February 14, 2009

Will new homes consume all of our water?

Mountain View Voice Mountain View Voice: Letters to the Editor (February 6, 2009)
More housing means less water

Editor:

We want to thank you for the very informative story about the proposed developments at San Antonio Center and Minton’s Lumber in the Jan. 30 Voice.

Our idea is that we are at capacity on homes in Mountain View. We also view the idea that every new home development in Mountain View is connected to the water system, using up precious water that is in short supply because of a very serious California drought. Why should established homeowners have heavy restrictions put on them when extra water is consumed by recently completed homes?

Barry and Diane Cavanaugh

Indeed. What can we do to stop people moving into Mountain View from taking up all the precious fluids? Those damn dirty former renters! We must stop building anything, anywhere, anytime.

We need true leadership to stop this! Only Brigadier General Jack Ripper can help us save our precious fluids.

Comments (48) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:16 am

48 Responses to “Will new homes consume all of our water?”

  1. bob Says:

    Why should established homeowners have heavy restrictions put on them when extra water is consumed by recently completed homes?

    You know… I have a much better idea. How about introducing new Child limitation laws? Sort of like what they do in China: Only one child allowed per family. Wouldn’t that help things along? If people stop having so many babies, then that means less people would use water, land, fuel, and food. That way there would be no need in the future to build more homes that would consume more water.

  2. WillowGlenner Says:

    San Jose is planning for 50% more people than today by 2040. Thats a 30% increase in population every 10 years. I’m sure every bay area city is similar (although there may be more empty space in San Jose that bumps things up a little).

  3. Herve Says:

    > We want to thank you for the very informative story about the proposed developments at San Antonio Center and Minton’s Lumber in the Jan. 30 Voice.

    The article in question: http://www.mv-voice.com/story.php?story_id=4809

    The follow-up: http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=11223

    Barry and Diane Cavanaugh must have exotic plants in their yards…

  4. bob Says:

    San Jose is planning for 50% more people than today by 2040. Thats a 30% increase in population every 10 years. I’m sure every bay area city is similar (although there may be more empty space in San Jose that bumps things up a little).

    …which means that if the quality of life here sucks as bad as it does now, it’ll be a lot worse by 2040.

  5. UnrealAlex Says:

    Geez, they’re considering paving over Minton’s and covering it with McShitBoxes?

    Come on, Peak Oil! Come on, Economic Collapse!

  6. Real Estater Says:

    Good to see that the Alternative Minimum Tax is taking a hiatus for a couple of years. The timing is perfect. My tax bill was going to be unusually large due to having sold off my entire stock porfolio , and both of us getting hefty bonuses.

  7. Real Estater Says:

    Anyways, looks like I’ll be stimulating the economy with a nice summar vacation!

  8. R Says:

    “…which means that if the quality of life here sucks as bad as it does now, it’ll be a lot worse by 2040.”

    LOL. That was my first thought too. I can’t imagine how miserable SJ would/will be with 40% more people. Definitely will keep home prices trending upwards however. Hopefully, SJ will build up in the core downtown area rather than adding tons of condos and apartment complexes all over the south bay.

  9. Herve Says:

    > Anyways, looks like I’ll be stimulating the economy with a nice summar vacation!

    I’m glad to hear that. Make it long and without internet access. And don’t forget to pack one of those.

  10. nomadic Says:

    Yeah, bob, another 10 years and it’ll be time to blow this town. When my house has doubled in value and I can retire on the proceeds of course! ;-)

    I wonder about the water usage that has the Cavanaugh’s so upset. The land was originally orchards, right? Agriculture uses 90% of the water in the Western states.

  11. Real Estater Says:

    From the SF Chronicle:

    The Chinese are coming, to buy bargain US homes

  12. Real Estater Says:

    Excerpt from the article:

    A real estate developer from the southern city of Changsha said he spent $3,500 for the 10-day trip to view $500,000 to $1 million homes, and it worked.

    He found a house in California’s Silicon Valley that he planned to buy for his 20-year-old daughter, a university student in Boston who plans on attending graduate school in the Bay area.

