Josh Barker Real Estate Podcast #24
Transcription of the Podcast Episode #24
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Speaker 1: Welcome to the All Things Real Estate Podcast with our very own Josh Barker. With more than 20 years of experience and over 5,000 properties sold,Josh brings a unique perspective to the real estate market. Let's get started.
Joey: So we're back. It's November. It's the middle of November. We're getting ready for Thanksgiving.
Josh: Yes, we are.
Joey: And there is plenty to be thankful for.
Josh: Definitely is.
Joey: There is. Some of it may not be real-estate-related, but there's plenty to be grateful for. We were looking at... I was looking at this... You and I were talking before the camera started rolling about this sheet and there are some numbers.
Josh: Yeah, I talked about this in the beginning of the month when it talks about the market and what that looks like, but here's a couple of interesting facts for you. The average list price in the market right now, if you want to guess for the month of October, what do you think it was? Just a wild guess.
Joey: Just Shasta County only.
Josh: Shasta County only.
Joey: Oh, my God. Things jumped up. Things escalated quickly.
Josh: They escalated quickly.
Joey: Oh, wow.
Josh: So, all right. So the average list price right now, 604,000.
Joey: For the month. That's the month.
Josh: Yeah, for the month of October. Guess what the average sales price was for the month of October.
Joey: Now I'm thinking they're going to be dramatically a far apart 'cause the reason, you know what I mean ? Okay. $418,000.
Josh: Oh, my gosh. You're so close. It was 416,000. Yeah. So 416,000.
Joey: One out of two ain't bad.
Josh: It's not one out of two. It's not bad. So average sales price or average list price, 604,000. But the average person right now is purchasing at $416,000. So there's a disparity in the market there. Last year in October, the average sales price was $390,000. So think about this for a minute.
Joey: So it's gone up.
Josh: Oh, yeah. Interest rates, were they higher or lower last year?
Joey: They were a little bit lower.
Josh: That's right.
Joey: Not a whole lot, though. Not much, like what? A point maybe?
Joey: Where are we at? Seven and half?
Josh: But that's a purchasing power of about 10%
Joey: It is.
Josh: Yeah. So rent right now, interest rates are averaging between 7.5 and 7.75, which we'll talk about in a minute. But that's actually much better. And there's some good signs there that the interest rates are likely to slow down. And we'll talk about that in a minute. But going back to average sales prices. So our average list price in the market, 604,000 in Shasta County. I should say on the Shasta County MLS. Average sales price, 416,000, which is higher than it was last year by over 6%, because last year was $390,000. So everybody that's listening to this or watching it. So rates have went up 1% over the last year. Yet prices went up. And so this is going to that point of everybody saying, "Well, we know they're waiting for the market to change." I'm like, "Okay. But you realize if rates were to come down right now by 1%, what do you think would... "
Joey: It's going to explode.
Josh: Is that what you think would happen?
Joey: If interest rates came down, home sales are... Yeah, it's going to go.
Josh: That's what all the economists are saying right now. If you watch them on any show or anything, they're saying if rates go down by 1%, it's just going to completely light the market on fire.
Joey: This answers the lifelong question of what happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object? The irresistible force wins. The irresistible force is low inventory, absolutely. Interest rates are the immovable object. So the second they move out of the way, it's going to skyrocket.
Josh: So isn't an unstoppable force hits an immovable object that is an explosion?
Joey: Well, I'm no physicist
Josh:, but I play one on TV. But my point being is if there's no inventory, people will pay more. You've said it before. You have to have somewhere to live.
Josh: You have to have somewhere to live.
Joey: This is not people flipping homes. That's not what's going on here.
Josh: No. No, which is really cool to see that the investor participation on the market right now is extremely low. So most of what you're seeing right now is family formation where...
Joey: They have to have a home.
Josh: They have to have a home in the bottom line. The next thing is on the absorption rate. So the absorption rate right now is 3.6 months supply. Do you remember what the absorption rate is?
Joey: Yeah, that's how long it takes to... If no houses came to market, how long at the current rate would it take? And 3. That's a neutral market. It's out of a seller's market.
Josh: Yep. One to three months is typically a seller's market. Four to five months is neutral. And then over six months is typically a buyer's market. And yeah, we're on the tail end of a seller's market. And in some price points it's already a buyer's market too. So there's certain price points that are not performing all that well.
