A New Opportunity: The Global Meltdown Has Focused Real Estate Investor Attention on Areas of Future Growth
The global real estate correction currently under way may go down in history as one of the greatest asset bubbles the world has ever seen. Although global markets have experienced numerous asset bubbles in the past, from the Dutch tulip crash of 1637 through the dot-com bubble of 2001, it could be argued that no single speculative asset bubble of the past has been as far reaching and financially traumatic as the current crisis.
At the epicenter of this maelstrom was the U.S. housing market, which saw housing prices explode, increasing in some cases by 50 percent or more within a two-year period. The U.S. consumer and financial system became addicted to leveraging, with home-owners taking home equity loans on non-realized housing appreciation to finance new cars and holidays, while financial institutions jumped in head first with leverage ratios of 40:1 or greater.
Often described as the world’s greatest Ponzi scheme, the carnage was not limited to the Unite