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Feel a Depression Coming On? How your mood will affect San Francisco Real Estate Sales

May 12, 2009

We all know that a lot of crappy things have happened in the world as of late. But who thinks this is a new thing? It may seem bleak but it's nothing new! Be careful, your mood does affect San Francisco Real Estate Sales.

Recently, I was in NYC visiting with old college friends. One of them asked me if I felt that things were "really gonna change this time." In other words, did I think that the whole US capitalist way of life was finally a thing of the past?

Um, no. I don't think so. At the end of the day, most Americans (and now most of the world) like their stuff.

2 weekends ago, esteemed Yale economist and occasional real estate naysayer, Robert Shiller, explained in his column that "Depression Scares" are hardly a new phenomenon. In fact, they have occurred 4 times since 1975! Using a confidence score to rate how "scared" Americans are about a depression (and as you know, social psychology is a huge piece of the puzzle), he noted that this current scare is actually the least scary.

"The popular mood has a huge impact on the economy, so it’s worth noting what many people seem to forget: Depression scares come and go. And by one authoritative measure, the current outbreak of concern has been surprisingly mild...

If we define a depression scare as any time the score is below 65, there have been four such scares since 1951. They were in the periods from 1974 to 1975, during which 47 was the lowest score; from 1978 to 1982, with a low of 41; from 1990 to 1992, with a low of 54; and from 2008 to 2009, with a low (to date) of 59. Note that so far, at least, the worst reading in the current scare has not been as bad as those of the previous episodes." Read the article here.

Now, you might not believe this if you just listened to the mainstream news and talk around the water cooler. We tend to get very wrapped up in the moment and forget historical perspective. Agree?

I am not saying that the San Francisco real estate market is going to rebound right away. (Though maybe the SF market is rebounding!) Like you, I do not have a crystal ball. I will say I do not see a national or local Depression coming on anytime soon.

Folks who think San Francisco home listings will soon sell for Fresno prices are experiencing what we might call "Magical Thinking." Yes, I realize that there are a lot of magical thinkers out there right now and not in the good, Secret, kind of a way! 😉

Rather than focus on the naysayers (who are usually not home owners), I choose to focus on the folks who see the opportunity in today's market. Home buyers who are ready to buy financially, psychologically, and emotionally will be pleased when they look back 10 years from now. These are the folks we are here to help.

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