25 Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers: 2008

Inman-most-influential-2008Inman Realty puts outs a list of 25 Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers each year.

The Big Picture is pleased to be on it!

Here’s Inman’s  description:

There is a busy field of bloggers in the real estate industry, and some clear standouts that have built a loyal following. This annual list of most influential real estate bloggers recognizes those bloggers who are well-known, well-read and have a knack for stirring up discussion and debate on important, timely and relevant topics for the industry. In addition to this list of 25 bloggers, we provide a handful of notables who are also stirring up the blogosphere.

In this report we are also highlighting 10 blogs that focus on the
economy and financial markets — real estate professionals are undoubtedly keeping a closer eye on economic news these days as the global financial crises leaves its mark on the housing market. And we
offer up a list of 10 international real estate blogs, proving that the blogosphere is truly planetary and that the passion for all things real estate is not just a U.S. phenomenon.

The full list is after the jump.


25 Most Influential Bloggers: 2008


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Category: Real Estate, Web/Tech, Weblogs

Calomiris: U.S. Rescue Plan Should Aid Homeowners

Charles Calomiris, a professor at Columbia University, talks about Federal Reserve monetary policy, the government’s financial-rescue package, the outlook for the U.S. housing market and trade policy.


Click for video

00:00 Fed “firing on all cylinders”; global economy
02:16 Outlook for credit markets, U.S. economy
04:21 Regulation of financials; government rescue
09:46 Outlook for housing market; securitization
14:33 Trade policy under an Obama administration
16:23 U.S. trade deficit; dollar; regulation needs
Running time 21:57


Calomiris Says U.S. Rescue Plan Should Aid Homeowners: Video
Bloomberg, October 31, 2008 13:38 EDT


Category: Bailouts, Real Estate, Video

Electoral-Vote Cartograph

Here is an interesting way to look at the electoral map: The Cartograph version changes the states so their size is relative to population: via electoral-vote.com By way of compariosn, here is the classic map. The states on this map are not vote-proportioned, they are geographically-based. via electoral-vote.com

Category: Data Analysis, Digital Media, Politics

How Will the Independents Vote?

From the Sunday NYT Week-in-Review section: via the NYT

Category: Digital Media, Politics

Bush’s Push For Deregulation

In the final months of his administration, Pres. Bush and his aides are requesting a series of regulation changes ranging from issues concerning the environment to the economy:

CBS Sunday Morning:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Nov. 1, 2008

Category: Legal, Regulation, Taxes and Policy, Television, Video

The Big Picture Café

If you have been reading the Big Picture for any length of time, you know I have a pretty good eye for spotting insightful writers, talented analysts, and smart commentators. Many of you have written me to say that a number of your regular blog reads were first discovered at the Big Picture. I always…Read More

Category: Economy, Financial Press, Markets, Politics, Weblogs

Words from the Wise (Oct 27 – Nov 2, 2008)

Words from the (investment) wise for the week that was (Oct 27 – Nov 2, 2008)

by Prieur du Plessis


October lived up to its reputation as being a torrid month. The following extraordinary performances tell the story:

MSCI Word Index: -19.1% (largest monthly decline since the Index started in 1969, beating October 1987’s -17.1%)

• MSCI Emerging Markets Index: -27.1% (worst monthly loss since Russia’s debt default in August 1998)

• Dow Jones Industrial Index: -14.1% (15th worst monthly decline since 1900 and the biggest drop since October 1987)

• S&P 500 Index: -16.9% (8th worst one-month decline since 1930)

• US Dollar Index: +7.8% (4th best one-month improvement since 1967)

• Reuters/Jeffries CRB Index: -22.3% (worst monthly decline since the Index started in 1956)

• Crude-oil futures: -32.6% (worst one-month drop since oil futures started trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange in 1983)

• Reuters/Jeffries CRB Industrials Index: -26.5% (sharpest monthly decline since the series started in 1971)

• Gold futures: -18.5% (biggest monthly loss since 1983)

But the last week of the month witnessed a strong rebound in global stock markets as investors brushed aside discouraging economic reports and took heart from central banks cutting key lending rates and positive developments in the credit markets. This resulted in investors scooping up beaten-down stocks around the globe, and particularly emerging-market stocks, government bonds and currencies, mending some of the damage done earlier in October.

Further evidence of just how tough October has been was provided by Thursday and Friday’s stock market improvement producing the first back-to-back days of gains for the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Index since September 25 and 26.

