Whatever else may be learned from today's housing markets, this much is clear: Real estate and Wall Street are now inextricably intertwined in ways that weren't so prevalent a decade or more ago. Real estate companies depend on Wall Street, broadly defined, to fund startups, raise capital, create liquidity and hedge risk just as Wall Street, again broadly defined, relies on real property as an opportunity to diversify investments and earn solid returns on capital. Moreover, these interdependences have important implications and lessons for the people whose livelihoods depend on these two sectors of the U.S. economy. A few observations may clarify this argument: Real estate depends on investment capital. Much has been said and written about the sudden disappearance of mortgage money this summer as Wall Street soured on securitized mortgages. This dynamic demonstrated the extent to which mortgage companies were dependent on the financial markets for funds. And it wasn't on...
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