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[Crackin’ The Crystal Ball] Short Selling Real Estate

About a week after 9/11/01, seven years ago to this very day in fact, I remember a real estate broker telling reporters that the market had fallen 30% over the prior week and was expected to fall much further. I got calls from several reporters to confirm or to provide empirical evidence to support or disprove the claim.

Falling 30%?

I basically said:

How can someone describe a market as “falling” only days after a significant event occurs when there is no activity to base such a conclusion? What is the basis? A client conversation concerning one deal?

When someone loudly calls a market (up or down) based on anecdotes rather than evidence, it’s irresponsible. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it should not be presented as fact.

At that moment back in 2001, who would have anticipated one of the biggest housing booms in US history (and we are painfully unwinding from that expansion right now) was soon to follow?

Fast forward 7 years.

A high end Manhattan broker did the same thing today. [1] Without empirical evidence (no data), who can state the market is instantly down 25% a few days after the Lehman bankruptcy?

Was this pronouncement based on a handful of conversations with past clients? A gut feeling after years of experience?

Quick, call the SEC! [2]

I suspect this was simply extracurricular media commentary by the individual because the brokerage firm is one of the big three in New York and has a great reputation.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Brian Ross’ work and ABC, but he falls short with headline…”Top Broker: NYC Real Estate Already In Steep Decline” …is considered “investigative journalism“? It’s more like entertainment journalism, no?

Better yet… [3]

Good grief.