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The Rosen Report: I'm a Social Media Moron

March 17, 2022
Eric Rosen

Opening Comments

Now that I can walk, I was invited on my friend’s beautiful 68’ Viking to fish an overnight trip leaving Thursday night and back Saturday afternoon. I hope to have some great pictures and a freezer full of fish. We will be heading approximately 120mm NE of Boca and fishing for Yellowfin Tuna, Marlin, Queen Snapper, Yelloweye Snapper and Grouper. We will sleep on the boat and not get within 25 miles of shore. Not sure if there will be time for a piece on Superbowl Sunday as a result.

My mother-in-law came into town Tuesday from NYC to surprise the kids. It will be good to have her around for a couple weeks. The pandemic made it so hard to spend time with family. The kids were so excited to see her.

I am also posting the Rosen Report on a new platform. Prometheus is a social marketplace for professional investing. Think of it as the Facebook for investment industry pros combined with a marketplace to directly invest in the funds run by these pros. This is where you can get more real-time commentary on investing from myself and other buysiders and sellsiders. The product will be released in the coming months, but readers of “The Rosen Report” can have exclusive beta access now. Just e-mail hello@prometheusalts.com with subject line “Beta Access” and you’ll receive a token to access the app.” I have read a few interesting pieces in the last few days from it.

My last report was entitled, “Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket” and can be found here.

Picture of the day-2021 Migration Patterns

I found the story on Yahoo!Money and it outlines the states who had the best and worst flows of people in 2021. It should come as no surprise that among the worst performers were NY, IL, DC, and CA, while the better performers were ID, UT, MT, AZ…TX was #7, NV#8 and FL#9. I can tell you from living in Florida that many of the people relocating down here are the top 1% based on R/E prices and the lack of inventory. What will the medium and long term impact be to the state budgets of cities/states which lose the millionaires and billionaires and the associated income taxes, sales takes, shopping, restaurants and overall consumption?

For example, the District of Columbia — which raised income taxes in 2021— saw its population downsize an estimated 2.8% between April 2020 and July 2021, while New York, which has some of the highest taxes, lost 1.8% of its residents. This was followed by Illinois, Hawaii, and California — all high-tax states — which make up the top five states with the largest population losses.

By contrast, low or no personal income tax states saw the biggest population increases, including Florida, Texas, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Nevada, and Tennessee.

While the last two years of the pandemic have allowed people with increased mobility to make this move, high tax levels are not the only reason some have packed up a U-Haul, according to Walczak.

“There are also second-order effects,” Walczak (Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation) said. “States with lower tax burdens and with more pro growth tax codes have higher rates of growth and higher economic opportunity – and people will move to seek out those things even beyond their own tax burdens.”

My personal belief is taxes only explain part of problem and the flow of people leaving the states outlined in red will be reduced when they give constituents better service for the money with less crime, homelessness, rules, taxes, filth and regulation. Articles in my report today about NYC crime in Quick Bites and LA crime in Other Headlines show other reasons people are leaving certain states.

I'm a Social Media Moron

I vividly recall 2004/2005 and visiting my mother in Florida when I lived in NYC. She still used dial-up for the internet and it was incredibly painful. I am not lying, it could take 30 minutes to open an email. By this time, broadband was available, but she refused. I offered to pay partially for my own sanity, but for hers as well and mom would not have it. She used AOL and was fine with spending a day to send an email with the infamous “Dialing…” This irritating picture would stay on your screen for a frustrating amount of time when trying to get on-line. All you young whippersnappers have no idea, as the speeds today are hundreds of times faster than the irritating dial up days. The amount of time wasted getting on line, opening an email, sending an email…Don’t even try to download anything big with dial up.

