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I eat options for breakfast.
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  • Los Angeles Housing Prices
    Los Angeles housing prices are overinflated.

    As a potential first-time home buyer, I have been looking at single-family houses in the Los Angeles area for the past year. To be specific, I am talking about the area south of the Sepulveda pass, i.e. not the Valley. I am not looking for a horrendous commute. I also don't want to live in the ghetto, so the area I am specifically looking at is west of the 405 from Santa Monica to Torrance.

    Unless I want to fork over $600,000 to $700,000+ (and I don't), I'm mostly out of luck. Sure there are some deals to be had...for instance, this house in San Pedro:

    For a tidy $304,900 you can pick up this beauty. I like what they've done with the concrete patio -- this is a handball player's dream house. Only a block from the nearest kidnapper/rapist and within 1 mile of 46 other sex offenders (thankyou Megan's Law) -- nothing a bulldozer (CAT) and a posse of vigilantes (RGR, SWHC) couldn't fix.

    The gamble I am taking is that interest rates will stay low while the sellers realize they are asking too much. Here's to my landlord not increasing the rent while I build up my downpayment.

    Disclosure: No positions
    Tags: CAT, RGR, SWHC, housing
    Oct 05 11:55 AM | Link | Comment!
  • I don't have a brass razoo...
    Most forex traders never see the currency they trade, unless of course they take an overseas trip. I've been eyeing the Australian dollar for several months now, in anticipation of my trip back to the motherland in a few weeks. Lamenting the rise of the AUD, I resolved to pick up some Aussie dollars at the bank before my trip. What better opportunity to use foreign exchange as it was originally intended, to transfer one type of cash to another?

    Holy leech-fest! A bushranger like Ned Kelly would be proud of the highway robbery going on in the retail forex cash market.

    A quick check this morning showed the AUD at 0.9285.

    A few long phone calls to some banks that are too big to fail gave me the following exchange rates for the AUD:

    AUD/USD Exchange Rates - November 18, 2009
    Bank/Financial Institution  Rate Notes
    Bank of America 0.9919 Must be a BofA customer
    Wells Fargo/Wachovia 0.9797 $5 fee for non-customers
    American Express - Beverly Hills 0.9916 $5 fee for Amex customers
    American Express - Costa Mesa 0.9800 $5 fee for Amex customers
    Visa 0.9500 Includes 1% fee for my card (other cards may vary)

    I'm ashamed to say that my bank, Chase, lived up to its name. I chased an AUD exchange rate quote for nearly 10 minutes, only to be told that the banker was busy and would have to call me back. Still waiting for that call...

    Prediction for the AUD: I think it will pullback to about 0.9148 by Friday, then rebound.
    Prediction for my trip to Oz: Paying for everything on my Visa...priceless.
    Nov 19 3:24 AM | Link | Comment!
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