Mortgage Rates SKYROCKET & Maui Can't Decide if Tourism is Helping or Hurting
Good Morning Brew Daily Show. I'm Neil Freeman. And I'm Toby Howell on today's pod. Tensions are rising in Maui over whether tourists should be encouraged to come to areas of the island not hit by wildfires.
And we'll tell you how NBA player James Harden sold 10,000 bottles of wine in 10 seconds. Then we'll dig into some 401 K data from Fidelity that shows the youths are actually all right when it comes to savings. Plus, one small golf company quietly had the best IPO of the year this week. So, you know, Neil and I have to dig into that. It's Friday, August 18th.
Let's ride. All right. Toby, did you see what we wrote about in our intro in the newsletter this morning? We get up to early the news that it hasn't hit my inbox. No, it's coming out right now anyway. Kind of mind blowing fact from Neil deGrasse Tyson that he posted it in a TikTok video. Basically, he said the number of ways you can shuffle a deck of 52 cards is so unfathomably large, 52 factorial that there likely has never been two shuffled card decks with the same exact sequence in the history of playing cards.
Oh, my gosh. I'm trying to wrap my mind around that right now. I have played a lot of poker in my life too, and I find it hard to believe that I've never had the same day because I swear I have been screwed multiple.
All the comments were like, Then why does the dealer hit 21 when I hit? Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I kind of have a fact, though, that I didn't know that I was getting this fact, but here's one for you. There's more estimated combinations of the game of chess, and there are atoms in the universe. Okay? And that is including illegal moves, though. And that so that number is between ten to the 111th power to ten to the 123rd power of positions, which that is truly mind blowing. So it makes sense that a robot could beat all of us because it can do that computing power and our brains are so small compared to that.
Yeah, I don't know. When you talk, it just makes me think about when you're talking about probabilities with such big numbers. They it gets so big factorial is, you know, like 53 factorial compared to 52 factorial is even exponentially larger.
All right. Let's let's bring it back to Earth here. Fast week, slow week on Friday, Kobe.
Oh, my gosh. Today was a slow week. It's just like the dog days of summer for me. It did drag on. Really? Yeah. What about last week? I can't wait for us to. We have a little golf golf outing in our in the afternoon, and I was just envisioning the first tee shot always.
We always have a golf outing. All right, Now let's jump into our top story of the day. Remember that housing compound that you and I were going to move into in Montana? Well, I'm backing out because mortgage rates are higher than big Sky right now. According to government data released yesterday, the average mortgage rate rose to 7.09%, which is the highest level in more than 20 years. And those rates are translating into an affordable housing crunch. New buyers are wary of those record high rates.
Existing homeowners are loathe to sell and give up the super low rates they locked in. While a lack of new homes being built has constricted supply and jacked up prices. Mortgage rates also move in tandem with the ten year Treasury yields, which are also at their highest level since 2007, signaling that investors are looking for returns outside the safety of government bonds. So, Neal, it's a very ugly time to be a home buyer.
Yet the economy as a whole appears to be at least two investors, pretty strong and resilient. So what the heck is going on here? Well, we've been talking about this before to be affordability housing crisis for a long time. And it just keeps getting worse and not better because mortgage rates continue to climb.
And no one wants to move right now because 75% of mortgage holders have a rate of less than 4%. And so you got to be out of your mind if you want to leave your house. And so that leaves no inventory for people who want to buy. So basically what's happening in the housing market is it's frozen, it's led, it's August, but it's completely frozen. I like that the median existing home price was over $410,000 in June, which is the second highest ever, actually.
Previously, it was a little bit higher, but still absolutely ridiculous. And it's so ridiculous, too, if we go back just a few years because rates were at those record lows during the height of the pandemic, rates fell to right around 3%. And then that led to a massive housing boom. Skyrocketing prices in places like Phenix and places like Austin, especially as remote workers look for more space. And then you just we needed to do that record scratch, freeze frame, look at where we are now.
