Friday, May 05, 2006

Speculative Episodes

Speculative episodes result in spectacular gains and spectacular losses.


"The technology-heavy NASDAQ Composite index peaked in March 2000, reflecting the high point of the dot-com bubble." [From Wikipedia Internet Bubble article]

73 comments:

  1. The most amazing thing, having followed both episodes very closely, is how people did not learn from the first one.

    I thought people were crazy back in 99. Eventually, I ended up following the big name stocks as much as people who had actually invested in them, the same way I follow housing now (with no financial stake). It's just a fascinating social phenomenon.

    But even if people were crazy in 99, why didn't they learn anything?

    Hadn't they heard "it never goes down" before? Didn't it ring ANY familiar bells?

    A Redskins fan

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  2. I am one of those people who learned something, I think. I lost quite a bit in the tech stock speculation 5-6 years ago, and was able to resist (strong) temptation to dive into the housing market.

    Now that the housing market is quickly unwinding I finally feel validated. It was tough though hanging on to your belief of a housing bubble through the last 2-3 years when it seemed like housing would never stop increasing in values.

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  3. Anonymous 8:19 a.m.

    You are a wise person. We all make mistakes in life. A smart person is one who learns from those mistakes.

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  4. Even with all the mounting inventory and the media attention, there are still people who believe that DC-MD-VA, and that includes Baltimore, are immune from price declines. A friend of mine here refers to "that bubble you keep talking about," as if I made the asset bubble theory up all by myself.

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  5. Well, not so fast on the "learning curve". I also lost a lot of money in the tech crash. However, had I had the means to dive into the housing market in 1999 or 2000, I would be quite confident of it being a wise decision.

    Prices are not going down THAT far.

    Buying a house is not always a bad idea any more than is buying stocks.

    Now, the speculators who kept flipping into 2005--those are the ones who didn't learn. But someone who bought just after the tech crash made a lucky decision--I say lucky because they could not have predicted the coming run-up, so it was not necessarily wise. But my point is, real estate turns out to have been a good investment at that time.

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  6. The housing market is not going down. Sorry to break the news to you.

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  7. Anon 9:02 am -

    What is your source of news?

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  8. http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=65200&paper=70&cat=116

    Still humming along. Too bad about the rising rent though.

    What's your source of news?

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  9. Here's another one for you:

    http://www.benengebreth.org/housingtracker/location/DC/Washington/

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  10. Is anyone here really sure that the run up on condo prices is because of speculation and not because of scarcity? There was a relatively long period during the 90's where devlopers were less interested in condos because of the liability issues. Check the records, few condos were built in this area during the 90's. Changes in liability insurance made them more attractive and changing demographics have increased demand. Sure, as supply increases we can expect pricing to pull back, but is that the same as a bubble?

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  11. rebar,

    I think the MAIN reason why a limited amount of condo's were built in the early/mid 90's is that prices were flat/down and borrowing costs were higher.

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  12. you're both right. experts whose views are not welcome on this site frequently talk about the scarcity of housing for professionals in the DC area. Condos are expensive in the city because condos are expensive in cities. Space is even more scare in DC because of height restrictions and because so many areas are not close to gentrification. Condo prices in DC are exactly where they should be, and will continue to rise as the economy here continues to grow, as it is expected to.

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  13. Rebar - few condos were built during the 90's because there was no demand for them. Existing units languished on the market, sometimes for years. You don't go build more of something you know you can't sell.

    Anyway, the "apartment market" in the 90's was pretty well balanced - there was no shortage of decent places to live at a reasonable price. The market for rentals started to tighten in the very late 90's, which in turn renewed interest in buying. Rents rose, and so did sales prices. About three years ago, rents stopped rising, but sales prices just kept on going up, up, up. Watching the connection between the two, especially with condos, is useful in understanding what the market is up to.

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  14. "three years ago, rents stopped rising"

    This is nonsense. I just posted a source that says rents are up 7% over year. Now it's your turn to substantiate this claim.

