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This Recession Is O-vah!: ‘Zombie Bears’ Edition : Speaking of Real Estate

This Recession Is O-vah!: ‘Zombie Bears’ Edition

November 24, 2010 by Brian Summerfield · 1 Comment
Filed under: Economics 

By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

The latest in a crowd of pronouncements that the recession is officially behind us comes from economic analyst Barry Ritholtz, whose book I reviewed a while ago. Ritholtz, one of the most bearish commentators during the downturn, believes that the economy has finally turned a corner (hooray!), but adds that “zombie bears” who have staked their reputations on the idea that we’re stuck in the doldrums won’t acknowledge it.

Now, calling the end of the recession isn’t exactly a new trend. (In fact, I wrote about it more than a year ago.) But Ritholtz may well be right. I, for one, hope he is. And the chorus he’s joining seems to have gotten much louder in the past few months. (If they’re correct, though, why the need for QE2?)

Here’s the thing, however: Even if they are right, Ritholtz and other economists are speaking about the recession in a very narrow, literal sense. When they say it’s over, what they referring to is a return to a sustained period of growth at the macroeconomic level. They aren’t arguing that economic normalcy for consumers is just a few weeks or months ahead, or that we’ll return to full employment soon, or that housing values will shortly ratchet back up to 2005 levels. Most importantly, it doesn’t mean that continued recovery is a sure thing.

What it could mean, though, is that financial institutions, feeling more secure, will start to lend again. Businesses of all sizes could slowly but surely begin hiring again. And consumers who rightfully put the brakes on spending and began saving at a rate not seen in more than a decade may begin to put some of their accumulated capital toward a home purchase.

In short, it might signify that after searching for a floor during these past couple of years, the economy is finally starting to move in the right direction. That’s something we could all be thankful for.

Editor’s Note: Because of the holiday, there will be no Daily News on Thursday or Friday. Happy Thanksgiving from REALTOR® Magazine!


Although the message seems to convey that the general public may not see an immediate improvement, financial institutions may become more confident, and will start to lend again! They might modify some of their current lending requirements, a result of the crazy times during this decade, and start lending to those who really qualify. So let’s see!

If DC is the center of the action, why would I want to live in Virginia?

For those of us DC Urban Junkies, we want nothing more than sidewalks to a neighborhood restaurant, a grocery store no more than 3 blocks away, work commute by one means of transportation only (subway or bus), and a Starbucks no more than a quarter-mile from each of these locations.  It would be nice to have this in a “safe” part of town, with Georgetown, The Kennedy Center, all the museums, hip bars, and local bike trails close by.  Add in ethnic restaurants from all over the world, lots and lots of politicians, more different languages spoken in a school classroom than a UN convention, and all the drama of the greatest Nation’s Capital in the world….and you might have the perfect place to live!!!  Washington, D.C.!!???  Right???

Answer= Yes and No

Think of the ripple action of throwing a stone in water.  The stone represents downtown DC, and the resulting rings represent the surrounding communities.  The closer to the stone you are, the closer to the Urban Junkies housing dream, but at a substantially higher price.  Even when the Government attempts to decentralize from DC, and move locations away from the city, city dwellers do not sell and move to the burbs.  Bottom line, downtown places that fit the stated criteria are rare and expensive.  So where does an Urban Junkie buy?

Drop the “Urban” and look for “X-Urban”….close-in DC Communities that give you easy access to downtown, plus the ability to walk to get your hair done, restaurants and night-time venues, morning coffee, Church, grocery stores, and even your Doctor.  Prices may not be that much cheaper than a somewhat comparable property downtown, but transportation choices, and safety concerns of inner city subdivisions, lead to a great demand for urban type dwellings outside of the city. 

Where did this new, increased demand come from? The computer careers associated with the Government Contracting business and DotCom growth, starting in the late 80’s, produced a number of young, single professionals that moved to the area.  They were making money, wanted to have fun, and after the first few years of paying a lot in taxes, decided they needed a write off.  They didn’t want to settle down, and didn’t want the responsibility of maintaining a yard, or worrying about a roof, so houses and townhouses were out.

  Result?  The Condos in Arlington along the Orange Metro Line corridor.  The perfect fit to the definition of “X-Urban Living”.

Next Blog, “Do you want to buy a Home or an Investment?”  How the sky rocketing prices of the early part of this decade changed our criteria for purchasing a home.


Cat in Virginia! Let me tell you about Real Estate!

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