And it's just crazy that we're we're touching the highest rates we've seen in two decades. And it really adds up. You can see why people don't want to switch 4% mortgage for a 7% mortgage because. So here's crunching some numbers here. If you buy a $500, a $500,000 house with a 20% down payment.
So with a 4% mortgage rate, with that down payment, you can expect to pay about 290,000 over 30 years in interest payments. But with a 7% mortgage rate, you're paying 560,000 with an interest. So if you're just looking at the numbers, you're like, well, all right, maybe my home isn't the most perfect thing in the world. But yeah, there's nothing worth that much. They add up quick. It's not quite 52 factorial, but those payments do add up.
And you mentioned the yields, which I know a bunch of our listeners ears just glazed over when I mentioned bond yields, but that's really what's driving this whole thing. And when you want to look for clues at what's going on, the economy, you kind of have to avert your gaze away from stocks which are very volatile and may just represent the performance of a few companies. And look at bond yields, which are really what investors bet on to, you know, invest in the future of the economy. And bond yields are surging. The ten year yield hit a highest level since 2007.
So this is investors betting that there is a strong economy, that the Fed is going to have to keep interest rates higher for longer and that this whole maybe soft landing might come into play. But the Fed is not going to reduce interest rates anytime soon. So that mortgage rate is going to stay very high for a long time, which is going to put further chill in the housing market. Yeah, people are kind of coming to terms with that fact.
And then if we just want to zoom out for another kind of proxy for the economy. Wal-Mart reported earnings this week and absolutely crushed. They beat sales expectations. Same store sales for Wal-Mart grew by 6.4%.
In contrast to target sales, which we spoke about yesterday, which fell by 4.9%. And the general consensus is Wal-Mart is the big box retailer for people who are looking for more affordable prices. They sell a lot of staple goods, like their grocery business is massive.
And so if Wal-Mart is doing well, it usually means that people like the economy as a whole is doing pretty well just because are doing well in terms of if we're in a environment with high inflation. Wal-Mart tends to do well because they still can offer the best prices. So that's a good proxy for kind of how the right on a whole. So what we're seeing is a very strong economy. But the Fed's interest rate hikes and their continued interest rate hikes because they might still do it, who knows, is hitting the housing market really hard.
All right. Let's head back to Maui, where the death toll from the wildfires now stands at at least 111 people. And the financial costs are expected to top $5 billion as recovery efforts continue. Tensions are rising over whether tourists should be encouraged back on the island. On one hand, you have many locals who say that now is not the time for out-of-towners to come on vacation, taking up resources that should be devoted to helping everyone who lost their homes and businesses and livelihoods from the fire.
The actor Jason Momoa encapsulated this vibe last weekend when he said, Do not convince yourself that your presence is needed on an island that is suffering this deeply. But on the other hand, you have officials like the Maui mayor saying it's totally fine to come. Just don't go to the devastated West west side of the island.
The rest of Maui is still open, he said. We've not shut down. And the Hawai'i Tourism Authority is still encouraging visitors to keep their plans. But also avoid going to the West Side. And that's because tourism is the only economic game in town accounting for four of every $5 made in Maui.
So what's clear is that after the fire, the simmering tensions native Hawaiians have with tourism has erupted into a full boil. Locals have increasingly chafed at tourists coming in and putting extra strain on already fragile natural ecosystems and the sight of visitors enjoying themselves on the beach while they're grieving only exacerbates the feeling that this dynamic has to change. And this actually sparked a really interesting debate among the brew writers this week whether it'd be ethical to travel to Maui right now.
Yeah, I mean, I do think that initial anti tourism push that we saw from Jason Momoa saw from some prominent people was because resources were just so valuable in those first few days after the fire. Every hotel room counted, every bit of running water, every bit of electricity needed to go to someone who had been displaced by the fires. But then if you zoom out just a little bit, Maui can't tell tourists to stay away forever because it's it's truly the lifeblood of their economy. You mentioned that four out of $5 generated on Maui come from tourists.