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  15. I am in the tech industry, and I have to say I understood the mania then about as much as I understand it now... I always learned buy low, sell high. Period. If the prices are high... don't buy. Period. So when people were claiming to have bought in and the prices were high with stocks and saying they won't come down, this is a new paradigm yadda yadda yadda... it made no sense then. Of course prices come down. The rule of buy low, sell high didn't come around because prices always stay high. Good lord that is just assinine to buy high and tell yourself it will stay that way.

    With the housing bubble it is the same thing. I have been astounded for the last couple years watching the frantic look in the eyes of people I formerly thought were pretty darn smart as they scampered about trying to get in the game. WTF? Made me ask out loud on a number of occassions if they had ever had the pleasure of just a simple Economics 101 class... one of those friends I thought was a pretty smart cookie was a finance major... guess what he chose as his second career? You got it... a real estate agent. ;-) He decided in the last couple years that this is a good place to go... real estate never goes down, everyone wants to live here, Sonoma is the new Sausalito.... pffffftttttttttt.

    Sometimes I really have that urge to plaster the price reduced list on his walls and ask: "who's your daddy now?"

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  16. Athena,

    Learn to spell. Thanks in advance.

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  17. It is not nonsense. It was a general statement and it is accurate. There were marked increases, yes, five years ago. Mysteriously, they stopped, but sales prices did not. I don't know why, nobody does. I've moved twice in the past two years and keep getting more for my rental dollar. Why does it seema like every rental building in DC has a sign on the sidewalk that says, "apartment for rent?" There is no shortage of housing. Hasn't been for five years.

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  18. What's to substantiate? Everybody knows rental prices are stable, in our area. Certainly in my neighborhood they are. How about yours? Do you have (dreaded) renting neighbors, alarmed at the prospect of impending homelessness, due to spiraling rents? I didn't think so.

    We haven't heard from David all day, but I wonder if he's noticed, as I have, the number of real estate agents that suddenly have so much free time, to participate in his blog? I wonder why?

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  19. Anyone who displays anger at those who question the sanity of prices in the house/condo sale market, and the likelihood prices may fall, usually has a vested, financial interest in advancing the game.

    That suggests you are an agent, an "investor," or simply a homeowner, with fading delusions of comfortable, early retirement funded solely by the purchase of a house/condo. I'm really very sorry.

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  20. Yeah, I am a homeowner, and I'm not hiding that fact. You're the one who seems angry though - angry that you don't own your place, that your rent is going up, and that you didn't buy 5 years ago.

    The only thing that pisses me off is your indifference to facts.

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  21. Like I said, the room is filling up with idle real estate agents...

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  22. Dc_too

    In reading peoples responses to your posts, I believe its safe to say we have entered the "anger" stage on the Kubler-Ross "dealing with trauma" spectrum.

    Keep it up all you anonymous posters...Your right, things are fine and guys like DC_Too are just bitter renters...After this brief "lull", prices should go up again by 20-30%.

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  23. dc_too,

    Again the promise of facts and then no facts. You disappoint me.

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  24. Dear Meta-Editor Anonymous.

    KMA. I own my house, did the intelligent thing that doesn't cause bitterness... bought low.

    As for my spelling... feel free to go ahead and correct my spelling errors, as it will probably be the most worthwhile thing you do all day. again. KMA.

    There are plenty of facts out there that have already proven you wrong time and again. Sheesh even the tag along main stream media has caught on. Your denial phase is about to come to an abrupt stop. (Did I spell that correctly?)... you clearly have too much time on your hands. For the love of Pete.... Get a job. Oh-... wait... you probably already have one. Real Estate Agent?

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  25. I love people who cite "The Connection" newspapers as a source but whistle past the graveyard presented on the front page of the Washington Post. Talk about selective research.

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  26. Anon,

    It seems like you are here just trying to stir controversy; but in case you are not, continued price increases mean nothing. They could -and in light of the fundamentals- seem to indicate the bubble is only going to bust harder.

    Feel free to come back at me… but try to keep the clich├ęs to a minimum :-)

    -X


    BubbleTrack.blogspot.com

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  27. Anon, when you get pissed, and call people names, it makes it hard to for people to take you seriously. They think you have issues or vested interests.

    You should try to control your emotions and your mouth before calling other people ridiculous.

    Now, take a deep breathe, count to 10, and tell me what, exactly, you think I am disregarding.

