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Property Reaches A Grinding Halt
Submitted by Elijah on Thu, 2008-11-27 00:50
A few weeks ago I was chatting with the delightful Carol Potts about markets and how some of my activities work.
She asked me how I avoided the recent troubles, how I managed to predict much of the carnage which was occurred in the last year and a half.
I explained to her that in May of last year I had re-read, after some years, two books by Jim Slater, the British investor and businessman.
(For those who are unaware, Slater was the undisputed King of 'The City', London's financial district, from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s with his company SlaterWalker; the 'Walker' was Peter Walker the Cabinet Minister. The sharemarket and property collapse in Britain in the 1974/75 period sent Slater under although he managed to rebuild his fortune in later years.)
In 1977 he wrote a book about SlaterWalker called 'Return To Go' and it was this I re-read last year and as I went from page to page got a gutwrenching feeling of deja vu as he talked about various economic and market conditions in 1973 as things were just starting to peak and go tits up.
"In short", as I said to Carol, "2007 was starting to look remarkably like Britain 1973"
There was an unprecedented credit boom, unprecedented housing boom, unprecedented (more or less) commercial property boom, a sharemarket boom which seemed out of kilter with the economy and a oil shock ....in both 1973 and 2007.
Needless to say the 1970 - 73 boom in Britain collapsed spectacularly and with identical conditions in 2007 it seemed difficult to see how history would not repeat...and I took action converting everything not nailed down into cash as quickly as possible - (along with some things which were nailed down! ha ha!)
Anyway, one of the oddities of the crash in 1970s Britain was with the property market whereby credit disappeared and market uncertainly was so great, that in 1974 there were no commercial buildings sold. None. Not one.
There were a couple of office buildings which had offers made on them, and a bit of tire kicking, and hundreds of 'Mortgagee Sale' signs were erected but no transactions were actually concluded.
For anyone halfwitted enough not to realise the malestrom which has taken place (and yet to come) consider this article in the NZ Herald today, which mentions the minute amount of commercial property in Auckland which has changed hands this year.
"Your starter for 10..." What does that remind you of? ..[*hint*:1974]
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