“Remote Learning” Sinks Student-Housing CMBS, After Delinquencies Had Already Spiked in 2019

The formerly hot asset class was already troubled by a multiyear decline in student enrollment and a surge in upscale supply.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

“Student housing,” a subcategory of multifamily housing (apartments) in commercial real estate, is now dealing with an existential crisis – similar to retail and lodging. The mortgages backed by this once a hot asset class have been packaged into commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and sold to investors. Students aren’t exactly stable tenants. And the risks are high even in the Good Times.

Delinquency rates of 30-plus-days on the student-housing mortgages that back $4.7 billion in “private label” CMBS (not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) started surging in 2019, and by January 2020 hit 10%, under the impact of oversupply of student housing, particularly the trend to “luxury student housing,” that came along with the eight-year trend of declining student enrollment. And then the Pandemic washed over student housing.

The 30-plus-day delinquency rate by loan balance hit an all-time record of 13.7% in July, according to Trepp which tracks CMBS. Then in August, the delinquency rate ticked down to 13.1% (blue line), the 2nd highest ever, in part because some of the delinquencies were “cured” by entering the delinquent loans into forbearance agreements. For now, all other apartment property types (red line in the chart below) – despite the eviction bans – have shown relatively little stress, with a 30-plus-day delinquency rate at just 1.9% in August (chart via Trepp):

The straight-down plunge in the delinquency rates of all other multifamily housing types in early 2016 was in part the result of the $3-billion delinquent loan, backed by Stuyvesant/Peter Cooper Village in New York City, being resolved after Blackstone and Ivanhoe Cambridge purchased the property.

In addition, in August, the rate of student housing mortgages in “special servicing” – when a special servicer is put in charge of the loan – was 11.2%. And the rate of student housing mortgages on the servicer watchlist rose to 19.4%.

By August, $1.6 billion in mortgages backed by 101 student housing properties have requested or were already granted COVID-19 financial assistance.

Student housing is built on the foundation that students live on or near campus, and not at their parents’ place. For many people, it’s the first time living away from the parental umbrella, and it’s a blast. Or was a blast. Now colleges are struggling with the pandemic.

Some colleges are still doing remote learning only. Others have opened their campuses at reduced capacity. Some that have opened their classrooms have had new outbreaks on campus and closed their classrooms again and switched back to remote learning. For students, this is a hugely frustrating and expensive mess.

For example, one of the largest mortgages among these troubled student-housing mortgages that was granted forbearance, according to Trepp, is the $82.6-million loan, secured by The View at Montgomery, near Temple University, in Philadelphia, PA. In addition, the property secures a $9.8-million Agency mortgage that was packaged into a government-backed CMBS.

On September 3, Temple University announced that “in-person course instruction” has been suspended for the fall semester. This is what a now largely useless apartment at The View at Montgomery looks like — because you’ve got to have a nice place to live when in college:

And student-housing property prices are falling too. According to the Green Street Commercial Property Price Index, prices in August for student housing properties across the US have dropped by 11% since the onset of the Pandemic and by 12% over the past 12 months. This was behind only the 28% year-over-year plunge in prices of malls, the 25% plunge in prices of hotel properties, and the 14% drop in prices of strip-mall properties.

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  78 comments for ““Remote Learning” Sinks Student-Housing CMBS, After Delinquencies Had Already Spiked in 2019

  1. Cas127 says:

    Wolf,

    Those “deferral basket” games…which you mention here and elsewhere…are just going to make a bad situation worse, by warping the definition of “performing loans” and thereby suckering in new investor money while insiders bail out the back door (many/most funds are continuously trolloping for capital, so staving off ruinous news for 3/6/9 months leaves a lot of breathing space for insider f*ckery-pokery).

    Is tracking the weighted percentage of loans in “special servicing” a way to cut through the ink black murk of “performing/deferred” loan definitions?

    I hope so, but it is hard to believe that the same worthies who use contract language to game something as seemingly straightforward as “performing” status, would allow *any* light into their investor abattoir.

    • MonkeyBusiness says:

      New investors deserve it for being suckers. Same with everyone still investing in airlines, airplane makers, cruise lines, and even Uber/Lyft.

      • Louis J Desy Jr says:

        I had to take steps to stop a few of my friends from buying into cruise lines or airlines. MAYBE I am wrong and it will be a great investment, but probably not so why take the risk?

      • char says:

        Aircraft makers is military so their only problem is that they, like the rest of the American market, are overvalued.

      • AlamedaRenter says:

        Southwest, Lyft and Uber are/were good stocks to buy from March to about last month.

        I bought a good chunk of LUV at around $32/share, sitting at $40 today.

        Same with Uber and Lyft. There are real companies with challenges but will still be around in 3, 5, 10 years and buying some stock the last few months at around $30/share will be a good short term “buy and hold” opportunity.

        All could double or triple by next spring/summer.

        • RightNYer says:

          I’m not convinced regarding Uber and Lyft. Their business model was predicated on using investor money to subsidize rides, getting riders hooked, and then raising prices. The problem with that is that a lot of times a person takes Lyft or Uber, there is an alternative, whether driving, taking a yellow cab, or whatever. If the ridership drastically drops after the price increases which eventually have to happen , the model fails.