To my mother, I was the equivalent of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs from a technology perspective despite the fact that I was tech idiot then too. It is all about the theory of relativity, and my mom’s tech game was literally a zero out of 10, so me being a 2 out of 10 made it seem as though I were a tech genius. I was effectively the tallest Lilliputian. I dreaded staying at mom’s house as I was unable open or send emails and impatience/ADHD would kick in and I would lose it. I recall trying to respond to an email from my boss at the time, John Steinhardt, and it took over an hour. I pride myself on my responsiveness and nearly had a nervous breakdown. John was the single most responsive boss in history and I wanted him to know I appreciated it. To respond to the email, instead of mom’s computer, I had to use my Blackberry, still my favorite over the dreaded iPhone. I could type like Mavis Beacon (world famous typist) on the Blackberry.

Now, I think I understand what my mother felt like as I have become a moron with respect to social media relative to all these youngsters today. I do not Tweet, use Instagram, or Snapchat. I do use Linkedin and will post my newsletter on Facebook, but do not actively check those sites. I once went nearly 10 years between logging into FB and found I had hundreds of messages which went unanswered. People thought I had died.

Sunday evening after I sent out my note, “Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket,” a loyal reader and contributor, Val, reached out to me. She explained that posting a story on LinkedIn was not enough, and I was perplexed. I thought I was a social media genius when in recent weeks I started posting the Rosen Report on LinkedIn as it led to more opens. She confirmed I was indeed a social media lightweight. She told me that I need to “tag” people who were part of the story and use hashtags on topics I wrote about in the newsletter. For example, I had Mark Cuban in my last report and she had me put @Markcuban in my post. With respect to hashtags, I thought they were only for Twitter. Yes, I have become my mother in an embarrassing turn of events. Apparently, this thing, #, is a big deal across social media. Val suggested my LinkedIn profile include this: ##markets, ##politics, ##economics, ##realestate, and ##personalinterests. She also wanted my LinkedIn post intro to have sentences, tags and hashtags as seen in the picture below:

I am hoping my newfound social media savvy helps my piece get noticed by @Markcuban and his 8.6mm followers and he does whatever people do to make it go viral. If not, maybe the next one will. So, if you see tags, hashtags and more social media prowess, it is due to the assistance of my readers, including Val, teaching an old dog new tricks. If we have any social media marketing experts, I am all ears.

I will say that I am shocked at how much time this newsletter takes me to publish. Between writing my research, writing, editing, answering countless emails, texts and calls, I have been spending over 30 hours/week. Now, I need to do all this tagging/hash-tagging as well. It is the worst type of full-time job….zero salary. Maybe I am not just a social media moron…I am just a moron in general. Wall Street and the Hedge Fund business were slightly more lucrative than zero. Come to think of it, so was #flippingburgers, #valetparkingcars, #washingdishes.

