Really, who isn’t at least a little concerned about the market’s volatility? I think our collective concern has been rather evident in the Dow’s wild swings this week. Monday, optimism over the G7’s weekend meeting and the US decision to follow the current European model and invest over $250,000 billion in our nations banks, sent the stock market soaring to an all time record 936 point gain. Later in the week, after the Government’s report revealed that retail sales fell 1.2 % in September (nearly double the .7% analysts expected), the market lost much of Mondays gain sending the Dow plunging 733 points, the second-largest point loss ever. But overall, the Dow gained 4.8% for the week, the largest net gain since news of Lehman Brothers Holdings collapse set off the current global financial crises in mid-September. So now what should we expect? Warren Buffet recently said that in the long term markets behave quite rationally, but in the short term they are often a reflection of investors’ emotions. That is a brilliant insight. We are looking for something positive to hold on to but lately that has seemed illusive.
It seems to me all this market volatility will drive investors back to tangible assets they can really hold on to and not just gold and T-bills. Real Estate. It won’t disappear one day like Lehman Brothers, or be absorbed like WAMU. It is Real, tangible and now more than ever, affordable. Granted, in many places, the equity gains over the last few years have evaporated. Investors’ irrational exuberance of years past has given way to lower demand and increased supply which has brought down price. At our current rate of absorption in the first three quarters this year the market will absorb roughly 36% of the homes for sale in the Smoky Mountain/Gatlinburg region. This excess inventory has brought the average sold home price down 8.4% from 2006 levels and 4.8% from last year. Average home list price is down 6% from 2006 and 3.4% from last year. A quick look at available homes and land for sale in the Smokies and Gatlinburg area will reveal some enticing opportunities.