Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Professor Karl Case Retires

I’d like to extend my warmest regards to Dr. Karl Case, Professor of Economics at Wellesley College and co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index methodology, as it has been recently reported that he has decided to retire from teaching as a result of the onset of Parkinson’s disease.

It should be clear to readers of this blog that we all owe Dr. Case a debt of gratitude for his remarkably successful effort at shining the clear and crisp spotlight of reasoned and rigorous analysis into the formerly murky and outright convoluted world residential real estate pricing.

No longer do we rely solely on skewed Realtor provided median/average price data or ginned-up government statistics to gain perspective on what is arguably the largest and most important asset/service most of us will ever consume in our lifetimes.

But of course, Dr. Case’s career has spanned many decades and his success with the pricing of residential real estate is but one example of many shining achievements of his time in academia.

He is an excellent professor with a passionate and provocative style and, as with all great professors, truly generous and accessible to all his students, even ones who never attended a single one of his classes.

Further, although for the last few years his frequent media appearances in the newspapers and on business television were normally set in the context of the doom and gloom of the housing debacle, Dr. Case presented his outlook with a combination of his factual and analytical expertise mixed with a dose of authentic optimism, the type of which was not meant to lessen or spin the severity of the situation but merely as an expression for the well being of all parties caught in the crossfire of hard economic times.

That’s a lesson that we all (particularly those of us in the housing bubble blogesphere) could learn from.

Also, I think it’s important to note that Dr. Case is a veteran having served three years on active duty in the Army one of which was spent in Vietnam.

As was reported in the Boston Globe piece, Dr. Case plans on continuing to work, publishing the 10th edition of his textbook “The Principles of Economics” (an excellent textbook that I keep on hand at all times) and keeping up a schedule of speaking engagements.

Best of luck to you Dr. Case and thank you for all that you have contributed throughout your academic life.