Q&A: Housing Bubble Blogger – Newsweek Business – MSNBC.com
But something about the mania just didn’t sit right with Ben Jones. The Texas native learned a hard lesson in the 1980s, when the savings and loan scandal hit and real estate slumped just as he was preparing for a career in the property market. “I jumped in at the worst possible time,” the 42-year-old recalled from his home in Sedona, Arizona. That experience, coupled with a background in corporate accounting, made him wary of highflying markets, so when he saw housing appreciations rocket up and mortgage-lending restrictions sink low, Jones decided that this was a housing bubble, and he was going to warn his friends.
At first Jones just sent his cautionary data and news bites by email, but after a couple of months, he found blogging was a better way to get the word out. The blog, www.thehousingbubbleblog.com, quickly evolved into an information supercenter for real estate addicts. Jones posts news stories economic data, and analysts’ reports on the housing market (often minutes after their release), then lets his many contributors loose to offer their own analysis and rebuttals.
In early 2005, Jones was one of a handful of bloggers raising the red flag about real estate prices amid a sea of industry pom poms. Now it seems that even realtors are talking about a “cooling”—if not a bursting of the bubble—as prices sag and interest rates rise. Meanwhile, Jones’ blog, one of many on the subject, has grown to 85,000 readers a month. NEWSWEEK’s Kathy Jones (no relation) talked to the real estate seer about the power of collaborative blogging and why some readers use his site as an anonymous confessional.
Congrats to Ben Jones for making Newsweek. Does that mean that the bubble is now officially over?