Joshua from Kentucky thinks things are not going as well as they seem. Joshua writes:

Mish,

I wanted to write you in regards to what I see in the economic landscape here in Kentucky. I live in Hodgenville, KY (birthplace of Abraham Lincoln) and work in Elizabethtown which is 40 miles south of Louisville and about 10 miles from Fort Knox.

For about 2 years, up until December of 2007, I delivered pizza for Papa Johns here in the area and got to see many interesting sites. One feature that always caught my attention, as it did when I lived near Frankfort and Lexington, was all the “cookie cutter” neighborhoods that were springing up. I wondered then who was buying these cheaply built houses 2 feet from their neighbors and why. I soon found out shortly after I started reading your blog that it was everyone and because someone would give them the money.

I have returned to delivering pizza as a second income to increase the speed in which I can pay off my $9000 in debt I owe and become truly “free”! I have noticed an ENORMOUS change in the landscape since I am once again driving around. There are hundreds if not thousands of houses for sale in this city.

I am amazed at the number of houses are for sale in this the worst housing market in years if not generations. I went to one newly constructed neighborhood (built within the last 10 years) and ONE THIRD of the houses were up for sale and more than a couple looked empty. I do not know how many of these are short sales and foreclosures, but Fort Knox is supposed to be massively expanding and yet there is a glutton of housing, not to mention all the retail space!

To top it off, I only see about half the town as another store covers the rest, so I can only imagine the true state of housing here is much worse. These are not “poor” neighborhoods and even the upper end for this area have many for sale. I sold my house back in the summer of 2007 and went back to renting because I saw this coming, and man am I glad!! Kentucky seems to lag the rest of the country in nearly everything and this seems to be no exception despite what our worthless politicians say (minus Rand Paul). Thanks for your blog. I really enjoy it.

Thank you
Joshua

Appearances Can Deceive

I am on the road for the third consecutive week. Tonight I am typing from a hotel in St. Louis at a Sheraton Inn. I thought the place was reasonably crowded, at least for a Tuesday night.

However, being the inquisitive type, I asked the restaurant manager how things were and if things were getting any better. Based on the traffic I saw, I expected to hear that things were getting better or at least stabilizing.

Instead, I was told things are deteriorating, that there are fewer customers at both the restaurant and the bar (he was manager of both). He also said that customers are spending less per person, and even business types staying at the hotel are insisting on carrying their own bags so as to not have to pay the doorman for hauling their luggage.

Finally, the restaurant manager is also a part-time manager at the riverboat casino. He said the casino is doing just fine. High-roller traffic is way down, however the average Joe who cannot afford to lose, is gambling his paycheck away hoping to strike it rich.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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