WSJ Goes All YouTube On Us

The WSJ goes all YouTube on us (via BrightCove‘s technology). It allows the embedding of their video onto other sites, and is generally more user friendly than other type of video.

Its Shockwave Flash 8 based, rather than WMV or other video (CNBC.com should have ran with this technology instead of whatever madness they have been using).

This is the near-term future of internet tv — lighter and faster.

The only issue I’ve come across is there’s a small glitch — when you
email this, ask for a URL, or embed the video, the software embeds the
wrong code — this was supposed to be "Parsing the Fed" — and instead
we get a random video.

It works correctly on this video, bit not on the vid I originally requested. Odd.

Category: Digital Media, Economy, Federal Reserve, Financial Press, Inflation, Television

Intra-Day Reversal

Category: Commodities, Economy, Federal Reserve, Markets, Psychology, RR&A

2006 Global Returns

Category: Markets

Wage Surge?

Category: Economy, Employment, Wages & Income

Books in the Queue

Category: Books

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

Category: Books

RE Speculation on Long Island

On New Year’s Eve Day, I was visiting my kid brother’s family. They live in the fictional town of Suburbia, Long Island.

The next development over is a section of Woodbury called "The Gates" (don’t ask). This has long been a very nice upper-middle to upper class part of town, known for rambling ranches and big splits on one and two acre plots. I hadn’t been thru there in years. My bro said he had something to show me (he is, amongst other things, a successful Real Estate speculator). 

So while the wives played with the kids and chatted, we took the convertible out (it was 56 degrees on 12/31/06) and tooled thru the neighborhoods.

I couldn’t believe the sheer number of knockdowns. It seemed that every 3rd house was either brand new, under construction, or had already been leveled.

The RAZR has a decent camera on it, so I took quite a few snaps:

This is the original sort of Houses that were all over this nicer part upper middle class suburbia. This Ranch is bigger than the photo shows, with a garage off to the right:
1_split

These are what are replacing the ranches and splits:

2_big

How the prices developed was an interesting aspect of this: According to public records, most of these knockdowns were purchased over the past 24 months. Specs paid between $1.0-1.3M — essentially for the land, as they razed whatever buildings were on the property. The new homes had been first listed for $2.4m or so, but that was optimistic. Prices slipped to then $2.2m, and they are now holding at $1.99m — with few takers. But  its a nice neighborhood (location location location), and as prices drop further there will be plenty of buyers — the only question is at what price point?

What I found so fascinating were the number of empty lots (knock downs) and half-finished homes — and according to the neighbors we met, quite a few have been that way for a while.

If any builders/developers here can provide insight, I’m curious as to what it costs to put up one of these bigger homes — not the land, just the construction costs. A few of these 5,000 sq. ft.homes were actually very handsome (not the boring red brick McMansions, but others). I am curious as to how much profit there is in these jumbo homes. 

One thing to note in light of the earlier Lennar news:  As Beezer’s CEO observed, about 75% of the home building business is still in private hands. (See WCW)

I’ll toss the rest of the snaps I took after the jump  . . .

Read More

Category: Real Estate

Economy poised to shake off housing slump (except Lennar)

Category: Economy, Real Estate

U2 New Year’s Day

Category: Digital Media, Music

Insider Selling

Category: Corporate Management, Investing, Markets, Psychology