A recent story in the Wall Street Journal, "Hot Homes Get Cold" offered lots of its useful vignettes that serve as a microcosm of manic markets -- starting with the bravado-cum-denial displayed by a medical-equipment salesman in Stuart, Fla.We are a nation of burger-flippers turned condo-flippers. People are about to learn that they were better off doing the former.
Concerned about his real-estate investment apparently going sour, he can't afford to reduce the price to what homes now sell for in his neighborhood -- which is about $100,000 less than he's asking. Says the salesman: "If I got in a jam, I would have to drop the price, but I am not at that point." His game plan: Rent the house, so as not to "lose my shirt."
That's the mentality often seen in manic markets -- the belief that you can't possibly lose, and, when the price goes against you, you don't have to deal with it, because it will come back. This fellow (and millions more like him) is going to find out that his belief is a mistaken one, in the same way that folks did when the stock bubble burst.
It's all over for the unknown speculator
Bill Fleckenstein on the bursting of the housing bubble:
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