So I do think that as we get further and further from the actual disaster, of course, tourists are going to have to come back because it's just the reality of their economy. Yeah, I think there's just been a long standing antagonism to tourists because they have been seen as prioritized, like basically resources are scarce on Maui. It is a island in the middle of the Pacific and it has very fragile ecosystems that are already getting battered by climate change. And then you have hordes of tourists coming in at some points.
You have one out of every three people on this island is a tourist. So so they're already putting pressure. And then there's this sense that they are prioritized over locals. Last year there were, you know, water cuts because of a drought.
And the you know, golf resorts and the other tourist hotspots where prioritized while locals were told to reduce their water use. So you have this already strained relationship that kind of blew up over the course of the wildfires. So when you hear stuff like that, it becomes very easy to kind of get mad at tourists.
I mean, it's not technically their fault. It was someone's decision to prioritize water usage. And then you've also been seeing this kind of name and shame discourse that's been happening in the wake of the fires where there was an Instagram video that went relatively viral of sort of a native Hawaiian posting a video of tourists snorkeling off the coast of Maui. And everyone's like, just not, yeah, I'm for it. But then the tourists agency had already posted that we are doing this event to donate all the proceeds to Maui.
So again, that is a perfect encapsulation of the discourse where someone is trying to use tourism for good, and yet it's still a bad look. So it's just complicated. I think like landing in Maui right now, I just would not know. It just doesn't quite. There's so many other places.
But then you're like, Well, I should support the economy because these people leave left. I lost everything in this. I think just donate, right? Yeah. There's got to be other ways. Like, I just cannot imagine boarding a flight to Hawaii right now. Yeah, for sure. All right, now let's move on to our next story, where we have some good news for those of you who have remained committed to your 401k savings accounts over the years. The average for a1k balance is up 39% in the past decade, according to Fidelity.
While the number of people with at least $1 million and their 41k accounts has grown about 25% so far this year alone. There are two main characteristics that Fidelity identified about those in the Two Comma Club. One the average age of the of a401k millionaire is 59 and two. They save an average of 17 to 17.2% of their pay. So, Neil, if you want to be a millionaire, get old and save a lot lower. Sadly, very slow and steady.
Anything else? Stand out to you from this 41k data dump we got? I thought that the student loan data was interesting, so a lot of borrowers that didn't have to pay their student loan back over the course of this freeze over the past three years, plight piled into 41k savings, which is good to hear, right? Right. Good. Yeah. So I think close to 75% of student loan borrowers put at least 5% of their pretax salaries during this period into four one k's during this period when payments were paused and before that it was just 63%. So you definitely saw a surge there. So that stood out. But the biggest thing here is you got to just stock away a lot of money for a long time, and only then will you feel like somewhat comfortable retiring because cost of everything has gone so far.
You mentioned prices of housing. So imagine trying to pay off a mortgage when you're not really having a steady income besides your retirement fund and Social Security. That Fidelity did say, like we do realize that a million is not what it used to be.
It's always been this symbolic number for retirees, but obviously with inflation, it doesn't go as far. This actually isn't peak millionaire. Those peak for one K millionaire that came back in the final three months of 2021, which again, it was post kind of stimulus checks, post student loan loans being paused.
The stock market kind of ripped post 2020. So that was peak millionaire. But I mean, obviously it's done really well.
The S&P is up 16.7% this year, which contributes to the 41k balances going up as well. And then also young people are doing pretty well. The Gen Z workers balances jumped 66% over the past year. I'm not going to say the number yet because to what the balances are at, it's kind of funny. While boomers only rose 6.3%,
but Gen Z balances 8000 average balances $8,100. So obviously all boomers, obviously it's going to jump higher. Boomers only rose to 220,000. So obviously it's in context.