Joey: The higher ones.
Josh: Yeah, the upper end right now is definitely not as moving as fast. And most people would understand that. It's just not as many people from out of the area moving in purchasing those higher-priced homes. Last year, though, in October, the absorption rate was 2.99. So last year...
Joey: That's so close.
Josh: Three months supply this year.
Joey: That's still very close.
Josh: Yeah, that's a good point. That's a good point.
Joey: You know what I mean?
Josh: Yep. Another one that people might find some interest in average days on market right now. So in October, the average days on market was 93.
Joey: Ooh, that's a little bit on the long side.
Josh: It's a little longer than it was, right?
Josh: A year ago was 81.
Joey: That's not that much more either. That's...
Josh: That's pretty much what it was. Some of the normal stuff that we've talked about from month to month, the sales volume last month finished off at 203 pendings at the end of the month, which was up just slightly from the 189 the year before. Closings were at 186 last month, that was down from the 228 a year before active listings. I think that's probably the one that, for those that are listening going, "Where's all the inventory?" Great question. We're trying to find it ourselves. But the active inventory right now is 713 and a year ago was 827. And that's tough because obviously if you're already in a home right now and it's getting a little tight and you're thinking about expanding the size of your home usually what gets you going is if you were to see something that was appealing. So you need to see more inventory, more turnover in inventory to get excited. And that inventory is just not showing up yet.
Joey: Man, I was thinking the other day about... You and I were talking and you had said, and you're going to correct me on these numbers, you said something to the effect of when interest rates hit that 2.875, you could have bought a house for $600,000 and at 7.5% now you would buy a house. I think you said $330,000. It would be the same monthly mortgage payment. Is that right?
Joey: That's insane.
Josh: Well, the difference right now is purchasing power of 50%. So let's say you were qualified for a home at $600,000, right now you're qualified at $300,000.
Joey: That's brutal.
Josh: You were qualified at $600,000 two and a half years ago.
Joey: If you bought two and a half years ago, pat yourself on the back, guys.
Josh: You didn't know that was really... Yeah.
Joey: Well, and that's where a lot of this inventory is sitting right now.
Josh: I've heard some economists even talking about this going, "Well, if rates were to drop by 1%, all it's going to do is add more fuel to the housing market," because what's going to happen is it's just going to increase the affordability for those who are already in the market. You would need rates likely to hit somewhere in that 4 to 5 percent range before you get somebody that has a rate at 3% to maybe be willing to relinquish it, to buy a different home because they're going to have to give up that really favorable rate in exchange for another rate. And that rate right now, even if it was 6.5%, it probably wouldn't be enough. So the bottom line is that they're saying, and I tend to agree with this, is that the inventory issue will not resolve itself if rates were at 6.5%. In fact, it might exasperate the problem because the same people on the market will just be able to pay a little bit more.
Josh: Whereas what you're really trying to do is to release some of that inventory that's tied up right now with interest rates that are closer to 3% and...
Joey: What would it take for that to happen?
Josh: You'd have to get rates down between 4 and 5 percent.
Joey: That's it. That's the only...
Josh: Yeah. There's a couple of ways you can do it. Today if the Federal Reserve decided as a policy decision, if they decided that they were going to purchase mortgage-backed securities, let's say at 4.5%, that would mean that every lender in the country could go fund a loan right now if they wanted to, but assuming that they're qualified to sell it to Fannie and Freddie. They'd be able to fund a loan today, and then when they fund it, they would just immediately go sell it, because there's the buyer for it, the Federal Reserve, if they were willing to buy it at 4.5%, which they're not buying it at that rate right now. But they could do that without ever doing anything with the other interest rate, 'cause right now I don't know what the discount rate is. Do you have an idea?
Joey: No clue. Sorry.
Josh: I'm guessing it's around 4 to 5 percent, somewhere in there. I can't remember for sure. But that's just the short-term rate that the Fed's playing with right now. But if they were to come out as a policy decision and say, "Well, we're going to buy mortgage-backed securities," that whatever they're willing to buy it at is the new market.
Joey: And that's the only way that we see this really alleviating itself?
