The Real Estate Market: Fear and Loathing on Main Street

By: John Fakler

A funny thing happened on the way to writing this column. Ferris Bueller's economics teacher beat me to deadline.

Even scarier, I agree with Ben Stein's position in his New York Times piece August 8. Chicken Little got it wrong. The sky isn't falling. And healthy financial adjustments are being made from Wall Street to Main Street.

But let me take Stein's premise one step further.

While Stein attributes the stock market correction largely to subprime mortgage fears and a panic exacerbated by the media, the real estate market is behaving in a similarly petulant way.

Despite the best discounts in years, no one is buying. Investors are sitting on the fence. Media mavens, looking for strong angles at editorial budget meetings are jumping all over the alleged real estate market crash story when what's really happening is likely closer to a healthy industry correction.

Consolidation is good for business. It weeds out the marginal, the fraudsters, the corporate wanna-bes. The over-leveraged. The real estate and stock markets will come back - at a deliberate and sustainable pace. And we will all be better for it.

Remember those offers of generous equity lines? Gone.

How about getting a mortgage with a credit score below 600? Not a chance.

Exotic mortgage instruments that don't verify buyer income? Good riddance.

Greed, for lack of a better word is human nature. So is avoidance. Consequences be damned. And we are all to blame.

A glance at the headlines at sums up the general panic. If there is any positive in the reporting, I haven't seen it.

The media lives in a heaven or hell world. Investors, and the financial institutions that serve them, have the Sword of Damocles dangling over their heads. Not that some consternation isn't deserved. It is.

So now that the self-flagellation is over, let's suck it up and get back to reality.

When the devalued dollar begins to rise again, it will already be too late for foreign buyers in Tokyo or the United Kingdom looking for a good U.S. acquisition.

I believe the same holds true for real estate. By the time the market begins to turn, valuable equity will be left on the table for those buyers looking for even more discounted prices.

Whether you are playing the stock market or the real estate market, a buyer's market is all about good pricing, and not about knowing the perfect time to pounce.

Real Estate
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Real Estate
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles