Sunday, March 18, 2007

lots of statistics, for the record

Mortgage Trouble Clouds Homeownership Dream - New York Times -- Now, nearly two years after we gave testimony for the Cuyahoga County commissioners and five years since Cleveland-Marshall law professor Kathleen Engel began writing her papers warning of the impending debacle, the numbers begin to appear in the popular press, and the evidence of greed is incontrovertible.

In the same edition, the NYT tells in "Buying With Help From Mom and Dad" about how the high price of residential real estate is spawning new specialties among lawyers, third-party administrators, psychiatrists, and counselors, as parents and children cope with the imbalanced behavior of committing more money to the children's housing than the children can afford. I wonder what the upshot of all this will be if ever the prices in the housing markets recede, and they find themselves in the uncomfortable condition called "upside down."

Finally, Gloria tells me that in the PD Friday, someone with insight into the mortgage and real-estate industries talked of "mortgages that are designed to strip wealth rather than allow homeowners to build up equity in their properties." It's good that all this is coming out now, while the huge intergenerational transfer of wealth from the post-WWI crowd to the post-WWII crowd is still under way.

Do you think that, if we paid cash for our housing and our cars, that the prices would moderate and approach true value?

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