Perspective on Real Estate

July 24, 2002

August 1, 2002

August 7, 2002


Can we live by minute changes?

Recent trends are like fireflies. You think that you see a spark and it disappears just as fast as you think that you see it, and then another one -- beauty and mystery in unison.

This certainly is a metaphor for the stock market, where each day's events pose as a trend. But instead it's a roller-coaster poised at the top or the bottom; you have to "feel" it rather than see it, for you are never quite certain in which direction the spark is traveling, brighter, dimmer, sudden, diminished -- where are we and which expert knows an answer or can venture a hint?

And this suspenseful animation takes us where? The implications of each day are like a butterfly's wings beating the air into a wind affecting life miles away. How can that be?

The dollar slips as foreigners come back into it, driving their own currencies down. The stock market is like the broken clock -- you know it will look right at least twice a day, but what about the hours, the time in between, where are we and what time is it, really?

Mortgage rates are so low that they produce a seemingly never-ending stream of home sales; you buy because the price is high and will go higher, and the mortgage you can still leverage is cheap but it may go higher, so now's the time to buy.

The experts keep bleating their mantra: "The Fed will be making interest rates go up to save the dollar, to save us from inflation," to keep the worry-warts from worrying. Investors run from stocks into bonds and then the market surges and the bears smile joining the bull-run.

Where the heck are we? Are we all getting gored? Isn't that what always happens to madding crowds? Is there anything meaningful out there in never-never land beside change? Oh yes, warnings about everything: the threat of inflation (where is it?); the threat of balance of payments (why is it?); the end of the housing bubble (science fiction).

For every "sure thing," there is uncertainty because no one is an expert on change since no one can keep up with its velocity -- it's too much like a blur. It is a blur!

The truth is that the trend is a series of changes pummeling our comfort zones, unrecognizable actions that rob former experts of their expertise. Change introduces horror when there are few experts whom one can trust and that's the main problem. Who knows the future and where has he or she been hiding lately? We humans and investors and investment bankers must know the future otherwise we feel deprived of our self-written fiction, and golly, we can lose money -- to say nothing of punctured egos.

But this era is one of accelerated change that ransacks theory and covers prophecy with a prism through which only science fiction can penetrate. It takes fear and imagination to figure direction these days and the implications of these massive winds of change.

This is a glimpse of my stream of consciousness, and I go through it every day as I attempt to prove that I know what I know and feel what I feel. It is a human's march into the fickleness and the unknown and I wouldn't trade it for fame or money. Ah, but where is that vacation I promised my nerves?

Goodkin is an international real estate adviser and strategist, and has been a housing analyst since 1956. He can be reached at sandy.goodkin@sddt.com.


July 24, 2002

August 1, 2002

August 7, 2002