Sunday, February 24, 2008

Good Intentions with Unfortunate Results

Saturday night was Mother's Night Out for my mom's group. While I try not to bring up real estate, it always seems to come up. Last night seemed to mark a turning point. It was the first time I had heard a homeowner say they didn't expect the market to recover for over a year (it was actually the hostess who has a very lovely place they bought last year up in Shingle Springs). Even more surprising, no one in this conversation disagreed with her.

While some bubble bloggers might be filled with glee about this news, its quite the opposite for me.

Many of these moms in this group had bought homes in the last 5 years......not because they were looking to make a quick buck in the market, but because they wanted to settle down and raise their kids in a relatively safe neighborhood.

With two young children I am exposed to this particular demographic on a regular basis. For it is my generation and the one right below me that will pay a disproportionate price for all the irrational exuberance that occurred in the last 6 years (for example, my little brother is close to a negative equity situation down in Orange County.....they bought a home, were married and had a baby in the last 4 years).

While I am not the type of person to wish ill on others, I can't help but feel angry at those responsible for the fraud and speculation that fed this housing bubble. Many average families will be under a lot of financial stress, merely because their biological clocks were ticking at a very inopportune time. It all seems so unfair.


Sippn said...

Life is unfair.

If they all avoided teaser rate loans, even if they used a variable rate tied to libor, etc. and qualified with real income, they should be fine. Even benifit from asking for lower property tax assessments.

But we all got a free ride for awhile, even the tax revenues from all the building and high sales prices gave us ALL a cheap ride while we ALL took our cut in some form or another.

The bill is due.

gen xer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Buying Time said...

Sorry Gen Exer....I don't censor too many around here....but your comment was just plain mean....

alba said...

Even for those who purchased, you can only look forward and focus on your family. If you took relatively prudent risks, which continues to be a lesson for many of us, then your crowd will be just fine. Many have made starts with marriage and parenthood at the wrong time, according to the housing industry. Some of us have experienced it a few times. Look for guidance where it should come from; which is not financials.

sacramentia said...

The odds for divorce are still far worse than the odds for recession and housing downturns.

Patient Renter said...

"I can't help but feel angry at those responsible for the fraud and speculation that fed this housing bubble"

Then I should expect you to be equally angry about all the bailout crap, such as the $837 billion bailout B of A just asked Congress for to cover their mortgage losses. If your friends at the mom group are feeling pain, and you're feeling pain and we're feeling the pain, why should the banks who perpetuated this mess get off leaving us with the bill? (this question flies against traditional bleeding heart/liberalism, which is why I ask)

mbc said...

Hindsight is 20-20, so my hat is off to folks who were able to sit tight in 2004-2005 and resist paying the over-inflated prices, when the "buy now or be priced out forever" talk was at it's loudest.

Hopefully, your brother and others who bought near the top can handle their payments ok, and can sit tight for several years while this all shakes out.

Jacob said...

First, I fell no sympathy for flippers, builders, lenders at all. They gambled and lost, tough.

For the people that bought because they thought they would be priced out forever, I have some sympathy. But not much. If you bought a home at top dollar but could afford and still can afford the payment then what is the problem. Sure your home is worth less, but you plan to live there for a long time. And housing is never a great investment.

If you bought a home and lied on your income, or got a teaser rate knowing full well that you couldnt afford the home then tough, you were part of the problem.

And most of the people that bought put nothing down, so they paid low rent to the bank and put none of their own money in, and can now walk and rent a place they can afford.

Everyone was having a great time on the ride up, but now reality is getting a firm grip.

Buying Time said...

PR -

I believe it will be best to not bail out the market. If they were to do it, I would rather they help hardworking homeowners as opposed to corporate America. In general I think a bailout would keep prices artificially higher than they should. In the end, I think as a nation we will be better off if housing is affordable for your average family.

Somewhat separately, I heard that Congress is having some hearings about executive compensation for all the ousted CEOs. I am all for that. I would like to see all those Wall Street analysts bleed a bit, cause it seems to mee main street has taken the brunt of the pain.

There has been very little in the news to indicate that Wall Street firms are laying off workers, or cutting back on the lavish bonuses they give on top of their insane 6 figure salaries.

HOUSE2008 said...

Don't worry, the moms won't be the only ones feeling the pain as we all are going to be collectively meaning this generation & the next be paying the bill. The other day I heard on NPR from some yo-yo Dean of business school at U.C. Berkly recommending that the Gov't go & buy up all these homes & sell them back under Freddie mac or such. Sounds damn near like China of old where the Gov't "sold" the homes to you based on whatever criteria.They will somehow socialize home ownership but I question the wisdom of this. But I do give credit to the same Proffessor for answering a questioner if they should buy a home. He said No! Were in a downturn & to wait for about 1 yr 1/2. So they DO teach common sense at U.C.Berkley!:)

Patient Renter said...

"Dean of business school at U.C. Berkly recommending that the Gov't go & buy up all these homes & sell them back under Freddie mac or such."

This is so incredibly preposterous. As Mish said the other day: "How the hell is the government supposed to be able to package this garbage and sell it on the free market if the banks can't?"

mopar777 said...

Did you or your brother ask your parents about "investing" in this crazy market before signing the toxic loans? Did you or hubby take a long hard look at the loan docs before you signed and consider the comsequences of the resets? Did either of you do very well in math? Or did the two of you hug and kiss when the realtor said I ran the numbers and you can do it!

We warned our genxer nephew (aged 31) about paying $440K for a 1042 sqft crapbox condo in San Pablo in the summer of 2005. We told him to go rent somewhere until the market cooled down. Needless to say he did not listen and is now 100K underwater in the damn thing. His payments are almost double what he would rent the place for. By the time he is in his early forties he might have his equity back, but after paying out around a third of a million in payments that are mostly interest. Worse than that his baby mama whose living with him
does not want to marry because of the potential financial liability to herself and might walk out with his children if the financial storm gets too rough.

Gordon Gekko said...

House 2008 - It's Berkeley... 2 e's

This is a hard one for me because I tried to talk 5 people out of over paying, but either their greed or nesting instinct got in the way. I feel bad for them, but realistically, they deserve it. It's probably a little Schadenfreude too.