Someone Needs to Call Out David Lereah & My New Furry Neighbors

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Anyone know who David Lereah is?

For the last 4 years I have watched the housing market overheat like crazy. I was the guy 4 years ago saying that markets are cyclical and it can't last. Up, up, up the market rose. I would go to parties and meet some of the most stupid motherfuckers who thought they were the next Donald Trump because they happened to get in on the real estate market before it exploded - like they fucking knew their gains would be 50% per year.

Sure, it is sour grapes, but I remembered the Savings & Loan disaster in the late 80's. I remember the real estate company my father worked for, which was headed for a ridiculous fortune, implode on itself because of the fallout. At one point of time, my mother was fully expecting us to own a summer home in South Jersey, a vacation villa in Italy and a brand new home on the Main Line. Those never came to fruition due to the housing collapse in the 80's. Maybe this is part of the reason why I am so thorough when I make any purchases, real estate or otherwise. This profoundly affected my life, watching the dreams and apirations of my father and mother get quashed overnight.

Lots of my generation don't remember the real estate recession from 1988-1992. They were mostly too young to remember it or just weren't affected by it like my family was affected. Fortunately my father was extremely intelligent and very resourceful. He emerged from the collapse stronger, wiser and economically healthy. We never got that villa in Italy, but the old man did well enough to make us all proud of his financial success.

So what does this have to do with David Lereah?

Well, because of my experiences and my trepidation to the whole housing market, I would read all the housing articles over the years. One name that always stood out was David Lereah, the National Association of Realtors chief economist. He was the spin doctor. When the market was a shooting star, he was leading the parade and waving his baton. When the market started to turn, he became a broken record.

Read for yourself a smattering of quotes that I got from Bloomberg News:

Sept 25, 2006: National Association of Realtors' Lereah Comments on Housing,
“We think the housing market has now hit bottom…We're confident that the contraction in the housing market we've been seeing since August 2005 may be ending.”

Dec 11, 2006: Housing Will Recover in First Quarter, Realtors Say
“ Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- The worst of the U.S. housing slump is
over, according to the National Association of Realtors.”

Dec 28, 2006: U.S. Existing Home Sales Unexpectedly Rose Last Month
“It appears we've hit bottom,”

Feb 1, 2007: Pending Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Rose 4.9% in December
“ ``It appears buyers are becoming more comfortable, sensing
the timing is good and that their local market has bottomed
out,'' David Lereah, chief economist for the Realtors' group,
said in a statement. ``I expect modest gains throughout the
year, with what I believe are sustainable levels of activity.''

Feb 15, 2007: Home Prices Fell in Half U.S. Cities in 4th Quarter
“Hopefully the fourth quarter was the bottom for the current housing cycle,'' Lereah said in the statement.

March 23, 2007: Realtors' Lereah Says Housing Market Has `Some Momentum'
“ ``I'd like to say yes, the worst is over. It seems like there
is some momentum now in the housing sector. Most measures in
housing have been on the up rather than the down.”

April 3, 2007: Pending Sales of Existing Homes Rose 0.7% in February
The gain in the February ``is encouraging,'' said David
Lereah, the real-estate agents group's chief economist in a
statement. ``The data suggests an underlying stabilization is
taking place in the housing market, but it will take another
month or two to clarify.''

Look, i'm fully aware he is a spin doctor. I know that being a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors he has to put a nice face on all the data. But how many times can this guy say that the market is "bottoming out" or "stabilizing"? I may not be a reporter, but if I was, I would absolutely be writing about this guy and going to my Lexus Nexus to see how many times he was quoted as saying the market bottomed out. I'm sure there is more quotes of his before Sept 25, 2006 that I could find which puts a happy face on everything.

Are you a reporter? Do you know a reporter? Just send them all my quotes and say, "Someone please call out David Lereah on his bullshit." I'd love to see how the spin doctor pooh-pooh's all the times he has said that the real estate market is botttoming out.

Now, with that being said, I met a neighbor from my same building last night.

I moved my car from Monroe Center for the Arts on 7th and Monroe to a new lot on Newark Street. It was $25 more per month, but having my car across the street from where I live was worth it. Unfortunately, the spot is tandem, but since I use my car maybe once or twice per month, it didn't bother me much. I am in line for a single spot, however.

I met the neighbor and she was a pleasant, 30-something woman of Indian heritage who also lived in the building. After we exchanged pleasantries, I asked her, "So what's wrong with the building", figuring i'd get the dirt now.

"Mice.", she replied.

Dammit!

One of the greatest things about my apartment is that we never had vermin issues. Nor did we have any major insect issues, except for the occasional ant invasion that was easily destroyed. Never had cockroaches. Saw an occasional spider.

My neighbor explained that the building across the street from ours was under construction and she surmised that the mice from there ran across the street into our building. My only caveat is that she is on the Willow side of the building as and i'm on the Clinton side (the building spans the entire block, and has 7 floors).

She also noted that the building did hire an exterminator, and was actively combating the problem. Also said that it wasn't an infestation, but it was a fairly good annoyance. She said that it seemed to be getting better.

Armed with that, I certainly plan to have my contractor look over my apartment for any holes that the mice could wiggle through. The building is concrete poured, not like some of the newer construction that is flimsier and easier to infest/tunnel. Unless the mice have super concrete eating teeth, i'm sure this problem can be managed. I fully expect that once I move in, i'm going to be very active with monitoring this issue with the building management & rallying the tenants to combat it. I told my neighbor that i'm that kind of guy - i'd be the guy printing off 60 copies of "How To Combat a Rodent Problem" from the internet and going to everyone's door handing out the pamphlets.

If I find that mice are a problem, I will go to the ASPCA and get 2 cats for my apartment. My old cat, Honey, was a great mouser - she used to catch mice all the time at my sister's old farmhouse and even caught one at my first apartment on Bloomfield street. She was nice enough to leave it in the middle of the kitchen floor for us, as if to say "Surprise! Look what I got for you!"

I'm kidding about getting two cats. Man, I hope the mice issue isn't that bad. I guess I will have to add to my list of things to do is get an exterminator to look over my apartment.

Oh, and i'm feeling much better today. 95% back to normal. Just a small twinge of stomach pain remains and I still have 2 Cipro tablets to take today, so I hope I will feel 100% by tomorrow or the next day.

2 Comments

I came home to dead mice twice when I lived in Philly. The whole building was INFESTED for years, but only two dared into my cat-lair. And my cats killed them--and left them where I'd find them (on the bed).

i worry that you may not have done your due diligence when finding this condo. 1st the place is 100 square feet less than advertised and now you find out there is a problem with mice. i think you let your enthusiasm for finding your own place get in the way of rational thought. is it too late to back out?

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on April 3, 2007 12:26 AM.

Weekend Sick and Condo Update was the previous entry in this blog.

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