Archive for July, 2010 Government subsidies are spending someone else's hard earned pay. All of us who work are paying for McMansions everywhere through the home-mortgage interest deduction that subsidizes the McMansion owner's loan. It's time we stopped these subsidies, allowed housing prices to fall to their natural market levels, and released trapped capital currently tied up in real estate to more productive uses. We Can't Afford This House Christopher Papagianis and Reihan Salam -- July 20, 2010 Part 2 -- Admittedly, ending the subsidies would probably depress housing prices overall. Since most homebuyers base their purchase decisions on the monthly after-tax cost of housing, reducing the deduction for mortgage interest would mean that the same monthly payment would buy “less house.” For example,…[READ MORE]

Does everyone really need to own a home? Our government, which rarely acts with a single mind, certainly seems to think we all need to own a home. Of course, to accomplish that feat, we have so perverted the meaning of home ownership that people with no equity -- those merely renting money from a bank to occupy property -- are considered homeowners. They aren't. They don't own anything -- except perhaps a loan. As a nation we can't all afford to be homeowners. Some people are not up to the task. It requires the ability to save and to consistently make payments. Home ownership reduces mobility, and some people have careers that require them to move. During the housing bubble, we were selling…[READ MORE]

The Marquee at Park Place: The North Korea Towers: The Beautiful Loser. Every original owner has lost a fortune. Some have realized their losses and given up, and some are still holding on waiting for 20 years when prices come back. Today's featured property transacted for 63% off the peak. That is quite a fall. Was the housing bubble foreseeable? Did buyers like those profiled below simply get caught up in an unusual event, or was their foolishness obvious to anyone willing to examine the costs and benefits to make a rational decision? I take you back to the prime of the housing bubble. In June of 2004 the kool aid was free flowing, people believed prices could only go up, and everyone who bought real estate was…[READ MORE]

In Memoriam: Tony Bliss 1966-2012