Michael Burry Buys Agricultural Land & Gold ~ market folly

Friday, September 10, 2010

Michael Burry Buys Agricultural Land & Gold

Michael Burry, the hedge fund manager made famous in Michael Lewis' book The Big Short, was recently interviewed by Bloomberg on a myriad of topics. Burry, a value investor by nature, bet against subprime right before its peak. Given his prescient call, many other investors are eager to find out what his next big play is. Well, his next investment seems to be land.

In particular, Burry believes, "that agricultural land, productive agricultural land with water on site, will be very valuable in the future. And I've put a good amount of money into that. So I'm investing in alternative investments as well as stocks." This stance plants him in the same camp as legendary investor Jim Rogers. The former Quantum Fund co-manager has been a vocal bull on agriculture claiming that people should trade in their Lamborghini's for tractors.

Given his past bet against the housing market, it was interesting to hear Burry's thoughts on real estate this time around. He thinks it's an "artificial market" and that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are essentially withholding properties from sale and not forcing foreclosures. He feels it would be best if the government exited the mortgage market. On the topic of investing in real estate, he says:

"I think there is some value in real estate. You have to buy it right. It's not in general, that's the problem. I think that there are an awful lot of people out there looking to buy these distressed properties out there and so you need to find special situations. That is how i've invested from the beginning. I'm looking for these special situations, these unique ideas and that's true in real estate too ... In my situation I'd rather go long on housing itself, real estate itself. Depending on how you structure it, in the real market, in the physical market, you can get some pretty good deals and I've done some of that too."

Finally, Burry has also caught the gold bug and likes the precious metal as well. Embedded below are two videos from Burry's interview (email readers will need to come to the site to watch them):

Video 1 on Accountability

Video 2 on Investing

To learn about Burry's fascinating past, check out his story in the book The Big Short. For more on his past wager, head to his primer on credit default swaps & the subprime mortgage short which he penned back in 2006.

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