Housing Bottom Callers Redux


A fun take on the RE bottom callers from Alan Abelson this morning:

“BARRY RITHOLTZ, FUSION IQ’S chief everything, has an engaging — often bordering-on-the-rabid — sense of humor. He’s also a skeptic, not only when he views the market and the economy, but that woolly place called Wall Street as well. His latest examination of the weird behavior of its inhabitants centers on their pronounced tendency to espy bottoms for one failing sector or another.

His acronym for this widespread compulsion is PWBC, which stands for perennially wrong bottom callers, who, he avers, run rampant among portfolio pros, sell-side analysts, realtors and media types assaying the housing industry. His riff we found especially appealing because it jibes with our less exhaustive (and exhausting ) observations.

Under the title “Yeah! The Housing Bottom is Here! (PWBC)” he proceeds to vent his bemusement at declarations of bottom sightings, along with excerpts from these cockeyed seers going back to 2006. All told, in the half-dozen years since then, which encompassed the worst housing collapse in history, he lists no fewer than 80 separate articles, analyses, explanations and the like pronouncing the turn in housing.

And Barry by no means claims that his sampling is anywhere near complete. The bad calls of a housing bottom, he says, occur every spring, as the data make their typical improvement. This year, the freakishly mild winter, he reports, threw the perennially wrong into a tizzy and suckered them into the same old joyously false belief of a bottom.

“Spring,” he exclaims, “has sprung, and the usual suspects are up to their old tricks.” Because there are so many PWBCs, he’s reluctant to make special mention of any one, but he can’t resist singling out Alan Greenspan, “who was wrong early and often,” and the National Association of Realtors, “whose spin has been astoundingly consistent — bullish and wrong.”

Very nice words . . .



Beware the Fiscal Cliff
Barron’s, JUNE 2, 2012

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