Josh: Well, they could choose, you have to have a buyer for that mortgage rate. Local banks aren't going to loan out the money at 4.5% when they're borrowing it at a 5, so I don't see that happening. But I do think that there's this potential that the Fed could come in and say, "You know what? We want to increase the housing inventory." And to do that, they could carve out some policy. They could pull out a scalpel, basically, and say, "Hey, only for owner-occupied, we'll offer to buy mortgage-backed securities up to 4.5%." And then that becomes the new rate. I'm not saying that's going to happen. I'm just saying that that would be, if you're wondering, well, how do people relinquish a 3% interest rate? Well, offer 'em a rate that's not too much higher. That's how you get them off the perch.
Joey: Do you think we're ever going to get back to that 3%? Is that ever gonna happen?
Josh: Well, we were in the fours for really... Well, no, I don't... The 3% would be...
Joey: Prior to this last time, do you know of a time that it was in 3%?
Joey: That's never, right? Historically never.
Josh: I think it was the lowest of all time. Yeah. Do I think that it'll be in our lifetime? Probably not. Do I think rates could be in the fours again? Yes, I do. I think I saw that for many years in those teens. I'm feeling like in the 15, 16, 17, 18. I feel like on all those times it was in the fours. So could we get back to that? We certainly could. Right now, the inflation rate currently, I think, is at 3.2%. I think that's what they came out with last month, which is getting really close to the target of 2% with the Fed. Think about where we were and where we're at now.
Joey: 8%, I think. Eight point something.
Josh: Yeah. And everything is pointing towards the economy slowing down. Inflation is certainly reflecting that. Core inflation came out either yesterday or today. They said it was a half a percent reduction in the core inflation. They were anticipating it would only be like 0.1% reduction. So that was actually a little bit of a better number. It's very unlikely. And again, I'm not here to do any forecasting on this, but my personal opinion is it's very unlikely the Federal Reserve is going to raise interest rates anymore. I very... I don't think there's any data that would point to them needing to do that. And if anything at all, they're probably more concerned about it going the other way. So now that they're seeing inflation slowing down on the core inflation, they're seeing inflation slow down year over year. Getting ahead of that is a big deal and making sure that you don't have a hard landing but a soft landing.
Joey: How do they do that?
Josh: Moderate. Don't raise the rates anymore. Project that you'd plan on not reducing them either. So what they're coming out right now and saying is, "Hey, we're not cutting rates right now." What they didn't say was, "We're not raising them." And so I think that most people took that, "Hey, we're not cutting the rate," as they're not doing anything. They're just going to let it sit. And I think the numbers that just came in recently in the last few days, I think is supporting that. But again, I don't have a crystal ball to this, but I would be personally very surprised, for what it's worth, if I saw the Federal Reserve raise the rates now.
Joey: So the other side of the coin is inventory coming to market. Like you said, a bunch of people sitting on really low interest rates aren't really motivated unless they've got a rental that they want to sell or something. But there's... If they sell their primary residence, they've got to turn around and purchase a primary residence unless they're just flush with cash. Rates are at 7.5. It's not an attractive thing at all.
Josh: No. And this is something that's been changing too over the last, I don't know, 20 years. I guess it's changed a lot. But 20 years ago when I was selling, oh gosh, I don't want to say that, I was working for Michael Medley.
Joey: 20 years ago when he was in junior high school.
Josh: That's right. When I was working with Michael Medley in 1999, that's when I got in the business with Michael Medley here in town and working with Michael at the time. I think that the office meetings and the office strings that we're getting at that time is that the average person lived in their home at that point for around five years. And I... That's what I remember.
Joey: Is that right?
Joey: And what checks out?
Josh: Okay, good. That's great. But since then, over the last 20-plus years, what I've seen is that it's obviously started to climb. Right now, the most recent report I've seen on this was that a little over 11 years is what the average person is staying in their home.
Josh: It's changed a lot for me even in our own personal real estate company because in years past, we would reach out to our past clients about once a quarter and call them, "Hey, how are you doing? What do you need? What can I help you with?" Knowing that normally every five years or so, they were likely going to do something and if we kept good communication, they would likely talk to us at least. Now it's twice as long and it's like, "Wow, do they want to hear from us for that long?" That's a long time. So now we're, as a company, we're actually looking at going, "Okay, do we want to spread that communication out over a longer period of time?" Maybe not talk to you once a quarter, maybe twice a year instead, and just slow that frequency down a little bit just 'cause the consumer is changing. They're staying in these homes longer.
