhm, 'sharpen your pencil' so to speak."

When the appraiser tells the lender about his morals and ethics, they hint that they might have to go find another appraiser who knows local values a little bit better.  Then, the appraiser 'sharpens his pencil' pretty damn quickly.

In the end, that is one (and really only one of very many) reason these bubble have gotten so big.  

It's hard to blame the appraiser, on the other hand, because some asshole is willing to pay the higher price for the house, just so long as the bank will give them the money for it.

Vendetta's picture

Reminds me of an appraiser in my state who was so lacking in integrity he couldn't be bothered with opening some doors in a house he was asked to 'appraise'... he is in sore need of a dark alley workover.

delivered's picture

California's political and economic system is based on two key elements. Tech and real estate (which go hand in hand). When tech booms, so does real estate, and magically, CA is awash in money, can balance its budget, and proclaim all is well (except for having enough water which is another problem altogether). Of course balancing the budget is based on "cash" reporting only as the unfunded liabilities across the state (at the public level) are enormous. When the bubble bursts, CA quickly becomes a state with significant problems and slashes across the board, usually starting with education and other basic services. 

Herein lies CA's main problem - Concentration risk. In the finance world, this concept is based in relying on only a couple of customers for the majority of a company's revenue/sales. So if one customer is lost, the company ends up in hot water. This is CA in a nutshell as it is dependent on real estate and tech IPO's/sales for all kinds of tax dollars (from income tax on the IPO parties to property taxes from overpriced real estate to sales tax generated from the new Tesla's selling out). But the damage this is doing to the state long-term is enormous as while tech may be hot with ample funding, even if the company has limited revenue and generates large losses, it has the effect (as this article squarely noted) of forcing real businesses, culture, and resources out of the state creating a vacuum that ultimately results in significant long-term economic damage. 

Basically what California is becoming is this: Super wealthy that own the premier real estate (along the coast mainly), young milleniums looking to strike it rich in the new CA gold rush in tech (and willing to live on top of one another for this chance), foreigners bringing cash and large familes to find utopia, retirees that are grand-fathered into real estate at a cost basis or wealthy out of staters pursuing the climate (but in for a real shock on the economic and environmental front), and finally, an extremely large "entitlement" crowd of service/low paying workers serving these other groups. As for developing a sound/solid core population of middle class, highly productive, and educated workers with families, well this is a dying breed in CA as families can simply no longer afford to be raised in this state. Last data I saw on real estate purchase trends by demographic group supported this as retirees, foreigners, and millineums were moving in, families were moving out. Not a healthly long-term foundation at all.

So right now the getting is good and the politicians are patting themselves on the back on a job well done. And when the getting isn't so good, well a new round of politicians will be in office and point the figure at the last group for screwing it all up. Same story, over and over, every cycle, only the names really change.

For me, it comes down to watching not the "hot" money but more importantly, the "stupid money". When stupid money starts to appear, it is game, set and match. The real estate pricing you're seeing in Silicon Valley is now at a stupid level. I'm seeing direct investments made in pie in the sky companies without any real due diligence or fundamentals, again stupid money. I watched an acquisition of a prototyping company by SSYS go for unbelievable multiples. My list could go on but the rule is simple. Stupid money is the last to the party and the first to be lost. I'm seeing more signs of stupid money everyday which should mean that the party is just about over and a major correction will soon be upon us.

But then again, I could be wrong as let's face it, the only real way for the western governments to get out of their enormous debt problems is with inflation. They simply need to inflate the economy by double, to drive tax receipts 2x to 3x higher to give the appearance that government debt levels are under control, pension obligations are managable, etc. So if this is the ultimate goal, then the process of endlessly inflating real estate, tech valuations/IPOs, etc. may have just begun and we are witnessing history in the making, that governments, central planning, and central banks are more effective at producing economic growth than real market pricing. No doubt if this is the case, Adam Smith will be rolling over in his grave. 

novictim's picture

"extremely large "entitlement" crowd of service/low paying workers serving these other groups"

Hey, I have a problem with that spin.  Talking about the "entitlement" crowd here on ZH is ironic. to say the least.  What most people call these folks outside of ZH is the "workng poor".

Yes, they qualify for food stamps.  Yes, they qualify and accpet Medi-cal.  Yes, they qualify for HUD housing help to cover rent.

