In America, trailer parks have long been stigmatized as economically undesirable -- last-resort stops for poverty-line families and the elderly, where crime is rampant and living conditions are squalid.
But as the middle class continues to shrink and the housing affordability gap continues to widen, Americans are increasingly turning to mobile homes -- and a new breed of investors is eager to welcome them.
Across the country, real estate companies are snapping up old trailer parks, remodeling them into attractive complexes, and rebranding them as “mobile home communities.”
How the trailer park came to be
Facing job scarcity and housing shortages, many post-Depression era Americans built mobile trailers to follow transient work opportunities. By the 1950s, these trailers were seen as a cheaper alternative to buying a house, and semi-permanent communities of them were formed.
As opportunities for more stability arose, trailer parks came to be seen as undesirable and “low-down” -- but now, that’s changing...
Because the housing market sucks
Today, the average home in the US costs $286k (about 8 years’ worth of median income), while a manufactured home (the “modern incarnation” of a trailer) can be had for $70k. Likewise, rent on one of these homes is 30-50% that of a traditional 2-bedroom apartment.
As housing prices continue to climb, median-income Americans are changing the demographics of trailer parks.
And as a result, they’re getting a lot nicer
Developers and investors (including Warren Buffett) have dumped money into purchasing run-down trailer parks and revamping them into amenity paradises, complete with swimming pools, clubhouses, and on-site maintenance.
Some are capitalizing on the tiny house craze and marketing energy-efficient abodes to entice millennial families into these parks.
And the strategy is paying off: According to Quartz, these companies have seen “some of the highest operating income growth in the real estate sector.”
Not even crypto’s kingpins know if you should buy bitcoin
A recent estimate figures that 95% of bitcoin’s wealth is held by 4% of the market -- AKA the kings of the Crypto Castle (home to some of the most prominent crypto investors), AKA the people everyone laughed at 4 years ago, AKA the world’s newest breed of billionaires.
Grant Hummer, who runs a $100m crypto hedge fund, told The New York Times that his “neurons are fried from all the volatility,” and he views the rise of crypto as a sign that people have lost faith in civilization.
After a death hoax sent Ethereum’s price into a tailspin, Vitalik had to prove he was still alive, from a secure location.
And when people ask Pieter Wuille, a key developer of bitcoin, if they should buy in, he tells them the truth: He has “no idea.” That may be the safest answer.
Patanjali’s guru announces their move to e-commerce, and the big e-tailers are lovin it
Yesterday, Baba Ramdev -- the fearless face and yoga guru of the up-and-coming Indian consumer goods company (they literally sell everything) -- announced the launch of Patanjali’s e-commerce platform.
Between sharing their business plan and striking a few signature yoga poses on stage, Ramdev revealed their online platform made sales of more than Rs10 crores ($100m) during a trial phase in December, inspiring them to make an official push into online waters.
And India’s top e-commerce billionaires are psyched
The announcement was met with cheers and applause by some of the leaders of India’s $15B e-commerce sector, as Ramdev announced Patanjali’s new partnerships with leading e-tailers like Paytm Mall, BigBasket, Flipkart, Grofers, and Amazon last week.
See, before this announcement, Patanjali sold online only through third-party distributors, but now with their own retail site, those other e-commerce giants can authorize online sales of Patanjali’s products directly -- cutting out the middleman on both sides of the coin.
So what will this do for Patanjali?
On a micro level, the sales opportunity could result in over Rs1,000 crore a year ($10B), and on a macro-level, the company estimates the share of online sales will contribute to 15% of their total turnover in the next few years.
According to The Times of India, online sales of “fast-moving consumer goods” are expected to jump nearly 6 times their current $1B in 2020 -- and Ramdev and Patanjali hope to make up a large piece of that pie.
BlackRock CEO to companies: Figure out your social mission if you want funding
In his yearly letter to chief executives, BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink called on companies they invest in to lay out their long-term plans of making a positive impact on society -- or find new funding.
In the letter, Fink warned that companies unable to prove social impact was important to them would “lose the license to operate from key stakeholders.”
The irony of altruism
This is not the first time Fink has penned a letter warning companies he invests in to be more socially conscious. In 2017, BlackRock led a “shareholder rebellion” against ExxonMobil, urging them to be more transparent with climate change-related risks.
But there’s a certain hypocrisy in their demand. Since ’88, BlackRock has all but made a killing off the misfortune of others, serving as US advisors in 2009’s trillion-dollar bailout program during the financial crisis -- a crisis, we might add, that they helped create.
A world power in the shadows
But this shouldn’t take away from BlackRock’s potentially beneficial mandate: This is a company that handles $6TN in assets -- over 5% of all financial assets worldwide -- and has a toe dipped into nearly every facet of the financial market.
To enforce this new initiative, BlackRock plans to up the size of their investment auditing team to 60+ people.
1. An exceedingly smart (rich) individual who wants to give you money to get your mumbo-jumbo startup off the ground, and that’s all you need to know. 2. Someone who doesn’t really want to invest but really wants to say that they invest on their LinkedIn profile. 3. Dad.
Example: [Juicero] ... and that's why the juice industry is RIPE for disruption. [Angel Investor] Do you prefer check or electronic transfer?
Pro tip: When wooing an angel investor, place yourself in a keto-friendly environment. HEALTHY FATS ONLY, OR NO FRIGGIN DICE!
This edition of The Hustle was brought to you by
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