        • Harrold says:

          Uber and Lyft are only viable with self-driving cars.

          I doubt they will still be viable businesses by the time that happens.

        • char says:

          @AlamedaRenter

          Uber/Lyft have three markets. Business travelers, tourists and locals. With Covid and some time after the only real market is locals but it is to cheap to turn local Uber taxi users into local taxi app users. That is without the fact that Uber/Lyft don’t make money and i don’t see how they ever could make (small) money outside the tourist/business-traveler market.

          @Harrold

          Why would Ford sell their self-driving cars to Uber when they can run their own taxi app.Especially considering that businesses never like to be dependent on a single buyer.

        • Locum says:

          The ride-sharing business model is flawed. There’s no real cost savings between a professional taxi or a professional Uber/Lyft service. The ride-sharing business model looked viable in places like NYC where a government-created monopoly caused a shortage that inflated taxi prices. But in the end, cars cost money to own and operate. And professional drivers have to make a living.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Yes, loans that go into special servicing and those on the servicers watchlist are good indicators. That forbearance wave, as you said, is obscuring a lot of problems.

  2. MCH says:

    Wolf,

    That picture made me gag.

    My first year of college was in a dorm that was build in the 20s; (1920s) I was pretty grateful that it was updated sufficiently to have a good heating system. My second and third year was a huge upgrade, cause that dorm was comparatively new built in 1970 with much more “modern” amenities.

    I don’t even think my first studio I rented when I got my first job looked like that. I am pretty sure my second apartment that I lived in for five years was about the smaller than the two bedroom, but don’t remember any wooden floors.

    This isn’t college style apartment, this is pretty much luxury living for spoiled brats. Hell, I thought I was spoiled in my college years. These folks have me beat by a mile.

    I’d say let the place go default; what the hell were these people thinking. (by that, I mean both the students who lived there, and the people who bankrolled those construction loans) They (the company that had the mortgage) should’ve never been given any kind of C19 relief.

    • apm says:

      Well, if you go to their website linked from the article it doesn’t get much “better”. It greets you with sentences like: “The ONLY, All Inclusive Resort Style Student Apartments for Rent Near Temple University” and “Traditional apartments are a thing of the past. […] We have created an all-encompassing living experience that provides the ultimate in luxury, with the convenience of off campus housing”. I am not sure who is more to blame: “The system” that is milking students for everything they have and leaving them behind with 100s of thousands of student debt and worthless degrees, or students who seem to have a decadent expectation of what student life is about. But it doesn’t seem like it is about studying hard to get a quality education anymore.

      • MCH says:

        This is the entire problem with this country’s educational system. The rot basically started at the public school level and has gone onto the higher ed. I remember in grad school, my years, 70%+ were US citizens or permanent residents.

        Today in the hardcore sciences, that 70+% is usually foreign students.

        I still hear all of the right words when it comes to STEM, but that’s all they are, words, no action. Today, everyone want to be a bunch of know nothing YouTube stars, a bunch of twits from Hollywood and whoever the media is portraying as the hero of the day.

        • polecat says:

          Parents should receive .. certainly many well-to-do ones, at least .. a big steaming heap of scorn for helping to push these high-$$ amenity-clad digs .. in the form of alumni donations and/or snob-induced expectations … for their prescious ‘Skylars and ‘Camerons ..

          A pox on all their dorms! Same goes for any ‘investors’ infected with a decline in their cmBS share price!

        • Kurtismayfield says:

          STEM doesn’t pay.

          Go look up the median salaries. A career in finance pays a lot more. If STEM was really valued the median salary in Boston for a research associate would be higher than the mid 40’s.

          Med Techs would make more than 55k median for a 4+1.

          Don’t get me started on the “compensation” of post docs

      • Dave says:

        Milking students? How about parents and students!

    • TimTim says:

      It’s hubristic as am endeavour on so many levels.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      MCH,

      I was going to add a parenthetical remark above the photo about what would be considered horrid dumps today that I lived in when I was in college and grad school. But hey, time moved on. The car I was driving in college (68 Mustang) was a POS too and was falling apart, literally, as I was driving it. But I loved all of it. And girls didn’t mind it either (I could have done without the endless battles against roaches and mice though.)

      • MCH says:

        Well, I think having to scrap by through college on ramen and such should be par for the course for everyone going through higher ed, if nothing else to impart some humility and perhaps some degree of empathy for those who through not fault of their own have to live their entire lives this way or worse.

        Yes, time has moved on, and the change I dare say is not for the better.

        Heheh, at least you had a car.