You call these poor people who have no representation in our political system (they have no high paying lobby) the "entitled"?

I say the folks that have underemployed them and underpaid them are the real "entitlement crowd".  You think CRAPitalism is working well because you can make 5%+ returns off your investements everyyear without ever working? You think the invisible hand of economics trumps the laws of physics and nature? 

You think wealth can really continue to grow on a compounded basis as if the world was just a mathematical model?  Is that sick or is that stupid or is that evil?  All three, I say 'cause we know better.

I remind you that what comes up does come down.

So stop fiddling while Rome burns. Stop calling people who actually work "entitled" while you collect dividend earnings from the inheritance you got. 

Start electing people who are brave enough to build a sustainable economy.  Honor those who work with great wages and benefits before this whole system turns on YOU. 

Lin S's picture

Outstanding summary and analysis.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Good assessment. I remember Gray Davis once claimed The bulk of Cali's tax receipts came from 30,000 people. Certainly if just a small percentage were to leave the state it would cause a big revenue drop. In San Diego, several high tech companies have moved divisions to Texas and have downsized the remaining divisions. Adding in more and more non productive people to this state is insane. Cali's terrible business climate won't improve matters and it's just a matter of time before we are facing bankruptcy. Anyone living here should plan their exit.


delivered's picture

Funny you mention San Diego as this is where I'm from. The companies you are referring to were I believe Omni-Tracs (original Qualcomm wireless business), Active Network, and Websense. I believe all three were bought out by Austin Ventures with the goal of moving them to TX eventually, BTW, the incentives offered by TX to relocate these companies (I believe $3.9 million to Omni-Tracs) is a joke compared to the annual cost savings these companies will realize down the road. Just a little extra icing on the cake given how hostile CA's business environment has become.

Interesting the timing of this article as earlier this month, I moved my Daughter to San Francisco to start her first job. Not a high flying tech company but a 100+ year-old, stable business with long-term ties to the financial information industry. Talk about some stress and finding an apartment, well we were lucky but it didn't come without some serious effort. We saw first hand the impact of hot/stupid money and how it damages the real economy. 

Also and just today, I had lunch with a long-term banker in San Diego. We spoke specifically about the challenges confronting small to medium sized businesses related to operating in CA (from taxes to regulations to HR/personnel to environmental). He was under the exact same conclusion as it relates to CA and the ability to develop, attract, and/or retain solid/strong businesses that offer a sound economic base. Basically he stated that within his market, the banking industry is simply competing against one another for what remains of the long-term business base, simply changing deals and companies between banks. The upflow of new companies and traditional banking opportunities is restricted and actually continues to decrease as quality businesses exit to cheaper locations (or are bought) and sound new businesses are few and far between. But this is a trend we both saw developing roughly a decade ago as the economic environment changed, especially after the Great Recession (and the TBTF were bailed out while Main Street was sacraficed).

I'm not sure if any leader in California has any idea just how much long-term damage these trends are inflicting on the state and substantially increasing its economic systemic risks. To think that the state alone can survive on tech (including life sciences) while the cost of conducting business is probably 50% or more above the national average is delusional at best. And I speak from direct experience as I've assisted numerous accounts/companies in San Diego with selling over the past two years (total of $100 million of deals), all too operations outside of the state (with little long-term interest in keeping the businesses intact). 

So I took my own advice and jumped on the band wagon and sold our home in San Diego for a top price (might as well get out while the gettin is good). We will eventually be exiting the state now that our kids are grown and on their own. I wish everyone the best of luck in California but in today's state economy and direction its headed, its time to move on to other and greener pastures (as trust me when I say that given the limited amount of rain fall CA has received this year, there are basically no green pastures in Central CA right now). Had a hell of a run in the state but hell when Hollywood is now producing large amounts of content/movies out of state, you know its, and in the words of the late Chris Farley from Tommy Boy, "Go Time".

disabledvet's picture

There is no reason for this bubble not to start spread to other States and regions.

Unlike a "gold rush" a "land rush" is very capital intensive. "When the music is playing you have to dance." Plus you have prop 9 or whatever it is that grandfathered in certain real estates to their fair market 1983 or near abouts!

This is a made to order bubble...and while true there is no "real economy" to base the pricing on there is in fact "an economy" (just a very expensive one....the best kind.)

So schoolteachers in California now have the largest sovereign wealth find in the world and "Wall Street" continues to hit on the meme of "an annihilated middle class."

