Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Why a Real Estate Broker Can Have a Bullish Opinion on Housing, and Why Investors Should Take Note


After publishing "10 Reasons to Be Bullish on Housing" many readers dismissed my take because I work in the industry, but their lack of confidence actually pushes me to be more bullish.

No matter how many times it happens, it still hurts. A little. Last week, after posting 10 Reasons to Be Bullish on Housing, an optimistic take on residential real estate, I got lit up. (On message boards outside Minyanville, that is).

"Self-serving load of delusional swamp gas," "pathetic palaver and drivel," "garbage propaganda," "drunk," "crackhead or an idiot," "a bunch of crap," "as dumb as an article gets," "cranial capacity of a flea," and my personal favorite: "what a dofus." Yes, that's dofus, with one "o." But who's counting?

Scattered amongst the anonymous attacks were a couple good points on why I was off base. Baby boomers retiring and looking to downsize their housing situation, a job market that is weaker than data indicate, persistently tight lending conditions, and a few others. And mostly, I wouldn't disagree with these arguments. Rarely is a viewpoint so obvious that rebuttal isn't possible.

But the most common refrain amongst the naysayers didn't have anything to do with logic, or data, or economics. Instead, most people dismissed my opinion because I work in real estate. That simply because I am in the business, my positive commentary should be lumped in with absurd Realtor cheerleading and mindless calls that it's (always) a great time to buy.

Fair enough, but as a lone poster pointed out, for years I have been bearish and critical of the spin doctors at the National Association of Realtors, and real estate agents in general. In some cases, my pieces earned me harsh words from my colleagues (and praise on the message boards).

So let me be perfectly clear: I own a real estate brokerage and we get paid to close transactions. But more than a real estate brokerage, I own a small business. And as any small business owner will tell you, if you don't have your word and your integrity, you have nothing. In late 2008 and early 2009, when my business was teetering on the edge, I told people not to buy. I turned away business and almost had to close up shop. I did this because I thought it was the right thing to do, that prices were still in free-fall.

But we survived, and early last year I turned bullish. Not to be self-serving, or to earn more commissions, but because based on my experience and what I saw in the market, I believed that the time for bearishness had passed. I saw reward, when the opportunity was chosen correctly, start to outweigh the risk. And we began advising clients to buy, selectively.

I can proudly say that each of our clients, from families to professional investors, has made a good decision. Some have even made money. Others now live in a house where they are settling down to raise their family -- for less than it costs to rent. In a city like San Francisco, where the rent-versus-buy ratio is consistently among the worst in the country, that isn't easy to do.

I look around and all I see is opportunity. And this holds true well outside real estate. There is opportunity everywhere. If you look around and only see apocalypse, chances are you aren't looking very hard.

Nearly without exception, every businessperson I talk to, from employees at Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) or Chase (JPM), to advertising executives, headhunters and HR people, is optimistic. My message board friends dismiss confidence as an economic indicator. They are wrong. They have likely never been in a position to hire or fire, to reinvest in their business. Confidence makes all the difference because it drives change. If you ignore anecdotes and insight from the trenches, in other words the rumblings of recovery, waiting instead for backward-looking economic data to turn positive, you will show up late and wonder why you missed it.

So, to all my new friends with names like "Yahoo! User" and "B," keep it up. Every time you rip into me, I get a little more bullish. It's when you start agreeing with me again that I'll start to get worried.

Follow the markets all day every day with a FREE 14 day trial to Buzz & Banter. Over 30 professional traders share their ideas in real-time. Learn more.
< Previous
  • 1
Next >
No positions in stocks mentioned.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opin= =3D =3D3D ion about the performance of securities and financial markets by = the wr=3D iter=3D3D s whose articles appear on the site. The views expresse= d by the wri=3D ters are=3D3D not necessarily the views of Minyanville Medi= a, Inc. or members=3D of its man=3D3D agement. Nothing contained on the web= site is intended to con=3D stitute a recom=3D3D mendation or advice address= ed to an individual investor =3D or category of inve=3D3D stors to purchase= , sell or hold any security, or to =3D take any action with re=3D3D spect t= o the prospective movement of the securit=3D ies markets or to solicit t=3D= 3D he purchase or sale of any security. Any inv=3D estment decisions must b= e made =3D3D by the reader either individually or in =3D consultation with = his or her invest=3D3D ment professional. Minyanville write=3D rs and staff= may trade or hold position=3D3D s in securities that are discuss=3D ed in = articles appearing on the website. Wr=3D3D iters of articles are requir=3D = ed to disclose whether they have a position in =3D3D any stock or fund disc= us=3D sed in an article, but are not permitted to disclos=3D3D e the size o= r direct=3D ion of the position. Nothing on this website is intende=3D3D d = to solicit bus=3D iness of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Mi= ny=3D3D anville mana=3D gement and staff as well as contributing writers wi= ll not respo=3D3D nd to em=3D ails or other communications requesting inves= tment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Featured Videos