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This week, I thought I might bloviate about the bubble in real estate -- the catalyst being a spectacular article in the March 2 edition of the New York Times titled "Speculators See Gold in a Boom in Home Prices."

About two years ago, I began writing on my Web site about the lunacy in the financing of housing, something I called the "housing hot potato." The evolution of this has allowed folks to use their homes as ATMs to live beyond their means. Now, as always happens near the end of bubbles, madness (in real estate) is on display nearly everywhere.

You needn't get far into the article to realize how magical real estate is perceived to be these days. (Remember, they're not making more of it.) To quote one of its subjects, Carlos Lidsky, who with his wife has been wheeling and dealing by trading real estate, "It is much better than the stock market. This is an extraordinary, phenomenally good result."

The writer has filled the story with psychological insights and anecdotes that could have been lifted from the peak of the stock-market mania. For example:

"Like the day traders of the 1990's dot-com boom, people are investing in a market that seems to just go up. Promoters use Web sites to attract investors, promising quick profits. One site,, is run by a pair of investors who offer online training for $197. On their home page, they say people can earn over $100,000 in six months investing in 'un-built real estate.'"

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