This is a good article. People who bought homes at the "bubble times" were not all greedy scalawags, mainly just hard working people who saw homes continuing to appreciate and were worried about getting further pricedd out of the market. A young person or couple with a good income/down payment and looking to build a better life will usually buy a home. Its part of the American Way of Life.
That doesn't change the fact that there were flawed fundamentals in that market, it just stands to serve as a reminder to get in the game again asap while rates are low and homes are affordable. It also teaches those of us who plan to keep on investing in the housing market to look out for another period of unsustainable inflation in the future. And for those of us who did buy homes during those inflationary times, it's not all regret to own your home. We still have the memories of times spent there and something to call our own. Something we made for ourselves and that given time will be a great finacial asset as well.
The first thing I read this morning was a featured Activerain blog post titled The McMansion Extra Value Package : Is it REALLY the Bank's Fault You Can't Afford Your Home Now?
I disagree with the premise that all home buyers who took advantage of low-down and no-down loans to buy a home in the early 2000's were greedy. There were a lot of responsibible people who puchased homes well within their means who have been hurt in today's real estate market. I don't believe it's entirely their own fault if they and others are in a financial crisis now. And I don't really believe it's entirely the bank's fault, either. It's a symptom of the overall dismal economy, in my humble opinion.
Sure, there were some naysayers predicting a housing collapse, but plenty of experts shunned that idea.
To be fair, I think we have to go back to those so-called “bubble years” and remember what the housing market was 5 or 6 years ago:
Home buyers qualified for loan programs that were widely available, most people felt secure in their jobs, and there was no reason to expect anything other than continued growth in property values. Level off, maybe... but, in their experience (and ours), home prices never went down before. We all knew that declining home values might be possible in theory, but it seemed unlikely based on decades of real estate history in this country – certainly in the D.C.-Baltimore-Annapolis triangle, where we live and work.
It's real easy to sit in an ivory tower now, point fingers and, in hindsight, sweep all those home buyers (and banks) with a broad brush labeled “greedy” - It's just not fair or accurate.
In my experience as a REALTOR, responsible people used low-down and no-down loans to purchase an average home - a 2 or 3-bedroom townhouse with an hour-long commute to work or a modest 40-year old split foyer in the D.C. suburbs that needed updating - NOT a McMansion. People felt they had to buy “now” - before home prices went any higher and completely out of reach in their lifetime. They anticipated re-financing in a couple of years, as home prices continued to escalate and their equity grew.
Home buying and borrowing decisions were made in good faith, based on conditions at the time – and no one had a crystal ball in their back pocket to predict the future.
Fast forward five years to 2011, and frustration fills the air as many people lose their jobs or at least their job security, the price for gas and commuting goes up… higher costs for health care loom... taxes and fees are on the rise… bullies and bad guys threaten our kids online and on the street… our nation is threatened daily by extremists who chant in the streets of their homeland, “Down with America!”… and (drum roll, please) home values plummet.
This must be a nightmare!
Unfortunately this is today's reality, but it won't fix anything to play the blame game or wallow in a pity party. Let's go about the business of coping with this situation and finding a way to make lemonade out of lemons. It could begin with something as simple as a random act of kindness for a stranger… or a smile.
I'm sure you remember the Louis Armstrong recording “When You're Smiling”, so let's think about that as we do our own personal and professional best, focusing on the positive. In plain language, “Fake it 'til you make it!” Who knows… we might actually spread enough smiles to make a difference in someone's life, even if we can't magically cure the housing market overnight.
With that in mind, let me share with you some positive articles about today's real estate market. Why don't you pass them on to friends and clients… maybe you can put a smile on someone's face. It's a good start.
Americans Still Want to Own Homes (TheMReport.com - 6/11)
5 Reasons You Should Consider Selling Now (KCM Blog – 5/11)
Still a Good Time to Buy a Home (Gallup Poll – 4/11)
Home Sweet Home. Still. (Pew Research Center – 4/11)
Real estate: It's time to buy again (CNN Money – 3/11)
Why your best investment is a house (Wall Street Journal - 1/11)
Most people who purchased a home 3–6 years ago are still making timely payments on their homes, even though they probably owe more than their homes are currently valued. Give them a break… don't blame them for today's housing crisis. It's not fair!
Honestly, I don't believe real estate professionals or mortgage loan originators have any room to blame home owners for the housing crisis, because most of us went along for the ride a few years ago and even introduced our clients to those low-down and no-down loans. Just sayin'...
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DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this post is deemed reliable on the date of publication, but it is not guaranteed and it is subject to change without notice.
For information about communities, homes, and real estate in the D.C. - Baltimore - Annapolis triangle, contact:
Margaret Woda, REALTOR and Associate Broker
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. (410) 721-1500 Office
Direct: (301)346-2923 or EMAIL