This, HP'ers, is our finest hour. Motley Fool has picked up our post from Wednesday, HousingPanic calls for the immediate firing of Nicolas Retsinas, Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University
HP I believe is doing good work. The HP community (and eyes and ears) is having an impact. David (HP and the bubble blogs) can beat Goliath (the evil and corrupt REIC).
And maybe one day this madness will end, and houses will again be places people live in, and young kids out of college can save 10% down and get a 30-year fixed mortgage, a house they can enjoy, appreciation at the rate of inflation, and a payment they can live with.
Cheers to all of you. And please email this post to Harvard's President Derrick Bok (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here's Seth's article. Big hat-tip for picking up the ball and running with it.
More "impartial" commentary on the housing bubble I owe another hat-tip to my buddies at the Housing Panic Blog. These folks are even more up in arms about the funny doin's transpiring in the real-estate industry than I am, and I don't share all their views, but I do think they've got an interesting point today. Let's set the stage.
Harvard. Ivy League, home to Biff, Buffy, and Chet. Warm scarves and deep thoughts. A place where we can trust the research as the work of independent-minded eggheads, right?
I wouldn't be so sure. Today, we see a strange article by one Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS). In it, he seeks to reassure a nervous and gullible public that all is well with housing. Prices won't drop too much, he claims, and the overall economy is not at risk.
Oh, really? Oddly enough, he doesn't cite any data to support these contentions. Well, maybe that's not so odd. Recent numbers from no less a home-selling partisan than the National Association of Realtors (NAR) show that prices are already dropping, not only in bubble-afflicted coastal areas, but in the previously believed-to-be-safe Midwest, as well.
But Retsinas shrugs past this. "Demand," he claims, was the reason for rising prices, and demand, he says, is still here.
Demand doesn't exist in a vacuum. Let me be blunt. I find this is a stupid argument. Dangerously, irresponsibly stupid.
Why would he pump out to the press a defense of the bubble without a single, salient data point to back it up? What's the motive?
I think the answer might be found in the cozy relationship between Harvard's JCHS and the home-building, -selling, and -supply industry.
I've got a message into Harvard to find out just how much dough is changing hands here. If it's much more than a pittance, I consider that an interesting -- and by interesting, I mean scandalous -- conflict of interest.
September 30, 2006
FLASH: Motley Fool picks up HP's fatwa against Nicolas P. Retsinas, the corrupt director of Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies
Posted by blogger at 9/30/2006