Tuesday, October 21, 2008


St. Louis Lofts realtorsLast week, Warren Buffet said something that really hit home with me about his investment choices. He said he follows a simple rule, to "be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful." As a believer in home ownership, it wasn't disconcerting back in 2004 or 2005 when many buyer's came to me wanting to find a home. Buying was a foregone conclusion in those days. At the Ely Walker Lofts release party, I remember some people that tried to reserve several lofts. Stories of huge profits from flipping lofts were legendary then and people wanted to cash in that night. I think about that evening often.

When the market really tanked in Florida, I thought about the launch party at Ely. I heard stories of people getting stuck with multiple units and not knowing what to do. Greed really reared its ugly side.

Despite the markets in many locations being turned upsides down and many of the builders downtown having to drastically change their business plans, the market isn't as horrible as we hear on the news.

One presidential candidate is going around saying that the housing market has "collapsed". When the stock market collapsed during the great depression, it lost nearly 90% of its value. In contrast, our housing appreciation has mostly just flattened out with slight drops or slight appreciation based on market demand.

Other things I keep hearing is that the credit markets are frozen. No one can get a loan. "You watch too much TV!!" was what one mortgage lender told me. I had called him to ask if they'd be able to fund a loan set for closing last month. Of course, there are limitations. Some good, some not so good. Most of what industry professionals called "exotic loans" are a thing of the past. Also, much of the lending going on is in the form of loans that can be sold on the secondary market or otherwise insured by FHA or VA.

So thoughts about the world today are that the news media is spewing bad advice, engendering terror and paralyzing the community. People that buy homes right now are following the most fundamental rule in investing: buy low and sell high. Had I not gone on my buying spree last year, I'd be greedy right now.

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