I was watching my favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon the other night and what struck me is how analogous his characters like Sam Spade, The Big Sleep’s Philip Marlowe, Key Largo’s Frank McLoud even The African Queen’s Charlie Allnut are to the very struggle that we are in today. Like the American homeowner, Bogie’s person is confident yet challenged. He gets knocked down, usually more than once, but always gets back up, ready to go at it again. At times his confidence is shaken; he has doubts about his eventual outcome but when the chips are down, there’s no one you’d rather have in your corner.
I bring up Bogie because, like his characters, America’s faith in the American Dream of home ownership and real estate in general, once confident, is now shaken. Dragged down by debt, declining values and future prospects that are as clouded as a Foggy San Francisco night. Yet, when the chips are down, where would you rather trust your personal wealth to? The stock market? Sub 1% savings rates? Maybe overseas like China or Europe? Real estate remains the salt of the earth, heck it is earth! It’s a roof over our head; it’s a home where our family builds its most enduring memories, a sanctuary; a rest place. There’s nothing like it; no other investment can offer that which real estate does. So while we may doubt the future’s prospects from time to time, real estate has always and will always come back in this country. So when you find yourself in doubt, lift your glass to your home, think of Bogie and repeat after me: “Here’s looking at you kid”.