But like millennials have, if you're checking your fallen caravans, which I don't actually recommend doing, you might see a pretty big green arrow this year. Maybe it's because Gen Z is, you know, you can select which fund you go in, maybe they go in the meme stock fund. Oh my gosh. Instead of like the long term small cap, you know, you have Vanguard, Gen Z, what are we going to do with you? All right. Before we jump into our next story, we're going to take a quick break.
All right, Neil, We are back with our Friday segment, Stock of the Week, Dog of the Week, where we look at one stock that you totally go to for relationship advice and one stock that thinks Leonardo DiCaprio is relationship goals. I won the preshow slap boxing match, so I'll go first. But as always do remember that we are just humble podcasters, so please don't take any of this as financial or relationship advice. And our Stock of the Week is Saks parented Golf.
What if I told you, Neil, that this little known maker of putters had the best IPO of the year this week after listing on Tuesday, shares of the golf equipment company skyrocketed 624% on its first day of trading. It closed just shy of $29 a share after listing at $4. But much like my actual golf game, it couldn't sustain its high level of performance and plummeted 85% the next day to settle at 447 a share, which was still above its listing price.
Pretty solid, right? Well, again, like my golf games, things continued to spiral yesterday with the stock falling. Another 29% to close below its IPO price. So maybe this shouldn't be stock of the week after all. But we're making an exception because it's not every day that a golf company that makes $400 putters has the best IPO of the year. Yeah, crazy man. I think it's the first golf IPO since the title parent went public in 2016.
I don't know, man. This company just did $190,000 in sales in 2022, which is maybe five of it. So it sold five hundreds basically. Yeah.
I don't know whether this market is ripe for disruption. I mean, we we both pay attention to golf a lot and there's a lot of legacy makers out there. There's a Scottie Cameron putter that is lauded. It's used by a lot of pros. And you have just Titlist and Callaway and all of these Mizuno and all of these other big sporting goods, golf equipment makers that.
Yeah, you know, I think a lot of golfers have a lot of affiliation with. And you had if you had never heard of this company before, then that surprises me. And I'm just not sure if they can break it. I'd never heard of it. I've never seen one either, but I was doing some digging into it. It's founded by two retirees with who are just sitting around.
They both started talking. They both realized they knew a lot about the golf club making process. So they decided to find this company. And their whole thing is that their putters have a really high MRI, which is a moment of right. So they have a ton of weight on the front in the back of the putter.
So they do have some technological innovation and they just make, they say, really high quality putters. And I mean golf people are insane. If any new putter comes out, of course, people are going to look to it and see if it improves their game, at any rate, in any way.
And then also, if you just want to look at it from a stock perspective, I mean, Callaway is valued at $3.1 billion. So that's because they have topgolf, they have top golf, they have they make equipment just beyond actual putters. But if you wanted a ball case, I guess you could say, well, if it turns into Titlist or it turns into Callaway, then there is like this huge runway. But I don't know what's the probability you get this putter in the next five years, the probability is high, as high as the more I would say. All right, I could talk about that forever, but we have to move on. My dog of the week is CVS, whose stock plunged 8% yesterday after getting a shark bite from no one else than Mark Cuban.
Here's what happened. Blue Shield of California, a major health insurer, said it's dropping its partnership with CVS Pharmacy Benefit Manager Caremark and instead will link up with five other companies to supply drugs, including Mark Cuban's cost plus drug company and Amazon Pharmacy. It's a big move that threatens the traditional system. America bans pay for drugs, which is through these pharmacy benefit managers like CVS that negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical makers. In this opaque and complex process, Blue Shield of California thinks that a more piecemeal approach, like working with Cuban's company to secure low cost medications and Amazon for at home drug delivery, it can ultimately lower drug prices for its 5 million members. So this isn't only a blow to CVS, but also an existential threat to this entire pharmacy benefit manager business that has come under a lot of fire recently.