        • Mr. House says:

          This is every industry in America today. None of them have any more value then they did 50 years ago, but we add features to justify the price increase. Cars, Healthcare, Higher Ed, ect. Not to mention based on my exp. working in healthcare, most of the jobs are busy work/not needed. My job is the reason that healthcare keeps going up by double digits in cost every year. The difference between me and the rest of america is i’ll admit it. Everyone else will justify their position until the end of time. The entire economy is a house of cards, and has been for prob 20 or 30 years. The only thing that keeps is all from coming down is reserve currancy status, which enables the devaluing of money every year to increase cash flow running to service ever larger levels of debt. Every now and then the system chokes on its own unproductivity and the “authorities” print a few trillion to buy alittle more time. As this goes on and our lives are further removed from reality, society gets crazier and crazier. This will end badly.

      • chase metz says:

        my senior year at UM-College Park in 1976 I put my foot through the apartment wall to kill yet another giant roach only to discover that all I had accomplished was to open the gateway for more…

        and in August 2020 I rented a luxury two bedroom apartment for my 18 year old in order to “protect” him from the CCP virus…

        go figure

      • Happy1 says:

        I think you have found one section of the economy where a hedonic index is actually real :)

      • polecat says:

        But Wolf, those endless battles (among others, to be sure ..) built up the character that made you what you are today, did they not?

    • Bookdoc says:

      ad to pass on-when I went to college ’68-’72 at a private Catholic college (on academic scholarship), my dorm was built in 1922 and had the college print shop in the basement. Sophomore and junior years were in a newer dorm, built postwar. Senior year, I finally had a suite with A/C-first time in my life I had lived with A/C!

    • Apple says:

      Students and parents might question the $50,000 a year tuition if students are forced to live in substandard housing.

      • MCH says:

        hint, campus housing is not meant to be luxury living. Besides, those apartments are add ons. And even today, campus dorms aren’t that affordable, especially if you don’t have the means to start with. Typically, seniors went off campus to live on their own.

        Campus housing typically does provide a measure of safety, because in certain parts, it just ain’t that safe to be off campus. See USC, Columbia, just to mention a couple of places.

    • Paulo says:

      Yeah it pisses me off too. My first dorm was a shared sh!!box and a communal bathroom down the hall. We would go out for a run or play basketball then shower up. First one out of the showers dried their ass on someone elses towel (then ran like hell). These pictures are unbelievable. I understand dorms are also now coed. Boy, have times changed or what?

    • char says:

      If you do a new build than the cost difference between luxury & cheap is not that large. In fact i would expect it to be small, something between 5%-10%. The only real saving is possible in not having on suite amenities but those have much higher running costs and makes your housing substandard and much less competitive in the rental market.

    • Lynn says:

      There are a lot of rich foreign students. Which is why tuition costs have skyrocketed. Because they can. Or could.

  3. Jeremy Wolff says:

    i didn’t have a tv in my room all 4 years of college and that was a great choice.

    • Seneca’s Cliff says:

      My entire 4 years in college I never even knew anyone with a Tv in their room. Times were different then.

      • char says:

        TV’s were almost as expensive as a car, now they are close to a tank of gas. This may explain that difference

  4. KGC says:

    I think the majority of people over 40 are going to agree they didn’t live that well as students. But the companies building and renting these accommodations were obviously thinking that kids with no sense of money management (no longer part of the grade school curriculum) and awash with student loans may as well spend that “free” cash on nice digs.

    My nephews can’t understand why their uncles keep telling them not to take a student loan. The darn things are being sold to these erstwhile adults as a loan that’s going to be written off by the Gov’t. They take that as fact.

  5. dave says:

    Student housing is weird. I invested in a new build in 2019. Only leased up to 70% this year which considering Covid is not too bad. Its enough to pay the bills (mortgage expenses etc, not to cash flow back).
    Some interesting counter intuitive things:
    — Management companies can’t rent the cheaper apartments that cost 1/2 as much as the new stuff. The students and their parents want and will pay double for something nicer.
    — Pretty much everyone wants a private bathroom.

    The trend is out of the dorms and into apartments with amenities and gathering / party spaces.

    2020 / 2021 academic year will clearly ‘suck’. Expect a bounce back in 2021/2022 because of pent up demand in general and huge demand not to share bathrooms and bedrooms because of covid.

    Smaller less prestigious schools may shrink, but the big players will get stronger.

    recessions usually increase enrollment.

    • Seneca’s Cliff says:

      I think this time is different. Covid hit exactly the same time as multiple bubbles were at the bursting point. One of the biggest of these bubbles is the higher education industrial complex fueled by insane student debt. Covid is just the well deserved pin. When the rubble stops bouncing on this one we may see less than half the current institutions survive. Those that do will have to become lean and mean and pile those students back in to cinderblock dorms.

      • Hopeful Oldman says:

        One can only hope, Seneca’s Dream. The survival and greatness of any nation is rooted in the education of future generations. But in America, education has been hijacked to put it mildly. The horrors of this Covid Pandemic may also be the cure for many of America’s ailments. Hopefully, we come back stronger. I’m going to continue to bet on America.

        • polecat says:

          I’m betting on monasteries making a comeback. I’m all for SMBS (St. Mon Backed Securities) to reverse the trend … complete with flagellents and illustrious scribes where neccessary!

          SOMEONE’S got to preserve whatever useful historical documents not scrubbed be Goog, Face, Twit, and the likes … what’s left to preserve, anyway ..

