STEPHEN CRANSTON: How wrong I was about property investments
Forecast in 1996 might have been correct about SA but not about Eastern Europe and other regions
Back in 1996 I wrote an opinion piece in the newsletter where I then worked suggesting it might be time for investors to drop property as an asset class. It was a great contrarian signal — anyone who had used it as a signal to start building their property exposure would have done spectacularly well. However, our job as journalists, other than our key mission to provide an enjoyable read, is to encourage debate and discussion on topics. It is not as if you can trust the forecasts of full-time investment analysts. Many people have made fortunes doing the opposite of the market consensus as measured in the Merrill Lynch survey. There were some themes that drove my bearish view on property that continue to be relevant today. There is the trend to work from home, or at least work remotely, and I hadn’t even anticipated how the likes of Skype and WhatsApp would facilitate this. There was also clearly a trend towards leaner head office payrolls and less space as companies moved to open pl...