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Goldman Sachs Gearing Up To Lay Off Up To 3,200 Employees This Week 

According to reports from an individual involved in Goldman Sachs, the company will be laying off up to 3,200 employees this week as a means of saving on costs. 

The source who spoke with CNN stated that more than a third of the projected layoffs will come from the firm’s trading and banking units. These cuts are a result of uncertain economic and market conditions, as Goldman Sachs has recently been feeling the impacts of a decrease in global dealmaking. Many companies are leaning away from mergers and raised capital with the firm. 

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As reported by Bloomberg, hiring for roles in other departments will continue into the new year, and a new class of analysts are also expected to start working for the firm later this year. 

At the end of the third quarter Goldman Sachs reported having around 49,100 employees after adding thousands of positions during their recovery from the pandemic; which many financial markets have also done. 

Overall, the Federal Reserve and other major banking firms have begun to raise their borrowing costs as a means of combating inflation rates throughout the nation. 

Many companies are working on saving money by any means necessary to prepare for a possible recession that would occur as a result of rising interest rates. The rate of mergers and acquisitions have overall been on the decline as well. 

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Goldman Sachs is one of the most well known firms that’s involved in these mergers and acquisitions as well. So with the recent decline in transactional activity, the firm experienced a 12% drop in revenue in the third quarter of 2022 when compared to one year ago. 

Investment banking revenue overall has decreased by 57% yearly, according to reports

This past October Goldman Sachs announced part of its plan to streamline operations by combining their trading and investment banking divisions, as well as combining its digital consumer bank, known as Marcus, with its wealth management sector. 

Reports indicate that shares of Goldman Sachs were up less than 1% in premarket trading as of this week. 

Goldman Sachs isn’t the only massive company planning on implementing layoffs in their 2023 plans. Amazon stated earlier this month that they plan on laying off more than 18,000 employees while Morgan Stanely have already begun layoffs in the new year.

For sale

The Housing Market Is In A Recession And What It Means For Those Looking To Buy A House

Over the last few months, the housing market was at an all time high between high demand, surging prices and low interest rates.

However, recent data revealed that the market may actually be in a “recession” from where it once was. 

“We’re witnessing a housing recession in terms of declining home sales and home building,” said Lawerence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

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The slowdown in market sales will hurt the economy but it could also help those people who are searching for a home who are willing to pay the high prices.

According to Barrons, ever since July, previous homes were sold at an annual rate of 4.81 billion which marked the lowest rate since November of 2015.  

New home sales also have found themselves in a decline into their their lowest level in six years. 

“It’s not a recession in home prices. Inventory remains tight and prices continue to rise nationally with nearly 40% of homes still commanding the full list price.”

Both home builders and home sellers are experiencing the slowdown which explains why the prices are still up even with the start of this “recession.”

The rise and fall of the housing market also goes along with supply and demand. Even though the demand for homes has dropped recently, the supply count is still very tight. 

The lack of supplies is partly due to the lack of construction that has occurred over the last decade and even since the 2008 crash.

The demand for buying new homes have continued to drop since January, but the mortgage rates have still continuously faced a rise from 3.3% at the beginning of the year to 6% now.

The high mortgage rates have made it harder for those looking to buy a home to afford them.

The demographics also play in part with the supply and demand of the housing market as well. 

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Even while there is a recession within the market, there are still more people searching for a home than there are actual homes to buy. 

“We are seeing more inventory come into the market, but it’s not enough to meet the buyer demand,” said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR. 

Given the constant highs and lows of the market, buyers may want to be patient before they decide if they are ready to commit to buying a home. 

For first-time homebuyers, they also have to consider the price of rent because that is consistently increasing as well. 

“Even though borrowing costs have risen, it still in the long run may be worth buying a home given that what’s driving inflation right now is rising rental prices. It still may be an opportunity to get out of the pressure of rents,” said Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at LPL Financial, a national broker-dealer. 

Pay Rent Reminder

Billions In Renters Aid Still Available For Struggling Americans 

Six months ago Congress allocated more than $45 billion to the renters’ crisis which was triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of that money is still available today, in fact, only about a fifth of it has been used so far. 

According to data from the US Department of Treasury, $10 billion of the funding reached households by the end of last month, meaning there’s still around $35 billion in aid unspent and ready to be used. 

