In an interview this week with Yahoo! Finance, Yale economist Robert Shiller weighed in on the state of the US housing market, which has surged during Covid-time. Longtime readers may know that I’ve long found Shiller’s market analysis intriguing — especially because he has such a keen interest in the human customs and psychology that shape our markets, and those factors tend to be hard to quantify (which undermines the supposedly mathematical nature of trade). In this clip, Shiller talks a bit about some of the psychological factors that may be at work in the Covid-time housing boom — and where things may be going next. His bottom line? “Home prices are likely to be high for another year or two, and they will bring in a supply response and come back down. Not overnight, but enough to cause some pain.”
I had my second shot recently, courtesy of the Essex County (NJ) Department of Health. I have to say, the operation they have going is impressive. For my first appointment, back in April, the site was busy — yet it took less than 15 minutes to go from walking through the front door to receiving a shot (followed by the requisite 15-minute wait, to ensure that I wouldn’t have an allergic reaction). The second appointment was even easier. By this point, the crowds were gone, and I breezed through the intake process and received the vaccination in, probably, five minutes or less. Both times, everyone working on site was professional and efficient and knowledgeable. And friendly (!) — not something you can count on in these kinds of public-facing scenarios.
I still have about a week to go before I am considered fully vaccinated. Not sure how much this will change things. I would say my pre-vaccine approach to Covid was cautious, but not extreme. Masks when going into stores, obviously. I also made a homemade hand sanitizer early in the pandemic when the stores had run out: it was a blend of Everclear 75.5 and peppermint or frankincense essential oil, in a glass spray bottle — and used this assiduously after contact with the outside world. (This actually turned out to be a very pleasant alternative to the commercial sanitizers, which are made with denatured alcohol.) But, while I reduced the frequency of outings, I never stopped going to the grocery store, the bank, or outdoor public spaces. And, fortunately, these efforts, combined with some good luck, seem to have kept me well. And to the extent that the use of masks in indoor public settings has become a habit, I may continue — to avoid colds and allergies, if nothing else.