The sky is not falling or Chinese drywall is not a nail in the financial coffin of the real estate industry.
In This Post
Chinese drywall: A different perspective.
In a post by Lenn Harley on Chinese drywall she wonders how much more the American homeowner can take. In a follow up post she states the US Consumer Safety Products Commission has received 3,082 reports from consumers with drywall problems. OMG! And we can be sure that the problem goes deeper than that.
But for some perspective on the issue I looked up the American Housing Survey for 2007 and found these facts:
There were 128,203,000 housing units in the United States in 2007. Approximately 110,692,000 were occupied as regular residences and 17,511,000 were vacant or seasonal.
Approximately 75,647,000 or 68.3 percent of the occupied units were owners in 2007.
Approximately 35,045,000 or 31.7 percent of the occupied units were occupied by renters in 2007.
The American Indian tribes of pre-colonial days felt they owned vast tracts of land, and they roamed this land reaping the bounty and fighting off other tribes who encroached on their supposed territory. With the arrival of white settlers land was purchased from the natives, sometimes for a few beads.
Kings granted lands to faithful lords and with westward expansion the desire to own property continued with land rushes and land grants of many kinds. Piece by piece the country has been divided up because people want home ownership. Even during the Great Depression, while many people lost their homes to banks, others found ways to become the owners of that property. The financing of land is not about to be buried. It has survived many such setbacks and will survive the onslaught of cheaper (but costly) products because we think that is what we want. We want homeownership more.
Since I started in real estate we’ve had plenty of cases where bad materials in the home make for financial surprises and we’ve dealt with them. In the seventies it was urea formaldehyde and then lead paint. A while later it was the unused oil tank threat. Remember the Louisiana Pacific siding recall and what about ongoing problems with radon?
Maybe it’s because I’m blessed to live someplace where Chinese drywall hasn’t shown up. But let’s keep it in perspective. I’d like to close with a quote from Charles Buell’s recent post The recovery will not be televised on a different but related topic.
The problem I have with most people’s concept of recovery is that not only do they hope that recovery will get them back to where they were previously but also on some level they have the idea that they will be “reimbursed” for what they have lost. This concept of “entitlement” is epidemic in our country. The idea that if I suffer, if I lose ground, if I drop below some self-defined “standard,” that I am entitled to be compensated for my losses.