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Farm your niche market and cover all the happenings in your neighborhood
you've been under a rock for the past 20+ years, you know exactly who Dr. Alan Greenspan is, or
was. Among a list of accomplishments, he was
Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006 starting
under Ronald Reagan and serving (or being served by) a succession of
Presidents until his retirement as the housing market started to crash
down around his ears. Like me, you've probably heartily agreed with him
at times and vehemently disagreed with him at others. But regardless of
your take on him, it's impressive to see him in person and a tribute to
NAR that he would come speak with us and field questions. At 83 he is a
vibrant and dynamic speaker, possessed of both emotion &
gravitas as well as a sense of humor.
Greenspan started his address by noting one profound truth that if we
learn nothing else from this current situation it is that we are now and
forever integrated into the world economy as never before.
While other countries fortunes have risen and fallen on the status of
the U.S. in the past, it's very much a two way street today with
segments of our economy tied irrevocably to China, the EU and
middle-eastern oil interests. And while more and more nations look to
us for fiscal leadership during these trying times, others are calling
for expansion of the global money market to include indices other than
the US dollar.
went on to say that recent events have also illustrated a disconnect between the stock market and
the economy. Not to say the stock market isn't tied to the
economy very closely but it has become apparent that there is a much closer relationship to human psychology
than previously considered. Depending on what the media tells them,
their own personal circumstances or even what their neighbors think,
the stock market can experience major exuberance or major depression
counter intuitive to what the financial market might indicate. In the
current cycle that attitude is increasingly tied to real estate with the price of homes being the key
determinant in market equity. When by various estimates
anywhere from 25% - 50% of US homeowners are under water, it has a
serious and deleterious impact on that equity position and on the
security and investment attitudes of a wider swath of the general
public than can be accounted for by those personally affected.
Returning people's trust in government and their financial institutions
will be paramount in stabilizing this attitudinal component of the
are starting to see today a significant shift in monetary policy and a
much greater availability of money. He believes we are seeing the 'seeds of bottoming'
especially in areas like California, Arizona, Florida and Nevada.
Prices haven't bottomed out quite yet but he expects these areas that fell the farthest the fastest
to show improvement before the rest of the country. That improvement
will be governed not so much by monetary policy or even availability of
funds at this point, but on inventory. And in that arena we still face
a 'couple bumps in the road'.
also pointed to failures in the risk management capacity of certain
industries noting that he and others mis-read
the ability and/or willingness of managers to perform in their own
self-interest or self-preservation when it came to
application of risk portfolios and actively seeking out people to give
loans to that were demonstrably unable to repay them. To that end he
discussed the concept of being 'too
big to fail' and the fallacy of that statement. He stated
that both Fannie and Freddie
are not inherently stable in their current form and
suggested that both those organizations be split into smaller entities
where the failure of one does not pressage a systemic collapse.
the Q&A one member asked if his monetary policy of reducing the
interest rate to 0% might have contributed to the 'easy money' problem
and that the subsequent run-up to 6+% might have exacerbated the
problem? He has no doubt been taken to task on this one before as he
had a ready answer discussing the lag time between rate shifts and
housing curves, the disconnect between interest rates and mortgage
rates and the general role of the Fed. In this response I found some of
his remarks to be somewhat
disingenuous and, while they make be technically accurate,
don't take into account his own reference to the role psychology plays
in the market. Of course he did say that the impact of consumer
psychology is a more recent realization so maybe he discounted that
from his thinking at the time. But from a man whose simple declaration
of 'irrational exuberance' a few years back sent the market into a
tail-spin, you'd think the psychological impact on consumers and the
market would have been painfully apparent some time back. In your own
experience, when consumers hear that interest rates are down, what is
their first thought? That mortgages rates are also down, right? Even
many Realtors and lenders don't understand the difference.
was also some question of the expansion
of the Fed into policy making during his tenure - which he
again dismissed as untrue. He said that in some cases the Fed reacts to
policy while in other cases policy may in fact respond to the Fed but
that it was never his intention to make the Fed a policy making arm of
any Administration. Coming from the man who was arguably a major factor
in policy decisions for 2 decades and 4 Presidents, that may be a bit
of an understatement on his part.
he was very forthcoming, personable and energetic. While I may not
always agree with his policies, I have a great respect for him as an
individual and for the job he performed so admirably for this country
through numerous challenges.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.