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Around 12 million adults are currently behind on their rent payments, according to a recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. One analysis over the summer found that the average American renter owed about $3,700, and in some areas rental debts were topping $10,000 per household. 

“There’s certainly remaining need in most states and cities. However, efforts to disburse the money have been challenged by a lack of awareness and cumbersome applications. Still, renters should not give up on getting the help.” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Just applying for renters aid can help you stay in your home longer. In at least five states individuals who apply for assistance are entitled to some level of protection from being pushed out of their homes. 

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For renters who don’t know how to apply, The National Low Income Housing Coalition has a state-by-state list of more than 500 organizations that are currently giving out federal money. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also has a new online tool to help renters easily apply for the aid. 

To be eligible for the aid at least one member of your household has to qualify for unemployment benefits or attest in writing that they’ve lost income or incurred significant expenses due to the pandemic. 

There also needs to be a demonstrated risk of homelessness, which may include a past-due rent or utility notice. 

Additionally, your income level for 2020 can’t exceed 80% of your area’s median income, although some state’s have prioritized applicants who fall at 50% or lower, as well as those who have been unemployed for more than 90 days. 

You could potentially receive up to 18 months of assistance. If you’ve already been approved for rental funds but continue to be behind, you can reapply. If you are at risk of being evicted you can find low-cost or free legal help with an eviction in your state at Lawhelp.org.

Mattel Family Barbie Penthouse On The Market In Los Angeles For $10 Million

A 3,200-square-foot Century City residence formerly owned by Mattel founders Ruth and Eliot Handler has just been listed for $10 million. The property was initially acquired from the Handler’s in 2012 by developer and designer Nicole Sassaman for $3 million.

“Technically, I bought the home from the real Barbie, Barbara Handler Segal. Ruth and Elliot passed away. Her brother, Kenneth, was deceased as well. So everything was left to Barbara. But don’t call her ‘Barbie.’ If you call her ‘Barbie,’ she will correct you and say, ‘It’s Barbara.’ She is a lovely woman. But few people know that Ken and Barbie were the inspiration behind the iconic dolls,” Sassaman says of the penthouse.

Sassaman went on to explain how the original penthouse didn’t have a Mattel feel to it. “It felt like a 1960s time warp. The only thing in the home related to Barbie was the Barbie and Ken dolls in a glass case. I only wish that I had asked Barbara for them, but I didn’t have the heart. Basically we tore out all the electricity, the plumbing and the framing and the windows. We came down to nothing. The whole place was one room. We started all over again,” she said.

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Sassaman is no stranger to flipping famous properties and reselling them. She’s mainly known for buying and selling the Greta Garbo estate, which she claims helped her when it came to designing the Barbie Penthouse.

“One of my favorite properties that I flipped was a house that quite a few celebrities lived in, including Greta Garbo and Gloria Vanderbilt and Tab Hunter. The house got a lot of press, but when I sold it, the people largely bought it because Greta Garbo had lived there; it was called the Greta Garbo estate. And I thought, ‘Wow.’ If I ever buy a house or a property where someone famous has lived, I will pay respect to the iconic aspect and document everything from the beginning. So I took this approach with the Barbie penthouse. Also, I never got to redesign a penthouse, so this was such a fun opportunity to do something on a different scale,” she explains.

The house has an immaculate view of the Pacific Ocean and the Hollywood Sign.

“Every room you go into has something unexpected, whether it’s the library shelves that are actually a secret door or the little room with a loft. The penthouse has a lot of interesting things you don’t see every day.” The property has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. The office space has a queen-sized bed loft as well as a 350-square-foot balcony.

“I am always so touched by the relationship people have with Barbie. I also had Barbie’s when I was a little girl. I loved Barbie. But the most fun thing for me when I was a child was building and designing Barbie’s houses.”

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Sassaman explained why now was the right time to sell after all the work and love they put into the property:

“When I finished the penthouse in the early days, I was offered $10 million from quite a famous hotelier. It was a terrific offer. But I just wasn’t ready to sell at that time. If I don’t sell it, I get to continue to live here. And all my friends are dying that I’m selling. But I just thought it was a good time to let go and a great lesson to teach my 15-year-old daughter not to get too attached to things. Nothing lasts forever, and it is good to move on and try something new, not get stuck in a certain thing in one place. Also, it’s important to share this home. It’s a beautiful place. I have created so many amazing memories here. Even last night, all my friends were over. Everyone wants to celebrate here as long as we have it, so it seems like every night is a party. But I think it’s time to pass the torch and let someone else enjoy it,” she says.

