Tuesday, March 29, 2011

#8 in Signs That the End is Nigh

I'll figure out what 1-7 are later. This just feels like number eight.

The U.S. bust was marked by blame. Not blaming Greenspan for the cheap money. Not blaming cuts to regulation that let the banks and wall street print money (in essence) and flood the housing (and auto and boat and rv) markets with liquidity and wholly unregulated securitization that created a pull system that encouraged every player in the game to push loans onto anyone and everyone despite their inability to actually afford the payments. NO, the blame went to the bloggers who were pointing out that the market was overdue to turn. These bastions of personal opinion read by dozens (maybe even more!) of people were, of course, responsible for swaying the entire market. Their pithy words of warning caused real investors to ignore the fundamentals of a "sound market" and caused legions of house-hungry newlyweds to instead live with mom and dad.

Of course they had such far reaching impact from their little blogs. Especially when, as the bloggers were forced to point out, they had been making those warning for years to absolutely no effect. All of a sudden, it was all their fault.

Admittedly, blogs are far more mainstream than they were in the heady days of 2006, but I call corner on sign #8 for Australia.

Property market slump? Blame me
So, the phone rings…

Agent: I just wanted to find out if you’re going to be as negative this week as you have in the last four weeks about the market because you are single-handedly making my life very f**king hard by reporting doom and gloom.

Me: I get the numbers like everyone else and the numbers compared to other years aren’t particularly good.

Agent: I’ve got to say you’re in a very powerful position there and the readers believe everything they read. If it’s in print they believe it. Just try and be a bit more balanced in your views.

Me: If you can give me an instance when I haven’t been balanced…

Newsflash: if market fundamentals are sound, no one (especially not investors looking for properties with positive cash flow) will pay one lick of attention. It's a threat now because . . . ?


Unknown said...

If possible, could you post some links to pre-GFC property warning blogs or pre-GFC online media comments in the US. I'm finding the influx and change in sentiment of the comments on the mainstream Australian media fascinating.
Just today, one of the MSM newspapers ran with a headline (Australia-wide) about a viral campaign about First Home Buyers going on an organised strike.

GG said...

That'd make a good post, which I will try to organize.

Offhand, I'd start here:
Housing Bubble Blog --this blog turned into a press excerpt extravaganza of bear news
Doctor Housing Bubble
Professor Piggington's Econo-Almanac for the Landed Poor

If you check the blog rolls of those, you will find more.