This week, one of my fellow LIRR commuters handed me a New York Magazine, and asked me my opinion about an article by Jim Cramer on a bottoming in Housing sector. The articles title? On June 30, 2009, Buy an Apartment.
Gee, that seemed rather specific, I wonder what’s in the article? I thought.
I practically spit up my coffee when I read the first paragraph:
“For more than a year, I’ve been a huge bear on housing. From the moment the credit-crisis storm began to form, I’ve been shouting in my usual unhinged way about just how bad the devastation would be, and carrying on about how anyone who bought a home in this environment would lose money immediately. At various points along the way, my house-hating judgment has been questioned, but I’d say I’ve been vindicated by the relentless decline in home values we’ve seen, the worst since the Great Depression. Even here, in our so-called real-estate-superstar city, prices may not have fallen, but the rate of acceleration has started to soften.”
That paragraph struck me as particularly disingenuous. Perhaps Cramer’s long housing bias had spanked him enough times that he finally flipped bearish, but, damn, that was only after getting the credit bubble and housing collapse, and especially, repeated bottom calls on the Home Builders, very, very wrong for a long, long time.
Now, I don’t know when Cramer flipped bearish on Housing — I do not watch the show regularly, nor do I read him at TSCM — but he certainly was bullish in 2005, 2006 and early 2007. Maybe he flipped bearish some time in the past year. I don’t know.
But here’s the funny thing: I get tons of emails about James Cramer, asking me “Why don’t you focus on Jim ever?” Why doesn’t TBP cover him more?
Fair question. For a couple of reasons, making Jim a focus of the blog doesn’t interest me. I’ve criticized him on many an occasion, but being his stalker — ala Luskin on Dr. Paul Krugman — simply isn’t my bag.
Why? First, I respect Cramer’s accomplishments with TheStreet.com. Forget the TV pundit you see today, not many people had the foresight in 1995 to recognize that web based business content was going to be big. But Cramer did, and that sort of foresight and business acumen earns my respect.
Second, being Cramer’s Jiminy Cricket is not how I want to define myself. I have my own opinions, beliefs, and perspectives. I’ve carved out a nice little corner of the internet for the Big Picture. And if I make Cramer the focus of this blog, I give up my own identity. Besides, he retired from finance years ago, and now works in entertainment industry.
But third, and perhaps most of all, I don’t need to. Why? Because Don Harrold already does:
Jim Cramer Calls a Bottom in Housing – HERE’S THE TRUTH (August 27, 2008)
Jim Cramer Called “The Bottom”? 1 Out of 10 Ain’t Bad! (July 30, 2008)
On June 30, 2009, Buy an Apartment
Our resident financial expert calls the end of the housing-market free fall—to the day.
James J. Cramer
NYMag, Sep 7, 2008
Don Harrold on YouTube