    “My daughter’s monthly rent is $1,000, so it makes sense to buy a place, because I’m getting a return rather than throwing money away,” said the developer. He would talk on condition that he be identified only by his surname, Zeng.

    The price of the house, he said, was $1 million, compared with $1.3 million before the crisis in early 2007.

    “The price is low now, but it’s in a good neighborhood with breathtaking views, so it will definitely appreciate,” he said.

  13. Lionel Says:

    These, cough, “investors” might want to hurry up and buy before they run out of money…

    Staggering falls in exports across Asia have shocked economic analysts and ended all claims that the global slump may be nearing its bottom. The IMF’s growth forecast for Asia this year is just 2.7 percent—less than a third of the 9 percent growth rate of 2007. The prediction is a full percentage point less than during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

    IMA Asia analyst Richard Martin commented in the Australian: “It’s a bit like watching a train wreck in slow motion. North Asia is suffering the biggest collapse in demand since World War II.” Westpac bank’s Richard Franulovich said that the “speed of the decline embedded in the latest Asia data is on par with the collapse in the US during the 1930s Depression.”

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/02/asias-export-economies-in-free-fall.html

    You have to wonder if some of them aren’t seeking exit strategies from what will be an increasingly unstable and less affluent China.

  14. Real Estater Says:

    Lionel,

    The point is that the money has already been made by these people. As you said, the game will be unstable in Asia, so more money would flow here to buy real estate.

  15. Lionel Says:

    These stories pop up all the time, RE. Canadians were supposedly going to save the Phoenix market by swooping in and snapping up bargains. It’s a drop in the bucket. Do you honestly believe that the Chinese are going to prop up the California market? That’s absurd.

  16. Lionel Says:

    PS- I love this quote —

    “My daughter’s monthly rent is $1,000, so it makes sense to buy a place, because I’m getting a return rather than throwing money away,” said the developer. He would talk on condition that he be identified only by his surname, Zeng.

    Uh, yeah. So the rent’s going to be 1,000, so I’ll buy a million dollar house and pay 5,6, maybe 7 grand a month instead. Nice to see the Chinese are as stupid as we are. I know reporters can be both lazy and shills for the industry, but not following that idiotic statement up with a question is absolutely staggering.

    I also love that the guy won’t give his name. You think the ruling party might be getting a little nervous about people leaving China with lots of cash?

  17. R Says:

    Somehow I don’t think many “investors” are going to be snapping up million dollar houses in lieu of paying their kid’s $1,000 monthly college rent.

    Investors are looking for good investments, meaning properties that are cash flow positive or at least close it it and will appreciate in the near future. In other words, they would consider purchasing every place but the RBA.

  18. Prof. Bleen Says:

    The BA doesn’t have to worry about water shortages yet. We can start worrying when Las Vegas runs out of water or gets into an economic war with SoCal after they drink Lake Mead dry. I just arrived at McCarran Airport after passing five half-built, 40-story condo complexes on the Strip. It was nowhere near my first “What are these people thinking??” moment in LV, but where are all these millionaires coming from who plan move in to these monstrosities?

    How many thousand Saudi oil sheiks want a weekend pad in Vegas, anyway?

  19. Real Estater Says:

    Lionel says,

    >>These, cough, “investors” might want to hurry up and buy before they run out of money

    Actually, if you follow the news, China has implemented a highly effective stimulus program. The stock market there has been booming lately.

    >>Uh, yeah. So the rent’s going to be 1,000, so I’ll buy a million dollar house and pay 5,6, maybe 7 grand a month instead.

    This guy knows that one day, the house will completely pay for his daughter’s education expenses.

  20. Real Estater Says:

    China’s Stimulus Plan Ignites Economy

    In China, fiscal-stimulus spending fuels a surge in stocks

  21. Lionel Says:

    So RE, just so I get this straight. You think that the US stimulus is a failed effort, yet you believe that the Chinese are capable of reviving their dying economy with a similar plan? Riiiight. People will eventually come to the realization that China is the biggest bubble of them all.

    China’s Imports, Exports Plunge on Global Recession (Update1)
    Email | Print | A A A

    By Kevin Hamlin

    Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) — China’s exports fell by the most in almost 13 years as demand dried up in the U.S. and Europe and imports plunged by a record, signaling a deepening slump in the world’s third-biggest economy.