School teachers in California do qualify for that moniker...and they are some of the richest people in the world right now.

CaptainSpaulding's picture

" I don't want anymore trouble like you had in the Fillmore district"
- The mayor, Dirty Harry

tempo's picture

billions for the N. CA. elite, diseased illegals for S. Ca. Seems fair and equitable.

Handful of Dust's picture

Cut off the Chinese spigot flood of dollars and Cali implodes. Either China taxes the money outflow, USA taxes the inflow or both. about dusting off those old rent control laws? ... or raising property taxes?

Yiks! Hush my mouth!

Freddie's picture

Hollywood supposedly is losing movie business too.  I think Silicon Valley will get hammered because other companies do not want their spyware shit hardware and software.

Snowden's old employer data mines for info and resells it to US corporations for campaign contributions.  Why would any company in Asia, Russia, Europe, Middle East or Latin America plug into American technology?

Zandalf's picture

Jerry Garcia often pointed out that the cheap rents in San Fran in the mid 1960's allowed all the bands in town to thrive... But it's better now, no?

Dingleberry's picture

Here is the problem:

Hot money=price increase=property tax increase for non-prop 13 homes.

When the shit goes in reverse, try getting that money back from the state.

cougar_w's picture

My sense is that a lot more of the hot money sloshing around in the BA is from China -- most real estate deals are all-cash -- and that money might end up being clawed back when their own kettle starts to boil.

Won't know until it happens. If it happens, watch real estate absolutely implode. Because apart from the all-cash Chinese buyers, nobody (I mean nobody) is buying.

dvfco's picture

The same shit happened in NY in the 1980s with Japanese money.  They were buying everything in NYC with their profits from a NIKKEI Index that had gone vertical.  Then then worm turned, the NIKKEI crashed, and the Japanese buyers lost billions as the Manhattan real estate market dropped by more than 10% per year for more five consecutive years.

The funny thing is, even though I am an appraiser and did hundred of appraisals in NYC back then, everyone tells me I'm mistaken.  I'm also an auctioneer and have either auctioned off or bid on behalf of banks at over 3,000 sales.  In the late 1980s, houses in the now hot parts of Brooklyn were selling at auction for $180,000.  Now, they are selling for $3,000,000 and studio apartments in them are selling for $300,000.

That's gonna last.

Skateboarder's picture

Cougar, my dad and I checked out a house in the Evergreen area this weekend. Listed at 780K, likely to go up to 825. Was telling the realtor how Santa Clara was getting bombarded with insane competition: 20-30 offers for a place, lot of them cash. She tells me, "that's nothing. Last week I was selling a place that got 56 offers, more than half of them cash."


cougar_w's picture

Evergreen is nice ... but it ain't that nice.

Anyone thinks this shit is healthy is in for a big shock when the liquidity evaporates.

I rode out to Dave Corteses place in Evergreen during the campaign. Christ, it's all mountains out there. It's going to be a bitch when people can no longer find gas for their trucks. Even if that day is 20 years away, they'll all still be right there hoping for the best.

And by then -- no buyers.

What a nightmare.

I got an anonymous all-cash offer on my place downtown. I didn't even write back; no way I'm giving up a place on the flats near shopping. Fuck that. I'm out of the suburban car-based blood-for-oil dreamscape and I'm staying out.

Skateboarder's picture

It's nauseating to watch yourself priced out of the market in real time. Say, how does a $135K worker (lol, why do people state their pre-tax incomes?) afford an 800K house these days? Dad has to get a fatty loan, and I would probably have to co-sign with him to put us over 200K, which makes our income/house price ratio 1:4: still very high. We're not one of the rich all-cash Mainland Chinese folks...

He wants his own damn house. We pay $3000 a month to the banking system that gave our landlord his loan. Is it worth throwing down right now? I don't know. I keep telling dad "wait for the crash... wait for the crash... wait for the crash..." We all know the crash aint coming for a long long time. Can we buy an 800K house now and walk out with a further devalued and diluted 1.5M in five years? I think so. Is it worth it? Tough call.

Santa Clara might be the better place to throw down, if anywhere. You do realize Apple aint going anywhere. Last I checked, they bought all of the office space in my hometown of Cupertino. Used to be a much nicer place 15-20 years ago.

dontgoforit's picture

I keep telling my kids the same thing - wait for 2015 or 2016; be patient.  Homes will be cheaper; even though interest rates could be trouble.

cro_maat's picture

Skateboarder - Buying a "pre-built" house is the fastest way to stay in debt.