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  28. To me, the double digit appreciation everyear just doesn't make sense. I understand that generally property appreciates, what I don't understand is how it could appreciate so much.

    Which makes me think the market is due for a correction. Call it whatever you want, but housing costs are likely going to go down.

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  29. To me, the double digit appreciation everyear just doesn't make sense. I understand that generally property appreciates, what I don't understand is how it could appreciate so much.

    Which makes me think the market is due for a correction. Call it whatever you want, but housing costs are likely going to go down.


    To me, the double digit appreciation ever year just makes sense. Generally property appreciates. What I don't understand is why it doesn't appreciate more.

    Which makes me think the market is due for a correction. Call it whatever you want, but housing costs are likely going to go up.

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  30. OK, everyone take a deep breath. This isn't that big a deal.

    First, I have to agree that The Connection isn't really Pulitzer material.
    On the other hand, the HousingTracker numbers seem to show prices still steady if not rising slowly. That's a significant point.

    Redskins Fan: houses are really not as liquid as stocks, especially if you're
    living in one, which I'd guess 55% - 85% of the homes in the area are owned by their primary resident. Figure there are a fair %age who bought 2 years ago and are happy living there. Their value drops, but they don't really care.

    Obviously, the real question is how many owners in the game are just investors? They're the ones who'll be feeling a lot of pressure to unload, and may be willing to take a big hit. But the market just won't move like the Nasdaq did, when 98% of the owners were investors, and 60-75% of the shares were owned by professionals who knew they had to unload quickly.

    Anyway, let's stop the namecalling. I'd personally appreciate it if someone's going to get snarky and say things like "You're a disgrace.", they'd at least sign with some kind of name so I could at least keep track of who's saying what.

    FINALLY -- not everyone here hates homeowners. Not everyone here is hoping for mass pain on everyone. Not everyone here is jealous of you. Personally, I'd like to see prices come back to where I can afford something, but I do have to admit I'm sick and tired of Joe Schmoe thinking he's a real estate genius for making a killing on his condo.

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  31. Call it whatever you want, but housing costs are likely going to go up.

    For house prices to continue appreciating either wages go up (what, like 150% to justify housing costs) or the ease of borrowing money will get easier so as to compensate.

    Rents going up can be used to support either argument. You could say rents are going up because property values are going up. Or you could say rents are going up because more people are giving up on buying houses and are choosing to rent instead (increased demand).

    Rents going down can be used to support either argument too. Rents are going down because more people are buying houses to live in (decreased supply of renters). Or rents are going down because more people are unable to sell their houses and so are putting them out to rent (increases supply of rentals).

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  32. Generally, from a historic standpoint, home prices increase with inflation- not more. That's the fact.

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  33. Generally, from a historic standpoint, home prices increase with inflation- not more. That's the fact.

    Yep. That was when houses were just places to live. But now houses are ATMs and investments. Sad.

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  34. Kevinr,

    I agree with a good part of what you said. However, home prices have been driven by expectations of future value, which in and of itself makes them volatile.

    Secondly, do you know anyone who has bought in the last few years who has not thought about what the place will be worth in a few years? The mindset is not one of people settling down for 30 years in the same house.

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  35. "Generally, from a historic standpoint, home prices increase with inflation- not more. That's the fact. "

    No, that's not a fact.

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  36. The fact that houses have become a more liquid form of wealth should..in theory...make their value increase. This doesn't mean that no one is abusing this new liquidity, but liquidity has a value.

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  37. Anon- I'm done with you until you start to make rational points.

    RK- In terms of liquidity are you referring to the mortgage bond market? Or are you referring to equity loans?

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  38. Here's an article that talks about how RE and REITs track inflation (untill recently). You can see it Here (this wil lauch the new site in your comment window, so right click on the link)

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  39. dc_too said... We haven't heard from David all day, but I wonder if he's noticed, as I have, the number of real estate agents that suddenly have so much free time, to participate in his blog? I wonder why?

    Yes, it's interesting, isn't it? I imagine it has to do with the blog being cited in several recent newspaper articles. We saw the same kind of furious activity on www.thehousingbubbleblog.com last year. As the news got worse and worse most of them dropped off.