    Outbound shipments declined 17.5 percent in January from a year earlier and imports fell 43.1 percent, the customs bureau said on its Web site today. Both numbers were worse than economists’ forecasts.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=axZwl6OyPaZY&refer=home

  22. zanon Says:

    China’s stimulus is better than the USs. China is forcing banks to make loans that they know will never be paid back. This is helping households save. The US is giving households a lousy $400.

    Total FAIL by Obama & Co.

  23. Real Estater Says:

    Lionel,

    China’s stimulus plan has major advantages of the U.S.:

    1. China’s stimulus is a larger percentage of its GDP than the U.S. plan.
    2. China has an authoritarian system with command economy. Its banks will do whatever the government asks it to.
    3. China can dig into its deep pocket. It does not need to borrow any money to implement the plan.

  24. Lionel Says:

    Arthur Kroeber, managing director of Dragonomics in Beijing, said the actual extra investment as a result of the fiscal package might be as little as one third of the headline figure, at around Rmb 1,300bn. That is still around 2 per cent of GDP each year, but much less than initial reports suggested, largely because a lot of the likely investment in roads, rail, health, education and rural areas had already been announced.

  25. Lionel Says:

    zanon, so you’re suggesting that the US should force banks to lend? I hate to break this to you, but we’re in a massively recessionary environment. Banks are being prudent by not lending.

  26. bob Says:

    Asian countries make most of their money via exports. Thus they would not really be helping us out that much since they operate in such a one-way trading manner. The Asian Sphere of trade, where Americans continually buy their goods while they buy none from us is itself another major problem. China, Japan, and other asian countries would do more good for their economies if they were more open to free trade. It’ll happen. But probably not until after the recession is over.

  27. Real Estater Says:

    Bob says,
    >>China, Japan, and other asian countries would do more good for their economies if they were more open to free trade.

    Ever heard of WTO, Bob? All those countries must comply with the same regulations that we do. The excuse above might have worked 10, 20 years ago, but not today.

    The reason for the trade imbalance is that we want those products. The American consumer wants to buy what they make! The reason everyone drives around in Toyotas and Hondas instead of Chevy, Ford and Chrysler is because American cars are crappy. The reason people shop at Walmart is because it saves them money.

  28. bob Says:

    RE,
    The reason the Asian economy must change is via basic principal alone. I was reading that when Toyota announced their first loss in 70 years, it sent shock waves throughout Japan. The reason is because Japan has ALWAYS counted on the US credit system to enable American consumers to continue buying their wares. The problem with this is that in order to create a functioning global economy, A country that sells must also buy. Simple reason? If they buy from us, then we have money to buy from them. Its all been a one-way funnel for decades now, and as the US becomes less and less productive, this system cannot survive as it stands. There was shock in Japan because it has always been assumed that we would always be able to buy from them. Now that this is not happening, their economy is in utter chaos. Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, and Nissan are all laying off tens of thousands of employees each. In an ironic twist, a lot of Japanese companies like Nissan can no longer produce cars economically in Japan, thus they plan to offshore most Japanese production to where?- Cheaper asian countries and ironically-the US.

    China will eventually hit this point. Asian countries just embrace free trade or suffer the fate that appears to be happening with Japan.

  29. nomadic Says:

    All of Asia has relied on lots of exports to get rich. Here’s an article for you:

    http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/feb2009/gb20090216_659920.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index+-+temp_news+%2B+analysis

    This statement is a bit surprising though:
    …a surge in unemployment, which Barclays Capital estimates will reach 5.7%—more than the 5.4% peak following the collapse of Japan’s bubble economy in the early 1990s.

    5.7%? I wonder what’s considered “full employment” over there?

  30. Prof. Bleen Says:

    The reason everyone drives around in Toyotas and Hondas instead of Chevy, Ford and Chrysler is because American cars are crappy.

    I agree with you, but I will point out that my Civic is as American-made as most of the Big Three’s cars these days.

  31. bob Says:

    I agree with you, but I will point out that my Civic is as American-made as most of the Big Three’s cars these days.