Joey: Well, the differential on that interest rate on what they're sitting on versus what they can get is only going to increase that number.
Josh: I think so too.
Joey: I wouldn't sell a house right now if I had a 3.5% interest rate so I could buy at 7.5%.
Josh: Right. Well, and this is where, if you look at some of the other data that's out there, it talks about credit cards and consumer debt. And we...
Joey: Let me guess, it's really low. Everybody's paid off all their bills. Is that where you're going with this, Josh?
Josh: You're such an optimist, man.
Joey: I'm trying... Thanksgiving, remember?
Josh: That's right. That's right. So well, things looked pretty bad prior to the pandemic. And then we had this huge infusion of cash flying out of helicopters and...
Joey: I didn't get any.
Josh: You didn't get any of that? I know, man. You got to talk to your banker. So when they released that, the good news was is that the savings are the... Both the savings rate but also the credit card debt actually went down.
Joey: Oh, that's good.
Josh: That people took their money and they paid off their credit cards. The bad news is that most recent reports coming out say that consumer debt is higher now than it was prior to the pandemic. And so now that leads to, okay, let's say you bought a property, you no longer live in it, it's a rental, you've got credit card debt that no longer is charging you 14%. But I think it might be 20 to 25 percent now.
Joey: Minibar prices.
Josh: Yeah, right. And so I think they might be looking at, they're going, and I think this might be where some of that inventory is coming from too, is that people are looking at the rental market and going, "Ah, I'd rather sell these properties while I have the equity and maybe pay off some other debt."
Josh: So that's where some of this is coming from. Core inflation, I think I talked about already, but it's at 3.2%. So that's the good news is that we're getting closer and closer to that 2% target so I don't know man. Your guess is as good as mine as to what will release inventory. What I can tell you is that a lot of it right now is related to people moving out of the area or liquidating of investment property, rentals, things like that. Not a lot of it is what I would call multiple leg transactions where you're selling your home and you're also purchasing a home in the same market. We've done a handful of those that I'm aware of in the last month, but it's not predominant.
Joey: What's it going to take to get the builders building again?
Josh: Well, volume. They need to know that there's a market for it.
Joey: Well, there's clearly a market there's no inventory, but can they?
Josh: Well, building is a tough thing because right now, if you were to look, let's go back to the average sales price. So average sales price in the market last month was 416,000.
Joey: You can't build for that.
Josh: Well, they're trying, but it's hard. And it's really hard when you have added state regulations, when you add the solar component, those of you listening may not know this, but all new construction now in the state of California is required to have solar panels. My understanding is that the average cost of a home has increased between 30 and 45 thousand depending on the size of the home just to accommodate that one rule alone. And there's other stuff too, there's electrical, there's energy efficiencies, and everybody could argue those are great things over time. But boy, that barrier of entry that is added when you add all that stuff in there is making it harder.
Joey: Yeah. So they can't bring inventory to market at that price.
Joey: And well, if you can I mean, man I don't know how you make money.
Josh: Well, the larger home builders here locally right now are... Their volumes have slowed a lot. I don't want to quote the numbers 'cause I don't know if they're completely accurate or not. But I looked at one this morning that was pretty astonishing to me. And I thought, "Whoa, two units, that's not a lot." So I'm not sure if that's gonna... If that happens for three or four months in a row, that's really low. Some of the local builders have been just finishing up projects right now, buttoning things up. And I suspect they're waiting for a better fact pattern going forward.
Joey: So I would think that... I don't know how that whole interest rate thing works for contractors, is it the exact same? Do they have a special rate? Or are they floating the money? 'cause there's...
Josh: Oh, you're buying the retail. So I had a call from a local newspaper, and they asked me about that, "Oh, well, this particular company is offering a really low interest rate if you purchase a home, a new home from them," and I go, "Oh, that's wonderful. That sounds great." I said, "Well technically, any seller in the market could offer the same thing if they wanted to."
Joey: 'cause they carry the...
Josh: Well, they could just buy down the points. So let's say I have a house for sale right now and I sell my home for half a million dollars. And let's say that I want to create an incentive for buyers, I could say, "Well, the interest rate today is 7.5% on the market, I'm willing to buy down a buyer's rate to 6.99." Sounds good just means I have to buy at however many points as necessary in order to buy the rate down to that number. So you could have some attractive marketing tools out there if you wanted to. And that particular builder, in this case I'm talking about, that's all they did is they said, "Hey, we're willing to buy the points down to a point where the rate that they advertise is extremely attractive."
