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Price Spikes Weaken the Market 10/4/22

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I find today's listing very interesting for a specific reason.

Again, it's from the, umm, "agriculturally-minded" town of Willits.

Where in Willits? Well, the address is "Undisclosed"," which is probably another "tell"....

https://www.redfin.com/CA/Willits/Undisclosed-address-95490/home/120104939

Photos #1 through #8 are pretty unremarkable.  Photos #7 & #12 show square raised vegetable beds surrounded by deer fencing. For reasons I'll explain some point down the road, I don't think those constitute anything more than... non-psychoactive produce. Photo #9 gets you to the tell-tale water-barrels & PVC piping. 

Anyway... you flip through the photos and this isn't really as interesting a listing as earlier ones. Seems to be just your typical listing-agent photos from various angles of another place up in the woods.

EXCEPT...!!

For one photo.

Which is not like the others.  

Go find it yourself: we'll wait.

Okay... Did you find it?!

Photo #20?!

I look at that photo and I see... many, many, many pounds of marijuana.

Many.

So... what's the story here?

I think to answer that, you need to look at the price history available in the listing, which shows that the current ask of $355K for "[v]ery private setting on 23 acres nestled amongst a forest of redwoods and firs.... Great southern exposure and endless possibilities" by a "MOTIVATED SELLER!!! All Reasonable Offers Considered"... was initially listed at $400K in January 2022, and has been systematically & periodically reduced since then.

Sometime during this intervening period, I would guess "Seller" felt motivated to make clear what the listing-agent's photos did not, because farming there had been suspended when the agent snapped theirs: namely, that this place was a pot farm.  So, "Seller" emailed our "Photos #20" of a bygone harvest to the listing agent, who dutifully added it.

But the price-history tells us yet more....

The property transacted on November 29, 2016 for $335K.  That's interesting... you know why?

That's the month & year that California voters (in their infinite wisdom & tolerance) legalized recreational marijuana.  Now-"Seller"/then-"Buyer" saw an opportunity and was going to get in at the ground floor right after legalization and make a killing!  Woo-hoo!

Meanwhile, the November 2016 seller accepted... $335K... despite records showing having paid $500K in January 2007.

Why?

We all remember the heady real estate days before the GFC. Fine... that buyer prolly overpaid in January 2007 for the farm.  But here's the thing: between 2007 & 2016, that farmer prolly made a veritable cash killing, growing & selling at a premium into the black (and potentially, authorized medicinal) market.

I respect the November 2016 seller, because I suspect he or she took a decade of growing & commercial experience, looked at the changing regulatory landscape, understood the threat to price from supply, and said, "I'm freaking outta here." November 2016 seller could likely sell at a loss, because 10 years' harvests at blackmarket premium reflected by (at least...) Photo #20 means lots & lots of netted cash into one's pocket.

Now, current seller with a 6-year holding period is highly motivated to GTFO of the situation with just a $20K appreciation, or ~6% gain... which is peanuts to what effectively every other non-cannabis property owner in California has (or, "had"... before the rate-spike) enjoyed as appreciation.

Farming is hard. Even pot farming.

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8 minutes ago, Jimi said:

 EXCEPT...!!

For one photo.

Which is not like the others.  

Go find it yourself: we'll wait.

Okay... Did you find it?!

Photo #20?!

I look at that photo and I see... many, many, many pounds of marijuana.

Excellent work! We're promoting you to the stool's only Detective Jimi!

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8 minutes ago, sandy beach said:

Hmmm... "Humboldt County...."?

That place is reknown for something, but I just can't remember what it is...?

I have a memo to myself eventually to turn to investigating foreclosures. I have no doubt Doc's correct that we will see jingle-mail shortly, and with the harvest's end, one should see an imminent cycle of financial abandonment begin.

 

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"There's nothing new, different, unusual, or particularly notable in this rally. Absolutely nothing."

I concur.

One day does not a new trend make...but two days on volume?

Well.  There you go. 

So...what's going on here? 

Feels just like another early September barn burner to me.  We all know the number to be watching here...and that is what I'm patiently waiting on.  Hell, in two days...you're 2/3rds of the way there?  

I'm also...watching the right side of my scale.  The ^HUI is running into a light amount of congestion right in here, but frankly...I'd like to see it pierce 225.

At the end of the day...when it rolls over.

I expect all markets to follow.

Best,

TCG

 

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