Yesterday on my way home from work I saw what could only be described as a paradoxical sight. The car in front of me was a convertible. With the top down. Amidst a downpour. When I saw the Canadian license plate I wasn’t sure if I should be embarrassed or proud (I’m originally from Vancouver, BC). But perhaps they knew something I didn’t know – I mean, they sure appeared to be having a good time. Eventually we both took the same exit and after a bit of struggling, they managed to put the top up. I had the feeling that I had just witnessed either an amazing display of optimism or of equal parts foolishness. I’m still not really sure which.
In a couple of minutes, my phone is going to start beeping at me, announcing a new text about mortgage-backed securities. Not too long after that, I’ll get my first email of the day explaining what happened in the markets yesterday and what reports and statistics will be released today. Each report, each vital stat is a clue, a puzzle, and yet it’s also a paradox. Has the market hit the bottom? Will the EU kick Greece out? Will the EU dissolve amidst all this financial chaos? And what about mortgage rates and housing prices? Is it safe to be optimistic again?
The optimist in me wants to think we are now on the right track and that the worst is behind us. On the other hand, financial markets are complicated and what happens thousands of miles away has an impact on all of us in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine. Overall, I believe it’s safe to say that we may not have reached the bottom for real estate but we are close.
As I am about to head out to work, I keep thinking about the convertible. If nothing else, the next time I rent one I think it would be best to read the manual about how to put the top up quickly – after all, downpours do happen.