  6. pchap says:

    Creative Destruction at work.

    • MarketMissing says:

      This is my next property target. I’m betting a chunk of landlords in college towns are carrying too much leverage to survive vacancies or lower rents due to campus closures. There are no FHA loans to buy small multifamily housing units which takes out a lot of the fake bid competition. I’m hoping there will be a sweet spot where owners (or foreclosing banks) have to sell into tight credit conditions for potential buyers and a deal or two will shake loose. Fingers crossed.

      • andy says:

        How will you know it’s a good deal?

        • MarketMissing says:

          If it could cover taxes and upkeep plus a little on top at half the current rent or else half vacant.

        • char says:

          What if the students go to a college that wont survive Covid. Or the number of students is significantly lower and your property is not competitive to other housing?

  7. Wolf Richter says:

    From Kitten Lopez for your enjoyment. The art is originally from her book, “They Call Me Mad Dog: A Novel for Bitter, Lonely People.” And now it’s from an email she sent out, and a blog post on her site, that in part is about us here, and that she concludes with “kisses power and a whole lotta fight–”

    • Petunia says:

      KL,

      As a fashionista here’s my review on your pants:

      The label was the best part and nobody sees it. Drop the stars and superhero crap and put the label where everybody can see it. The label is beautiful, your artwork is beautiful. Put a different label in every pair, uniqueness sells.

      Your biggest misunderstand of high fashion is that it is not just a craft, it is an art form primarily. Merge your artistry with the garment. Nobody can do that but you. Brand them, paint them, let them reflect something unique.

      Also, understand the market, American women with money are older and fatter, and younger women rely on branding to reinforce their choices. This is not an overly confident bunch, but they are affluent on average, and like to be courted, so court them.

      You mentioned you don’t have a lot of money. How about putting your artwork on existing products? If they send you the old designer bag in the closet, you will make it new again, by painting something on it. A commission of sorts, the merging of fashion and art, by KL.

      Hope you find this useful. Best of luck as always.

      • kitten lopez says:

        Lady Petunia! i’m going to cut and paste this and ruminate on this. off to the gym/errands first day out in a week now but yeah… you get the Basquiat / Warhol / Dapper Dan “thing.” / i haven’t been sure how to do the label the ART… the men’s stuff is a whole canvas inspired by Rothko sorta. (the feel. / i’ll be dyeing and painting shading and stitching to follow men’s forms)

        thanks for this… i’m gonna ruminate… but yes, i agree regarding labels and your take on women is fascinating. /yes, as with men and butches, money is totally an issue with wooing women. men so damn EASY. / that’s why i figure i’ll return to women later one day eventually. too much work now.

        oh! also the labels are this way because of covid cutting into my neoliberal ideas of having them made in india (smile). / everytime i have to rely on myself or my neighborhood or people here, it’s more interesting.

        thanks for the notes, Petunia.
        when Wolf said he was gonna tell you all about this YOU were the one i wanted to impress so i spent yesterday re-tweaking everything with 3 broken laptops doing parts.

        x

      • kitten lopez says:

        (okay i just got back and i thought about what you said. i’m going to write a response freshly below in awhile)
        x

  8. The Bob who cried Wolf says:

    Remote learning will sink more than just student apartments.

    15 years ago or so, we got lots of student applications and rented to them. We primarily own houses around the SDSU area (San Diego). Once the student apartment crowd built and built and built those applications dried up and we started to see a lot more of families and millennial types applying. Recently, we’ve seen a huge uptick in students again. Strange, you would think, but not very strange when you consider that families with resources have no intention of stacking their precious children into covid cubes. It worked to our benefit as any landlord would tell you that you must rent to the most qualified individual. Students with 50 something aged parents with bulletproof credit are about the most qualified you’re gonna find, especially given all the legislation that tenants don’t need to pay their rent anymore.

    Now on to the remote learning thing. It’ gonna make these giant overpriced universities fail, and it’s going to be ugly. They have no idea how to run things nor understand the law of unintended consequences so instead of keeping kids around they told them to study remotely combined with some campus stuff. Then SDSU closed on-campus studies eight days into the kids being back. Tell me that wasn’t a strategy to trick them into coming back, renting a place on campus, and taking their money, while all along they knew this is what they were going to do. They, in their infinite wisdom, have already announced that spring will be online. Parents of out of state will not pay another semester for this and will pull their kids out. It’s coming folks, get ready for it. It’s gonna happen at the obscenely overpriced private universities and will happen with out of state tuition paying students.

    Here’s the really weird part, if Trump wins he’ll withhold federal funding to try to make them reopen, and if sleepy-time wins, the pandemic will suddenly end. I’m not sure how that will affect things already in play, though, but it will somehow.

    • MCH says:

      Remote learning is absolutely the worst for our kids. But what are you going to do, not pay property tax?

      This event is going to have a singular effect on the 6-12th graders. It won’t be good at all for their development.

