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What's the Opposite of Exuberance?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 31, 2007

“No signs of a turnaround,” says Robert J. “Irrational Exuberance” Shiller in announcing the May results for his national home price survey. The S&P/Case-Shiller 10-City Index showed an annual decline 3.4%, the worst since the summer of 1991. The results mark the 18th consecutive month of declines in home price appreciation. Chicago became the 15th of the nation’s twenty largest cities to show a decline, falling .6% in the past year. Detroit was the worst, with prices sliding 11%. The brightest spot: Seattle, where homes were up 9.1% year-over-year.

Reader Comments

David Porter

July 31, 2007 10:18 PM


The opposite of exuberance? Projectile vomiting comes to mind! What a mess.


August 1, 2007 12:15 PM

Spin spin spin.

The interesting thing about this site (though not unique to this site) is the constant spin that ceaseless increases in home price is invariably a good thing, as if everyone were a seller in the market and/or a realtor.

Sure, this site will give an occasional nod that there is a downside as well and winners and losers in every market, but it's a very hasty return to this notion that all growth is good. Thus a decline in home prices is "the worst" and a 9.1% increase in the Seattle market makes it a "bright spot."

So much for journalistic neutrality or clarity.

Perpetual growth isn't inherently good or sustainable (cancer being at least a moderately comparable metaphor), or at the least this is a debatable point which is sidestepped here. You could be far more objective by leaving your spin on the cutting room floor by either cutting, adding or changing a few words.

"Seattle saw the biggest gain at 9.1%" is objective. "Seattle was a bright spot for realtors who work on commission and for those currently selling, but a tough place for working people trying to afford a home in the current market" is also approaching objectivity because it provides some context to the reader for evaluating what makes it good or bad. Your version of "Seattle is a bright spot because it grew grew grew!" is the kind of journalism I see here that makes me inclined to get my media fix elsewhere - albeit I don't expect to find much better elsewhere either.

I apologize for being impolite, but your spin was showing.

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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