Truly, as I’m sure dear Klaus Schwab realized, you can add “Great” to anything to make it feel more important. But today, it’s appropriate. And that’s because we’re talking about the current nexus of human migration, a bizarre mix of bureaucratic horror, fear of physical violence, and extreme economic debauchery.
Or what I call the Great Re-sort.
Now, you’ve already gotten an idea of how timing the Great Reset might be futile, because it happened a decade ago. And really, if we’re in the middle of it, it might be time to roll with the punches. Even so, we’ve also talked about preparing for the Great Paralleling of the Internet.
But wait a second, can you hear that? Listen closely.
It’s the distant sound of conservatives across the United States screaming out in pure terror. You see, the illiberal class, after wrecking their own states for decades, and now more so with pointless and onerous lockdowns, wants to move to your town. And RIGHT NOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
How ready are you for the fun?
The Vista of a Stagflationista
Admittedly, I’m caught right in the middle of this situation as we race against the clock to find ourselves a new place to live. But unlike illiberals, we’ve had this decision on our radar for many years. After doing very well for ourselves during the last Great Financial Crisis, we expected to shift positions in 2021.
Then all the shenanigans to the government’s Covid-19 response blindsided us like hell.
All that said, our collective social situation, already in motion, is difficult to make heads or tails of. As professionals and pundits pour over NAR-approved data, my family also has many other considerations in mind. And not the least of which is physical safety in the most possible chaos.
Yes, you don’t have to guess: we intend to get as far away from the blast zone as possible.
Nevertheless, after a decade of being a deflationista, I’ve concluded that extreme stagflation is more likely now. And this colors my outlook today on each of the factors in our re-sorting of our nation’s citizens.
Briefly and in the first place, there is a global dollar shortage afoot and built on so much debt that the hole is enormous. The Federal Reserve will never be able to get enough money into the real economy to fill it. Sure, they’ll continue to scream about “running hot” on re-flation. But this is a financial and monetary black-hole we’re talking about.
So, you see where I’m at on the deflation side but what about the stagflation part?
Shadow-stats aside, after a decade of muted inflation, technocrats have stumbled upon the ultimate magic trick to wonky inflation. First, threats of inflation never increased spending. Then some businesses across different sectors tried simply and arbitrarily raising prices even in the face of anemic growth. Now, all we have left is the gimmick of forced de-growth, a purposeful destruction of the economy to bring rising prices.
And this is what the lockdowns are partially about.
It might sound like a controlled burn, but de-growth is likely to be very unstable and wobbly. This, an outrageously stupid balancing act by idiots to control uncontrollable market forces. And therefore, likely stagflationary at times.
Good Ol’ Government Games
So, what does this initially look like on-the-ground and in a Great Re-sort of populations?
On the one hand, I know a married couple half-living off unemployment and Medicaid. And who, during the height of the lockdowns, were able to get financing to buy a rather outrageously priced flip. And all despite not having great credit and being saddled with student loans. What did their bank say? Simply provide a letter from your employer stating they’ll hire you back one day.
Yeah, that day to return to work never came. Oh, and they just bought themselves a brand new, $30,000 crossover.
On the other hand, I also know more than a few Millennials who are waiting for the shoe to drop. And all so they can buy themselves a dirt cheap, totally awesome McMansion. None of them have any savings or stable job histories. And their credit scores would make you laugh.
“It’s a prefect time to buy! Low interest rates and free government cheese!”
Then there’s my family. Despite having the most pristine credit, hundreds of thousands in home equity, zero debt, and considerably more savings than 99% of the country… our primary bank wouldn’t give us a fucking loan. And our other banks are also being difficult, even though we’re simply selling and moving to a similar property.
You’ll have to forgive me if I sound annoyed.
Although these are but small samples, they show exactly how perverse the actualities are today. The moratoriums on mortgage and rent, plus bailouts all along the food chain, have created an extremely ludicrous situation that is certainly affecting migration patterns across the nation.