Buy land for cash and custom build with recycled materials or wood harvested from your own acreage. In Maine this can be done for under $50k easily with plenty of acreage. Cali might be higher but easily multiples cheaper than buying existing stock.

Skateboarder's picture

Dad has the traditional mentality of "if the ship sinks, we're all fucked anyway, so why care that you have an outstanding loan?" I respectfully both agree and disagree with the stance: disagree because of what you say, and I have an inherent distaste for the concept of credit as it almost entirely does not exist in nature; agree because I have a feeling that they won't break the piñata for a while, and there is still some diluted dollars to be made five years from now.

Tough call, right? Totally agree with you on the lameness of the current "pre-built" housing scam.

edit: building is an option, but we haven't found good lots in the areas we want. Didn't get as lucky as cougar. My dad has built his own house before, or directed the building of his plan rather, and doing it again is no problem. Just waiting for a good deal. None around.

cougar_w's picture

I would not be taking on debt right now. I got in 10 years ago -- at the very last hour -- but I wouldn't be getting in now.

There is some really ugly shit coming to the debt market. The banks are not going to go down without a fight. Nor are the cities. Banks will be calling in loans and demanding balloon payments (even if that's not in the deal, they'll just point to some fine print and demand early payment) and cities will be taxing the fuck out of everything, and arresting anyone raises a fuss. I don't know how any of that is supposed to work out, seriously.

Your dad may be right, in the end, but probably not in the way he thinks.

Escapedgoat's picture

" (even if that's not in the deal, they'll just point to some fine print and demand early payment)"



 The FINE PRINT is always there. And the Early payment is very opaquely mentioned BUT THERE. Got out of secure Bank loans back in the 80's.


"and cities will be taxing the fuck out of everything,"


Yes they Do. London, it is called Council Tax. And in Euro-Land. And Athens "Wealth" Tax incorporated in the Electric Bill. France, They frisk you through newly invented  TAX (See Gerard Depardieu), can't get out of that one.

Skateboarder's picture

We got in 10 years ago in the last hour as well, and sold last year. Since then, the prices have increased at least 5-10% by the nature of the exponentiation, and by another 5-10% due to the foreign influx. It feels like we are moving further and faster along the curve, so I foresee all of your predictions coming true, but not for another five years at the least.

Pretty soon there will be no local buyers. The market is so fucked that it is impossible to say what 2020 holds.

I think keeping no debt is the better option too. Always listen to instinct.

OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

I'll just say it because no one else has yet: Fuck You Mr. Yellen!

cougar_w's picture

I pretty much did that. We bought a broken down bar on the edge of a nice neighbourhood (still paid a lot for it) and started turning it into a small home. Used found materials, recycled lumber. Did my own work on everything. Now it's nice. Will be adding 3 bedrooms next. Premium retail is moving in around us, high-end names like WholeFoods. We got lucky, and we're staying put.

Can be done. Hella lot of work. But hey, struggle is what life was supposed to be about.

Alea Iactaest's picture

Struggle *is* what life is about. From the moment there are several million sperm trying to be first! to the egg, to the moment you take your first breath, to everything that follows. The sooner people realize this, the better.

Skateboarder's picture

You sleep to rest so you may work hard the next day.

Don't forget beer, guitars, skateboards, and fun. ;-)

Freddie's picture

California used to be so nice.  They murdered paradise.  I used to like a lot of north north bay aka Napa near Santa Rosa.

dreadnaught's picture

Ah i remember my days of heaven living outside Cotati in the Mid 1970s......farms, fields little or no development.....rows of abandoned chicken coops, the Euculiptus trees...i lived i a refashioned barn my Dad made into a large studio apt; I was in stunned wonder when going down 101 to the city and see just farmland, old oak trees and ranches intill you came upon the GG Bridge- it felt so MAGIC!

dontgoforit's picture

You all should have see San Fernando Valley and Mailbu in the mid-50's.  California was the most beautiful piece of landscape I've ever seen.  Too many ducks on the pond for a long time now.