    Actually I no longer see the most ridiculous of the taunts-- the, "You're just jealous because you haven't made the big bucks I have flipping houses," or "You don't have the balls to do what I do!"

    That one was one of my favorites. LOL. No, thankfully, I don't have balls. As a result I was able to buy a house when I could easily afford it with a fixed rate for a little less than three times our combined household income. I realized things were getting crazy when two of my colleagues-- both making less than I was, started buying 'investment' houses --and we sold last Spring.

    And thanks to all the speculators our rent is not likely to go up for awhile, either, so I suppose I should be grateful. But I'm not happy about all the people-- especially the young ones who've never seen a housing crash before -- or others who just wanted a house and were encouraged to believe they could afford one with exotic financing. And I'm not happy about the fall-out the economy as a whole is likely to experience. A lot of housing-related jobs are on the line-- my husband's construction job among them.

    The Fed thinks it can prevent the long, painful unwinding that Japan went through after its housing bubble. All I can say is, I hope so.

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  40. My rent will be up $20 a month this year. My rent includes all utilities.

    That is my lowest increase in the last 7 years.

    I am very happy with that.

    A Redskins fan

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  41. Ours too went up $25 last year. We were a-ok with that. (Show me someone whose property tax went up that little)

    We know we have a great deal - $1350 for a 1bd with den, washer/dryer in unit, including the parking spot and a storage unit downstairs, all utilities except electric, which runs us $40 per month, max. All of this in the Courthouse/Clarendon area of Arlington, newly developed. Condos in our building are on sale for $420K+, so we know that renting is cheaper by far.

    Our landlord probably bought in the mid-80s and has a $500-$800 mortage. They are making money and we are getting a great deal.

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  42. there are many factors driving price. big factors supporting prices in this town:
    1) int'l city = lots of turnover and money
    2) no longer a one trick pony - it's more than govt. jobs now
    3) houses are not stocks and do not behave the same way as stocks. they don't liquidate easily and the transaction cost is high. the only way you'll see a bubble burst is if there is a traumatic event (think Love Canal - some of you may not be old enough to know what this is - check Wikipedia).
    4) no major job losses in an industry
    5) the SFH market behaves differently than the condo market so don't lump them together.

    in my 'hood, houses are selling at or close to 1st asking price and there is no house under $1M. my condo downtown while below peak has held firm and the market is absorbing the listings. location still sells. I have noticed that 1 BR gains have held, 2 BR gains have not, and 3 BRs have dropped from the initial pre-construction prices in my building.

    20004guy

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  43. " I have noticed that 1 BR gains have held, 2 BR gains have not"

    I have found the exact opposite. One brs are listing for less than they went for last year, and still not selling. I can point to two that are 10% less than my losing bid last year. Same building, same size.

    2brs, at least in Dupont and the areas where I'm looking are still listing high--not sure what they're selling for, if they are selling.

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  44. Single family homes in older, established neighborhoods will no doubt hold up better than others-- and certainly condominiums will be hit the hardest. But when families with a combined income of less than $200,000 are buying million dollar homes using creative financing, fundamentals are very badly out of whack. I think the estimate was something like 30% of homes last year were bought as a vacation or investment property, too. That's a lot of inventory that may well come back on the market if prices start to fall.

    As for your condo holding up-- you won't know that until you come to sell. What people who've never lived through a housing downturn don't realize is that it doesn't necessarily mean that prices come down much-- at least not at first. It means that you can't sell. My folks had this happen twice in the course of their 60 or so years of their careers. Once they had to rent the house out for a year before finally finding a buyer. The second time they had to take back a big second mortgage with a very shakey borrower. Fortunately he refinanced before finally going into default. Otherwise they would have been left holding the bag. And all this happened long before anyone every dreamed of negative amortizing 'liar loans'.

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  45. Anon-

    People in NYC (and I suspect elsewhere) are using those same excuses to try to say that RE prices cant go down. NYC is int'l too- and the idea that houses are not like stocks only affects the SPEED at which prices can drop- not the fact that they can drop. Job growth has NOT been tied to RE prices for the last 5 years, so that argument does not hold water. If it did, prices should have gone down for 3 or 4 of the last 5 years.

