Furthermore, Santiago is just a nice, clean, modern, first world city… something like Madrid meets Chicago. It’s a pedestrian-friendly city with great mass transit and a privatized highway system. There are parks everywhere among the sprawling towers, and you see locals everywhere enjoying a coffee in the city’s numerous cafes and eateries.
(as an aside, Santiago has something you won’t find in too many other places in the world… a concept called ‘cafe con piernas’ or coffee with legs. Think of it as a combination of Starbucks and Hooters…)
Most of all, this place is civilized; Santiago is devoid of the sort of destitute squalor you would expect of a Latin American capital. Obviously some parts of town are nicer than others, but overall I find it every bit as nice as Europe or North America with every amenity you could ever want or need, and all at a pretty nice cost of living discount.
Compared to what I’ve seen elsewhere around the world, real estate in Chile (and Santiago in general) is a relative bargain. Bear in mind, I think about real estate in terms of square meters, which for our metric challenged readers is 10.76 square feet… so a 1,500 square foot 3-bedroom home is about 140 square meters.
My unequivocal, universal standard for ‘cheap’ residential real estate in big cities is $1,000 per square meter. It’s really hard to find this anymore in the world. Ecuador comes to mind– there are a number of good quality properties in Cuenca and Quito for $1,000 per square meter.
Property taxes are a joke; owners might pay $40 to $100 per year in taxes on a reasonably-sized apartment, while rents command a 6% yield at present. I expect the rental yield to increase over the years, along with property values, as supply is constrained and demand is increasing.-------------------------------------------------------
My host was a particular gung-ho Chilean Army officer; curiously, he told me that many of his fellow officers in Chile petitioned the government to authorize a deployment of soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan. They want to participate in the action, if for no other reason than for the opportunity to improve training at home.Privatized highways, low property taxes, a reluctance to go to war, and Hooters cafes? Sign me up! Well, maybe one day I will get there.
Chile’s politicians wouldn’t hear of it, their response being something slightly more eloquent than “no way in hell are we sending Chileans to die in that f’ing desert.” My host seemed rather disgruntled.
“Trust me,” I said, “you don’t want to go over there… and you should consider yourself lucky that your civilian leadership has the good sense to boycott the conflict. There is nothing good waiting for you in Iraq or Afghanistan.”
Okay, so I know this clip has been used on countless subjects, but man is this funny:
It is of course in response to Adam Kokesh's dance protest at the Jefferson Memorial and subsequent choke slam.
New Case Shiller Home Index numbers came out today showing that housing prices are still going down everywhere except for the following:
Not surprisingly, as government plays a larger role in the economy ,Washington DC moved against the downward trend and remained the top gainer, with a price increase of 1.2% versus February 2011 and an 8.1% increase versus March 2010.I was just watching Special Report with Bret Baier and the guest anchor stated that housing is currently in a double dip recession. Did it ever get out of the first one?
San Francisco (+0.5%), Miami (+0.3%), Seattle (+0.2%) and Los Angeles (+0.1%) also saw month-over-month gains in prices. On the downside, Charlotte (-2.6%), Minneapolis (-2.5%), Cleveland(1.3%) and Atlanta (-1.2%) prices fell significantly.
So tomorrow Ron Paul will lead a Financial Services Committee meeting on Fed manipulation of the stock market. Here is the info:
"Federal Reserve Lending Disclosure: FOIA, Dodd-Frank, and the Data Dump"Hopefully we can get another exchange of remarks such as this with Scott Alvarez and Rep. Alan Grayson (God do I miss him)
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 2:00 PM in 2128 Rayburn HOB
Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology
WITNESS LIST• Mr. Scott G. Alvarez, General Counsel, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
• Mr. Thomas C. Baxter, Jr., General Counsel, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
If you would like to submit a question, do it here.
Perhaps a good question to ask would be how probable is this occurring:
From The Moscow Times: "Belarus on Tuesday froze prices on a number of foodstuffs as analysts warned that the former Soviet republic could descend into economic chaos and an IMF mission headed to Minsk to assess the situation."Of course the price controls are in response to this:
Belarus devalued its ruble by 36 percent to 4,977 per dollar last week in an attempt to reduce a current account deficit largely caused by generous public spending in the run-up to Alexander Lukashenko's re-election as president last December.or maybe this chart:
Update- Phenomenal interview of Jim Grant by James Turk of GoldMoney:
Apologies for it broken into pieces, I couldn't get the full video off Zerohedge.
It's a bit long, but Jim Grant's wit makes it all worthwhile. And yeah, they come to the conclusion that the Keynesian party is coming to an end soon and the gold standard will reappear.