      • Paulo says:

        Control the virus and schools open. Pretty simple. My daughter teaches at a BC public school and is ecstatic about being back at work. She said if they are forced to close again she’ll go on a leave without pay instead of doing remote instruction. Anyway, kids are back in class because the infection rate is low here and contact tracing is being accomplished.

        It’s your Govt, not the schools or workforce that is the problem. But hey, lets all go to a campaign rally and shout and scream about masks.

        • MCH says:

          well, I can’t argue with that. Can’t believe there are still people going to these rallies.

          But that said, if sleepy head does win, does anyone honestly feel that things are going to be magically different? I doubt it, the media might proclaim a sudden miracle with rainbow shitting unicorns, but it’s still the same governments, different chief, same indians. To think that the government response would suddenly become competent is just a bit of stretch for me.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Remote or home school not necessarily bad MCH:
        Know of several kids, some now considered middle age I suppose, who were very remote from any school, some with educated parent(s) some with one parent, some with both parents working, who went on to college and did very well; excellent grades while self supporting, etc.; others went right to work and very successful.
        You are generalizing on the basis of insufficient information, and most of that information is propaganda from the educational industrial complex as noted above.

        • MCH says:

          I don’t disagree that homeschooling can be beneficial, if done properly it can also exceed schools outside.

          I am also well aware of how pathetically bad the US educational system is. However, there is a broader social aspect that is still difficult to replace with at distance learning. I don’t mean with the teachers, but between the students themselves.

          Those interactions I think are critical for kids in the later part of their school years, especially the teens. While this is a mixed bag of good and bad, it prepares them for life in a way that schools can’t.

          What I am most annoyed with is that the teachers unions are having their cake right now and eating it too. The distance learning is even more an abdication of responsibility than before. Now they are removing the social aspect of learning from school too. That’s what I am not liking.

          School for the lack of a better metaphor is a gated sandbox that simulates some degree of real life to prep children, that is now been taken away as well. When we look back on Covid and the inept government response decades from now, the most damaging aspect will come from a segment of kids who have been negatively impacted by this and see how their behavior changes (and not for the better) because of this disaster.

      • Jdog says:

        Remote learning is the future without a doubt. We are very close to the point where remote learning will be mixed with VR for a life like interactive experience.
        This technology will allow access to the greatest teachers, and courses in the world for everyone at much lower costs. What is not to like about that?
        Unless of course if you are one of the millions of teachers who’s job is going to be made obsolete by this new tech.
        This is a opportunity to put some freedom back into education and break the bonds of the liberal educational complex, who have brainwashed our kids with socialist propaganda and sent them into the streets to wage insurrection.

    • The Bob who cried Wolf says:

      I didn’t figure my monicker for Trump was the one that was going to get moderated, I figured for sure it would’ve been sleepy-time.

    • Dave says:

      It’s time for the price of post secondary education to crash and crash hard. Time for a reset. It’s way too expensive in many cases. In many cases the ROEI it’s so poor you will never pay off your student debt. Universities that are just stock piling their endowment funds and not using it appropriately should get any bailout money. Zero, zilch.

      I’m surprised that more parents aren’t making a big fuss about the price of education because many of us are paying for it as we try to help our children. I have more to say but will pause for now.

      • RightNYer says:

        Problem is that private foundations must disburse 5% of their assets each year. Universities don’t, as far as I know, so they can just hoard money, and continue to milk taxpayers and students.

  9. The Original Colorado Kid says:

    My brother’s college (Mesa University) here in W. Colorado bought up entire blocks of town around the campus and tore down lots of nice mid-century housing to put up luxury dorms. They even built a luxury hotel on campus for the students’ families to stay in when visiting.

    The houses they tore down served as decent student housing as well as for non-students. They bought the owners out then bulldozed the houses. My brother helped a friend who sold his house there to take out as much reusable materials as possible. They basically turned a nice comfortable neighborhood into a war zone, then replaced it all with ugly “luxury” multi-story student housing that’s now sitting empty. This is a state school, BTW.

  10. David Hall says:

    There is grade inflation. There are easy A’s diploma mills. Too many University of Phoenix and Trump U. grads did not succeed. Some are working low skill jobs with high college debts. Might be better to learn a building trade. Not everyone was accepted into medical school, even if they passed organic chemistry.

  11. Fat Chewer. says:

    They decided to turn my entire city into a university town. You cannot find an apartment that is not student housing. A doghouse with no laundry is all you can get without paying extortionate rents. They are all empty now as the students promptly left before lockdown even began. I honestly hope those students never come back and those blocks are torn down to make way for apartments an actual human can live in. Won’t happen though. RE mafia controls all.

  12. Jdog says:

    Bottom line is this is going to translate at some point to a lot of people having a rude awakening when they retire…..

    • polecat says:

      I think the concept of ‘retirement’ going forward, will have an entirely different meaning for All but the most avaricious & control freakish ..

      .. as in working, scrambling, just trying to put food on the table, keeping the hearthstones warm, and the roof patched .. whilst hoping the treads on your feet, and the threads on your back .. don’t wear out!