    While your arguments many have made sense in the past, I suspect that this time it is different. Different in that we've never had this much rampant speculation. Even people who are not speculators bought, in part, thinking about future value. Then of course, you have the flippers, and the ARM crowd. Lastly, you really should be worried when you look at the inventory run up, which is occurring at a -very- fast pace.

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  46. "Here's an article that talks about how RE and REITs track inflation (untill recently). You can see it Here (this wil lauch the new site in your comment window, so right click on the link) "

    That graph shows Real estate appreciation almost always significantly above inflation.

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  47. You people crack me up. Homes in major cities are SUPPOSED to be very expensive. Rich people like me - city. Middle-class people like you - have a nice commute.

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  48. Oh yeah, right. Rich people are heavily invested in real estate. Like Warren Buffett...

    Here's what he has to say about real estate: http://money.cnn.com/2006/05/05/news/newsmakers/buffett_050606/index.htm

    Remember him? The 'old fogey' who all the stock speculators laughed at when he said there was a stock market bubble? Yes, he's at it again-- claiming there's a real estate bubble of all things. But then, what do you expect of someone so old fashioned that he actually made his money investing in real companies that produce real products?

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  49. Mr. Straw Man, may I introduce Sarah from DC.

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  50. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  51. From Buffett's comments: It's like most trends: At the beginning, it's driven by fundamentals, then speculation takes over. As the old saying goes, what the wise man does in the beginning, fools do in the end. With any asset class that has a big move, first the fundamentals attract speculation, then the speculation becomes dominant.

    Once a price history develops, and people hear that their neighbor made a lot of money on something, that impulse takes over, and we're seeing that in commodities and housing...

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  52. Nope. Doesn't prove anything. But smart people pay attention to what other smart people have to say. Especially when they've been 'smart' to the tune of multiple billions of dollars.

    Now let's see... Who am I going to listen to... Warren Buffett -- anonymous poster, Warren Buffett -- anonymous poster. Gee, that's hard.

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  53. What I like about the Buffet story is that his organization owns and operates a real estate brokarage! The second largest in the nation, according to that article. If Buffet sells his real estate brokarage business, then we'll see him taking action, not just making rhetoric. I beleive that he beleives that a "slowdown" is taking place, and there is no doubt that his beliefs carry some weight. But the orangatuns at the National Zoo are probably aware that RE is cooling off; that is how obvious it is. Lets see if Buffet actually *divests* himself of both his real estate holdings AND his real estate business. Buffet owns and lives in a modest SFH; I saw it on 60 minutes. Is he going to sell?

    Sarah, again, please lose the "DC" part of your moniker. Ballston is a world apart from DC proper. Why do you care if someone in Idaho doesn't know where Arlington VA is located?

    bryce

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  54. hey anonymous,both centex and hovnanian home are having instant equity sales in california's central valley! you get 100k instant equity in elk grove or lincoln ca.,which are bedroom communities for sacramento,HP is in roseville,nice diversified economy...as for a "traumatic event" how about loan resets at higher rates ina falling market with an average 2% down payment in ca last year? oh,and at least 40% of the market speculators,many of whom "mined" their equity to buy those "investment " properties...here in the lovely wine country where millionaires buy tract homes in lovely cotati and west santa rosa to retire in you can cash flow with only 70% down and an interest only loan....call me RIGHT AWAY...and i'll help you get an unforgettable investment!!!(no matter how much you drink)...has anyone else considered how much of a risk premium mortgage loans will have...especially low down loans...they may start calling it pms instead of pmi.

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  55. hey anonymous poster has been to donald trumps seminars...and bought ALL that cool stuff betcha he's as knowlegeable as carlton sheets ,almost.

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  56. Bryce, with all due respect...

    Get a Life.

    Who cares where Sarah lives.

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  57. I do. If she doesn't live in DC; why does she say that she lives in DC? What's the point? Oh wait, I know: She wants the "cachet" of being a DC-ite while actively avoiding the realities of being a DC-ite. Such attitudes actually detract from our nation's capital.

    Facts matter, catalyst.

