Lawyering—Not What It Used To Be
Have you followed the recent commentary about law schools in crisis? The three-year curriculum is too long, the cost-benefit isn’t there except for tenured law professors, graduates emerge with enormous student debt, there are too few jobs, and far fewer that pay well. Law schools are talking about changing curriculums, possibly cutting a year out. The dirty little secret is—many intelligent college grads could pass the bar exam after taking one of those intense prep courses, certainly without all the law school course padding.Read More
Is Slow Growth Sustainable?
The unemployment rate inches back up close to 8%, GDP sinks into negative territory for the fourth quarter 2012, and the stock market heads for new highs as its price-earnings ratio stands at a rather lofty 22. Huh? Are we fooling ourselves again?Read More
Top of the Market?
That looks like a top of the market price for the Sony Building in the heart of Manhattan’s Midtown. Sure it’s a trophy building near the most prime locations in one of world’s best (and certainly America’s top) real estate market(s). But paying $1.1 billion at a time when rents appear to have crested is a swallow hard proposition.Read More
Safe Harbor for Now
My trip to Israel this week (for a speech to Israeli investors in U.S. real estate) reinforced the view that offshore investors see the U.S. as their only sure shot safe haven. Israelis generally have proved extremely savvy investors and the group of over 120 I met with had little interest in Europe—still viewed as a basket case economy—and apparently even less in China and other parts of Asia—not transparent enough.Read More
At least initially the stock market skyed higher over Congress’s down-to-the-wire fiscal cliff vote, but really does raising taxes and putting off dealing with deficit cuts for another two months diminish uncertainty and discomfort about the future course of the U.S. economy? Reality needs to hit home.Read More
Only Ourselves to Blame
Long before Newtown and the ongoing wave of mass shootings gripping the U.S., the fiction of safe suburbs versus dangerous cities had been upended. The urban white flight of the 1960 and 1970s stopped and even reversed in recent years as 24-hour cities appeared safe and secure, especially in upscale neighborhoods. Today young families may move out of cities back to suburbs, looking for better public schools, but today they rarely leave out of fear of violence or for a safer environment.Read More
Snake Oil Anyone?
While our economist friends thought hiring activity would be much more vigorous than it was, they also predicted no way the unemployment rate would go down in the anticipated numberswrong again.Read More
Going Nowhere Fast
The economic numbers are almost beside the point arent they? If we are not technically back in recession, realistically we are. And we really havent been out of recession since the crash.Read More
Companies Not Hiring
If real estate investors are counting on a private sector revival to stoke demand for space and bail them out of cash flow shortfalls they better think again. After a government stimulus prompted spurt, U.S. economic growth is now expected to ebb. The stock market is slumping again and European governments are going into austerity mode, and Congress resists further pump priming.Read More
The Fundamentals Reality: Weak Demand
We all know about fundamentals and supply and demand. But the supply and demand that many real estate investors seem to focus on today is capital. They count on more capital to make things better. They hope if capital comes back into the markets we can start doing more deals again, prices would increase in the augmented trading, and the cycle would ramp up. Bad deals transacted near the last market peak might have a chance, if they could be bailed out by appreciation.Read More