Dec

24

 Florida has had several real estate busts over the past 100 years. My friends in the business are really feeling the pain. In fact, one of my good friends successfully speculated by flipping houses for several years. When the market was good, he was laughing at me for not taking advantage of the easy money. He got caught at the top, long 30+ houses and is now paying a lot of mortgages and isn't laughing very much. However, hope seems to be his best friend these days. Other, more pragmatic, real estate owners are talking the bull by the horns… literally. The most desirable land for development, east of I-75 and closer to the beach, was commonly used by people who would run few head of cattle on the scrub acreage. In my area, it was not unusual to see 20 acres in the middle of suburbia surrounded by barbed wire, and carrying a small herd of cattle. When the real estate boom started, the "For Sale" signs went up, and the cattle were gone overnight. The real estate crash changed all of that in short time. As of late, some of the land has the cattle back, grazing next to the decaying signs of new developments that will never happen. I noticed this a few weeks ago, and realized that ultimately, things will seek their maximum value, whatever that value is.

Along with the resurgence of the cattle, I've also noticed that three small orange groves in the area, allowed to fall into disrepair, have recently been spiffed up. The trees have been trimmed, sprayed, and the underbrush cleared and the groves are back in business. Obviously, the owners feel that they won't get value out of their land by selling to developers in the present business climate, and are putting the land back to work. I wonder what similar corollaries can be made regarding the markets.


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