Scott Segall is a real estate agent who’s responsible for the Malibu Barbie beach house listing in California who recently spoke about how unique the Penthouse property was in comparison.

“If you’re going to buy your daughter a Barbie Penthouse, and that Barbie Penthouse was a toy, it would look like this. It’s the live version of what Barbie would have had. There’s always been this idea that Barbie likes the finer things in life and we are delivering that.”

“This penthouse is a little more understated and low-key, so it’s not in your face. And I think a lot of people with high profiles love that. Beyond that, the history of having the Handlers who invented Ken and Barbie having lived there gives it some sort of cache. Nicole has completely reimagined the space. And I think it’s always fun when you have some kind of history associated with a remarkable property,” he adds.

Chromebooks Dominating PC Market With 75% Annual Growth Internationally 

According to reports from Canalys, Chromebooks have been outperforming the rest of the industry product categories thanks to a 75% annual growth and shipment of over 11 million units last quarter. 

Overall the worldwide PC market has seen a 10% rise in shipments this past quarter with over 121 million units sold, according to data from Canalys. Growth in the tablet market has decreased slightly in Q2, with a total increase of just 4% with 39.1 million units sold. 

After its success in Q2, vendors of Chromebook continued to invest in the brand. HP came in second with a 116% increase in shipments for Q2. Lenovo came right after with an 82% increase in shipments and Acer was right next to them with a growth of 83%. 

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Brian Lynch is a research analyst at Canalys who claims the success of Chromebooks is showing that the PC market is remarkably resilient, and its growth will likely continue after the pandemic as well. He explained that “the company has cemented a healthy position across all end-user segments in the industry.” 

“Even as key markets like North America and Western Europe have seen schools begin to open up, shipments remain elevated as governments and education ecosystems plan for the long-term integration of Chromebooks within digital learning processes.”

“With Chrome’s hold over the education space relatively secure, Google is set to bet big on the commercial segment this year. We expect to see a strong focus on attracting small businesses with updated services, such as the new ‘Individual’ subscription tier for Google Workspace and promotions on CloudReady licenses to repurpose old PCs for deployment alongside existing Chromebook fleets,” Lynch explained. 

Lynch also noted that Apple is looking to expand its M1 success into the commercial space that companies like Microsoft have successfully been running. Microsoft is also gearing up to release Windows 11 this year, which will likely lead to another massive spike in sales. Lynch claims the race between Apple’s OS devices and PC devices has never been tighter thanks to overall advancements in personal device technology. 

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Tablets have been dominating the personal device market within the past few years, as more consumers are attracted to the lower price point, and touch capabilities that allow them to do even more than what they could on a traditional laptop. 

Apple has been leading the tablet market for quite some time, last quarter they sold 14.2 million iPads, and vendors in general saw a massive increase in buying once the pandemic started. 

Canalys research analyst Himani Mukka says this past quarter was the fifth consecutive one in which the tablet market has seen an exponential increase within the personal device market. 

“Even as consumer demand for tablets undergoes an inevitable slowdown in the coming quarters, there are exciting developments to be seen in commercial deployments. Canalys expects to see stronger integration between the tablet and PC, allowing for smoother workflow transitions between multiple devices, which is especially attractive to those operating under hybrid and on-the-go work styles.” Mukka said. 

“This will certainly be the case for iPads and Macs, but the introduction of Windows 11 on cloud, and its usage on devices that can run Android bodes well for tablet vendors, users, and developers beyond the Apple ecosystem.”

Designer Fashion Labels Are Increasing Their Prices Post-Pandemic 

Top designer brands are currently increasing their prices as a means of making up for any economic loss that occurred within the past year due to the pandemic. Currently, there’s a high demand for luxury items among upper class individuals in the US. 

After nearly 18 months, designer fashion labels were finally able to revive the art of live fashion shows as well, which has brought back a certain cultural energy that the world was lacking throughout the past year of lockdown. 