Quick Bites

  • META shares were down 33% over 5 days through Tuesday, 2/8, but rebounded 5% on Wednesday. After the earnings call, the large drop occurred, but rather than bouncing, additional pressure pushed the stock down another 10% to $220 or -$100/share in a week. The market cap is below $600bn, the threshold for a “covered platform” for competition bills targeted to big tech. For perspective, the META market cap was almost $1.1bn in 6 months ago. The chart below is the 3 year market cap of FB/META through 2/8.
  • This is a Bloomberg story entitled, “U.S. Inflation Is Probably About to Spike Yet Again.” Inflationary pressures in the U.S. continued to heat up at the start of the year, data are expected to show, likely putting a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase next month on autopilot. The consumer price index probably jumped 7.3% in January from a year ago, the largest annual advance since early 1982, according to the median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Excluding volatile energy and food categories, the CPI is projected to have risen 5.9%. “With energy and food prices still rising, Bloomberg Economics estimates that January inflation continued to exceed the average monthly run rate consistent with an annual 2% inflation target. We expect inflation to peak in February. Slightly more reassuring is that elevated inflation has not seemed to cause long-term inflation expectations  to unanchor yet.” I remain of the view that inflation is more of a 2021 and first half of 2022 story but will moderate due to a less accommodative Fed, rising rates, and overall higher costs cutting into spending. The supply chain issues should improve dramatically by summer as well as outlined in this Bloomberg article. Also, the “free money” of being paid to not work is in the rear view mirror. The other point to consider is that inflation comps will be harder relative to 2021 vs 2020. In 2020, everything was depressed with lockdowns and spending fell sharply. I just don’t believe the gains in autos, homes, and other major items will be as large in percentage terms in 2022 relative to 2021 as was the case last year. However, I believe wages will be “sticky” given people have demonstrated they don’t want to work and prices will remain elevated, just won’t grow by as much. This CNBC video link discusses a sharp deceleration in inflation in the 2nd half of 2022. The first Bloomberg link has a lot of good charts/information.
  • I continue to write about work from home/work from anywhere and continue to feel this a lasting impact of the pandemic. This Bloomberg article is entitled, “Goldman Sachs’ Work-From-Office Policy Is the Aberration Now.” Companies large and small are now adopting hybrid work patterns unrecognizable from pre-pandemic routines — all but killing off the five-day-a-week commute. Few predicted such a seismic shift, even when the pandemic began. “Everybody really did have an expectation that it would all go back to normal. And I think now is a dawning realization that it isn’t,” said Julia Hobsbawm, author of The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace of the Future. More than two-thirds of people (68%) now prefer a hybrid working model, according to Future Forum’s latest quarterly survey of almost 11,000 knowledge workers in Australia, France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S. Just 30% of those surveyed currently work from the office every day. In addition, 95% of respondents want flexibility over times when they work. I know someone with a large job at a major investment bank in NYC. Kids go to school in Florida and he is commuting. This would not have been realistic pre-pandemic and I hear more about these situations and more hedge fund managers and other die-hard New Yorkers relocating.
  • I love Michael Lewis as an author. My favorite book about Wall Street was Liar’s Poker which was published in 1989 and helped push me towards a career working for banks/investment banks. Lewis has also written Flash Boys, The New New Thing, Moneyball and the Big Short, The Blind side and others. This CNBC interview is of Lewis is great and touches on a host of topics. Some of his books are below. I have read approximately 10 of them. A decade ago I had contemplated writing a book about my career and experiences and reached out to him. He could not have been nicer.
  • Given the Super Bowl is Sunday, I thought this WSJ story was interesting: He Retired. He Coached Pop Warner. Now He’s Playing in the Super Bowl.” Before Los Angeles Rams safety Eric Weddle came out of retirement just ahead of the playoffs, he was the mastermind behind another football juggernaut: a Pop Warner football team called the Rancho Bernardo Broncos. Having returned to San Diego in 2021 after retiring, Weddle had an itch. He wanted to coach his own team. He reached out to Pop Warner, the national youth football organization, and asked if he could apply for any open coaching spots nearby. The vetting process didn’t last very long.

    Pop Warner: “What’s your name?”
    Eric: “Eric Weddle.”
    Pop Warner: “You don’t need to interview.”

    “I just want you guys to know: I’ve played 25 straight years of tackle football, and I never once won a championship,” he would say to the kids. By the time the season was over, the Rancho Bernardo Broncos were 11-1 and won the title game against Carlsbad 44-15. Eric Weddle finally had his first championship.  Then just before the NFL playoffs, Waddle got a call from the Rams due to a string of injuries. After Weddle didn’t play in a single regular-season game, or play at all last year, the Rams signed him just before their first playoff game. He played 34% of the team’s defensive snaps in the opening-round win against the Arizona Cardinals. That skyrocketed to 85% against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. By the time the Rams beat the 49ers in the NFC Championship, Weddle had played every single defensive snap—and led the team in tackles. What a story he can tell his players after playing in the big game Sunday.

Other Headlines

  • Bay Area calls on homeowners to help house homeless residents
    I don’t know about you, but I am not inviting homeless people, many of them mentally ill and on drugs into my home with my children. What could possibly go wrong here? The program is not attracting many homeowners who want to let homeless in.