Joey: How far down can they buy it? They can't buy at half a point, half a percentage, how far can they go? Usually.
Josh: Well, how far could you go? Or how far should you go? Because I think there's a point where you pay more points than you'll ever get return in value.
Joey: There's some calculator that says, "Okay, you have to stay in the home this period of time to get that money back."
Josh: To get that money back. And so I...
Joey: And not have interest rates drop during that time.
Josh: Yeah, that's right. So good question. I think I'd leave that for the lenders to answer. But it's not uncommon that we'll see a buyer come in and buy down one or two points. I've seen sellers coming to do the same.
Joey: Wow, one or two points?
Josh: Oh, yeah.
Joey: Oh, that's a lot.
Joey: So you could... Oh, wow. Okay.
Josh: Yeah. So if you have a seller coming in with two points down, you have a buyer coming in with two points then you bought the rate down, not by 4%, but four points might equal, let's say a full percent. Where you're dropping it from a seven and a half to six and a half. So yeah, there's there's ways to do it. But it's... Pull out the calculator and start doing the math, figure out how long you're going to live in your home and what you think the rates might be in the future. And if you're a betting guy or gal right now, I would suspect that rates will likely be lower in the future than they are today.
Joey: Well, I would hope so.
Josh: Yeah, but we already know what that means. It just means there'll be increased demand for the existing inventory.
Joey: I think once interest rates come down... There's a lot of variables, I was going to say the standard stuff is when the interest rates come down prices are going to go up, but there's no inventory. There's...
Josh: It's hard to figure it out, isn't it?
Joey: It is because it's kind of uncharted territory.
Josh: It is. I've had a lot of experienced brokers 25, 35 years in the business, in those conversations we have everybody scratching their head going, "Man, we've never seen this before."
Joey: This isn't 2008. This isn't 1981. This isn't... This is like nothing else.
Josh: No, no. Well, you had early '90s with savings and loans so you essentially had a squish on the money supply. And that's what had an impact on housing for the early '90s. And then obviously, we had the great recession that we had that... 2007, '8 and '9, which we already know what that was about, and bad loans blowing up everywhere. And the fact pattern there was completely different because you had a huge amount of people that couldn't afford that mortgage rate on the home because the rate kept on going up 'cause it was an adjustable rate mortgage, was a very common loan back then. And that's again for the Great Recession 2007, '8 and '9. That's not the issue today. The issue today is that people's rates are too darn good and they have no reason... They don't want to give up that good rate. And what it's doing is it's putting a squeeze on the inventory. And that squeeze on the inventory is what's holding prices up. If you had momentum and inventory turning over and flowing in and out more frequently right now, and people weren't feeling like, "Hey, I don't want to give up a 3% rate," 'cause who would want to if you didn't need to. If you didn't have those feelings right now, the volume would be probably much higher than it is today, I'm sure the inventory would be higher as well, and prices would likely be a little softer.
Joey: So in your industry, is there anybody that's coming out saying any... Is there anybody looking into their crystal balls? Or is it everybody's just like, "Hey, man, we don't know, we're throwing our hands up in the air?"
Josh: Well, I think people are beginning to sense the fact that, like I said, that if interest rates drop by only 1%, that that likely will be the existing buyers in the market today will be able to pay a little bit more.
Joey: So that means that 416,000 is going to go up.
Josh: It would likely bump, yeah. But in this case, it could go from 416 to 450 for example, if it was to drop off...
Joey: For the same house.
Josh: Same home. Yeah. But it won't solve the inventory issue because I think a 6.5% interest rate is still too big of a bridge to gap for somebody who has a rate right now at 3%.
Joey: But it might be enough to spark more building.
Josh: Oh, sure.
Joey: It might help the contractors...
Josh: It certainly would.
Joey: To say, "Now I can bring a product to market."
Josh: Yeah. And you're right. And that's a really good point. Maybe from the inventory side, new home replenishment rate could go up.
Joey: Which we need.
Josh: Oh, yeah.
