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CEO Robbie Briggs, on why you shouldn't always believe the headlines

Each Friday, Robbie Briggs, CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, writes about luxury, trends, business and more in the advertising pages of the Mansion section of The Wall Street Journal. Below is his letter of December 16, 2022.




The witty Mark Twain once wrote back to a reporter who had asked him if the rumor that he was dying was true: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” It has been twisted since then to, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” — but its original zing holds up.

The same rumor has been circulating about the residential real estate market. It’s not true. Chris Lynch, the founder and president of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Maine, put it this way in a letter in a magazine: “The unhealthy froth that has engulfed our markets for the past two years has clearly subsided. As a result, we are in a much more manageable and healthy housing environment.”

Chris started his letter with the Twain anecdote, too, because it’s so apropos. “Of course,” Chris also wrote, “there are selective examples in which certain cities in certain states are struggling while others are moving along with little sign of collapse.” But, just like in Maine, luxury real estate in North Texas is not exhibiting any signs of illness. In fact, we are seeing plenty of buyers and stabilizing prices, the latter at all-time highs.

The economy may be the target of exaggerated rumors, too. As I’m writing this, the Fed did just raise the interest rate by half a percent, but that is lower than its previous hikes and a sign, analysts say, that inflation is easing. Mortgage rates have been coming down for about five weeks now — the largest decline since 2008, per Freddie Mac. A 30-year fixed mortgage is at about 6.3 percent. Remember when we saw almost 17 percent in the 1980s?

My point is this: Don’t always believe the headlines. Do some research. Talk to experts. And, don’t let negativity sway you. Sensational headlines sell ads and get clicks. The real estate market isn’t dying: It’s returning to normal after an all-too-hot couple of years. Maine is just one example of the same correction that we are experiencing. Says Chris: “Opportunities will exist for sellers to achieve solid, near-record-high prices while enabling more buyers to get into their dream homes with less competition and on mutually agreeable terms.”

Everybody wins. That’s a concept we should all get behind. Enjoy every minute of your holiday time with friends and family — and I’ll see you back here in 2023.


Robbie Briggs


Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty


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