Real Estate Market Update: The Medieval Investor
Carcassonne, a medieval town dating back to 200 B.C., was discovered by the Roman army due to its rocky hilltop that offered the perfect strategical observation and defensive positions. The Romans began to build a fortified city on the hill and over the next 2000 years, it evolved into the impressive walled city of Carcassonne. It was Phillip the Bold, son of St. Louis, that developed Carcassonne into an impenetrable city in the late 1200s. The fortification was strong with its two lines of defense, or two walls, which resulted in Carcassonne establishing itself as a city that was self-contained and impossible to infiltrate and conquer.
Five years ago, I had the opportunity of visiting this impressive and historical hilltop fortress. When I reached Carcassonne, I was in awe of the massive walls, impassable entrance gate, 53 stunning towers, and the fact that it is a fully functioning town but still resembles that of a medieval town. Today, it is a UNESCO historical site that attracts tourists from all over the world. Walking through the fortified city, I was taken aback and contemplated the ways in which Carcassonne was a self-sufficient city. The residents of the city could easily outlast any fighting opponent as they had gardens, livestock, water, a church, and shops. In fact, at one time, the ruling king held strong against an enemy for over 5 years before the enemy finally gave up and retreated.
Carcassonne’s remarkable ability to function and maintain a population of over 10,000 people without lowering its drawbridge for years or being conquered, made me think of the importance of investing in a city or region like Carcassonne. The city’s best defense was that they did not need to rely on the outside world for anything; anything and everything they needed was within their city’s borders. As an investor, the best defense in investing would be to invest in an area that is also self-sufficient, as opposed to an area that relies on other communities.
Investing in areas that can sustain itself in a financial downturn, job cut climate, or a government being overthrown are the ideal areas to invest in. What if the region or city was cut off from the rest of the world? Could the region or city be self-sufficient enough to feed, train, educate, manufacture, and create culture for its people like Carcassonne did? Are you investing in areas that are self-sufficient?
What city could build a wall around itself and carry on as is without support, supplies, or manpower from outside its figurative walls? It would need agriculture to feed its people, manufacturing to create supplies and product for consumption, a university to educate its young people, a hospital, and medical research to maintain the health of its people, and an international airport to evacuate if being conquered or falling to a natural disaster.
How many cities in the Fraser Valley could survive behind a wall or moat? Only one: Abbotsford. Agriculturally based with an aquifer for water, the University of The Fraser Valley for education, world-class cancer clinic and hospital, manufacturing and distribution creating jobs, and an international airport. In other words, your modern-day Carcassonne!
As an investor, you need to build a moat to protect your investment properties. I believe there is no better place than owning investment property than in a Carcassonne-esque investment-fortified city, surrounded by heavy walls of defense with the ability to be self-sufficient.
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STR (Sell Through Rate) Formula = Sales ÷ Active Listings + Failed Listings + Sales