And that's why you saw CVS competitors like CIGNA shares fall yesterday. So this all depends on whether this ambitious new model, that Blue Shield of California is pioneering is whether other insurers will follow its lead. I mean, Blue Shield CEO said that this new plan could save the company $500 million annually. So even if it kind of I mean, you have to try that. Any time you can save $500 million annually, you're going to you're going to have to experiment.
And it could blow up in their face head blow up in their face. But, I mean, Mark Cuban set out to a lot of people in the back of the mind. It's like, why do drugs cost so much? Isn't there a better way to get just some some brand name or not brand name drugs for less? And I mean, he's doing it and I didn't expect him to make this big of an inroad this quickly and just kind of almost disrupt the entire industry.
It's pretty impressive. All right. We have to move on. 70 Sixers guard James Harden isn't the most popular person in Philadelphia right now. He was mostly invisible in last year's playoffs.
Then a few days ago, called the team's general manager a liar, burning all remaining bridges with the team. But luckily for Harden, he isn't in Philadelphia right now. He is in China, and this week he experienced the power of Chinese live stream shopping firsthand. On Tuesday, Harden went live with Chinese Internet celebrity Crazy Brother Yang on China's version of Tik Tok. And Yang sold 10,000 bottles of Harden's wine brand in seconds at $60 for two bottles.
That's $300,000 of product moves in the time it takes an opposing player to drive past Harden for a layup. So Harden, like all of us who've never seen live stream shopping in person, seemed genuinely shocked at what happened. He laughed.
There's this video where it shows him laughing. He said, No way. And then he did a cartwheel out of giddiness, 10,000 bottles of crappy wine in a few seconds. I first of all, that was the fastest I've ever seen him move in in years. It was him running to go do a cartwheel because he just made $300,000.
But the the data coming from this livestream was absurd. They said 50 million viewers tuned in. I don't know how many of those are concurrent and how many of those over the lifespan of it, but still 50 million. Well, it didn't seem like it lasted a long time. The last like 15 seconds was crazy. And I mean, the concurrent view record on Twitch is 3.4 million.
And this, again, concurrent is different than total. Who knows how many concurrent people were watching, but it had to be a significant amount to sell 10,000 bottles of wine in literally 10 seconds. It was crazy to watch because the guy claps his hands, go, go, start buying, and then he claps and they stop buying. And so it could have been much bigger. It was truly just a power to show. In an insight.
We can tell it was such a flex because he goes like, Hey, like how many how many bottles of wine do you think I can sell right now? You know, he's like, Just watch me. Like I have such power. I'm a huge influencer and live shopping. This livestream shopping market is so big and people are so primed to buy via this method that I can literally just like snap my fingers and move $300,000 worth of wine. Yeah.
I mean, just to zoom out to the entire Chinese, livestreaming market, it's done $174 billion in sales in the first six months of this year. Crazy. There's been over 2.7 million live streamers that hosts 110 million shows. They've sold 70 million different kinds of products like this is such a big, integral part of life in China, and yet no one's been able to figure it out. And they know so far, like Tiktok's trying to do it, but it's just not we're not primed to do it.
I mean, we look at it, it's kind of very similar to the PC stuff, I feel like. Right? Like the NBC ice cream thing that we talked about a few weeks ago. Yes. It traces its lineage in part back to these live streaming events where people are paying for things to happen on the video. But yeah, it's really interesting how a lot of these social media companies are trying to make livestream shopping happen, but as of last year it was only 2% of total e-commerce market in the U.S.
and just point 3% of the total retail market in the U.S. So we're clearly just not primed to fill this shop this way. But also just another factor in the heart and thing is that Chinese people are crazy about basketball in the NBA. Yeah. And they love James Harden. Really? James Harden, That has you will learn.
You'll learn guys like Ami he's been on this I hate Philly trail and he's been saying every time I come to China I just feel crazy love here They feel like I feel like they deserve to actually see me play. He said these things about China so I could see James Harden to China happening in the near if you know they loved Kobe. Yeah, they loved Kobe more than anything else.
