Archive for December, 2011

Over the last few days, I wrote about my family history in Ancestral Call, my youth in Community of Elders, my teenage years in Coming of Age, and today I conclude with a little perspective on life and an expression of one of my deepest desires. You never know what will happen when you put something out in the Universe. Maybe my dream will come true. Chasing my entitlements When I was thirty years old, I found myself repeating mistakes and causing myself more unhappiness. I met some people who were happy and showed freedom of heart in the midst of the pressures of daily life. I wanted that for myself, so I joined their group and spent eighteen months…[READ MORE]

Having grown up in a community of elders with a long heritage, I have a deep connection to my old home town of Adams-Friendship, Wisconsin. I lived there throughout a blissful childhood until my family moved away when I was eleven years old. I struggled to adapt to my new environment always feeling like an outsider. In my Junior year of high school, I hatched a plan to go back to Wisconsin to have the high school experience I felt I was denied in Arkansas. I went home to come of age. It was 1985, my thoughts were short my hair was longCaught somewhere between a boy and manShe was seventeen and she was far from in-betweenIt was summertime…[READ MORE]

Childhood in a community of elders Yesterday, in Ancestral Call, I detailed my family history. I was born into a close-knit rural community, swaddled by family, extended family and a broader community which shared the same values. Both my grandparents living within a few miles of one another, and several aunts, uncles and cousins lived nearby. I had the support of this community during my formative years. I grew up believing everything is possible:   You can be anybody you want to be,You can love whomever you willYou can travel any country where your heart leadsAnd know I will love you stillYou can live by yourself, you can gather friends around,You can choose one special oneAnd the only measure of…[READ MORE]

My rural roots My roots run deep in the rural farm community of Friendship, Wisconsin. My fraternal family line can be traced back to Thomas Roberts, a Welshman born in 1831. Thomas arrived with two bothers in New York, but sadly, he became separated from them and never saw them again. Thomas immigrated to Adams County, Wisconsin where he started a family which still boasts many local residents. Although my name is Welsh, the women who married Roberts men for the next several generations were of Scandinavian descent. I am a mutt of the American melting pot. Many Scandinavians, Germans and Poles were drawn to central Wisconsin. The climate was something they were used to, so adapting to the new…[READ MORE]

I am not the only market observer who has come to this conclusion. Real estate recovery in limbo until 2013, experts say By Martha C. White -- December 23, 2011 This year was supposed to be the bottom for the housing market and 2012 was supposed to mark the turnaround. Really? Is that on the authority of realtors who call the bottom every year? Nobody with any credibility was calling the bottom in 2012, and anyone who did no longer has any credibility. In reality, even the improvements sound like bad news, and some forecasters are saying we'll have another year of gloom before the clouds break. Yes, the forecasters who have a clue what's really going on are looking…[READ MORE]

This was a million dollar home. Take a good look at that picture, and tell yourself, that was a million dollar home. It doesn't feel right, does it? I understand that people want to live down by the water, but do they really want to live in a yellow shoebox? Someone thought this tiny ugly house was worth a million dollars in 2005. Crazy! The bank took this back for $825,000, probably the outstanding balance on an 80% loan. This asset manager is not delusional, so he is trying to get out at $640,000. The price is still outrageous, but relative to the competing listings, it will probably sell near asking. Even the beach is seeing 35% declines from the…[READ MORE]

Bankers foster the idea that strategic default on a primary residence is immoral. Bankers want borrowers to continue to repay loans even when it is not in the borrower's best financial interest to do so. I and many others have argued borrowers have a greater moral duty to do what's in the best financial interest of their family. Obviously, bankers disagree. In reality, this isn't a moral issue at all. It's all about money. Bankers want to make money, and making moral arguments is a stigma of convenience. If they were on the other side of the transaction, they would make the opposite point. I know this because they were on the opposite side recently, and they did make the…[READ MORE]

Borrowing costs are likely to increase in 2012 for a variety of loans. The lower conforming limit will push many borrowers to either the FHA or the jumbo market where borrowing costs are higher. The FHA may also raise its borrowing costs again to cover the inevitable losses from the ongoing decline in home prices. Further, the new rules on conforming mortgages will push up costs on loans which do not conform. The result of higher borrowing costs will be greater pressure on home prices. If borrowing costs go up, affordability declines, and it's only affordability which will put a floor beneath home prices. New rules would raise mortgage costs By JEFF COLLINS / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER -- December…[READ MORE]

Prices across most of Orange County continue to decline. The OC Register reports prices have hit a near three-year low. My own analysis of the MLS data shows Irvine teetering on the brink of taking out the 2009 low and setting a new eight-year record low. O.C. home prices hit 31-month low December 13th, 2011, 9:39 am Orange County’s home pricing got hit with autmun’s chill, as builders had a record-worst sales month. DataQuick reported this morning that 2,297 residence sold in November. That is up 1.8% from a year ago. That gain came at a price. Literally. Median selling price was $400,000 — the lowest since April 2009 and off 8.0% in a year. Orange County’s median first hit $400,000…[READ MORE]

The loan limit on FHA loans is now $729,750. The venerable FHA which was founded to provide loans for low to middle income Americans is now being used to subsidize the mortgages and the house prices of high wage earners in places like Irvine. The government should get out of the housing market. Even the government knows this, but when removing its support causes house prices to weaken, so does the resolve of those in government to get out of the housing market. Obama signs extension for higher FHA loan limits by JON PRIOR -- Friday, November 18th, 2011, 10:21 am President Obama signed into law a government spending bill Friday morning effectively reinstalling higher conforming loan limits for the…[READ MORE]

In Memoriam: Tony Bliss 1966-2012