  13. joe2 says:

    I get a kick out of “luxury student housing”. The first apartment I shared with 3 other guys in Boston had a pellet gun on the basement stairs so you could shoot the rats before you took the trash down.
    Another was a basement on Beacon Hill where the MTA trolleys ran right near the back window. And a guy got knifed right outside.
    I also lived on Marlborough St for a while. All night college party street. Our landlord was a physicist who couldn’t get a job and went into real estate doing the renovations himself.
    I wised up and moved to Brookline.
    This was back in the 60s. Sad to see what has happened to education and college life since then.
    But as I tell my contemporaries, we lived through the best period of human history. From fearing Quemoy and Matsu would spark a nuclear war holocaust to touring throughout China, Vietnam, Korea, and the rest of Asia.
    I fear it will bifurcate now rich and poor, political party members and serfs, with a vengeance and for most it will be all downhill.

  14. Robert Hughes says:

    Daughter teaches at HS level in Oregon. Remote now with 230 kids in her classes. As she says how could anyone get to know 230 kids in any meaningful way in a zoom setting. Very dedicated but expresses her frustration to us, mom and dad, about all the very real problems and issues of remote. She never knows from day to day who will zoom in, who will tune ( attention ) in, who will get motivated about course materials, or will do any actual work. At present they all get to pass even if doing nothing, Another example of an administration unable to comprehend, let along effective cope with the situation and one which changes its direction, focus, policies, rules, etc. almost daily as the wind changes.

    We normally go south for winter, but staying much later due to 9 year old grandson and doing personal one on one teaching ( wife 35 years, 5th grade and me 40+ years construction / engineering ). We see / hear at a very personal level ( 4 grandsons, 2 nieces, various levels ) what all this remote is doing to students, especially elementary where they need to be in the sandbox together to learn about life.

    Final note; this is a big university town with many newer luxury apts for students and so forth with large segment of foreign students, especially asian. Area around univ is dead, dying, sputtering, gasping just like all other writer’s have noted. Interesting times coming.

    • tom20 says:

      Home schooling has sky rocketed in my area.

      There is no sandbox learning at our schools. Masked in & outdoors & social distancing at all times. Regardless of age.

      Quality at the public level as they try to adjust is poor. Sheer size @ the administrative level makes change slow.

  15. Jdog says:

    The social aspect of schools is way, way over rated. For a few kids at the top of the food chain, the social aspect of schools may be great, but for many of the rest of them it is absolute misery.
    Many studies have been done on this. The fact is the schools with their “Prussian” system are run in many aspects, much the same as prisons. This in turn breeds the same kind of predatory social environment you see in prison systems. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in teens, which can be directly linked to the predatory environment they are forced to endure.

  16. raxadian says:

    Is always a better business choice to not be an optimist.

    Just like remote work, remote learning won’t go away after the pandemic is over and the economic recovery will take more than just two years.

    After all if parents have the choice to have their kid at home were they can control he is actually studying vs in a rented apartment and parting, what will they chose?

    Not to mention of course that post pandemic there will be a lot less people able to afford student housing.

    Then again what do I know? Americans are crazy, if a debt forgiveness government program for student loans happens things will be back to Cucco Land in three years or less even with a lot of people out of jobs and or earning less.

  17. jon says:

    Does it mean that the rents would fall and thus the home prices would fall as well ?

    People with homes as rentals sees different with people with no homes.

    But what does the common sense say ?

    The fact is home prices are going up all over USA generally speaking even though we have 30 million people unemployed and so is stock market.,

  18. Gian says:

    Is the cyclical transfer of wealth nearly upon us?

  19. The Original Colorado Kid says:

    I worked hard for a BS and an MS in two state universities and felt like I was well-educated (Ft. Collins and Boulder, CO). Also worked as a research associate and almost got my PhD. After many years away from school, I decided I wanted another degree in a diff. field. I could do it all online, so I proceeded to do so.

    There was absolutely nothing there I couldn’t have learned on my own with some good books. It wasn’t even close to the education I’d received in person at the university. Not even close. I’ve since taken courses in other fields online just to keep the brain from going too soft, and I continue to be underwhelmed. If I were taking them as a serious student, well, not impressed. Seems more like high school stuff than college. And these are classes from two different major universities. No wonder everyone gets A’s.

  20. kitten lopez says:

    [WOLF I’M CITING “AFTER HOURS KITTEN”! / i thought about this for hours today and it’s all relevant to business and money, especially as what constitutes a “good life” is changing]

    PETUNIA:

    everything you said i took to heart and it actually proves what my intuition knew and what i only have blunt cartoon words for:

    i don’t understand Regular or Most Women even though to me i’m all girl all the time. but i have a lot of masculine assertive/aggressive bluntness and that never has gone over well in groups of women, because they have their own rules about who’s in charge and the other women know their place and blah blah blah.

    i’ve always had older women teach me stuff about life, but it’s been the butches or the men who encouraged the audacity in me.

    jump to: i had a friend who used to have a corner store selling her own cartoon printed “things” (her name was Flower Frankenstein), and she said the artists who dress well never have good/interesting work. it’s all in their clothes.

