Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at the news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on larger issues.
We’re now almost officially one year into the Trump administration’s takeover of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And the total Trumpification of the CFPB is now nigh upon us.
For the last year, Mick Mulvaney has run the CFPB, taking over for Richard Cordray, who left the bureau the day after Thanksgiving last year.
But Mulvaney’s appointment has been on an “interim” basis, which was extended when the Trump administration officially nominated Kathleen Kraninger to lead the bureau for the next five years.
Late last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, moved to bring Kraninger’s nomination to the Senate floor for a full vote.
According to multiple reports, the vote is likely to be scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving. And with Kraninger likely to be confirmed by a majority Republican Senate, Mulvaney’s time at the CFPB will likely soon come to a close.
Kraninger has the support of the housing industry. Last week, the housing industry’s largest and most prominent trade groups joined together to call on the Senate to bring Kraninger’s nomination to a vote.
“The undersigned organizations, representing the many facets of the housing and financial industries, support the nomination of Kathleen Kraninger as the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection,” the groups said in a letter to the Senate leadership and members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
“Our organizations believe Ms. Kraninger has the ability to lead and manage a large government agency, like the Bureau, which is tasked to ensure consumers’ financial interests are protected,” the groups continue. “We believe she will also fulfill the equally important role of ensuring businesses have the necessary compliance support to further those interests.”
The letter is signed by 21 of the housing industry’s top groups, including the National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Multifamily Housing Council.
Those groups wanted a vote from the Senate, and now it looks like they’re going to get one.
There was an absolute ton of digital ink spilled this past week on Amazon announcing that it will split its second headquarters between the New York City and Arlington, Virginia areas.
There are a lot of unknowns about the projects at this point, but one thing’s for sure, Amazon is getting some hefty handouts from the taxpayers to settle in those two locations.
The new headquarters are estimated to bring in about 50,000 jobs with an average salary of $100,000 between the new locations over the next 15 years. The moves are also expected to bring about $15 billion into the local economies over the next 17 years.
But what about the housing impact? That’s not so definitive either, considering we’re talking about something that will have impact over decades.
One view, from Metrostudy, suggests that Amazon’s moves will aid housing supply in those regions.
“For Queens and Arlington, this translates into demand for more than 15,000 new homes in each community,” Metrostudy Chief Economist Mark Boud said. “Housing supply will be gradual to adjust in these urban areas, but our feeling is that Amazon has already received commitments from both cities in terms of infrastructural improvements and housing supply.”
And while that may be the case, one immediate housing impact of Amazon’s expansion in New York is the elimination of as many as 1,500 units of affordable housing in the immediate future.
Two sites that will house the future offices of the e-commerce giant were originally intended for residential development, before Amazon chose them in a nationwide contest for its new headquarters.
Most — if not all — of that intended housing is now off the table.
Plaxall, which owns land around the Anable Basin, was prepared to ask New York City for permission to build up to 4,995 new homes on a 14.7-acre site on the East River, 1,250 of which developers would have set aside for low- and middle-income New Yorkers. Most of that site will now be subsumed into Amazon’s office campus.
A small portion of it — about two acres — can still be used for housing because it won’t be part of Amazon’s campus. But Plaxall hasn’t decided if it wants apartments or office space there, and either way, it won’t be able to accommodate nearly as many homes as originally planned.
According to the article, another developer was planning to build 1,000 apartments (250 of which would have been affordable housing) on a nearby site, but that area will now become part of Amazonland as well.
Time will tell if the Amazon bargain will end up being a deal with the devil, or not.
Next up, did you hear about “Monopoly for Millennials”? It’s apparently a real thing, and boy is it a thing.
This game, which really appears to be real, is honestly just something that needs to be seen to be believed. I mean, it’s so bad, so stereotypical, so cliché-riddled, so hackneyed that it’s almost like Hasbro did it on purpose.
Let’s start with the box’s tagline: “Forget Real Estate. You Can’t Afford It Anyway.”
YES. THAT’S REALLY WHAT IT SAYS.
The game is not about collecting real estate and money, as it was in the past. Now, it’s all about collecting “experiences.” Good lord, I just vomited in my mouth.
Here’s a taste of the game’s description, taken from a listing on Walmart.com (and you might to do some yoga breathing before you read these):
- MONOPOLY FOR MILLENNIALS GAME: Adulting is hard; take a break from the rat race with this edition of the Monopoly game
- PARTY BOARD GAME: This Monopoly game is a great choice for Millennials who need a break from the life of adulting; great for parties and get-togethers
- CHOOSE COOL PLACES AND DESTINATIONS: Collect Experience points by visiting the hottest Destinations -- from your Friend's Couch, to the Vegan Bistro, to a Week-Long Meditation Retreat
- SET THE TREND: Collect money from players who visit the Destinations you discovered first
- IT'S ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE: In this version of the Monopoly game, the player who collects the most Experience -- not the most money -- wins the game
According to an article from CNN, the game pieces include emojis, a camera, bike, hashtag and sunglasses.
Okay, here’s the thing….this has to be a joke that Hasbro is in on. They tried to make it this ridiculous on purpose to get people to talk about it. And guess what, it’s working.
A Google search of “Monopoly for Millennials” over the weekend turned up nearly 11 million results.
Outlets across all media types are covering the game and the backlash among its presumed target audience (which predictably finds the game insulting). CNN, NBC News, ABC News, People Magazine, the New York Times, USA Today, and Fortune all covered it. And that’s just on the first two pages of the Google Search results.
They’re playing all of those outlets and all of us for free publicity and it’s working.
It reminds me of SoFi’s move last year to offer a one-month supply of avocado toast with each new mortgage.
The offer was so stereotypically targeted at Millennials that the “backlash” ended up being 1,000 times bigger than the offer itself was.
As I wrote last year:
SoFi published its press release about the avocado toast offer Thursday morning at 9:00 am Eastern.
What happened next is why this whole thing is some really smart marketing. Media outlet after media outlet started writing about the offer.
Headlines about SoFi’s offer appeared on CNBC, Money, Fortune, Curbed San Francisco, Silicon Beat, the Observer, and the Associated Press, to name a few.
SoFi gamed the media, just like Hasbro is doing here. Kudos to them, I guess. You got everyone to take the bait. I guess we’ll see if it leads to millions of Millennials coming out of their parents’ basement on Christmas morning and seeing “Monopoly for Millennials” under the tree. I kid the Millennials, I kid!
And with that, I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! HousingWire will be publishing through Wednesday, but we’ll be closed Thursday and Friday to celebrate the holiday with our families. Hope you all have a great week.