Despite promising myself to stop, I spend way too much time following the news. Which means I exist in a constant state of perplexity and rage.
Nothing new about that.
But lately things have been coming to a head. I don’t know if it’s all some elaborate practical joke, if I’m going nuts, or if the thought leaders out there are, in fact, completely insane.
One current source of confusion for me is the endless obsession and lamentation about housing prices. Yep, they crashed, and they crashed hard. If you, for some reason, bought a house at the top of the bubble you are now in a world of pain. And I feel for you. That really, really, sucks.
However—and here’s where I stop tracking the narrative—there was a huge bubble fueled by incredibly sketchy loans; loans that should never have been given. Those loans raised housing prices to fantasy levels, levels that priced homes utterly out of reach of home buyers.
I live in Phoenix, one of the housing bubble poster children, a metroplex where a lot of people are “paid in sunshine”—high-paying jobs are few and far between. According to RealEstate.com, in 2007 Phoenix had a median household Income of $45,474 and a median home value of $347,000.
Do those two numbers jive to you? They shouldn’t. If your household income is $45K, you simply cannot purchase a home for $347K. It’s called math. You can’t pay the vig. There’s nothing mysterious about it.
But now the bubble has burst, and home prices are back somewhere realistic. Which, again, really sucks for you if you bought your house at the top of the bubble. You are now deep in the hole. So I can see all those people desperately wanting house prices to pop up again so they can at some point actually sell their homes without going bankrupt. Granted. As for myself, yes, I enjoyed the fantasy that my house had made me rich, rich I tell you! Which I was for a while, in theory. Theory and reality are not the same. You are rich when you have the cash in hand.
But. If the house prices go back up to bubble levels, nobody can buy the houses without insane loans, and we would be back in another bubble. Which by its very freaking definition is not sustainable. Houses can’t cost more than people can afford, or people can’t buy them. Unless we can start paying our mortgages with unicorn tears, that’s just how it is.
So why am I reading all these stories lamenting the lack of lift in housing prices? Isn’t it a good thing that houses are affordable for working people again?
So people can actually, you know, live in them?
Posted Wednesday, 30 December, 2009 by Nic Lindh
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.
Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.