    cut to: when i “died” as i was before, i was watching Henry Rollins on TV and said to James his ubiquitous black tshirt and chinos is perfectly classic and clean. James said, “but that’s how men dress.”

    and i realized he’s right / so for ME i decided to make myself a uniform like men, but one with color that matched my lipsticks and nail
    polishes, so’s i could take a long bath and not waste time thinking about what to wear to the gym or outside dancing. but have a uniform.

    for ME it worked: unlike most women, i needed to be highly visible on a bicycle or while dancing in the street. also, being “odd,” it’s easier and more fun when you have a whole secret package. yes… superhero costume.

    and that’s what it was. / i put my initials “KL” on the knee pads or on the back, and i got a kind of respect with my push up bra, that i was hoping for. to be odd and dress normal or hide your tits, you’re asking for trouble. you know this… you have to DO THE OPPOSITE…challenge dare swagger act like you belong there. / this is also how to get away with everything.

    i write this here because it’s related to money and Modern Monetary Theory, where money isn’t even based on gold boullion anymore, but full on EMOTION, buying in, believing in the… well, believing in MONEY.

    it’s the only thing keeping people behaving during times like these… maybe they’ll get some money. get the GIRL… because this shit used to be all about “getting the (proverbial) girl.” rock n’ roll, big houses, making a killing. it’s what did Bezos in with his wife.

    he could buy a company to make plastic women for him to fuck and yet dirty texts did him in.

    EMOTIONS.

    i say this because it’s why i cannot and do not have the emotional ENERGY to court women who want to fit in or heavier older women.

    i made these pants for ME to not have plumber’s butt in my lululemons at the time, or trip over the flares of my earlier yoga pants. you cannot dare to dance in public with plumber’s butt and lipstick and hope to get home alive.

    so my pants were designed for ME, my life i wanted to live without thinking of what to wear. i was dressing up FOR the gym. it’s amazing how much a girl can deadlift when she’s wearing FUSCHIA lipstick! (wink)

    they were designed for big colored UNAPOLOGETIC asses. shelves. the whole nine. (smile)

    they are low rise because i love my tummy sticking out at times. i’m often led by the image of the little black girl in every neighborhood.. .the one with the dark skin, big happy THIS IS ME gut, playing jump rope with her hair sticking up all over the place and she thinks she’s as cute as can BE.

    that’s what i’m going for after hating myself so long for being different.

    different…

    that’s why i knew MY clothing wouldn’t be for other women. / i’d sob and take 2 hour baths and wash my custom work out clothes in the bathwater afterwards because i learned dryers really do kill elastics and plastics.

    so i don’t want to court women. / they don’t NEED me.

    but men do.

    men should be having their own Men’s Movement but they’re confused as they aren’t made to complain and act victimy. they’ll just bow and ask how can they fix it, if they even have the WORDS.

    and you say women are worth courting businesswise, but i’m trying business that is based on ENERGY and joy and not because they’ve got control of even most men’s purse strings.

    that’s how i also feel about the reality of all this “paternalism”; is that money is really often controlled by the WOMEN behind the scenes, moving things like chess pieces. i’ve seen it. rich women are masterful! they’re like CEOs of everyone’s lives and who’s gonna inherit what and keep the family line going.

    i can’t EVER give in to what is easy or obvious regarding money, because the ONLY power i have is my word and that people who deal with me know i’d rather go broke than fuck anyone over. / it saves me and i’ve almost became a hooker a few times but i was always saved by someone who got me and kept me clean that way.

    because the moment i sell out because women are easy or worth it, the moment my ideas dry up. my IDEAS take so long to manifest because i want to make sure no one’s gonna take it raw for my benefit. / maybe it’s a Quakery thing, too. (smile)

    i want to change the SYSTEM and mess with what we’re INCENTIVIZED to think. like that landlord on here who said he negotiated with his tenants, which he KNEW he was totally DIS-incentivized to do.

    that is hella radical and close to jesusy stuff for me. / i put jesus in lowercase to promote a general “enlightened self interested” kind of love and way of doing business to undermine the “get up old man before i fuck you right there” of our current systems, that have most people in the comments section here wondering, “there has GOT to be a different way…” / because this way as you see, you, Petunia are hella wasted not being used, tapped into for a New Way of Thinking…

    you are Dangerous. / just as Wolf is dangerous.

    that’s why i am the CLOWN. / most people dismiss me but some know it’s dangerous just having me FEEL myself audaciously as a female. not hating myself (can’t sell anything to me, control me, make me enslave my man so he can get me more crap…).

    the black issues are ALL of our issues because of the thing i got Wolf in trouble for and it’s what MLK and Baldwin warned against: NO ONE is safe in such a psychopathic/sociopathic fuck you system. NO ONE. even if you’re on top ordering people around, your own HUMANITY suffers.

    so i am dangerous because i want to ask questions of WHY? and is there ANOTHER WAY we can do this without the government fucking shit up on the ground?

    so that’s why the superhero uniform! no TIME to pick my pearls each morning. and losing all my shit, which is what a LOT of people are about to experience AGAIN, i had NO ENERGY to go out and start anew.

