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Supply and Demand

 

This ought to be fun... (via Drudge) Everybody loves a good horror story, and people tend to panic easily.

As houses are over-priced and in over-supply, what effect will this have? I wondered about the effect of affordable housing and global competition back in 2005:

Could it be that housing values, 10 years from now, will deflate in the pursuit to find more affordable housing due to global competition? If we have to compete globally, and we do, then expenses must be trimmed, so it makes sense. Here's a scenario: what happens if the California housing market crashes? What if it happens elsewhere in America? How does that change the retirement plans of boomers at the time that they start retiring?
Affordability matters.

The first article says this:

A Florida recession could be averted and the state housing industry's "serious problems" solved by an influx of American retirees and foreign buyers, said David Denslow, a University of Florida economist in Gainesville.

"The wave of baby boomer retirees is gathering momentum, and the weaker dollar makes Florida seem like a bargain to Europeans," Denslow said. "With any luck at all that will sustain us."

I'll be writing more about this later.

 

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Tags: home mortgage
by Brett Rogers, 7/20/2007 12:39:55 PM
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What If...

 

The idea would have been laughed at, if presented 15 years ago, that a lone law professor in his Knoxville, Tennessee, could generate as much or more traffic as most magazines achieve and for only a fraction of the cost.

But the advent of the Internet and the simple technology and presentation of blogs has allowed Glenn Reynolds to do just that. He didn't need to write the Internet himself. He didn't need to write his blog's technology. Instead, it's available, and so he can make use of it. And as a result, Professor Reynolds and many, many other web sites are, in effect, incoming-generating businesses that chip away at the marketshare of today's mainstream media.

eBay - same thing. Online shopping portals - same thing. I can go to Froogle.com (Google's online shopping site) and buy at a price lower than I can find locally, and usually with cheap shipping. Competition is spread as wide as there are people with computers and a connection.

So 15 years from now, how laughable would it be if, following the notion of easily available technology, more institution-chipping eras begin. As blogs continue to hammer away at mainstream journalism, not in terms of critique, but in terms of choice for the audience, let me throw out a scenario... apply this to any industry where it seems fitting.

What if financial services were available in a mechanism/medium like this? If the technology were readily available, why couldn't the 50-ish couple on the corner start their own online financial services and compete with the big guns?

Seem laughable? Really? I think every service industry that can be performed adequately from afar is vulnerable to this decentralized model. Exemptions would be like nursing and teaching. But legal services? Banking? If it's not a physical product and it doesn't require high and immediate touch, it's possible.

 

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Tags: p2p | home mortgage
by Brett Rogers, 7/30/2005 3:38:20 PM
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Movement

 

I need to jot something down that I plan to build upon later, but I believe that there are some significant people who've caught the trend and are signaling movement. We need to pay attention.

I got my Wired magazine yesterday and in it, frequent smart-guy contributor and author, Daniel Pink, interviews NY Times columnist, Thomas Friedman. Mr. Friedman just released a new book, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. Friedman, who recognizes the trend of globalization, argues that the lifestyle of opulent America is threatened by India and China. In short (and I'm paraphrasing big time), the service industry in America, can be quickly and cheaply exported to these countries. Or other countries. "Leveling the playing field" is the term that Friedman uses; hence, the world is flattening. Geography, distance, and language matter less and less. This isn't about outsourcing. It's about competition.

Friedman tells his children, "Finish your homework. People in China are straving for your job." He says this a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the implication is real. Bill Gates, who critiqued Tom's book in a day long personal session, said this: "Twenty years ago, would you rather have been a B-student in Poughkeepsie or a genius in Shanghai? Twenty years ago, you'd rather be a B-student in Poughkeepsie. Today? Not even close. You'd much prefer to be the genius in Shanghai because you can now export your talents anywhere in the world."

Now, let's take a high tech worker in a high-dollar residential area in the US who is reading this book and processing it. She says this:

There's a working assumption that globalization is overall a good thing. That's not so bad, but it seems that Friedman looks for every opportunity to sell it. He is already trying to make the case that even though outsourcing is moving jobs out of the US at an accelerating pace, it's all gonna be fine:
"I firmly believe in the lesson of classical economists about moving work to where it can be done best. ...Work gets done where it can be done most effectively and efficiently. That ultimately helps the New Londons, New Bedfords and New Yorks of this world even more than it helps the Bangalores and Shenzhens. It helps because it frees up people and capital to do different, more sophisticated work, and it helps because it gives an opportunity to produce the end product more cheaply, benefiting customers even as it helps the corporations. ... India's growing economy is creating a demand for many more American goods and services. What goes around comes around." p.20 - 24
She then continues her thinking...
Wouldn't that be nice? This is the argument/religion of economics and the argument of the pro-globalization folks. Work should go to the lowest cost producer. That's efficiency. That drives the economy. There are some negatives in these low cost working conditions and for the environment (work goes where environmental regulation is least), but hey?

I have an MBA so I know this drill. I like the drill to an extent. But I live here in the US. I was born here and was planning to die here [Ed. - Note the past tense...] But this whole leveling of the international playing field thing could be a problem for us high-living Americans. We are talking about the hollowing out of the American economy here.

I live in Mill Valley, California. One of the most expensive places on earth to live. Real estate is astronomical here. Labor costs are about as high as anywhere. There are places in the US that have a cost of living that is half of what it is here. Does my Mill Valley location help me economically? Not as much as it used to when I had a local business. Now I compete with software solutions that are made anywhere not just local consultants who have cost structures similar to mine.

Longer term, I may have to consider moving to a place where it won't cost me so much to live so that I will be able to compete with low cost providers.

Here's a successful entrepreneur, and she's seriously pondering the question in the long term: where should I live to maintain my lifestyle?

Now my question: could it be that housing values, 10 years from now, will deflate in the pursuit to find more affordable housing due to global competition? If we have to compete globally, and we do, then expenses must be trimmed, so it makes sense. Here's a scenario: what happens if the California housing market crashes? What if it happens elsewhere in America? How does that change the retirement plans of boomers at the time that they start retiring?

Just wondering out loud...

 

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Tags: daniel pink | thomas friedman | home mortgage | bubble
by Brett Rogers, 4/24/2005 1:41:06 PM
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