Virus/Vaccine

  • As expected, cases have tumbled sharply since peaking at 807k/day on 1/14. The US is down to 253k/day or -69% from peak and -63% from two weeks prior. Hospitalizations are falling faster -27% and the 7-day average is 111k, but actual hospitalized is approximately 100 today. The death rate growth is slowing, but remains at 2.6k/day and was +9% from the prior period. The curve seems to be flattening and expect it to turn down more sharply in days.

Real Estate

  • In Royal Palm in Boca Raton, there are now 4 homes for sale out of 750. Two are under construction; one is a 1971 tear down for $14.5mm and the other is an outdated 1999 home for $12mm. In Jupiter, in Admirals Cove community, there are now 10 homes for sale out of 950. In Palm Beach Gardens, Old Palm has ZERO homes for sale out of 313. In Miami Beach on North Bay Road, there are currently two water front homes for sale ($20-30mm for knockdowns) out of 220 on that coveted street. Traditionally, the market would see 7-10% of the total homes for sale at any one time at the big communities such as Royal Palm, Admiral’s Cove or Old Palm. Out of approximately 2,230 homes, .7% are for sale.I am told by major brokers that almost 50% of high end homes in South Florida are never listed and aggressive buyers/agents knock on doors to uncover properties. I just spoke with my friend at Panther National (new development in WEST Palm Beach). There are 218 homes being built with the 1st deliver in August of 2023. Reservations started three weeks ago and 115 are reserved including mine, which was #18. I wrote about Panther National extensively in my report entitled, Puff Piece in the R/E section on the bottom. Below is an aerial picture of Admiral’s Cove in Jupiter. I do believe the amount of high-end supply increases greatly over the next 24-36 months in the Jupiter, Hobe Sound, Stuart areas as many large developments are planned. I now know of 10 new golf courses being built in the area, and they are quite high-end.
  • I have been into 15 CPW dozens of times and prior to 220 CPW, it was my favorite building (not location) in the city. The Zeckendorf’s know what they are doing. The location of the new building in the link is a little west for me, but much prefer the location to the Upper East or West sides. For perspective, this new building is 1.2 miles north of the Goldman Sachs headquarters on West street and walking distance to Carbone and other NYC hotspots. Another “Limestone Jesus” — the popular nickname for 15 Central Park West — is poised to  soon rise over the Hudson River downtown. A joint venture partnership of Zeckendorf Development, builders of boldface-filled 15 CPW, and Atlas Capital Group have just signed a hush-hush contract to purchase 570 Washington St. — a 1.3-acre empty lot between Houston and Clarkson streets on the West Side Highway, sources told The Post exclusively. The developers plan to erect a $1 billion-plus, roughly 36-story, super-luxury condo tower affording open river and skyline views, according to the sources. Apartments will be priced in the $5,000 per square foot range — unheard of for downtown.
I received this data from Jared Halpern from Douglas Elliman

Jan ‘22 vs Jan ‘21 - FOR CO-OPS  

  • Average sales price increased to $1,764,014 from $1,452,605
  • Median sales price increased to $1,068,750 from $997,000  
  • Discount from Original Asking Price decreased to 5.8% from 16.6%
  • Discount from Last Asking Price decreased to 0.7% from 5.5%
  • Initial Index offer decreased to 5.49% from 7.99%
  • Transactions over $1,000,000 increased to 50% from 49%  
  • Transactions under $1,000,000 decreased to 50% from 51%
  • Median number of days on market to C/S, from last ask price increased to 107 from 84 days
  • 57% of Coops Sales are financed of which 72% are contingent on financing
  • 5% of buyers are international
  • 25% of Coops sold at ask & above the asking price.

