Friday, April 11, 2008
After a nice talk last weekend with Rich Toscano of Piggington.com and Voice of San Diego fame, sharing Rich's latest report about the goings-on in the San Diego real estate market seemed like a good way to start winding down the week.
As my wife and I are planning to once again buy real estate as early as next year and have made some initial queries about the local housing market, what follows is particularly good advice for us. It is all too easy to be seduced by the siren call of homeownership and real estate professionals play an important part in that process.
Fence Sitters Will Be SorryInterestingly, Rich was one of the very first individuals with whom I corresponded in 2004 prior to starting this blog in early-2005. Even more interestingly, at the time we were both engineers, now we're both in the investment business with a focus on hard assets.
Our favorite housing cheerleader, Chuck Smiar, is back in the news again today with another attempt to scare real estate fence sitters into action. After issuing a warning to hesitating homebuyers that they were "in for a surprise" back in December, Chuck had this to say in a North County Times piece earlier today:
"There's a lot of buyers sitting on the fence waiting for the bottom. And I think if they don't jump in soon, they're going to be sorry."Well, he did add the phrase "I think" in there. Perhaps he's getting more circumspect as time goes on. Nonetheless, this latest assertion fits right in with his increasingly well-established track record of making statements that, in addition to having little basis in reality, seem pretty clearly intended to frighten people into buying homes.
The accompanying graph displays Chuck's prior suggestions overlaid with San Diego home prices (as measured by the Case-Shiller home price index through January and then approximated using single family size-adjusted median prices for February and March). The timeline pretty much says it all -- I'll just add that I look forward to future installments.
For the record, I'm not purposely singling out Chuck here. He may be a real nice guy, for all I know. He just happens to provide the funniest examples of the brazen and often delusional boosterism that emanates from so many (though definitely not everyone) in the real estate industry. To his credit, at least he sticks to telling people why they should be buying homes instead of concocting implausible conspiracy theories to explain why they aren't.
I still think it's a shame that the "Chrono Collapse-O-Meter" subtitle at Piggington was replaced with the less ominous "Econo-Almanac for the Landed Poor" - "Collapse-O-Meter" sounds about right at the moment.