Hearing of enthusiastic property development plans for the world's tallest building? Then dust off, perhaps, an old but maybe not so tongue-in-cheek leading indicator...

The 92 metre Masonic Temple, Chicago. Completed in 1892 shortly after the largest quarterly contraction of GNP in US history.

The 119 metre Park Row building, New York. Complete in 1898 and preceded by the 4th largest quarterly decline in real GNP over the period of 1875-1918.

The 187 metre Singer building (completed in 1908) and the 247 metre Metropolitan Life building (1909), New York. Products of the period leading up to the Panic of 1907.

The 283 metre (includes the spire) 40 Wall Street building (completed 1929),

the 282 metre Chrysler building (1930),

and the 381 metre Empire State building (1931). Unpleasant little associations with the Great Depression.

The 417 metre Twin Towers (1972/73) and the 442 metre Sears Tower (1974) just in time for stagflation.

The 452 metre Petronas Tower (1997) stamped the mark of the Asian Crisis.

The 509 metre Taipei Financial Center, Taiwan. Complete in 2004 but born of the 1999 Tech Wreck.

And, finally (for now), all 818 metres of the Burj Dubai Tower which is due for completion in early 2010. Abu Dhabi permitting.

NB: (Inspired by Andrew Lawrence's The Skyscraper Index: Faulty Towers! Property Report, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson Research (January 15, 1999a) and Mark Thornton's Skyscrapers and Business Cycles [The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. Vol. 8, No.1, Spring 2005. pp. 51-74.])

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  1. Tyler // 12/02/2009 06:06:00 PM

    Wow! That's almost a 'tradeable' indicator. At the very least, quite interesting. thanks

  2. Admin // 12/02/2009 06:16:00 PM

    Seems to be...pride before a fall etc etc

  3. Anonymous // 1/05/2010 04:51:00 PM

    Well I think the new building where the twin towers was is going to be the highest, and look at our mess.

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