Here we are…the beginning of the New Year. The end of 2008! Boy, what a year it has been, right? I was excited to start something new and kiss 2008 good-bye! See ya! Adios!
Can you blame me? I’m in the real estate business, and like so many of my compatriots, I am experiencing the dot.com bust of our industry. Heck, I know people that not too long ago travelled the world first class, drove expensive cars, bought nice homes, and now find themselves wishing they had saved for that proverbial rainy day everyone was talking about from the start.
Yeah, I know what some of you are saying. Maybe a lesson has been learned…blah, blah, blah. Nicely stated from the people that sat on the sidelines of the real estate market and who probably tell their friends that they saw the economic meltdown coming from a mile away. Or those that never bought into the idea of adjustable rate mortgages because the ‘what if’ potential was too strong of a reality for them. Sure, it’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback. Throw a few more “I told you so’s” out there to really rub the salt in the wound. But the fact is that the vast majority of real estate professionals, lenders, appraisers, developers, etc, that have been affected by the state of the economy today…are pretty decent people.
But the point of this blog is not to go on some bender about the one’s that did and the one’s that didn’t. It is more about the headlines that have grabbed our attention over the last several months.
As a boy, I would cut newspaper and magazine headlines and collect them as a hobby. Today, I have boxes full of great headlines that have shaped the world as we know it today. Oddly, I never shook the hobby, so I would like to share some of the real estate headlines from my box of 2008.
“Home Prices Decline at Record Pace,” from the Wall Street Journal. Nothing odd with that one, except that they used it four or five times over the course of the year.
”Subprime Mortgage Crisis Continues” along with “Foreclosure Rate Increases” were paired most frequently on front pages of magazines throughout the entire year. In fact, I cut six specific instances where these headlines appeared right next to each other in just as many months.
“US Mortgage Crisis Rivals S&L Meltdown,” was really the headline from the Wall Street Journal in December, 2007, but comparisons to the S&L meltdown continued to echo through 2008 over several months in the LA Times and San Francisco Chronicle.
As the number of loan defaults began to increase, so too did the number of foreclosures. Over the last year, one could trace the expanding foreclosure rate simply by reading the headlines…”Las Vegas Now Bust,” “Seattle Hits Top 10 List for Troubled Real Estate,” “New York Home Values Off,” and “San Diego’s Troubled Housing Economy.”
Did you watch the value in your home continue to drop in 2008? You are not alone. Headlines like “
But there was also some silver lining too, not much, but it was there.
“Southland October Home Sales Climb to Highest Level of the Year,” reporting to better numbers in the
The ten fastest growing real estate markets was reported several times over the year, but never matched the previous list…new lists simply superseded old lists. And there was tons of stuff that I found online claiming “The Crisis is Over” and “The Housing Market Returns with a Boom,” but mostly being quoted by Real Estate professionals hoping to ignite some excitement into the markets.
The simple truth is that it has been a tough year for real estate all around. It doesn’t take too many newspaper clippings to figure out that the crisis continues and it is going to take a little while to recover. But for now, I’m closing my clippings box on 2008 and hoping the end of 2009 will have better news for me to save for years to come.