    I do have a great life, thanks. :)

    bryce

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  58. Buffet owns and lives in a modest SFH; I saw it on 60 minutes. Is he going to sell? He did sell one of his homes in California-- last spring I think it was. The home you're talking about I believe belonged to his wife. He still lives in Omaha, Nebraska-- "in the gray stucco home he bought in 1958 for $31,500" according to Forbes. As for selling his real estate companies, why should he? All those 'investors' have to use somebody to sell their failed flips... Once they get over the idea that if a property isn't moving the way to sell it is to tack another $50,000 onto the price, of course.

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  59. Sarah in Virginia said: "As for selling his real estate companies, why should he?"

    One of the key points of this blog is that middle-men in the real estate industry are vile parasites on the skin of society. (I don't think that is overstating the point).

    So if RE middle-men are evil and must die, why are Warren Buffet's RE middle men any different?

    bryce

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  60. Nonsense. Nothing I've read here is anti homeowner or anti realtor. Indeed, most of us are or have been homeowners and have used realtors to buy and sell those homes. If we are anti anything it's anti the speculative mania that has turned housing into the latest version of tulip bulbs. It's likely to lead to a long and painful contraction of the economy as a whole.

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  61. Sarah in Virginia said: "Nonsense" when it comes to Bubblemeter being anti-realtor.

    Scroll down, Sarah in VA. There is an entry titled: "Another 'Honest' Realtor" (a tongue-in-cheek title)

    Here is one of many anti-realtor comments: (and no, I'm not a realtor, nor do I play one on TV)

    "va_investor said...

    Anon 2:15

    Realtors are the last true monopoly. They are superfluous. Look at the raise they have had in the last 5 years. Why is the commission a % of sales price? There is no correlation between the work performed and the compensation."

    I'm not arguing for or against the long-term relevance of realtors. Just the fact that you claim to have not read any anti-realtor sentiment on this blog. Turns out that you aren't reading enough.

    So I ask again: If realtors are evil and must die, why are Buffet's realtors any different? Why doesn't he divest himself of his realty brokerage if in fact real estate agents are "superflous"?

    bryce

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  62. "Nonsense. Nothing I've read here is anti homeowner or anti realtor. Indeed, most of us are or have been homeowners and have used realtors to buy and sell those homes. If we are anti anything it's anti the speculative mania that has turned housing into the latest version of tulip bulbs. It's likely to lead to a long and painful contraction of the economy as a whole. "

    Yeah, right. You cheer every piece of bad news in the housing market because you're nice people. Whatever.

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  63. Love it, keep the hate and animosity flowing… it just makes it all the more guilt-free for me when I finally lowball on something so badly I insult the seller, the seller’s realtor, my realtor and anybody else w/in ear shot. Don’t like it? Fine by me, I’ll check out the FSBOs and more motivated homes in the area and just hire a lawyer for the paperwork. God I hope I run into some of you out there. I’m SIKED!!

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  64. Where do you live bacon? I'm "psyched" to meet you too.

    bryce

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  65. So 'superfluous' is a bad word? Saying, "There is no correlation between the work performed and the compensation," is the equivalent of saying realtors are evil and must die? Interesting.

    I don't, as it happens, agree with the poster-- I think realtors can only superfluous during a buying mania, when properties get multiple bids within hours of being listed. In a bad market, people will find out quickly how much work and knowledge it really takes to sell a house.

    But it's funny, considering the kinds of personal insults and profanity-laden posts we see from many 'bubble denyers' that you should be so very quick to interpret this politely expressed opinion on the other side as an attack.

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  66. "Superflous" wasn't a word you used here, Sarah in Virginia. (In case you didn't remember.)

    If you *read* the nature of the posts here, you'll see that indeed, the "blog-miester" and some "bubbleheads" do view realtors as bad human beings. READ THE POSTS OBJECTIVELY and you will see that to be true.

    You sold property in VA and now you live in an apartment in Ballston. Congratulations; that worked for you and you are 100% content with your decision.... or are you? What possible reason could there be for an articulate person such as yourself to not actually read things here with objective eyes?

