Only $50 To Travel Back To The Mass Delusions Of 2005

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Research, procrastination and rubber-neck syndrome led your reporter to the website of Gary Watts, the Mission Viejo realtor who became to go-to source for anyone who wanted to justify their impulse to buy-buy-buy real estate in the mid-2000s. The Register  quoted the guy in seemingly every real-estate prediction story in 2005, which allowed him to appear prescient by predicting home prices would only ever move in one direction -- up -- until, well, they didn't. He called big gains in 2006 (and again in '07 and '08), and we all know how that turned out.

Ever since then, he has served as a great punching bag for righteous real estate bloggers. The schadenfreude reached a new level late last month, when it came out that Watts defaulted on a home he owned in Rancho Santa Margarita.

So what's on the discredited guru's website now? Contrition? Well, he has posted his forecast for 2009, which says houses that are currently way cheap probably won't get any cheaper. Doesn't seem like too delusional of a proposition, but plenty of people disagree.

The weirder thing is that while he has updated one part of his site for 2009, the "store" section only features the CD and DVD of his infamous 2006 predictions, complete with a damning title in cutesy font: "Why the Bubble Is Bogus in 2006." Of all the years from which to feature merchandise, why still have the one where you got it dead wrong, Watts? The DVD is listed for $49.95. Anyone who paid that price and then followed the advice they got probably now lives in a cardboard box. It is possible, though, that there's a growing collectors' market for pre-bubble-burst memorabilia. As Watts might realize, it's a safe bet that the price on nostalgia for less-visibly fucked times will only go up, up, up.

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