Sunday, January 6, 2008

Truth in numbers

While driving home from the office this afternoon (yes, working on a Sunday), there was a news report on the radio about Chicago's mayor changing the way they are handling foreclosure notifications because of the drastic increase in the foreclosure rate in the Chicago area. The news commentator cited a 35% increase in the foreclosure rate, but didn't give the actual numbers behind the percentage. (a quick google search finds that the numbers increased from 4,695 (2006) to 6,339 (2007) in the same period.)

News reporting like this is pure sensationalism which can only have one real reason behind it - to reduce the consumer confidence in the economy.

Does it bother me that some people made bad decisions on their financing vehicle for a house they couldn't afford, and then the banker approved that sketchy loan? Hell no. And then the secondary mortgage market bought these notes en-mass, and now they're left holding the strings as interest rates increase and the homeowner can't afford the payments. Who's to blame here? All the above parties. Does that mean the economy is in trouble? Nope. It means that stupid people did business with stupider people in turn who did business with morons. (and then on top of that the homeowner converts to an interest only loan and gets in worse trouble! Amazing. simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G)

Me? I'm bullish on the economy, my business, my customer's business and international business. Economic fluctuations are opportunities for growth. The stock market reeled on the latest jobless numbers, but those numbers are still at historic lows. I took the pullback in some stocks like AAPL to pick up some more shares at 180 with a target price north of 220. ;-)

Also - the local commercial real estate market here in Green Bay really sucks. (we have too much space for the need) That said, I made a 42% return on my investment in 8 years, not including the annual revenue the building generated. Nothing to complain about there. I guess that excludes me from the idiots rolled up in all this foreclosure crap, eh? ;-)

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