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A Decade of Punditocracy, Pathetic Edition

Ben Bernanke, August 9, 2005 “There’s a lot of good news on housing. The rate of homeownership is at a record level, affordability still pretty good. [Ed Note: The first part of that statement was true, the second part demonstrably false.] The issue of the housing bubble is one that people have — whether there is a housing bubble is one that people have raised. Housing prices certainly have come up quite a bit. But I think it’s important to point out that house prices are being supported in very large part by very strong fundamentals.” [Ed Note: In fact, it was exactly at this time that we were beginning to see cracks in the housing market as prices peaked in Boston, Detroit, Atlanta and Charlotte.] Paul Krugman, August 12, 2005 “How does the country [U.S.] earn its money? The answer, these days, is that we make a living by selling each other houses. [...] Over the past five years housing prices have grown much faster than the overall cost of living, adding about $5 trillion to the public’s wealth.” Alan Greenspan, September 26, 2005 “In summary, it is encouraging to find that, despite the rapid growth of mortgage debt, only a small fraction of households across the country have loan-to-value ratios greater than 90 percent. Thus, the vast majority of homeowners have a sizable equity cushion with which to absorb a potential decline in house prices.” Ben Bernanke, March 28, 2007 “At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained.”

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by David Jackson
Entered on:

    Don't own a home? You're probably one of the lucky ones. There is nothing wrong with owning a home, except that you WILL NEVER REALLY OWN IT! Even if your home has been in your family since Jefferson bought "Louisiana" from the French - they didn't actually "own" it, either, you will find that the "state" owns it: if you think not, try not paying property taxes and see how long it takes for it to be sold out from under you.

   If you can't pay cash, you will relegate yourself to a life of paying for the "right of ownership", through taxes and interest rates. (Even if rates are low, they are still a scam to make money from nothing.)

   The government fleeced millions of homeowners out of their homes, interest, and futures by allowing banks and government sanctioned "agencies" to con as many citizens as possible out of their savings and future earnings through subsidised, phony credit authorizations. (Right now, the money changers are cleaning up - I should say "trickling up" - in the residential and commercial real estate markets. The rest of us are looking for a box to rent, assuming we can find a job, in order to pay  for it.

   Most of my life, I've been told that boats are holes in the water that people throw money into. Something of a myth, I believe. There's much more evidence that houses are above-ground  holes.

   The housing market will recover. Pathetically, it is critical to the financial well-being of our country. If you have money, now is a great time to "buy low". If you have a secure job and are looking to live in a home for 6-10 years or more, this might be a great time to buy. Otherwise, be aware that a house is more than a mortgage. 1)Taxes, forever; 2) Utilities that will only increase; 3) Basic maintenance, repair, and upkeep; 3) Possible loss of investment, if you pay too much or too much down or get screwed by government incompetence or loose all in a natural disaster; 4) Insurance; and, 5) Neighbors you can't get away from.

    Renting is usually more expensive than a mortgage payment, but it can be equal or cheaper if you rent smart.    

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