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Author Archive: Irvine Renter

Monetary policy implemented by central banks around the world creates the conditions where investors inflate asset bubbles by chasing yield. We hold these truths to be self-evident Those are the first words of the US Constitution. Along with equality and inalienable rights, we could add another self-evident truth: the federal reserve causes asset bubbles. Can We Blame the Fed for Asset Bubbles? Apr 14, 2015 4:18 PM EDT, By Megan McArdle On Monday, my Bloomberg View colleague Mark Gilbert explored a fretful question: Are we in the midst of yet another asset bubble? Stanley Druckenmiller, who helped George Soros “break the Bank of England” in 1992, thinks we are. In a speech earlier this year, he said he's got the…[READ MORE]

If a home seller asks a price buyers are unwilling or unable to pay, is the house really for sale? One of my goals for the writing and analysis on this site is to provide readers a vision of the future of the housing market. Where are prices going? What will happen with sales? How do the variables affecting housing cause changes in prices or sales? I do this because I believe people should have accurate information to make sound decisions on what will likely be the largest single purchase of their lives, buying a home. Most of what I write is opposed to the feel-good, Pollyanna nonsense served up by the financial media, a biased group beholden to realtors…[READ MORE]

I invite you to an event Shevy Akason and I are hosting at 6:30 on Thursday, May 7, at JT Schmids at the District. We provide free appetizers and drinks for your entertainment. Shevy and I would like to meet with you. If you arrive early, we guarantee you one-on-one time to discuss the housing market or anything you want. We will be there before 6:00, and we will stay until closing. Starting at 6:30, I will make a brief presentation on the local housing market. Shevy will follow with stories about his recent client work and what he sees happening in the OC market. We've also invited a local lender and a trust attorney to discuss current loan qualification…[READ MORE]

The OC Housing News analyses every for sale property on the MLS for its potential as a cashflow investment based on advanced hedge fund algorithms. Between late 2010 and early 2012, I purchased 53 homes in Las Vegas -- sight unseen. I used a service that provided pictures of the properties, but since these were all auctions, sometimes the inside views were not available, so I had no idea what I would find if I won at auction. Does that sound scary or crazy? It was a manageable risk. Usually, whenever I bid on a property where I couldn't see the inside, I simply bid less to give myself an allowance in case I had to replace everything, and sometimes…[READ MORE]

Reverse mortgages sacrifice a financial future and result in many potentially negative outcomes. I’m not a big fan of debt, in case you didn’t notice. I don’t like consumer debt, and I really don’t like reverse mortgages. I wrote that Home ownership with no mortgage is the best retirement plan. It stands to reason that I view taking on mortgage debt in retirement as the worst retirement plan, yet many people turn to reverse mortgages as the primary financial planning tool for their golden years. Reverse mortgages sound like a good deal: The lender gives free money, and the borrower doesn’t have to sell their house. It shouldn't be surprising the loan is popular, particularly among spenders and Ponzis. Unfortunately,…[READ MORE]

Would you allow the federal reserve to ban currency so banks could charge you to store your savings? Money is both a medium of exchange and a store of wealth. Money represents the stored value of labor not immediately converted to consumption. Historically, people used scarce items like gold that were durable, difficult to replicate, easy to store, and easy to transport both to acquire goods and services and as a store of wealth when no goods and services were required. Gold served as money for millennia, mostly because nobody figured out how to transmute other elements into gold. However, once rulers started coining gold, they began to substitute other metals, shave the coins, and reduce the size of the…[READ MORE]

Lending industry and realtor lobbyists argue lending standards are too tight and should be loosened up. They are wrong on both counts. Real estate industry lobbyists appeal to lawmakers for policies the real estate industry believes will promote more transactions at higher prices. Most often this myopic lobbying causes unintended long-term detrimental impacts on the housing market. In 2004 every realtor wish was granted: lending standards were loosened to the point of complete abandonment, and restrictions on the amount prospective buyers could borrow were also removed through teaser rates, liar loans, and negative amortization. In the short term, realtors reaped the benefits as transaction volumes escalated even as prices rose higher and higher. Rather than being the culmination of all…[READ MORE]

Struggling in the Internet era, newspapers increasingly rely on real estate advertisements for survival, corrupting the integrity of their coverage. The Internet changed the way people stay informed. A single reporter can publish a story on the web, and millions of readers can access the information for nothing. Rather than paying the cost of printing and distributing paper with the printed words of local reporters, citizens eliminated the middleman distributor and turned to the web more and more over the last 20 years. Since most news reporting was redundant, and since citizens had less expensive and higher quality alternatives, many newspapers stopped print publication, scaled back staff, and consolidated into conglomerates. Despite these measures newspaper advertising revenues spiraled downward. Car…[READ MORE]

Just as Midas turned everything he touched to gold, Dick Fuld turns everything he touches to crap. Guy Who Tanked Lehman Now Tanking a Malibu Golf Course Friday, April 10, 2015, by Adrian Glick Kudler In 2008, Dick Fuld was responsible for the largest bankruptcy filing in American history as the long-time, last-ever CEO of Lehman Brothers. The investment bank's collapse—the result mostly of hoarding shitty securities backed by subprime mortgage loans—triggered a global recession that disfigured a lot of lives. That guy should probably never have control of anything ever again, not even a stake in a golf course. Well, Fuld is in fact a partner in the Malibu Golf Club, a non-membership course that is open to anyone…[READ MORE]

If you were selecting a real estate agent to represent you, would the agent's style matter more than their competence? A very high percentage of people who use a real estate agent to buy or sell a home use the first agent they contact and don't shop around. This fact is largely what keeps bad agents in business. Due to the way most people select agents, being found is more important than being good; style is more important than substance. A new firm in New York fully embraces the current system. Fashion Realty, Inc. Launches a Real Estate Brokerage Firm in NYC With "Style" A newly-launched real estate brokerage firm in New York City takes a new and unique approach…[READ MORE]


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In Memoriam: Tony Bliss 1966-2012