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Chanel, for example, as a brand has increased their handbag prices by at least 15% when compared to last year’s pricing. Chanel’s revenues have also declined by nearly 20% throughout 2020. 

A recent Bernstein industry report identified “Rolex, Dior, Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton as brands that had raised prices. The pricing of luxury bags had increased at twice the level of the broader consumer prices index over four decades. The most desirable brands had translated growth into increasing prices quickly in an unrealised pricing upside.”

Bernstein analyst Luca Solca said: “Most luxury brands increased prices during the pandemic in the attempt to cushion the impact of lower sales. Chanel has been particularly aggressive in this move. Very desirable brands have the ability to increase prices, if they so wish. This has the advantage of reducing the risk of overwhelming the market and putting perceived exclusivity in jeopardy.”

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Orsola de Castro, founder of Fashion Revolution, a fashion activism movement, said: “The luxury industry needs to go back to some kind of semblance of luxury, because it’s hardly been immune to the low-quality, high-quantity bug. There is so much wrong with luxury these days, but the main issue is lack of transparency.”

“To imagine a luxury industry that really is luxurious, they need to reinvent their parameters, go back to the essence of what luxury is – craft, respect for human toil and skills, and beautiful materials. None of this can hurt people and nature, if we are to consider it a luxury product.”

There’s a major rise in the movement for sustainability in fashion, especially considering a lot of the more affordable brands that average working-class Americans can afford are produced in factories overseas, likely filled with harsh conditions and underpaid workers, however, the issue is clearly systemic. 

We can’t expect every American to shop sustainably when that’s just not possible for so many individuals, but we can reshape the brands that are deemed “luxury” to return back to a sense of craftsmanship and transparency, like de Castro explained, and hope that a larger revolution in the fashion industry can occur. 

Etsy Buys Clothing App Depop In $1 Billion Deal 

Popular online retail giant Etsy announced this week that they would be purchasing Depop, a British secondhand fashion resale app that works like eBay, but specifically for clothing; the app is mainly used by younger generations as a means of purchasing vintage clothing and custom made pieces. 

Josh Silverman, the chief executive of Etsy, which is based in Brooklyn, New York, said that he was already expecting the resale craze to peak as we enter this post-pandemic world. 

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“I expect this whole resale market to continue long after the pandemic, and I believe that Depop’s passionate community of fashion-conscious young people will be leading the way. The generation Z demographic is enormous, and is known as the trendsetter demographic.”

More than 90% of Depop’s 30 million users are under the age of 26, which makes them a part of generation Z, the smartphone conscious generation that utilizes technology to communicate, but also improve the world. 

Etsy revealed that Depop is the 10th most visited shopping site among generation Z consumers in the United States. Etsy itself was founded back in 2005 and has been attempting to expand its influence among younger generations. The average Etsy user is 39, as the app mainly focuses on crafts and handmade items as well as secondhand clothing. Etsy is known for helping small business owners create a larger customer base for themselves, as the site is so universally used around the world.  

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Simon Beckerman is the founder of Depop, and claims he originally made the app for fun back in 2011 while working at a fashion magazine. The app now has registered users in 150 countries and currently has 2 million active sellers; which sold about $650 million worth of secondhand clothing last year alone; Depop took a $70 million cut. 

“The idea for the app came from an early realization that there was going to be a new generation of people who were most acquainted with using mobile phones and there was no app designed for selling clothes.”

Beckerman, who was born in Milan, told Artefact magazine in 2015 that “the concept for the app was initially a shop for the magazine I worked for in Italy and we would sell everything featured in the magazine. When we started Depop, apps were [in their] very early stages and apart from the three or four main ones that everybody was starting to use heavily – such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter – it wasn’t very clear how we were going to use them fully. We didn’t realise how integrated with our lives they would be.”

Etsy claimed that they would be allowing Depop to continue to operate as is; a standalone business run in London. In general, the secondhand clothing market is valued at about $40 billion, so this acquisition was likely one of the biggest business decisions Etsy could’ve done coming out of this pandemic.

New Home Sales In The US Fell 6% Last Month As Construction Costs Continue To Rise 

The US experienced a 6% fall in home sales throughout the month of April, partially due to the fact that construction and other additional costs that come with buying a home have been on the rise as the pandemic continues. 

