Everyone wants to comment on the current real estate market. They want to talk about how now is not the time to buy a home. Some even argue owning a house has never been a great investment. Most say it will be a long time before real estate again begins to appreciate. It all sounds so familiar to us. It was just a decade ago that many made the same arguments about gold as an investment.
Gold had dropped from over $400 an ounce to $250 an ounce (a 40% decline) from February 1996 to August 1999. People ran from gold as though it was a plague.
Lord William Rees-Mogg, the current Chairman of The Zurich Club, in 1997 said:
“No investment has been so thoroughly exploded as gold; most people think that there will no more be another gold boom than there will be another boom in tulip futures in The Netherlands.”
Two years later in 1999, Don Wolanchuk author of the Wolanchuk Report explained:
“Everybody hates gold. You can’t have a bottom until everybody is out. And everybody is out of the gold sector.”
Everyone knows what happened next. The proclamation of gold’s death was rather premature. Gold rose from $250 an ounce to over $1,500 an ounce in the next twelve years. We see the same situation with real estate today. We are not predicting that real estate will see the same levels of appreciation. I do believe however that the market will rebound strongly.
Those who continued to believe in gold as an investment were rewarded. Those who continue to believe in real estate as a sound investment will also be rewarded.
Here is what Adam Hamilton wrote in October 2000 in an essay titled Is Gold Dead?
The road for gold investors has been long and parched in the last five years. They have wandered through a seemingly endless desert, occasionally tempted by what proves to be an illusory mirage. Many have fallen beside the sun-cracked path, their white bones picked clean by buzzards and gleaming in the sun. Nevertheless, a brave contrarian core continues to march forward. They have studied history, currency, gold, investments, economics, and finance. They understand the timeless value of gold, the cyclical nature of the markets, and the vagaries of human psychology. They realize it is darkest before the dawn, and the journey most difficult right before the homestretch is reached. Gold is in an INCREDIBLE position, and it will have its day. Nothing goes up in price forever, and nothing goes down in price forever. Investments are cyclical. Gold is NOT dead, it is simply biding its time, waiting for its next earth-shattering mega-rally. The spoils that go to the few remaining gold investors when that day inevitably arrives will be fantastic. The stunning victory will quickly blot out the painful memories of the long struggle…
You could replace the word ‘gold’ with the words ‘real estate’ throughout this essay and it would apply today.