Friday, July 9, 2010

Spinning the Oil Spill

In this real estate business we are experiencing one of the slowest summers in the 9 years that I have been in the business. We are usually covered up with buyers and sellers this time of the year. Ever since I have been a realtor this time, school summer vacation, has been the time to make hay. Not so currently. I was very busy up through the 30th of June. That was the magic date for consummating the tax credit on a purchase. After 6/30 it was as if someone switched off the power switch.

Why so? I think that there are a lot of reasons. The economy in general, the unemployment rate, politics, and just an overall feeling of dread by consumers. Witness a 10% drop in the consumer confidence index. That index dropped from 62.7% in May to 52.9% in June. That is significant. I also think that Tallahassee is bit more hard wired than the rest of the state. When bad news prevails it feeds out into the general Florida populace from Tallahassee, the state capital.

I note that there was just yesterday a meeting in Ft. Walton of BP, the Florida department of environmental protection and several realtor associations. The realtors on the beaches are feeling the sting of the BP oil spill. Ask yourself if you want to buy beach front in that part of Florida right now. If you are a holder of beach front property and have not felt some serious angst about your prospects of ever selling it then you sure ought to be concerned right now.

BP has established some sort of financial reimbursement effort. Realtors have submitted claims against those set aside funds and most have not heard anything back. The bureacracy in getting a claim through is unfathomable and untenable. I note that one of the people sitting in at the hearing held yesterday was a government affairs, public affairs designee from BP.

I used to occupy such a job here in Florida for a large company. It was my responsibility to do all the contact work at the state government level and feed all that into our home office. The home office would then contract with some grass roots advocacy group to try and put a positive spin on our efforts to do what is right for the citizenry. It is fascinating to read the spin coming off the newswires and contemplate the effort put into the tiniest little sound bite. A comparable effort is now going on in the headquarters of Johnson and Johnson the big consumer products company. They are smack in the midst of a recall of some serious brands like Motrin, Tylenol because of some quality control failure on a loading dock.

I really feel that consumer confidence being at such an anemic point is due to much of the stuff going on in our world that people just do not have any control over. So we close the blinds, turn down the a/c and squeeze our pennies. Who knows when this general depression of consumer confidence will end.

I will predict that BP will solve the oil spill and become bigger and richer than ever. If you are into the stock market and have expendable that might be a place to put a little extra grease into since the price of that stock has been driven to historical lows.

It is all about the spin and what we believe in our hearts.