The mountain of get-rich real estate books on my desk reached an unwieldy pinnacle back at end of 2005 — so much so that I had to dodge the occasional avalanche.
I was the real estate reporter for The (Bergen) Record newspaper in New Jersey and had recently finished a series of stories called “Boom or Bubble: How Long Can The Boom Last.”
Of course, I didn’t buy these books and could steal only enough time to skim a few of them. Publishers sent me complimentary copies, hoping for a mention or the possibility that I’d interview the author. The books rarely made it into my stories but they kept rolling in.
A few layers from the top, there were three copies of the pre-bust classic from National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist David Lereah: “Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom — The Boom Will Not Bust and Why Property Values Will Continue to Climb Through the End of the Decade - And How to Profit From Them.” A family is pictured on the cover, gazing up in amazement at a levitating house.
Lereah, who was later dubbed by critics as the Baghdad Bob of real estate, updated the book and rereleased it in February 2006 with the new title: “Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust and How You Can Profit From it.”
The bust began a few months later. The Dallas Morning News’ Steve Brown has an interesting column today on the slump in get-rich real estate books.
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.