John Philip Mason is a residential appraiser with 20 years experience and covers the Hudson Valley region of New York. He’s a good friend and a true professional who provides unique insight to appraisal issues of the day. This week, he postulates that an idle economy is the devil’s workshop on Solid Masonry. Jonathan Miller

Today Hollywood is presenting us with a remake of The Omen, on this the purported birthday of the devil, 6-6-06. The original and the remake are being released 30 years apart, 1976 and 2006, and during both these periods we see some other similarities such as:

  • Increasing energy prices as tracked at WTRG Economics Oil Price History and Analysis
  • Inflation on the rise as demonstrated at InflationData.com. While current inflation rates are historically low, they have doubled in less than four years. All this despite the Feds heaving a steady stream of rate increases at the beastly demon of inflation and promising plenty more if needed. Let’s not forget that the CPI is not a true cost of living index, which typically runs higher for those of us living in the real world.
  • Higher mortgage rates as stated at FreddieMac.com, with even higher rates ahead, should the Feds (undoubtedly) continue on their current path.

It is also interesting to note that both periods faced stagnant and/or declining real estate markets, uncertain economic futures, polarized political environments and presidents with low popularity ratings. By many accounts, the years following 1976 were even worse and there is nothing to say we are not in for more of the same following 2006.

Now I’m not predicting the end of the world. For that we only need to go see Al Gore’s newest ambition, An Inconvenient Truth. All kidding aside, the former Vice-President has put together a compelling set of facts that hopefully will help us face the serious prospect of global warming and all its side effects. But alas my real estate mind kicks in and I tell myself it might not be all bad. You see I live some 30 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. So, all that rising water might some day put me in a coastal community I could never afford to buy into, without my ever having to move!

As for the similarities between 1976 and 2006, and all that followed 1976, I’m left wondering is the devil in the details, or is this an omen?


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