    Living in that god-foresaken enclave of waspy wanna-sorta-be-urban consumerism called Ballston must be dulling your otherwise acute powers of perception. How many guys wearing Dockers Pants or wearing baseball caps backwards did you see today?

    bryce

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  67. oh, and Sarah in Virginia, I'm still waiting for a compelling post from you on why Warren Buffet's ownership of the second largest real estate brokerage in the entire country is a sure sign of his concrete belief of the immenent collapse of the real estate business in the US.

    If it is going to collapse, he is going to lose money with a real estate brokerage, isn't he? Shouldn't he sell?

    bryce

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  68. Bryce,

    Your last post really makes no sense. Warren Buffet does not need to sell a RE brokerage even if the housing market were to collapse by 90%. Why? Because brokerages make money on the transactions.

    Additionally, he doesn't need to necessarily sell all of his property if he's holding onto it at pre-bubble prices. Odds are, his cash flow from rental income more than covers his costs on whatever property he owns.

    Heck, even an owner from 2004 in NOVA's inflated market is still ahead of the game if they should decide to sell at "a loss" from peak prices.

    Please quit trumpeting his lack of selling as a lack of conviction about his feeling on the market.

    Come up with a better reason and maybe I'll agree with you...

    My $0.02.

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  69. .02, I never took a debating class, but I know I have a better grasp of debating fundamentals than you do.

    I'm not trumpeting anything. I'm asking Sarah in VA to solidify her point. I don't think that Buffet will or even should sell his brokerage firm. I'm simply asking someone who points to Buffet as the Bellwether of Things to Come to think about why he is in the RE business to begin with; and to juxtapose that thought with the position of some cheerleaders here who say that RE brokers are going the way of the dinosaur. (Please read the posts before you say that no-one here is taking such a position)

    Is that healthy debate? Or is that an argument? I submit that it is the former - and those of you with a strong emotional attachment to the hope of a national recession and mass foreclosures cannot see it for what it is.

    The fact is that private homeownership is an emotional issue. Whether you are currently priced out of the market, or house-poor after recently paying too much for a shack; you are emotional about the topic.

    That is what makes this site intriguing for me. You'll all be better off if you can put some emotional distance between yourselves and this topic, and try to see it from all angles.

    bryce

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  70. Because Bryce approaches this all so rationaly, with no emotion whatsoever.

    But he is right - if owning a home was not an emotional decision, no one would be doing it now, because from a purely financial point of view it just doesn't make sense.

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  71. Bryce,

    I would argue you are better at obfuscation, not necessarily debating. But then, maybe that's key to successful debating? Oh well, I don't care about that. A discussion board like this is not the optimum medium for a debate perse since there is too much time lag between posts and the direction/intent of someone's argument gets easily lost.

    Having said that, you originally posted on 5/6 6:27 PM that Warren Buffet should sell his brokerages if he believes his own predictions. This is a weak statement because, and I believe we all acknowledge that, he can still make money as a middle man.

    When you were called on this, you then changed tactics in your 5/7 7:23 PM post by pushing the focus real estate agents as evil middle men. If they're so evil and going away you argue, THIS THEN, is the reason Buffet should sell. Well, no again. Just because the 6% commission structure is under attack, doesn't mean there won't still be money to be made. It'll probably be someone like Buffet who breaks the mold and delivers a fee for service brokerage to stay competitive.

    So, you're argument that Buffet should sell, whether as a point blank statement or as a counterpoint for Sarah in DC to think about, is still a weak argument.

    My $0.02.

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  72. .02-

    You confuse rhetoric (a standard tool used by people with strong language skills) with desperate flip-flopping on issues.

    That is easy to understand, given the nature of this medium.

    Your language skills are strong, so I suspect that we would have a more meaningful and perhaps enlightening conversation in realtime, when voice inflection can be heard. (That isn't a challenge; just a thought and perhaps a compliment if you choose to see it that way)

    bryce

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  73. Bryce,

    I would agree with you there. In fact, one of my first posts was in response to the "Honest Realtor." I was dismayed that he would choose to hype up such a weak marketing effort and couldn't help but to jab him a little. Your response, if read tongue in cheek, could support my observation, or, depending on the tone, could have been completely against it.

    Regardless of your intent, the inflection would have made it much more interesting!

    My $0.02.

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