    as much as people here think they’re “LOGICAL” about their money, that’s bullshit. /it’s ALL EMOTION.

    and people steal your stuff and you’re clinging and ..for WHAT???

    so i don’t care about women right now because they still want men to open their doors, pay for everything, be rock hard and rape them when they want but cuddle them when they want, they want men to be rock stars or billionaires to be worthy of marrying, but with all this feministy stuff, now they don’t wanna give head back or fuck after the kids are conceived.

    feminism has made women hella scary to me. / guys are easier to fight for ME. they aren’t as fickle. probably because they’re desperate for female companionship no matter how platonic.

    so that’s why i say fuck most women. / i understood men all the sudden from the last woman i dated. i’d be working on books all day and kill myself to make it to her, then have to withstand being lectured and then i’d have to go down on her for a long time later after a movie.

    i knew when i started picking out 4-hour epics that i wasn’t so “bisexual” anymore.

    but MEN i get all this ENERGY and that’s way more important than money as i try to compose a whole new world and way of thinking. colored folks and all kinds of folks i feel this way about now.

    so i can’t DESIGN for women. i don’t care about their purses having my art on them.

    this is also a form of love making for me. as you well know, love is an art, making your beloved bigger than they are…well, that’s what tailors do to men. all those chest pieces and armour…

    i’m trying to make a new kind of custom and art on men that gives them swagger and gets them ATTENTION. men are more comfortable with unknowns and risks. THAT’s the energy i need in making a new kind of “world.”

    women are just more of the same old…

    sorry this was long. but it’s Modern Monetary Theory… it’s all based on hustling a populace. what can you get them to BELIEVE in?

    and as you all know.. it’s ALL tits up now. people think american land is gold… i’m not so sure. i’m not so sure of anything anymore.

    so that’s why i can’t make clothes for people who are unsure and want to blend in.

    i left my apartment late and happened to run into my neighbor, Janet, the one who had my back after that time the tweaker couple attacked me for dancing at night, with their pitbull.

    as a New Yorker you know that means: SHE BELONGS TO ME NOW. / SHE IS FAMILY. so her daughter took to me. she’d shiver and giggle when she’d see me; she didn’t know enough to hide that stuff.

    i made the pants on my site for Savannah, her pre-teen daughter. with covid i said, “here… YOU take the photos and show me how YOU want to be seen.”

    so i leave late today and she shows me one of the photos Savannah took with the sunglasses i made for her (all my models will have their eyes covered to save their souls), and my head exploded because she outdid my expectations.

    but where were the PANTS? Janet said, “but she’s wearing the pants backwards. i said that’s wrong!”

    she said Savannah answered, “no. she’d tell me to wear ’em how I wanna wear ’em and that’s okay, so this is how i wanna wear ’em!”

    THAT’S THE KIND OF WOMAN I WANNA MAKE CLOTHES FOR! now THAT i can do something with and she’s not even 13 i think.

    ya dig what i’m saying, Petunia?

    i KNOW you do. / you’re giving me codes for success now that’re sure fire. BUT that’s too easy for women like you and me… yeah.. this IS superhero shit.

    i never had kids so i didn’t have to be rational realistic or any of that. / but now they’re ALL my kids. so that’s where i want us to go.

    sometimes i think you’re testing me. to see how real and how far i’m willing to go. New York style. you’ll give me your best A Game, but i want what even YOU are not sure of…

    that’s the interesting stuff.

    but men i know get excited about the idea of me making one base pattern for their pants and tshirt, and making multiples off that. women are one-offs. it won’t amortize out to be worth it. my my mom used to have her wool chanel-like suits custom made. now it’s just wedding dresses.

    but this new way of going against the system will now appeal to many people precisely because there’s no GOD anymore. / it’s ALL emotion now. and that’s my domain!

    and i’m not hustling anyone; i’ve no IDEAS. just trying to get the conversations and the groups and alliances forming.

    my mom was the first to tell me, but all the best smartest and kindest most humane and RELAXED business people (last one Basul) tell me that you cannot FORCE anyone to abide by a bad contract. do a good one and you trust each other and …enlightened self interest!

    there is NO “enlightened self interest” in the system today. and cutting off heads is just the new boss being same as old boss.

    i wanna start something entirely different. / you’ll be good at this. you won’t be bored anymore. i promise you that.

    i put that i was wooing you on my website because if i say it out loud i have to make it so or i’ll just be ALL TALK.

    just like Bezos and other men are taken down by a woman, i wanna use that for GOOD. and they SHOULD be distracted by women! it’s worth EVERYTHING!

    so as a woman, how do we not take over men’s livelihoods, which later fucks with women as well, but work together to make a system where NO ONE is the proverbial “N” word… not even the earth or animals or the water? it’s a different way of THINKING.

    like the way you love your husband but turned on the WORLD. i’ve tried it. it works.

    (smile)

    x

  21. College students and their handlers are depressed.

    And well they should be,
    as the’re unlikely to benefit from
    decades-long pyramid schemes .

    Add that to the aging population,
    and you get – chronic – depression.

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