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A Portrait of Ben

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on December 11, 2007

ben photo.bmp

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates as expected today. The stock market fell. Wall Street wanted more than a quarter percentage point cut. Those in the real estate biz were no doubt breathing a sigh of relief that rates were at least headed in their direction. How are Fed chief Ben Bernanke’s moves playing out on Main Street?

This weekend I remembered a painting of Bernanke I’d seen hanging at an open house around the corner from where I live in Los Angeles. I popped into the development again on Sunday to take a picture of the painting. But the unit I’d seen it in was closed. The painting (that’s it above) had been moved to a townhouse in the back.

Amir Haber, one of the developers, told me two of the four townhouses (asking price $1.2 million) had sold I asked him if Bernanke’s reassuring presence had anything to do with it. “It wasn’t the painting,” Haber said, slipping into sales mode. “Have you seen the master bedroom?”

I noted the artist’s name, John Roberston, and contacted him Roberston emailed me back and said “I painted Bernanke because there are a few
businessmen that are like a celebrity – yet not colorful. I thought by
painting him in that colorful manner added something to his persona.”

Coincidently, Robertson said his own home, a trailer overlooking the ocean, is for sale Maybe that Bernanke magic will work for him as well.

Reader Comments

Megan Taylor Williamson

December 13, 2007 11:28 AM

Enjoying your writing , Rusty. Stumbled upon it recently. You look great.

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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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