30 Aug Craig Feigin values of real estate over long term
They call it real estate for a reason. No other investment is so tangible, solid, definite. In part because we are not just talking buildings, but the land under the buildings, and land typically never goes away (although to be fair, your beachfront property in the Maldives may be at a wee bit of risk from the ocean over the next 50 years, but that’s the exception).
As expert investor Craig Feigin has put it, “Land is forever.”
There’s a great story about that, involving two classic Hollywood actors. Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott both played a lot of different roles in their careers, but in the 1950s, they were mainly cowboys, two of the more dependable Western heroes around.
Young director Sam Peckinpah, who later became an infamous “bad boy” when he made The Wild Bunch, cast McCrea and Scott together in his great 1962 Western Ride the High Country. The two actors were a splendid team. It was Scott’s last film; McCrea only made a couple more.
As it happens, these two actors had something in common besides their Westerns. They were both wealthy, wealthy, wealthy! Two of the richest actors of their era. There were bigger stars; there were no better investors.
And what did they invest in? Why real estate, of course! Maybe Western actors have a little bit of intuition about the land…
McCrea always attributed his good financial habits to his older friend Will Rogers, who told him, “Save half of what you make, and live on just the other half.”
But McCrea didn’t just save half his income, he invested it in Southern California ranchland that exploded in value over the years. When the time came to part with some of it, he made an absolute killing on two multi-million dollar sales – but by that point he was already known as one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood.
Randolph Scott was born into affluence in North Carolina, and always had an eye for the dollar and those who had them (he was a friend of Howard Hughes, for instance). As his acting career became solidly established, he concentrated more and more on Westerns – “They always make money,” he said – and began to quietly invest his gains in real estate, oil wells, and blue-chip stocks. He was reputed to own most of the then-open land in Los Angeles County’s San Fernando Valley.
Two actors, two legends, two men of the West, and two real estate tycoons. As Craig Feigin reminds us, they were winners because they put their money in the ground.