How long can the government keep this game of Three-card Monte going? Probably much, much longer than you and I would assume. But not forever.
In either case, the bigger banks are most definitely spooked.
Run, Run as Fast as You Can
And yet, people are still moving. But where to exactly and is it to your next of the woods?
Personally, I’m always skeptical when the media insists anything is happening. And for our readers, I assume I’m in good company in that belief. And this includes the current narrative in some news sources about how people are fleeing the big cities for rural areas.
So, I dipped into the available data.
As you can see below, what we find is largely what I would expect, at least on a temporary-change-of-address basis. Although there’s been a few headlines about it, it’s lesser known that big cities were already losing residents more rapidly in the run up to the lockdowns. And I would assume those same trends—wherever they were moving to before all this went down— would simply accelerate. A great example is New Yorkers, like Goldman Sachs, moving to Florida, but with the state’s snowbirds, effective seasonal tourists for the economy, never returning.
Amusingly enough, I have yet to see these sorts of sources put out polling for how cities getting torched may be affecting moving choices.
In fact, fear of catching Covid-19 and economic fallout were two of the top reasons for moving. And as you can see on the map, there appear to be a few prime destinations in this re-sorting of populations. Still, I remain somewhat skeptical, since everything I’ve seen is based on temporary moves.
At the same time, I’m starting to suspect the culture around Covid-19 is never going away. And that includes “temporary” changes people made.
The Fallout on Human Migration
Tying this all together, the moving masses do appear to be jumping ship from the trashed out big cities. And targeting certain secondary or third-level metropolitan areas. Moreover, everyone keeps shouting at me about how home prices are up! And the economy is back, baby! But this despite an absolutely shocking and alarming 25% reduction, year-over-year, in residential real estate inventory.
And this would, at least in part, confirm my own hometown observations.
Around us, suburban homes in the nice part of town are quickly increasing in price. And I’ve watched as they get snatched up in days, sometimes faster. Plus, the real estate activity immediately around me has become a flurry that would put the 2000s era to shame. Flips, new luxury construction, and more.
It has yet to be seen whether there will be, long-term, enough buyers to sustain this direction. And what it all means really. Or whether dwindling loans, plus a halt to free money will hit a wall. Personally, I’m betting on the latter.
In contrast, you have the properties and areas my family is looking at.
Rural, strategically placed near large tracts of wildlife land, and with well-kept, small churches. That’s at least the start of our criteria. But of course, there’s a few more items on that list.
Still, it’s clear we’re not the only ones looking at these factors.
But first, many of the homes in rural parts of our state, ones not meeting our full criteria, are sitting on the market for months. They’re also experiencing falling prices, although slowly. Yet, then the properties that do meet our criteria are gone in under 24 hours, often with multiple bids. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Dicey only begins to describe it.
You’re probably seeing something similar in your greater region.
And really, when it comes to the Great Re-Sort in America, that’s probably my biggest observation. Sure, it’s obviously all topsy-turvy. And the market is not functioning properly. What’s more, there are most certainly going to be losers in this game.
Yet, the near future looks to be liberalized people continuing to flee to what they believe are safer suburbs in middling metros. And in the hopes of more economic opportunity and less lockdown. Then they are most assuredly to cannibalize those areas with their newly-minted “conservative values,” values that did little to resist the illiberalism of their first homes. At least, that’s what our area has been like for the past 20 years.
But keep your eye on the ball.
There is a smaller movement of those of us looking beyond this great human migration. And to the year when that game of Three-card Monte is revealed as merely the confidence game that it is. Perhaps this will be in a year. Or five. Or ten.
But it is most unquestionably locked into place now.
At least for us, we were fine avoiding properties in the run up to 2007. And we were happy to buy properties for pennies-on-the-dollar at the bottom of the last crisis. And in the Great Re-sort, we’re fine selling to idiots as prices rise while we patiently wait to get away from that coming nuclear winter, whatever form it takes.
You might feel like that sentiment isn’t the most polite. But after our kick-off to the 2020s, I’m not sure I care anymore.