Joey: Make no mistake. Redding is not getting smaller. So regardless of whether people are buying and selling their houses, we need more inventory over time. We have to.
Josh: Well, it's cool. I was talking to an agent. We were at lunch. And this is just a little while ago. And I saw some young folks that were, I don't want to date myself too much, but they were young folks.
Joey: Were they whippersnappers Josh?
Josh: They were whippersnappers. And they're probably in like mid-late 20s, early 30s. And so I called a couple of them over. I'm like, "Hey, come on over real quick. I got a few questions for you," and they're like, "Who's this weirdo?" And I just started talking to them. And I was like, "Hey, are you guys local?" A lot of them were local. And I said, "Tell me a little bit about your story. When I was your age," I told them, I was like, "Hey, when I was your age, we grew up here. You joined the service. You got out of town and that was just kind of the plan." And they said, "Yeah, actually, we left town too." And they said that they were gone. Almost all of them said they had left town for about a year on average and then came back. And I was like, "That's interesting.
Josh: Tell me why." And they said, "Well," it's expensive in the city for them is what they were saying. They didn't like the density, it was pretty crowded. They talked about a few things, the homelessness and some crime and some drug things and stuff like that that they just honestly didn't feel like they would seen that as much in our community. It got me thinking when I was listening to 'em, I was like, "You know, I don't know if the bigger cities are as attractive to young folks anymore like it used to be for us," we looked at that as like, "Oh, the promised land, there might be something more special there for us." Whereas today I hear a lot of folks that are up here that are in that same 20 to 30 year-old range. And I think they're going, "Man, this is a great community." I just... I don't know, maybe it might have changed a little bit.
Joey: Well, I think there's a couple of factors just off the top of my head, some things strike me as number one; we have way more services in a virtual space. So when I was growing up the movie theater only had a couple of movies, you couldn't just stream whatever you wanted to see. You didn't have access even to sports. My sons and I were talking the other day and they were asking me about... They're really into kickboxing and mixed martial arts and things like that. So we have online subscriptions. We watch kickboxing championships in Europe. And they were like, "Dad, were you into this?" And I was like, "We didn't have that. I had ESPN." And it was awesome to have ESPN because when I was a real little kid, we had ABC's Wide World of Sports. So they don't have to go to the city to consume a lot of the stuff that you... You couldn't consume it, you can consume it now. Also, on top of that, I think the homeless issue and the trash and stuff, I think that's a big deal. And the cost of living is just it's gotten... It's escalated way too much too fast.
Josh: Yep. Yep. Well, and I think it's added to your point. I think it's added to the demand for our location and where we're at. I think that there's more and more folks that are saying, "Hey, man, all things considered, affordability, the density issue isn't really an issue up here. Schools here are really great. It's fantastic."
Joey: Can you do that as Christopher Walken?
Josh: You can?
Joey: It's fantastic, baby. Absolutely great. Love it. Love it.
Josh: And you will love it. It needs more cowbell. But other than that...
Joey: Yeah. Who doesn't? You know what this needs is more cowbell. But yeah, I think it's... That's a good side of our area, I think. When you compare it across the whole state of California I think we've been the underdogs for a long time. And affordability, I think, is one of many factors now that are helping us to stand out as a pretty compelling place to look at at least.
Joey: Well, that's a lot to absorb. There's a lot going on there. Is there anything before we close out for November and not see anybody until after Thanksgiving? Is there anything you'd like to let the market know? Anything they need to know outside of what we talked about?
Josh: I brought this up in a meeting I had just recently. My biggest advice to anybody right now, whether you're buying a home or selling a home, don't just list or buy, get educated first. Sit down and really... I think right now more than ever, when you talk to a real estate professional, don't just focus on just the transaction, try to figure out based on all the options that are available, which one might really be the best one for you. I'm coaching our sales team right now constantly around the educational side. We need to help our clients understand the big picture. And we need to understand what it is they're really trying to accomplish, because that's where I think that the best decisions are going to be made. And we want to see our clients make decisions that they would be happy with, not just a year from now, but three, five, seven years from now. And in some cases, based on this report, 11 years from now.
Joey: So I think what I'm hearing is, it's not the end, it's not the beginning of the end. But it is the end of the beginning.
Josh: It is the end of the beginning. All right. Till next time.
Joey: Thanks Josh.
Josh: Thank you too.
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