DeadFred's picture

LOL you're worried about being in the mountains when gas goes through the roof? You're nestled in there within walking distance of all those zombies-to-be. Look across the bay at the hills and say to yourself "Safety lies beyond that ridgeline". Write it on your wrist with glowing ink so you can read it when the lights go out.

cougar_w's picture

I won't lie, I think about it. But I tell you what, it's not all the same just because it's flat. There is "high ground" that's not as involved. I have a good sense for ground in the Sun Tsu use of the term and I feel okay about where we are. I'd be a lot more nervous further east, but we happen to have landed on the proper side of the divide. It was dumb luck, but I'll take it.

We'll see what happens.

Oh yeah, going off-the-grid this year or next. It's stupid, when I could stay grid-tied and sell power back to PG&E. But like you say the lights are going out one of these days and honestly I don't want to have anything to do with that. So 3Kw and battery storage and I brick the outer walls and lay on inside shutters, and if they manage to find our side of the divide we're not going to look like anything interesting.

That's the plan, anyway.

Though, you know what they say about plans...

EDIT: One hope I have is that the FSA burns itself out quickly -- in less than a year -- and we can get down to some serious end-of-the-world game play. That game, I can play. I've been playing that game all along.

dontgoforit's picture

I wouldn't live in a city for all the gold that's supposed to be in Germany.  Hill country 1 hour away - fresh water, abundant fish and game and coves with places difficult to find the second time.

Randy Goodnight's picture

Great insight.  Thank you for bringing up the artists' predicament and F that landlord, glad he got screwed.  SF is now made up of greedy developers and restauranteurs, yuppy v2's and homeless druggy EBTers that can't control their bowels.  I used to enjoy a linger in the city when I have to go there.  Now I turn around and drive home as soon as I've finished my business. Put a fork in it!

Ranting Troglodyte's picture

Fuck you San Francisco...every home I own or owned has gone down in the last five years.

Hongcha's picture

Good overview.  I have lived in the SF Bay Area for 25 years and enjoy walking the streets stoned out of my gourd on pure hash oil spansules and time-tripping down 16th and Mission. Many time-honored venues, including the late-lamented Adobe Books, have been pushed out by greedy landlords who I am happy to report are about to get a lube-free shafting.

Dozens of diaphonous businesses, paying triple the rent, have set up in the Mission and its new Rive Gauche, Valencia Street.  There are in the SOMA and Mission districts about a dozen chocolateers, shops specializing in $3 pieces of chocolate to wash down with $5 lattes.  

Can it last?  Who knows.  I do enjoy it.  The evolution of urban bicycling, a proliferation of good whiskey bars (if you can handle the $12-18 mix), a new round of nouveau riche Chinese girls ... laissez le bon temps roulette I say.  I hope to step nimbly out of the way when it crashes.

I was a bagholder in March 2000.  That bought me a nervous breakdown.  I paid the price of admission this time.  I held the key to our cash in a 1% annual yield CD, out of my greedy wife's reach, dealing with her scratching and screeching ... and thus we did not buy this hype tho God knows she wanted to.  Same story back in 2005.  I stack and roll my own ... I am a fucking dinosaur.

Hold firm, men, walk hard and don't chase yield.  I'm a natural pessimist and my best times are ahead.

Freddie's picture

What the hell happened to this financial web site?!?  It is now filled with meth-head & hash hipsters and Putin fanbois. 


(ps: i upvoted you)

Crisismode's picture



and you among them.



FrankDrakman's picture

laissez le bon temps roulette

Wow, that's right up there with "Hit the road, black Jack", and "I'm just a slot machine" 

dontgoforit's picture

Slayed ca 1974 - Come on baby let the good times roll!

Remington IV's picture

Whiskey bars > Book stores .... who's greedy , Einstein ???

Hongcha's picture

+1 Remington, If it were not for my wife's ambition I would probably still be living out of a 12 x 12 rented room in the Lower Haight with meth-head roomies a-la 1994 (555 Haight to be precise, directly above John's Pizza, the guy cleaning up playing grunge rock at 3 a.m., the baseline going right into my back brain) ...

The fact is, I lost it and got it again and I am not going to get taken in by the latest round.  History does not repeat but it does rhyme.

Freddie's picture

This shit always repeats.  I remember going out to San Fran and North North Bay around 1994 or so.  There had been another tech crash.  There was a lot of for rent signs in San Fran, Santa Rosa and other spots.   Then the 2000 scare and Internet filled buildings back up again.