Matthew Ferrara, Philosopher
 

Housing’s New Year’s Resolution: Let Old Markets be Forgot!

Each year we ring in the future by asking “should auld acquaintances be forgot?” Let’s make 2011 the year we forgot about the housing market boom. And got on with selling the market as it exists today.

It’s time we stopped pining for the past. It’s time for sellers, agents, brokers and media pundits to stop talking about the housing boom. It’s time to move on.

We’re entering a new decade.

Shouldn’t we stop using the housing boom as a reference point?

We’ve wasted enough time and energy crying over spilt milk. We’ve sabotaged our ability to understand and act upon the way it is today (think: billions wasted on first-time buyer tax credits). We cannot navigate the current housing market – let alone solve its challenges – by constantly reminding ourselves of the trauma of the bust with every chart, graph and report. 

Let auld be forgot!

In the new decade, we should prohibit any National Association of REALTORS’ statement from referencing the irrationally exuberant levels of the boom. Case-Shiller charts should have their starting points fixed to no more than two years ago. No government report should mention the years Fannie and Freddie distorted the markets. Any talk about pricing, inventory, volume, , and industry growth relative to how it was more than five years ago is utterly meaningless anyway.

Those conditions don’t exist any more.

Enough with the “coulda-woulda-shoulda” that only perpetuates feelings of helplessness, regret, loss and failure. Worse, this past-focus perpetuates present mistakes. Thus, sellers misprice homes seeking what they paid in the past. Agents perpetuate activities suited to of yesteryear (think: newspaper ads, postcards). Brokers “fall back” upon growth strategies that were used in the 1980s (think: recruiting).

None of this is healthy.

Imagine a stock broker who, on the first trading day in 2011, tried to sell some Fannie Mae stock for $56 a share. Absurd, you say? Yet in January 2007, that’s what a share of America’s lending loan-shark was worth. Somehow we understand the “current market” for stocks, regardless of past performance. Why is it so hard to think like that when it comes to our homes?

That’s why we should make 2011 the year we forget about the boom.

Chock it up as a great time we had, but it’s never coming back. No use dwelling upon it. There may be other booms, there might not. But there certainly is a market today, and plenty of sales to be made. Only those who purge their minds, charts, conversations and business plans of the past will be able to create the successful outcomes they desire in the present. That goes for everyone: consumers, agents and brokers and government policymakers.

So in answer to the old song: Yes, indeed! Let auld times be forgot!

  • Fantastic! Tell it like it is. “But there certainly is a market today, and plenty of sales to be made.” Thank you for putting into words what everyone needs to accept!

  • Fantastic! Thanks for telling it like it is. “But there certainly is a market today, and plenty of sales to be made.”

  • You’re welcome!

    I get so excited every time someone writes to me or comes up to me in class to tell me how they’re having their best year ever – so I know it’s true! We simply need to “move on” mentally and that starts by moving on in our words, charts, graphs, – and minds!

  • Here! Here! and nicely put. Today is today… what was, was. People should be living their lives…and taking action accordingly.

  • I am on board with that Matthew all the way.

  • Carol M. Tworek

    So right. To put a new spin on an old phrase. Former markets do NOT guarantee present returns. You can’t change yesterday but you can ruin today by thinking yesterday will come back. On to a new today…and tomorrow!

  • Debbie Moore

    Well said. I am tired of listening to the same old “tune”. Move up and on or move out!

  • Matthew … AMEN! That was great. – Allyson