Reactions to our "Will real estate survive?" video message of 12/15/08

A lot of you had something to say regarding our webcast (it was originally uploaded before the holidays, and is still viewable on this site: see "Will real estate survive?" or you can see a transcript here).

Our prediction that the contract volume from the 4th Quarter would probably not exceed 25% of what it was the same quarter in 2007 was thought to be radical by many, but has since proven to be exactly right as reported in The Wall Street Journal, January 30th ( see: So, we were on the mark, and thank you for your kudos--though this in no way made the news any less disturbing.

The other most common response regarded my discussion of anticipated inflation and what, based on past evolution, we feel its affect will be on real estate performance and values. Many of you said something along the lines of, "what are you talking about, the real concern has been disinflation or deflation"; well, that's true, far. The point I was making here involves looking further ahead. I think the past clearly tells us deflation is most often a precursor of inflation, and that the policies being put into place will eventually call for the type of monetization that produces an inflationary response in the economy. I reiterate, in the absence of the lending stoppage--which I contend is the most temporary element in this whole crisis--owning real estate is "where it's at". Having owned, bought and sold during past inflationary cycles, I've found with real estate (versus say, equities), pricing has responded quickly, and has more accurately reflected changes in the true value of the dollar. Also, as I said in the webcast, during such times real estate assumed its function as a hard asset, and is a desirable investment vehicle during these less stable times. I can remember the ease with which our portentous mortgage payments became chump change at the completion of one of these cycles, and how the money needed to make our monthly payments was minimal compared to the enhanced value of our properties. This as an event will be realized by those of us who are able to invest now, or hold on to what we've already acquired. For the brave and confident, there is great opportunity here, if you can make it work financially.

--Leigh Zaph. (any comments can be emailed to us at, thanks).