    Indeed. In fact, all of the Toyotas in my family ( Avalon, Tundra, Tacoma, Camry) except for the Prius is made in the US somewhere. My Tacoma is made in Fremont and a lot of the components are made by GM , Delphi ( Spin-off of a GM parts supplier, and Denso USA, based in Tennessee. The Avalon and Camry are from Kentucky. The Tundra is from Indiana.

    On the other hand the Ford Fusion is based off a stretched Mazda platform using a Mazda engine with a crank made by Tata motors in India. It is assembled in Mexico. In other words- the Toyotas we have are more “domestic”.

  32. Real Estater Says:

    Bob says,
    >>China will eventually hit this point. Asian countries just embrace free trade or suffer the fate that appears to be happening with Japan.

    The purpose of China’s stimulus plan is to create internal consumption within their country. Even though the American consumer is tapped out at this point, the Chinese consumer’s potential has barely been tapped. Majority of those consumers have been thrifty savers until now (just like you!). Credit is not commonly used either. All of this is going to change in the next 10 years, in my opinion. The export model is an evolutionary necessity for a developing economy. Once sufficient capital has been built up, the logical next step is for them to develop a self-sustainining consumer market, and it’s going to be a bigger one than the world has ever seen.
    Japan and various island economies in the pacific will remain as an export economy, but in the future their market will not just be America and the West, but increasingly there will be a shift toward China.

  33. bob Says:

    RE,
    I’m somewhat in partial agreement with you that indeed- China will likely replace the US as the world’s largest consumer. But there’s some problems. First of all, the huge proportion of the Chinese population lives in outright poverty. No stimulus is large enough to uplift the general purchasing power of the general population. It would be more like a small fraction.

    Secondly, looking into the future, a consumerist China would spell outright global crisis on a immense scale. For example, it took the US 60 years to build the bulk of our freeway system, or around 47,000 miles worth of freeway. China is expected to surpass that in 10 years. Additionally, GM and Ford both sell almost as many cars in China as they do in the US, and that’s for a country where a single digit percentage of the chinese public drives. In other words, if China eventually had the same number of cars per person as the US, it would rapidly rid the remaining fuel supply and increase emissions many times over.

    Americans seem concerned about the domestic economy-rightfully so. But if you look at what China is doing, they’re quietly brokering deals with mining, fuel, and other natural resource companies around the world. So they’re preparing for gaining more favored trading status with fuel and resource suppliers. When that happens, the US will find itself in a very precarious position.

    I’m not saying that the US deserves to suceed more than China. But the direction China is heading means life in the US is going to change dramatically, and probably for the worse with record inflation, increased competition from Chinese companies whom will continue to innovate and introduce more and more products across all industries, and essentially cause the US to lose relevance.

    There you go. My daily dose of doom and gloom. Do yourself a favor and read a book called: “China Inc.” Its a good start to understand what’s going on and potentially unfolding.

  34. Real Estater Says:

    Bob says,
    >>First of all, the huge proportion of the Chinese population lives in outright poverty. No stimulus is large enough to uplift the general purchasing power of the general population. It would be more like a small fraction.

    I’m agreeing with your latter point about the immense scale of China Inc. Thus, I would say if they can just realize purchasing power from 20% of the population, it would already be a super-charged economic engine.

    >>if China eventually had the same number of cars per person as the US, it would rapidly rid the remaining fuel supply and increase emissions many times over.

    I’m pretty certain the policy makers in China are keenly aware of this issue. If you have been to China, you’d notice their public transportation system, particularly the train system, is a prime subject of their infrastructure modernization, and already surpasses the capcity and sophistication seen anywhere in the United States. The train that goes from Beijing to Tibet is an engineering wonder in itself. The new stimulus will pour tons more money to further enhance this infrastructure.

  35. Real Estater Says:

    By the way, some U.S. designed/Chinese made green cars are now on sale in the United States:

    http://www.zapworld.com/

    They are fully electric powered, and you can even add a solar panel.

    There’s a dealership on the Stevens Creek auto row in San Jose, near the intersection with Saratoga Ave.

    Unfortunately, the cars are only good for local driving, due to limited range and low top speed. The bikes and scooters might be a better proposition.

