2012 Predictions In Review

With just a few days left in 2012, I think it’s appropriate to check on the list of 7 predictions which I had made at the beginning of the year.  Let’s see how everything turned out:

  1. President Obama will get re-elected – Got it right – I knew without a doubt that Obama would get elected when Romney’s video explaining what he thought of ‘the 47%’ was released.  It proves that Romney, and really the Republican party, is very much out of touch with the voters.  I don’t know that they have a consolidated message and even when they do, they have done a very poor job at translating that into a message that the voters respond to.  This win wasn’t so much a victory for Obama as it was a fear of Romney. 
  2. A downturn on strategic defaults and underwater mortgages – Got it right – I figured that the housing market had hit bottom.  Last year it seemed that while things weren’t on the upswing just yet, we had leveled off.  This year did see an actual upswing in most areas of the country, and part of that included less strategic defaults and less underwater mortgages.  I guess if home values rise, this naturally brings people at or above the ‘underwater’ line, which would give people less reason to walk away. I’m very happy to see this and I hope that the housing recovery market is sustained moving forward!
  3. The Eurozone crisis will not be solved but will get less attention – Got it right – Was anything really accomplished in the European crisis?  Not really.  I think they did kick the can down the road a bit, but as far as actually solving anything, I don’t think that happened to any real degree.  However, the markets and the economy really didn’t react in much of a negative fashion.  There was a couple of months in the middle part of the year where the market did have some rough weeks, and they were tied to the European problems, but that was shrugged off relatively quickly and I don’t think it played much of a factor overall.
  4. Blackberry will be history (or RIM will be out of business) – Not so much – Blackberry is still around, and I’ve heard that the next release (Blackberry 10) is thought to be very well designed, and if it is received well, could put Blackberry back on the map.  I personally don’t see much hope here.  In the consumer electronics market, more often than not when customers abandon a particular company to the degree that has taken place with RIM, it’s pretty hard to convince them to come back.  The only big exception in history that I see here is Apple, but I’ve seen Apple, and I’m sorry RIM, you are no Apple.
  5. Apple will either provide a dividend or make a big purchase – Got it right – Apple instituted a dividend for the first time in 2012.   No big purchases, but since it was an either/or type of statement, I got it right.  The stock for Apple has been on somewhat of a roller coaster ride, rising all the way to $700 per share and dropping down to the low $500’s.  I think investors are finally starting to realize that while Apple is a great company that makes wildly popular products, the amount of growth potential may be slowing.  Wall Street investors live and die by growth, so the perception that Apple may have finally hit a ceiling could make for a bumpy ride moving forward.
  6. Unemployment will fall, the economy will improve,businesses will get better, but consumer spending will lag – Got it right – The economy has definitely continued to improve, and business profits have improved, but not to the robust levels that would indicate a long term healthy economy.
  7. Oprah will lose her network – Not so much – She still has her TV network, but the fact that I had to look this up to see where this stood, well it’s still not doing so well.  I know Oprah said that she wanted to put more of her ‘presence’ into the network this year, and I’m guessing she did that, but to what degree this matters, I really do wonder.  Before she shut down her talk show, you used to hear about Oprah in some fashion all the time.  Her opinion and voice was right up there in the cultural fabric.  Now, I think her voice has lost a lot of luster, so while she still has her ‘own’ network for now, I clearly think it’s been a disaster.

Five out of seven, or just over a 70% ‘success’ rate was how it worked out for my predictions.  That’s not too bad!

How did 2012 turn out for you personally and how did things around the world play out from what you had thought would happen in 2012?

What topics do you think I should predict for 2013?

Mid-Year Check On My 2012 Predictions

Six months ago I made seven predictions for 2012.  Time to take a look at them and see where they stand and my current thoughts on each:

  1. President Obama will be re-electedToo early to tell – We’re still four months away from the election and Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney seem pretty close.  So what do I think now?  I think that the Republicans, recently defeated when the Supreme Court upheld Obama’s health care madates, will try to make the election about health care as well as beat down Obama on the stagnation with the economy.  I believe Obama will deflect that and win the election, so I’m holding pat on this prediction.
  2. The tide will begin to turn on strategic defaults and underwater mortgagesI’m thinking this one is looking correct – I could be wrong, but the number of foreclosures seems to be shrinking compared to what it’s been the last couple of years.  This might because banks are simply holding onto the inventory, but we probably won’t know for a couple of years until the rest of the housing market shakes out.  In any case, there are signs of a housing recovery here in Michigan, and based on that and the drop in news on foreclosure, I’m holding pat on this prediction.
  3. The Eurozone crisis will not go away but will get less attention – Correct on one account, incorrect on another – The crisis has definitely not gone away and has gotten more attention over the past few months (though in my defense, the first three months largely saw this ignored until Wall Street conveniently decided it needed a catalyst to explain the stop of the stock market climb).  In any case, the Eurpoean leaders (and I use that term loosely) seem in no hurry to do anything to actually fix the problem, so unless something drastic changes, I will likely end up incorrect on this one.
  4. Blackberry will be history (or at least RIM will be)Too early to tell – I think this could still be a possibility.  RIM has tried to catch up and has fallen into place with some of the consumer and business demands, but they’re holding on.  For now.  I think their demise could still occur in 2012.
  5. Apple will either provide a dividend or make a giant, unexpected purchaseCorrect – Apple announced a dividend a few month ago.
  6. Unemployment will continue to dip, the economy will continue to improve, the bottom line of businesses will get better, but consumer spending will lag – Some right, some too early to tell.    Unemployment did drop for a few months but now has lagged.  The economy showed signs of recovery and also has been lagging.  Business bottom lines have been getting better.  Consumer spending is actually picking up but has shown signs of slowing.  The next few months will be key. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if the economy picked back up by the end of the year, nor would it surprise me if it fell into a mild recession.  Nobody seems to know right now.
  7. Discovery will pull the plug on Oprah – Hasn’t happened yet but things have gotten no better since I wrote my initial prediction, and Oprah herself seems pretty much at a loss.  I’m still thinking that OWN will be history sooner rather than later.

What do you think of my predictions and where I stand on each one?  Was I wildly off on any?  What do you think about the rest of 2012?  What has surprised you the most about 2012?

Did Condos Get Hit Harder Than Houses In The Downturn?

In 2007, I sold my condo and we bought the house of our dreams.  We wanted something that we would be able to start a family in, and the house has served us very well in that regard.

The condo I sold was my first real place, and I left it with great sadness.  Still, I knew that while it was a good bachelor pad, it wasn’t any place to start a family.

The condo was built around 1990.  I think the ‘original’ price was in the neighborhood of $70,000 or thereabouts.  It sold in the early 1990’s for around $80-85k if memory serves.

I bought it in the spring of 1999.  It was listed for $104,900 and I put a full price offer.  There was a second offer, equal to mine, but the seller chose my offer because I was not moving out of another house, therefore I didn’t have another sale in the way of closing.

Read moreDid Condos Get Hit Harder Than Houses In The Downturn?

5 Things It Will Take For Housing To Come Back

The housing market has been in a prolonged slump and shows very few signs of coming out.

I think that housing can come back.  Here are a few things that I think need to happen in order for the housing market to improve.

Actually, let me start with a few things that shouldn’t happen:

  • Stimulus / Government Intervention – The market has too many problems to be corrected by government intervention, and the government can’t afford to throw money at this anymore.  No more bailout programs.  No more tax credits.

Actually, that’s the only one.

Now I can get to the things that need to happen for the housing market to recover:

Read more5 Things It Will Take For Housing To Come Back