Not For Sale
I love the brash Australian news writers. Take this article from The Australian:
"Bookies take bets from fools backing horses that can't win, but at least they look you straight in the eye when they do it. And it's satisfying to know that occasionally - just occasionally - the bastards lose too."
"Real estate agents, on the other hand, move between buyer and seller, telling both sides what a great deal is being done for them. In the end, they never lose. It's probably why they smile so much."
"They don't have bookies in the US, but they do have a particularly obnoxious property market culture where your average garden variety real estate agent thinks nothing of knocking on a door and trying to persuade the occupant to sell."
"One result of this [real estate] boom is that anyone with five minutes sales experience thinks selling property is a passport to early retirement. As the number of real estate agents has swelled, so too have sales tactics become more aggressive."
"So, home owners across the country have taken to erecting "Not For Sale" signs in their front yards in a bid to keep the real estate pests away from their front doors and junk mail out of their letter boxes."
"But they may not need those signs for too much longer. There is mounting evidence that the US housing boom, which has run since 1996, and been a wonderful money spinner for Australian-listed building materials companies such as Rinker, James Hardie and Boral, is coming to an end. According to a Merrill Lynch report last week, US house prices have risen an average of 45 per cent in real terms since 1996. But there is now clear evidence of an oversupply that will demand a market correction."
"The danger, though, according to Merrill Lynch economist David Rosenberg, is that average-Joe Americans - many of them perhaps influenced by those smiling real estate agents - are not seeing it that way."
"Rosenberg cites a recent Michigan University consumer confidence survey showing that the number of Americans who believe now is a good time to buy property because prices will continue to appreciate is at a 25-year high."