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March 2009 RealData Dispatch

Spring Thaw?

We wouldn't be so bold as to say that the winter of our economic discontent is over, but at least we think we detect a whiff of spring in the air. So, to beat this metaphor further, our March '09 newsletter presents you with a bouquet of tiny crocuses, those hopeful harbingers of better times that we know eventually will come.

Our first bit of happy news, of course, is that the stock market actually went up recently more than one day in a row.

Then, on St. Patrick's Day, Reuters reported that housing starts jumped an unexpected 22.2% in February, "the biggest percentage rise since January 1990 and the first gain since April." It's enough to make us want to drink green beer.

In a related article, they suggest that the economy may be showing some signs of life, and note, "Sensing that the worst may soon be over, investors have begun putting a bit more money into some of the hardest hit sectors, including retailers and home builders."

Still more: The Federal Reserve took the financial markets by surprise with a plan to pump about $1 trillion into the economy by buying treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. Whatever else we may think about this plan's effect on the dollar and future inflation, it is likely to drive mortgage rates down just in time for what would usually be the springtime home-buying season. Just one day before the announcement, pundits were saying that mortgages rates had surely gone as low as they could; now they're saying 4% is not unthinkable.

And -- back in January, an article in Forbes saw incipient signs of a "resurrection in real estate."

All this doesn't exactly add up to the return of a roaring bull-market economy, but at least it's a relief from the relentless drumbeat of bad news to which we've become accustomed. It's food for thought, and worthwhile reading.

Like winter, recessions eventually end. It would be nice to say good-bye to both.

Let's Get Academic

A colleague has brought a great web site to our attention. AcademicEarth.org provides lectures from some of the leading professors in the country.

Apropos our discussion of the economy, we found one in particular that provided an very insightful, lucid, and entertaining explanation of how we got into the current mess. In fact, it's called "Origins of the Financial Mess" by Alan Blinder, Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School and co-director of Princeton's Center for Economic Policy Studies.

Go to the "Learn" page at realdata.com for a link to the video of this lecture. In future newsletters, we plan to tell you about other content at this site that we think is important to you as an investor or developer.

Offer Extended:
Get a signed copy of Frank's latest book... FREE

RealData founder Frank Gallinelli's first book, What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow..., has been one of the top-selling real estate books since its release in 2004. He now has a sequel -- Mastering Real Estate Investment: Examples, Metrics and Case Studies -- and you can get a signed copy at no charge.

Here's the deal: This offer was supposed to end on March 15, but our customers really seem to like this, so we're extending the offer until Tax Day -- April 15. Between now and April 15, 2009 purchase any RealData software package of $99 or more and we'll send you a signed copy of Frank Gallinelli's Mastering Real Estate Investment: Examples, Metrics and Case Studies.

You can buy this book from Amazon or barnesandnoble.com. Or you can get a signed copy at no charge if you purchase any RealData software product of $99 or more. More good news: When you place your software order, we'll ship your book via USPS (under separate cover) also at no charge.

This is a great deal but it's only until April 15 and only to U.S. shipping addresses, so don't delay. Limit of one copy per customer.

You can get more info about this and Frank's other books at http://www.realdata.com/gallinelli.shtml. On that page you'll also find links directly to the Amazon page for each book.

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