  36. Herve Says:

    > There’s a dealership on the Stevens Creek auto row in San Jose, near the intersection with Saratoga Ave.

    Thanks for the link. Their cars indeed have a very limited range and look like they come from the tiny streets of Tokyo (the XL should be renamed S here). The Alias looks interesting but too futuristic and too expensive ($35,000). How do they expect to compete against the 2010 Prius and Insight? While not 100% electric, they are much more appealing and convenient.

  37. anon Says:

    Real Estater is very knowledgeable and has good taste. He can also tell you where to buy things. Like a concierge.

  38. Herve Says:

    I don’t know anon… Remember that comment from Lionel?

  39. anon Says:

    Hm. Perhaps I am wrong.

  40. Lionel Says:

    I don’t know anon… Remember that comment from Lionel?

    Gee whiz, Herve, I didn’t even remember I’d written that. Remind me not to mess with you.

    Oh, and here’s more great news for the Sino experts…

    So Much For Stimulus: Chinese Loans Diverted to Stocks, Feeding Rally

    The China bulls have commented approvingly on the growth in loans in China, seeing it as a sign of pending recovery, along with an upswing in stock prices. We’ve pointed out that economist and China commentator Michael Pettis has heard quite a few reports that many of these loans were in fact sham transactions to meet government targets.

    And now it gets even better. One analyst estimates that more than 1/3 of the total “new” lending (assuming that the loans were truly extended) may have gone into the stock market.

    From Bloomberg (hat tip reader Michael):
    Chinese companies may be using record bank lending to invest in stocks, fueling a rally that’s made the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index the world’s best performer this year, according to Shenyin & Wanguo Securities Co.

    As much as 660 billion yuan ($97 billion) may have been converted by companies into term deposits or used to buy equities, Li Huiyong, Shanghai-based analyst at Shenyin Wanguo, said in a phone interview today, citing money supply figures.

    China’s banks lent a record 1.62 trillion yuan in January as part of a government drive to stimulate the world’s third- largest economy, while M2, the broadest measure of money supply, climbed 18.8 percent from a year earlier. The Shanghai Composite has surged 29 percent since the start of 2009, compared with a 10 percent decline in the MSCI World Index.

    Yeah, no bubble there. Can’t imagine that stock market collapsing again.

  41. Lionel Says:

    I’ve seen those Zap cars up close in Venice, CA. They look as if a bunch of teenagers made them in shop. All the welds are completely visible. I’d feel safer on a unicycle.

  42. zanon Says:

    LIONEL: I’m saying that the US Govt should help US Households reach their (higher) desired level of savings faster.

    Forced back lending is a weird way to do it – you could just stop collecting payroll tax for 12 months – but the goal is to help households save faster, and to save out of the Federal Deficit, not out of Aggregate Demand.

    But the savings nazis (obama, krugman, NYTimes) are totally opposed to HHs saving because “saving is not stimulative”. HHs get a measly $400 out of the $800B bill. So they will save the hard way, out of aggregate demand, and the deficit will grow the hard way, through unemployment.

    Total failure by obama administration. Bodes very badly for the US.

  43. zanon Says:

    Bob: Is your book “China, Inc” anything like the book “Japan, Inc” that came out in the 80s?

  44. nomadic Says:

    HHs get a measly $400 out of the $800B bill.

    Not even that for most “RBA” HHs. Their earnings disqualify them from any credit, just like the one last year.

  45. Lionel Says:

    I’m with you on all of that, zanon.

  46. Real Estater Says:

    It should be obvious that savings are not stimulative. Although Americans need to save, now is not the right time. The recession will only grow deeper if everyone stops spending and borrowing.

  47. anon Says:

    Well, the bubble just got worse because everyone kept spending and borrowing.

    And yet, that didn’t cause anyone to change their behavior…

  48. Real Estater Says:

    Lionel says,
    >>I’ve seen those Zap cars up close in Venice, CA. They look as if a bunch of teenagers made them in shop. All the welds are completely visible. I’d feel safer on a unicycle.

    For green cars to take off, we need to adjust people’s mindset toward less luxury and more basic transportation. What happened to the days when people drove VW bugs with manual everything and Jeeps with exposed welds?


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