Sunday, May 01, 2005

Rearranging Our Lives Around The Bubble

If the number of stories like this one are any indication, we may be near critical mass. "Last month, the two medical-product salespeople became the somewhat-proud owners of an aging Mililani house that represented other compromises as well."

"From an early budget in the $400,000 range, they ended up paying $535,000 for the partial fixer-upper, a four-bedroom with a tidy interior but that lacks a toilet in the main bathroom, badly needs a paint job outside and is dotted with other repair needs."

"'In this market you have to be open-minded,' said Nina, who expects a 'struggle' and some lifestyle changes to make the mortgage payments."

"Alyson Borgerding and her fiance, George Helwagen, bought a Kailua house for $998,000. But despite using significant equity from a previous mainland home, they still had to cash in their Individual Retirement Accounts and cancel plans for a large wedding in March as they deal with a monthly mortgage payment in excess of $5,000. They plan to elope."

"This market is so tight and hot that when you get something you want and can afford, you have to rearrange everything around that," she said.

"We were talking about this in the late '80s, early '90s, and then the problem went away. It reversed itself."

15 Comments:

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Nayrab said...

The stories sound just like some of our freinds in California, who have cashed in thier 401k's and taken a home equity on their current residence. They have purchased three other homes which they rent out. I staed in an earlier comment, they are losing around $1,600-$2,000 a month to cover the extra expenses the rents do not cover.

I already feel sorry for them, because I know where they will end up.

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh, yes... of course... and it's different this time because the buyers are from california not japan...

 
At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Economics are part of the problem - check out this guy's quote from the article:

"There are always going to be winners and losers -- people who were ready and those who weren't. It's the nature of the game," said Paul Brewbaker, Bank of Hawaii's chief economist.

What the $%#(? "People who were ready?"

Bubby, some of us where in grad school inventing the technology that makes your life more comfortable, while you were bidding up housing with your eco-BS of lower rates.

Maybe it's time to get back to gold backed money and abolish the Federal reserve - why are bankers setting interest rates anyway?

Let's get rid of progressive taxation while were at it, and imprison economists and Demopublicans just to be sure they don't repeat what they've done to the US over the last 80 or so years.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Ben Jones said...

anon,
That is the optimist in me too. We need to point out the Feds culpability so we can press for a debate on whether we need a central bank.

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger John Law said...

I can't believe people willingly buy these crappy houses.

 
At 3:28 PM, Anonymous bob r said...

Did everyone gasp at the smug comment by the Bank of Hawaii chief economist?

"There's not a lot of downside risk."

Holy crap! I hope that guy gets a pink slip when this whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger realist said...

john law said, "i can't believe people willingly buy these crappy houses."

why not? right up until the last stock market crash, not only did 98.5% of analysists tell us to buy stocks, but learned pension fund managers actually listend to them. hell, long term capial had two economists who were nobel prize laureates.

 
At 4:37 PM, Blogger Greenlander said...

"There's not a lot of downside risk."

For the buyer, that's true!

If you put 20% down and the market goes down 20%, it's your problem. You're screwed.

If you put down 0% and the market goes down 20%, it's the bank's problem. The bank is screwed. But, there was no downside risk for the buyer!

 
At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and no nobel prize laureates have ever come up with a theory that predicts a crash successfully.

 
At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

.............john law said, "i can't believe people willingly buy these crappy houses."

I just came back from an open house a block away from our house. Orange shag carpet, peeling wall paper, a crummy concrete backyard that smells like dog crap, built in the 1920's. 1000 sq ft. The realtor is accpeting offers between 669 and 700K.

This is insane! Five years ago here in San Diego, you couldn't sell the same house for 180K!!!!

 
At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The realtor is accpeting offers between 669 and 700K.

This is insane! Five years ago here in San Diego, you couldn't sell the same house for 180K!!!!"

Blame Greenspan and the corrupt US gov for pumping easy money into our system and tossing responsiblity out the window.

I only wish the blame would be placed on their shoulders when it all comes crashing down.

 
At 9:30 PM, Anonymous lovelyhulahands said...

Had to laugh reading the quote about the Hawaii soon-to-be-newlyweds: "This market is so tight and hot that when you get something you want and can afford, you have to rearrange everything around that."

I think it's more about the "want" and not the "afford". If you have to cash in on your IRAs and cancel your wedding to buy a $1 million home in Hawaii, I'm not sure you can really afford that home. Just another sign of the "I want it now, i'll worry about it later" syndrome.

 
At 9:38 PM, Anonymous sveninstockholm said...

Speaking of Nobel prizes...

Actually the "Nobel" prize for economics is not an legitimate Nobel prize. Alfred Nobel (whose estate funds the Nobels) specifically stipulated that economics not be one of the categories because he believed it was not a science at all. He wanted nothing to do with economists who he felt were either idealogues or lapdogs of governments, corporations or special interests.

The faux Nobel in economics is funded by a variety of international banks and finance corporations.

 
At 10:22 PM, Blogger Ben Jones said...

lovelyhulahands,
I totally agree. Great post.

 
At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Holy bloated mania," giggled the newlywed as he tossed his arms into the air in joyful rapture.

"Look at all this room! I thought it would be a dog house for only $500 mil!"

 

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