Absolutely. All right. To close out the week, it is back to school season. And I want to talk about some high schools that are spending more money on their facilities than Saudi Arabia is spending on soccer players. Well, not quite, but you'll hear it is a lot of money. First, let's head to my neck of the woods where I grew up, western Massachusetts to Deerfield Academy, which is your quintessential super elite, super exclusive New England prep school.
But apparently its eating areas could be a little fancier. So it's selling an $89 million municipal bond to finance the renovation of its dining hall. Deerfield takes its sit down meals extremely seriously, more so than your mom, who insisted that you all eat together at dinner when you grow up. The school says that sit down meals provide an important opportunity for enhancing the community so it serves family style meals seven times per week and also assigns students to a different table every three weeks so they can meet other students and teachers.
So apparently perfecting this experience is worth taking out. $89 million in debt. It's truly crazy. And the average boarding tuition for students is $68,000, which is just absurd.
While commuter students pay 48,000. I mean, that's collegiate level stuff right there. I asked my parents to go and they were like, Absolutely, absolutely not. You said you sort of sold them with the meal thing.
Like, Mom, I get to meet so many new people, future presidents and the Koch brothers and like Rockefellers went there. You know, it's pretty it's pretty hoity toity. Do you know what the goat of expensive high schools is, though? Like Choate, maybe IMG Academy. Oh, which is right in my hometown of Rent in Florida.
Classic one up right there. It can cost up to $90,000 to go there as a if you're a full student athlete with room and board. Absurd. So that's focused on sports. It's focused on sports. It is a I mean in their facilities are pretty much better than any college facility. So I guess you can justify the pace.
But $90,000 a year to go to high school. All right. Well, that is a good segue way to the other high school. I want to talk about, which is Walnut Grove High School in Prospect, Texas. This pictures of this high school, which is completely brand new, was just built and opened in August when viral on social media in the past few weeks because these facilities look like they are from a D1 SEC school. There is a 2200 person and B like NBA looking arena with a Jumbotron in the middle kind of thing.
For it's basketball. They have a food court that has a Sonic and a Jimmy John's. And overall this place is like, I can't believe high school goes for high school. People go there. I know it's crazy. I mean, and then yet Texas is just truly absurd when it comes to their high schools.
I mean you have towns with populations of 19,000 people building stadiums that seat 10,000 people. It's crazy with serving high schools that only have 1500 total students. So it is truly amazing how big football is in that neck of the woods.
And we just I just can't wrap my mind to see pictures of their weight room. Yeah, I would like 710 squat rack. We got to go there Neil like let's again we filmed a video about high school students getting free gym memberships. Let's just go back to high school just to use their gym facilities. Guys. Yeah, we need it.
All right, Toby, before we go, got to get your prediction. England versus Spain in the women's World Cup final. I'd hold you. I refuse to give a prediction. Well, I think we need your prediction so our listeners know to bet on the options. Yeah, people have literally been message.
It's the reverse. Toby Yeah, reverse fade. Toby So I guess I'm going to back England because I want, I kind of want Spain to win. So I'm all in on England, a lionesses lioness. All right, that's our show for today. I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and weekend for near McCarren Park in Brooklyn on Saturday.
Stop by. We'll be there playing Wiffle ball. Our email address is Morning Brew. Dahlia Morning, Broadcom. If you want to give us a shout about anything we talked about on this episode, let's roll the credits. Emily Milian is our editor and producer and noted James Harden, hater Samantha Velez and Raymond Lu, our associate producers.
Isabel Quinn is our technical director. Billy Menino is on audio. Hair and makeup announce their retirement after becoming a41k millionaire. And Devin Emery is our chief content officer. Our show is a production of Morning Brew. Great show today, Neil.
I wish you all well. How are we going?