Why Commercial Real Estate Investors Should Care About White Paint and Dresses

Over the last few years, different pundits of every stripe have advocated watching different commodities for signs of economic turbulence or improvement - depending on his/her point of view. I came across this article today in the Globe and Mail, and was amused, and somewhat surprised at the indicators discussed.

Take a look, it's a quick read and you might just get some new ideas - I know I did.

Take this for example:

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, said he follows the price of titanium dioxide fairly closely: "It's stretching a little bit, but I think it has historically been a good barometer of broader economic conditions."

He noted that yesterday's U.S. figures matched other signals about the economy making a slow recovery.

"It's consistent with the idea that the economy is still soft. We are still in recession, but we're headed in the right direction," Mr. Zandi said.

...and this:

Mr. Yamarone, for example, said one of the most important indicators he tracks is the sale of women's dresses.

"The woman is traditionally the [chief financial officer] of a household. She sees when times get tough," he explained. "When things get tough, she postpones a 'self purchase.' And there is no greater self purchase for a woman than a dress."

Right now, his dress sale indicator "is still contracting."

Is there anything you look for in assessing an economic recovery or real estate recovery in particular?


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