Fleck isn’t sanguine on real estate either:
8.5% of mortgages taken out last year nationally were taken out by people who did not plan to live in these houses. That’s up from 5.8% in 2000. Knowing how rough these data are, my guess is it’s probably even higher. And it’s contrary to what our esteemed bubble-blowing Fed chairman says about real estate not lending itself to a bubble because it’s not fungible and people have to live somewhere.
So, at least 8.5% of the market is buying simply because prices are going up — the very definition of a bubble mentality. In addition, the fact that prices are going up and people are chasing them distorts the very market that underlies the speculative boom — another classic symptom of a mania. (For a general background on bubbles, read a speech I gave on the topic.
I’d like to say great minds think alike, but Bill Fleckenstein is leagues beyond me when it comes to investing. Still, people can’t say they weren’t warned.