In the spirit of Halloween, one can rightfully ask: trick or treat? (By the way, the masks below, according to FT Alphaville, are not accompanied by suitcases of money.)


The FOMC lowered the Fed funds target rate from 1.5% to 1.0% on Wednesday. This action followed an emergency 50 basis point cut in the benchmark rate on October 8. The committee’s statement said economic activity has “slowed markedly” and cited weakness in consumer spending, business investment and exports. It also noted tight credit. The statement furthermore said that “downside risks to growth remain”, an indication that more rate cuts could follow. The target rate was last at 1.0% in 2004 and has not been below this level since 1958.


The Fed followed up its rate-cutting action with an announcement that it was setting up dollar swap lines with Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Singapore, contributing to the sharp turnaround in emerging-market assets.

Next, a tag cloud of the text of the large number of articles I have devoured during the past week. This is a way of visualizing word frequencies at a glance. Unsurprisingly, the key words included the following: “market”, “bank”, financial”, “fund” and “credit”.


Where do we go from here? One bit of cheer is that the stock market is now entering what has historically been the strongest half of the year. “… investing in the S&P 500 Index from the last trading day in October (therefore referred to as the Halloween indicator) through the end of April accounted for the vast majority of S&P 500’s gains since 1950. While there are some noteworthy periods in which the Halloween indicator didn’t produce (i.e. 1973-74 and 2000-01), the overall outperformance is compelling,” reported Chart of the Day.

To which Jeffrey Hirsch (Stock Trader’s Almanac) added: “… November is much better in election years when the incumbent party is ousted – usually because of dissatisfaction with the status quo. Traders and investors often celebrate a change of the guard when the economy and stock market are on the ropes as they are now.”

Here is Richard Russell’s (Dow Theory Letters) take on matters: “Things are looking better. After a series of 90% down-days, we had a 90% up-day on Tuesday, October 28. Since then, the market action has been fairly good. With bonds appearing to have topped out, I’m beginning to think that there’s a fairly good chance the market has bottomed. On Thursday’s statistics, Lowry’s Selling Pressure Index (supply) finally dropped substantially, giving evidence of an important drop in supply. At the same time their Buying Power Index surged, finally showing an increased willingness to buy. So far, so good.”

I summarized my viewpoint in a post on Friday: “I give the current rally the benefit of the doubt provided the recent lows (8,176 on the Dow Jones Industrial Index and 849 on the S&P 500 Index) do not get taken out. However, it remains difficult to say whether a secular low has been reached in an environment of economic and profit recession. At least, the extent to which central banks, governments and the IMF are becoming involved to fend off a total economic meltdown is a sign that we could be in a bottoming-out phase of the bear market.”

The last word goes to Laszlo Birinyi (Birinyi Associates) who cautioned as follows: “We believe the markets are in uncharted territory with developments and characteristics that are unique in our experience and we can only guess at what might transpire over the next several months. Frankly we don’t know, history provides no clues and anyone who claims to have some insight or strategy cannot do so on the basis of fact and historical evidence.”

Before highlighting some thought-provoking news items and quotes from market commentators, let’s briefly review the financial markets’ movements on the basis of economic statistics and a performance round-up.

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Category: BP Cafe, Economy, Investing, Markets, Trading

Roubini: More Trouble Coming for S&P

Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the current financial crisis in 2006, talks with Bloomberg’s Carol Massar and Ellen Braitman in New York about the U.S. economy, outlook for the equity market and Federal Reserve monetary policy.

00:00 Recession outlook, financial market crisis
01:48 Stock market valuations, performance
02:58 Impact of U.S. recession on emerging markets
03:31 Fed forecast, Libor; consumer confidence
06:17 Outlook for economy, financial markets
Running time 07:22


Roubini Says S&P May Fall 30% More Over 2-Year Recession: Video
Bloomberg, Oct. 29 2008


Category: Economy, Markets, Video


Be sure to kick around the Video page a bit. We’ve dug up some fantastic videos across a variety of market and technology related subjects. Very, very cool stuff. I am going to set up a way for readers to suggest videos…

Category: Markets

Real Time Electoral Tracker

Nice widget via Electoral-vote.com. This is not a static image, the electoral college votes are updated in real time according to their state by state polling.

Category: Digital Media, Politics, Web/Tech, Weblogs