Jimmy Derrick, president/owner of Century 21 Bob Capes Realtors (that’s a mouthful of a name, which you would think one might have trouble saying over and over, but Jimmy manages it very well) had Health and Happiness duty today at Columbia Rotary.
For you nonRotarians out there, that’s when some poor sap has to stand up before the 300-some members of the club and a) talk about the health of members and their loved ones and b) be funny. I know all about it, because about once a quarter, that poor sap is me (so any clean jokes you know would be appreciated).
Anyway, Jimmy used part of his time to talk about the health of his industry. "Is there a bubble in real estate?" he and his folks are asked constantly. He coaches Realtors to respond, "Thank you, but that’s not part of my vision."
Some of the bad-news-seekers get more specific, asking whether developers haven’t gotten a little carried away and saturated the market for condos near Williams-Brice Stadium. "All I know is," said Jimmy, "they’re selling like crazy."
The real estate business in his part of the world — the South, a little bit inland from the coast — is very good, he said. "If you want to say anything negative, don’t talk to me."
That might sound like salesman bravado, whistling past a graveyard, etc. But actually is seems like a good, practical response to news of bubbles popping (or at least, deflating). The "pop" isn’t anything physical; it’s about mass psychology. If everyone agrees that property in the Midlands is retaining value and appreciating, it will continue to do so. They may be panicking up north and along the coast, and therefore driving their prices down further, but why should we? I don’t see any advantage in it. I don’t how anyone who owns a home (or, like most of us, a mortgage) would.
I can sort of understand why doubters would dismiss my protestations that the newspaper industry is healthier than Wall Street thinks it is. I have a stake in it, so they take what I say with a grain of salt. But most of us have a stake — a pretty big one — in property retaining its value.
So keep thinking lovely thoughts, people. You’ll thank yourself when you go to sell your house.