Brokers Welcome Back Bonus Buyers

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Not everyone is outraged over the return of outsized Wall Street bonuses. Though many politicians, not to mention the general public, are decrying bankers' expanded wallets, the real estate world is opening its arms to Wall Streeters and their (impending) stash of cash.

After all, before the bust, traders and hedge fund types were the primary audience for the glittering new luxury towers that sprouted like weeds in city centers and beyond -- many of which have since languished on the market.

But those weeds seem to be flowering again, as the once-lonely halls of condo projects are attracting fresh foot traffic from bonus-fueled buyers.
Brokerages are hiring on extra employees, reports the Wall Street Journal, and contracts on multi-million dollar penthouses and high-end pads are on the rise.

With the return of the bonus buyer comes the return of the financial philosophy that got us in this mess -- the notion that what's good for the wealthiest one percent will trickle down to the rest of us. Goldman Sachs, reports Time, is trying to "put a halo" on the bonuses by compelling employees to donate a certain amount to charity. Won't do much for those whose homes have been foreclosed upon, of course, or for those who have lost a job. But it might add a meal or two to the soup kitchen.

In the meantime, we've yet to see if real estate brokers' new found optimism is justified. Some banks are foregoing all-cash bonuses and tying some compensation to stock or longer term performance. And real estate is no longer the safest place to grow your investment. In fact, the stock market is doing better than the housing market for now. Perhaps those Wall Street bonuses will end up back on, well, Wall Street.
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