The US Census Bureau reported on Tuesday that new residential sales occurred at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 863,000 in April. They also reported that the previously published figures for March sales should be decreased to 917,000. This time last year during the pandemic, new home sales were surprisingly up by 48% due to an increase in individuals leaving the city to have more space in the suburbs. 

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The Bureau also noted that new home sales reports are prone to change within the first month of release as well, and they predict that the new home sales between March and April could be 11.2% larger or smaller than what it is currently. 

Sales rates in every part of the country have decreased except for the West, where sales grew by 3.9%; the largest decline occurred in the Northeast with a nearly 14% drop. The inventory of new homes available for sale at the end of April was also significantly lower from March. 

Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson had “projected a larger decline than what occurred, because of trends in mortgage application data. Over time, though — and usually not much time — new home sales gravitate to the pace implied by the trend in mortgage applications. So, absent any other reliable near-time indicators of the pace of sales, we have to expect a steep drop in April.”

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Experts believe that the decline in mortgage demand is linked to an increase in property costs, as well as construction and renovation costs. Affordability is obviously a top priority for every working class American right now as we navigate this grey area of the pandemic where half of people are receiving vaccines while the other is refusing. 

“The market for new homes is seeing price pressures not just due to the high demand for housing but also because of rising material costs that are driving construction expenses higher.”

“Builders are reluctant to sign sales contracts for houses they haven’t broken ground on because of the possibility that costs will continue to rise, nibbling into profits. So some builders are waiting at least until houses are framed before accepting buyers’ offers. This limits the number of home sales, even as demand remains strong,” ,” said Holden Lewis, housing and mortgage expert at personal-finance website NerdWallet. “

“The market for new homes has benefitted from a near-record low supply of available resale properties, which is sending prices skyward,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Real Estate Home & Keys

UK Housing Market Showing Major Increases In Housing Prices

House prices in the United Kingdom rose by 8.5% throughout 2020, this marks the largest annual growth rate for the nation since October 2014, according to new official figures released by the government. 

In December 2020, the average price of a house in the UK hit £252,000, which is equivalent to $355,370 in the United States. Government leaders believe this increase is due to the pandemic, but also due to the stamp duty holiday which is projected to finish at the end of March this year. 

The Office for National Statistics released figures this week that showed north-west England as experiencing the highest growth in pricing. Housing rose by 11.2%% last year for that sector, and prices in London rose by just 3.5%. By the end of 2020 the average price of a home in England was around $327,048 in American currency (£269,000).

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“In Wales prices grew 10.7% to an average of £184,000 ($223,706). Scotland had an 8.4% increase to an average of £163,000 ($198,174), while in Northern Ireland a house would typically set buyers back £148,000 ($179937) – up 5.3% on the figure for December 2019,” according to reports.

The fact that so many individuals have been working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic has obviously stunted how many individuals are willing to put their homes on the market during the worst global health and economic crisis in decades. There’s simply not enough supply to meet the demand, even if that demand is exponentially smaller than normal. 

The Office for National Statistics also claimed that the average price of detached properties rose by 10% in 2020 compared to a 5% growth in pricing for flats and maisonettes. 

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“Recent price increases may reflect a range of factors, including pent-up demand, some possible changes in housing preferences since the pandemic, and a response to the changes made to property transaction taxes across the nations.”

In July 2020 the chancellor announced a stamp duty holiday as a means of getting the property market moving. The holiday released property purchases in England and Northern Ireland up to the value of £500,000 ($607,897) from tax payments, according to reports. 

Sarah Coles is a personal finance analyst in the US who claims there’s already hopeful signs that the market will begin to cool down. “Early calculations from Halifax are that house prices fell back 0.3% in January, while the RICS survey showed sales had plummeted, and estate agents expect things to get worse as we go through the spring. A shortage of properties on the market should keep prices from falling, but there’s not going to be a great deal of enthusiasm for more rises.”

Coles went on to explain that “the chancellor could breathe some new life back into the market in the budget if he makes some kind of concession for people mid-sale when the stamp duty rules change. However, there’s no guarantee he’ll do this, and, even if he does, buyers and sellers may be reluctant to get back into the race.”

Market for Food

‘End Of An Era’ For Newport Market As Builders Move In On Multi-Purpose Center Development

The market was initially opened in the 19th-century and has always been known as the heart and soul of Newport.