FOR CONDOS

  • Average sales price decreased to $2,788,342 from $2,929,454
  • Median sales price increased to $2,000,000 from $1,729,090  
  • Discount from Original Asking Price decreased to 2.9% from 14.4%
  • Discount from Last Asking Price decreased to 2.2% from 11.6%
  • Initial Index offer decreased to 3.21% from 9.60%
  • Transactions over $1,000,000 decreased to 77% from 80%  
  • Transactions under $1,000,000 increased to 23% from 20%
  • Median number of days on market to C/S, from last ask price increased to 96 from 84 days
  • 56% of Condo Sales are financed of which 79% are contingent on financing
  • 15.7% of Condo Sales are New Developments
  • 13% of buyers are international
  • 34% of Condos sold at ask & above the asking price.

Brad, a reader, sent me this Bloomberg article on luxury R/E. The rich, who got even richer in the pandemic era, are unceasingly deploying their wealth into luxury homes. More than $40 billion worth of residential real estate valued at $10 million or higher changed hands in 2021, according to a report from real estate brokerage Compass Inc. That’s more than double the amount in 2020.  There were more than 2,300 transactions of homes priced at $10 million or higher last year — a 112% jump from 2020. Los Angeles had the most, followed by Manhattan and Palm Beach. With the stock market booming and interest rates low, the past two years have been good to the richest 0.1%. The luxury home market in turn is being flooded by those looking to both trade up and and potentially protect their money from rising inflation. And despite the prospect of tighter Fed policy and market volatility, purchases show little sign of slowing down. I disagree with little sign of slowing down. Volumes will be lower due to the lack of inventory as outlined in my first R/E bullet today

I had a great Financial Times article in the last report and must have received 50 emails, calls and texts about the migration to Florida. A reader, Rich, sent me this article entitled, “COVID-19 migration: Who's moving to Florida and why there's a New York exodus.” It is a very different article from the last one, but this has far more data in it about the migration. Too much for me to attempt to summarize. More than 547,000 people exchanged out-of-state driver’s licenses last year for ones with Sunshine State addresses. That’s a 40% increase from 2020 and nearly 20% greater than the five-year average between 2017 and 2021. The license swaps — largely from New York (11%), New Jersey (6%) and foreign countries (14%) — are acutely felt in Florida real estate markets where inventory is anemic and prices aggressive. The median sale price on Palm Beach County single-family homes ended 2021 at nearly half-a-million dollars with the average price pushing seven figures. Demographers believe the relocations are no tropical dalliance because a driver’s license switch is a sign of determination to make Florida home even if hurricane season and August's sweltering humidity are spent in cooler climes away from storms and sticky air.

Top 5 states moving to Palm Beach County

State 2021 driver's licenses Change from 5-year average

  • New York 8,107 37%
  • New Jersey 4,088 32%
  • Foreign country 4,061 -6%
  • California 1,895 51%
  • Pennsylvania 1,518 12%

Top 5 states moving to Florida

State 2021 driver's licenses Change from 5-year average

  • Foreign country 76,442 -4%
  • New York 61,728 34%
  • New Jersey 32,083 33%
  • California 27,081 43%
  • Illinois 26,076 31%

Top 5 counties with most license swaps in 2021

  • Miami-Dade, 48,266
  • Hillsborough, 35,626
  • Orange, 35,582
  • Broward, 34,084

This Market Watch article has residential real estate predictions for 2022. I don’t think anything in the article is earth shattering, but agree with most of it. For each of the 5 bullets below there is a paragraph explaining the point. Given the massive increase in R/E prices over the past 18 months, it is hard for me to fathom the price growth can continue, given how un-affordable homes have become. Couple this with rising rates and the substantial double digit price growth should be harder to come by in most markets.The lack of inventory should keep residential R/E elevated, but believe the recent price growth is not repeated.

  • Prediction 1: Mortgage rates will rise
  • Prediction 2: Home price growth may ‘return to normalcy’
  • Prediction 3: Expect near-term bidding wars
  • Prediction 4: It will still be a tough market for buyers though
  • Prediction 5: But there are still wildcards

Eric Rosen
The Rosen Report