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Predicting the Housing Market

It’s Like Clockwork (but without the batteries)

The Clock Without Batteries

I have a charming tabletop clock. I bought it because I thought it would look nice in my living room (that place no one goes except to dust), and I was right. Shortly after bringing it home and placing it proudly on the end table, I made a mental note to put batteries in it. It seems that it operates quite nicely as a decorator item on solar power alone; to operate as a time-telling device, however, requires some external help. I never did.

Occasionally, though, I still find myself glancing at the clock, when I breeze through looking for my husband’s car keys or my missing brisket. I can’t help myself. And when I do, I am reminded it is 10:47. It is always 10:47, but it rarely is. Approximately twice a day, I can count on my clock to be correct, and when that happens, it is an exciting moment. “What a great clock! So precise!”

The reality, though, is that my little temporal barometer hasn’t a clue. I know this, but I still look at it, paying attention to what it has to say every time I pass by. It’s become a game of sorts, watching and waiting for that inevitable moment of accuracy. I have found that I don’t really need the clock to sort of know what time it is. I can look outside the window and get a pretty good idea. If the sun is high in the sky, it’s noonish. If it is low and to the east, it is early morning. And if it’s dark, it’s time to hole up until the sun comes out again, which it always does – like clockwork. But even my method of watching the skies is flawed. When it is cloudy, when a storm is brewing, I’m screwed.

Storms are funny things. You can never really know how much rainfall you will get or when it might end. What starts as a light mist can become a downpour, or things might clear up quickly. Having sold my Doppler device at a garage sale years ago, I have to rely on my instincts — and on the weather reports. Unfortunately, weather reports are rarely precise. A 20% chance of rain means there is an 80% chance it won’t.

A Chance of Continued Showers

So back to the other AG and what I think of his latest prediction about the housing market recovery. It is raining cats and dogs at the moment. No one knows how long it will last or how bad it will get before we see blue skies again and, until we do, no one can accurately predict the time. Alan Greenspan is a lot like my stopped clock. He will be right at some point. Is he right now? It’s hard for me to say. I am still getting storm warnings.

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Written By

Kris Berg is Broker/Owner of San Diego Castles Realty. She is the perpetrator of the San Diego Home Blog, a locally-focused real estate blog, and in her spare time enjoys fencing, luge, and kittens.



  1. Lisa Sanderson

    October 18, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Kris, what a perfect analogy. You are amazing!

  2. jf.sellsius

    October 18, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Maybe it’s time for the 100 year mortgage

  3. Benn Rosales

    October 18, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Joe, your link was broken, try again.

  4. Paula Henry

    October 18, 2008 at 10:22 am

    This is great, Kris – If real estate is cyclical, we can expect Greenspan to be right at least once in the next 16 years. Whether or not that “one time” will be next year; I think it’s a coin toss.

  5. Jay Thompson

    October 18, 2008 at 10:42 am

    August 24, 2009. Mark it down. That’s the day the housing recovery hits.

    Hey, I have as good a shot as any at being right. And if I am right, I’ll look like a freaking genius. If I’m wrong? I’ll just join the ranks of all the other failed predictions.

    About all anyone knows is what will happen today. And even that’s a crap shoot.

  6. Mark Eibner

    October 18, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Kris- Greenspan and his cartel of little central banker friends (private banks) have steered us into this mess. Research Bretton Woods and 1971. This is far from over and the face of the world will change. Expect 5 years minimum. 2009 is a pipe dream…just do the math. When the DOW hits 6000…we will be there.

  7. Danilo Bogdanovic

    October 18, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Awesome analogy Kris! What’s scary is that the weather report is more accurate than some of these “expert’s” opinions.

  8. Benn Rosales

    October 18, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Now you know why Greenspan wears those B.S. goggles… just sayin.

  9. Steve Simon

    October 18, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    There is no recovery coming, period. Not in this life time. That is if you call a recovery a return to previous price levels…
    What will happen is a bottom will be reached and then a bounce or two off the bottom and a retest or two of the bottom. Followed by very slow growth. I doubt very strongly if prices (adjusted for inflation yet to happen) will return to levels that were at the peak of the run.
    More likely those levels are reached in the next generation. They were an artificial result of five or six factors being “Just Right”. If I were to wait to sell my home for the $325,000 I could have gotten in the back end of 2005, I think I would be waiting until I am about 97 (not likely to happen given my family’s longevity)…
    That’s not to say you can’t make money! You can. Buy right from here, improve where the return is greatest (see my post on PP&C on my blog), and negotiate well; you will make money.
    Or do the above to evena mediocre level but do it with multi-family property, with lots of renters pulling your wagon, you will make money.
    Do not buy in anticipation of a recovery in the traditional sense (a return to what was); it isn’t going to happen within the next twenty years.
    Now if your investment window is twenty or twenty-five years (the census will tell you where population is going) you should see the rise to at least meet the high levels we fell from.
    A better approach is to buy low, PP&C, and hold for about foour or five them sell with terms to obtain price.
    Just my thoughts:)

  10. Kris Berg

    October 18, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Jay – No Birthday Blogging allowed.

    As for the “When will we get there?” I tend to agree that 2009 is extremely optimistic. My husband, on the other hand, thinks Mr. Greenspan (and Jay Thompson) may be close to correct.

  11. Russell Shaw

    October 18, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    >>Kris, what a perfect analogy. You are amazing!


  12. Bob

    October 18, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    No one has been even close to right about this market. 6 months ago, few considered sane would have thought that the Feds would invest a minimum of $250 billion in banks, or that only independent stock brokerages would be all that is left.

    When you have investment bankers with 40 years experience stating that they have never seen anything like this in their lifetimes, any predictions about recovery might as well be published in the Weekly World News with a picture of Nostradamus.

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