Who says there’s no energy in the real estate market right now while the country  waits with (exacer)bated breath for a break in the cloud on title that is hanging over our inalienable right to own and continue to try to own up to our own debt?

Why just this past week, I had three all-cash offers on three different properties! Right across the monopoly board stretching from lowly Baltic Avenue to the far more tawny Marvin’s (former) Garden of Eden.

Unfortunately, there was a slight catch in all of them.  That obscure little box on Page Two of the Residential Purchase Contract was surreptitiously checked.  Guess they thought I’d be so happy to get the offers, I wouldn’t notice.

Ever seen that one?  It’s tucked right in there somewhere between Paragraph 3B, Section 2, Subparagraph 7 and that weird little boilerplate thing about committing your first born. Obscured by all the other brain-numbing minutia cloaked in Realtor-speak laden with Lawyer-ese (also known as Parcel-tongue).

It’s the clause that says:  This offer is (check here in invisible ink) or is not (check here with a real pen) contingent upon buyer winning the lottery prior to close of escrow.

Sorry.  Good try. But not a good bet.  I really honestly appreciate your interest in my listings.  Y’all come back now y’here? Soon as you win that lotto. Tickets are on sale 24/7.  Las Vegas never sleeps. Even while its suburbs are dying on the vine.

Forgive my real estate of procrastination folks.   I’m just trying to amuse you. Take your mind off of anything else you might be tempted to dwell on at the moment.

Like: Help?  Or: Which island-country-market to escape to?  Or: Is there any place on the planet that exists outside of this “thing”?  Where’s the map leading back to the Shire, Frodo?  Where they don’t have to read Sartre in the paper everyday.

Nope. Pull up one of those empty musical chairs folks. We’re not going anywhere anytime soon.  Apparently we’ve got plenty of time to kill.  While the Dow’s round the world yo-yo tricks keep killing us more each day. We’re peddling the stationary bike on the road to nowhere. Lots of rpm’s. No traction.

Excuse my play-by-play commentary but didn’t we just take two steps back and punt the very same can we’ve been nudging forward for the last three years? Hauled off and drop-kicked it out of bounds?  Beyond the horizon of a recognizable recovery?

What’s left to get people moving down the field again? Past the red zone and through the goal post of post-bubble homeownership?

Interest Rates.

Be prepared to hear those two words ad infinitum ad nauseum.  They’re the magic balm. The salve. The one trick left in the dubious bag of stupid Fed tricks.   A Pavlovian response designed to induce consumer salivation and lead real estate back to eventual salvation.

The Fed announced it will keep the overnight rates near zero through mid-2013.

Interest rates.  That’s the good news for today. And tomorrow. And for all the other tomorrows we can envision in lieu of anything more substantial.   The reset button has been pushed on the recovery. Interest rates are the refrain we real estate people won’t be able to restrain ourselves from using.  Interest rates are the silver, gold and platinum lining in that cloud on title, we were talking about.

Weak employment numbers?   Incredible interest rates!   Tons of shadow inventory and toxic paper still piled up in the vaults of banks bigger than they were when they were too big to fail?  Historic interest rates!   Deficit reduction via elimination of the Mortgage Interest Deduction?  But those rates my friends!  Jumbo loan limits headed down?  Interest rates too!  The ongoing credit crunch?  There are low, low interest rates at the end of that water-boarding experience we’ve come to know as the full documentation loan!

I guess I’ll be the spoilsport and ask the obvious question.  If the number of jobs isn’t growing appreciably and the seedy underbelly of the system is still bloated with distress properties  and legislation is gnawing at the remains of the corpus…how is this going to work?

If you can’t afford the payments or qualify for the loan, who cares how low interest rates go? Isn’t that what buyers have been telling us?

And if you are one of those fortunate buyers who can afford the payments and qualify for the loan, but you aren’t worried that price of homes or interest rates are going to go up anytime soon, how motivated are you going to be to get out there and pull the trigger?

Interest rates.  Are we feeling stimulated yet?


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