July 27, 2016 – I wanted to get on record a few items so we can watch how they evolve over the next few years.
Let’s start with the Shorts…I believe these three stocks will be the poster children of the upcoming decline. Bank of the Ozarks (as a colleague said, this is the Corus Bank of this cycle), Capital One Financial, and Dollar General.
OZRK is the symbol for Bank of the Ozarks. It is already down from a high of about $55 to $37 today. The market is already pricing severe loan losses in the year or two ahead. Will we see OZRK below $10/share by the time the upcoming recession/depression ends?
COF is the symbol for Capital One Financial. The stock hit a high of $82.67 and is around $68 today. It bottomed at about $12 in the last crisis. No reason it can’t get back below $20 this time around. This is the huge credit card company, so it should get hurt bad as the public stops paying their credit card bills.
DG is the symbol for Dollar General. The timing on this one is interesting as it hit an all-time high today – $96.88. As a fellow appraiser observed at the Appraisal Institute’s National Conference in Charlotte this week, there is a Dollar General on every corner! I think there are 5x as many Dollar General stores in my area as there are Starbucks. My friend mentioned seeing these built in towns with populations under 2,000 people and the next store only 5 miles away. We didn’t need that many dollar stores 5 years ago and we don’t need more today.
There is no doubt lenders and developers and appraisers are following the quote I came up with 25 years ago – “If we will lend on it, they will build it!” As long as appraisers continue to value these based on the lease and that value is above project cost and lenders loan against the inflated value, the game will continue. This time around appraisers will not be able to say they did not knowingly contribute to the inflated loans on dollar stores, drug stores, dialysis centers, and other properties leased long-term to a single national tenant. The true real estate value of these properties is way less than the leased value and even significantly less than the actual project cost.
I wonder when shareholders will rise up and demand that these public corporations stop losing hundreds of millions of dollars on their real estate holdings. They can try to justify the losses by saying their business revenue makes up for it. But, they could be BOTH prudent with their real estate decisions and have solid business revenue. What a concept, eh:)
I am personally seeing more closed up dollar stores as I travel around. And other people are reporting the same. The fun times will come when the companies declare bankruptcy and cancel all of the leases they no longer want and get the rents lowered on the locations they keep open. I have seen this done before. Investors will be in for quite a shock when this happens again. As I have told appraisers for decades, national tenants are a higher risk than locals – national companies have better lawyers:)
Not mentioned above, but noted in an earlier post, are auto loan lenders. Those are difficult to short as traded stocks. Just not as common as the above companies. But, let’s not forget the implosion of that lending industry over the next few years. And, hopefully, the news of current employees turned whistleblowers to expose the wrongdoings going on today.
As for the Myths…one of the most annoying ones I have heard over the past 5+ years is the ‘great’ population growth in our Central Business Districts (CBDs) due to The Stupid Generation wanting to live where they work and play, etc. As a Huffington Post article from May 2015 stated:
“The trend toward greater suburbanization was strong through most of the period between 2000 and 2011, though faltered in the later years, as the economy declined. At the same time, the CBDs were adding population for the first time in decades, which contributed to a net urban core gain of 40,000 new residents between 2000 and 2011. This welcome trend seems likely to continue.
Yet, in context, the CBD gains are small. Between 2000 and 2011, 99.8% of the growth was in the suburbs and exurbs (18.5 million). The latest Census Bureau estimates, just released, show a strengthening of suburban and exurban growth, with rising net domestic migration. With a good economy, there could be favorable prospects for growth in the entire city, from the urban core, through the suburbs to the exurbs.”
I read somewhere else that the percentage of people living in CBDs has not increased since 2000, but has increased slightly in the suburbs. The VAST MAJORITY of The Stupid Generation has moved to the suburbs, not downtowns.
According to a recent survey by the Demand Institute, 75% of millennials consider home ownership a long-term goal and 48% (!) plan to move from renting to owning in the next 5 years. Not much has changed between prior generations and this one. Just a lot of hype by those who want us to believe downtowns are all the rage and developers who want someone else to get caught holding the bag when this cycle ends.
Lastly, a few minor rants against The Stupid Generation. They entertain me as they think they are inventing things that have long ago been invented already. e.g. a new term is out ‘micro-apartments.’ Well, efficiencies and studio apartments have been around forever. And the term ‘tiny house’ – as we have called them for 50+ years, RVs! It is funny that they act as if this is a conscious decision to want a small house. The truth is they cannot afford anything more than a small house! That is also the reason for not owning as many cars, having to walk to places, etc. Us Baby Boomers made their world that way, they did not decide to have it this way! And lastly, it is a pound sign, not a hashtag:)
And I think I invented a word today – hackjacking. When we start riding in automated cars as simply passengers and someone hacks our car and takes us on a joy ride or holds us for ransom until we send money to them to release their hold on our car, we will have been hackjacked:)
Til next time, Spend Forward and Use Forward!