When is This Thing Going to End

“How Long is a Piece of String?”

How long is a piece of string?

  1. (colloquial, often humorous, rhetoric question) Used as a response to a question such as “How long will it take?” or “How big is it?” when the length or size is unknown, infinite, variable or relative. 
  2. I did a little Googling. The earliest use I could find of this rhetorical question comes from the New York Sun in 1885. I have no idea if this (below) is the first use, but it is the earliest citation I can personally find. The question is always meant to lead the enquirer to try to answer his original question himself, really. Regardless of context, historically, the implication is that the question can not be simply answered.

From the New York Sun, 1885; A New Yorker was asking a Florida orange grower how long it takes for an orange grove to become profitable. As the answer depends on a range of variables outside of the orange grower’s control, he casually answered “How long is a piece of string?”.

It is not that it cannot be measured. It is that a piece of string can be arbitrarily long.

Technically, I suppose if it were short enough we might call it lint, and there is probably an upper bound on how long a piece of string could be in practice, but linguistically it is an unanswerable question in the abstract.

Which leads us to the current state of affairs in the Bali property market. Q1 2020 was robust. Investors from all over the globe; namely Germany, the US, Singapore, the Netherlands, Australia and of course Indonesia were asking the right questions and making the right moves. 2020 looked as though it was going to be a great year in our industry. Then we were introduced to COVID-19.

Travel of course was one of the first industries to be impacted globally. For us at Bali Nirmana Property, that means no foreign investors flying in and very few, if any, domestic investors coming into Bali for real estate transactions. While we have surely been impacted, our pain is nothing compared to our friends whose businesses are totally dependent on tourism. Again, and as always, our hearts go out to those folks on the front line making tough choices about job stability and reductions in wages and work schedules.

However, we also know that this will pass. I suspect that there are several dozen people scattered across the globe who have the best educated guesses that we could hope for, and it is our hope that their message (of truth) is the one to gather global attention in the weeks to come, not the messages of doom, gloom and despair that are just trying to grab soundbites and sell newspapers.

Bali Nirmana Property remains fully staffed and operational (in fact we are expanding) and we are looking forward to connecting with you when the time is right. Until then, #stayhome #stayhealthy


Learn more about how a foreigner can acquire property that is marketed as ‘Freehold’ or how we calculate capital appreciation on a leasehold investment with options to extend the lease term, visit Bali Nirmana Property’s News & Advice pages and click on the topics that catch your attention.
Or, contact Patrick on WA & Handphone on +62 817 973 3031 or by email at [email protected]