When is a bubble a bubble?
If you're to read the front page of almost any major newspaper -- including at least two this very day -- the bubble is now, it's real estate (search) and it's dangerous.
Not a day goes by in my business when someone doesn't talk to me about the real estate business. It’s too frothy and too much. The media is obsessed with this story. I think I know why.
The media missed the dot-com bubble (search). They bemoaned it after the fact, but said barely a thing during the fact. So now it's bending over backwards to warn of the day when real estate prices move backwards.
I can understand collective industry guilt. I cannot understand collectively scaring people.
I have no doubt that in some hot markets, prices are out of whack. Trust me, they'll get whacked.
But there's a very big difference to what's happening in Jupiter, Florida — where prices have soared 50 percent in the last year — and Buffalo, New York — where they've climbed about a tenth of that in the same year.
The nation isn't in a bubble. Those who scare the hell out of us are.
Anything can be taken to extremes and flipping properties like they're cards in a hot poker trade is extreme. But these are the exceptions.
Flippers eventually flop. But a wholesale crash means a wholesale retreat from fundamentals. Fundamentals like supply and demand — there's still far more demand than supply and still far more willing customers than greedy speculators.
The bullish argument is: They're not making more land. But I know full well that doesn't mean they're not making more fools.
Some like to play real estate like an Internet stock. Others buy because they're taking stock. There is a difference.
The media feels guilty it missed a bubble when there was one. Now, I fear it's creating another, when there isn't one.
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Neil Cavuto serves as senior vice president, anchor and managing editor for both FOX News Channel (FNC) and FOX Business Network (FBN). He is anchor of FNC's Your World with Cavuto - the number one rated cable news program for the 4 p.m. timeslot - as well as the FNC Saturday show Cavuto on Business. He also hosts Cavuto on FBN weeknights at 8 p.m. In addition to anchoring daily programs and breaking news specials on FNC and FBN, Cavuto oversees business news content for both networks and FNC's weekend business shows, including Bulls & Bears, Forbes on Fox, and Cashin' In. Click here for more on Neil Cavuto.