Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Housing Problems

I was watching MSNBC last night and they were discussing the current state of the economy. The gentleman being interviewed said the economy is going to get much worse in the coming several years, which we all know, but he threw out a statistic that really shocked me.

In 2007 nine million home owners in the United States owed more money on their homes than they were worth. In other words they have negative equity in their home. This is shocking because your home is your single most valuable asset, especially when it comes to retirement. Plus most of these owners bought their home with the understanding that the values would continue to increase. Home ownership has always been a wise investment for financial security later in life.

Nine million home owners is bad enough but this is what really shocked me. He said that by the end of 2008 fifty million home owners would owe more on their homes than what they are worth...considerably more. He went on to say that unless something dramatic is done 2009 would be even worse.

Banks will not be willing to write off the several hundred thousand dollars per home to renegotiate with the owner and even if you were to refinance to a lower interest rate you still must borrow against a house over valued by half...won't happen.

You live in a wonderful cookie cutter McMansion subdivision. You are trying to sell your place for five hundred thousand, that's what you have in it, and the bank is dumping your neighbors identical house, which was foreclosed on, for two hundred thousand. What does that do to the market in your neighborhood? What does that do to your sales options?

You owe five hundred thousand and can only sell for two hundred thousand. Are you going to spend the rest of your life paying off the additional three hundred thousand while living in a survival trailer down by the creek? Will you stay in that house paying huge monthly mortgages on your overvalued home knowing that the money could be going into a retirement account?

At the end of the interview Tucker Carlson looks at the guy and says "I'd just walk away from it" to which the guy replied "So would I".

Live Simple, Live Free


Anonymous said...

According to this report

fifty percent of home owners already owe more on their homes than what it is worth .

Bring on the survival trailers .

DAL357 said...

I guess that a home was one of the last places the average Joe thought he could hide from the ravages of the monster he helped create, a socialist government at every level, but now that is even proving to have been wrong.

I don't know if this housing mess is going to be the final crack in the dam face that causes it to release trillions of gallons of reality, but sooner or later reality WILL reassert itself, and when it does, it's going to be so brutal the repercussions will change buying/spending/money habits for generations, and very likely whatever is left of liberty in the USA.

theotherryan said...

Being somewhat upside down is not an issue if you plan to live in the house for a long time. If you plan on getting out of the system in the near future then walking away is the best option.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the interview Tucker Carlson looks at the guy and says "I'd just walk away from it" to which the guy replied "So would I".

And that, my dear friends, is exactly what is going to happen by the tens of millions. It's already started, over 8.5% of ALL properties in the state of Georgia (my home state) are already 30+ days in arrears right this minute. No doubt that number will soon double, or even triple.

Americans got shafted, conned, sold a bill of goods, aka 'the American Dream', that shack made of glue, plastic, and sawdust will be worth a fortune in badly inflated dollars, and being the gullible schmucks that they are, bought into it, and the fascist government, god help their souls, enabled it.
Now they've all standing around with their 10 pounds of sh*t in a five pound bag.

The well-connected financial con men and grifters in charge are on the hook for billions, perhaps trillions in lost assets. But no worries, it'll all be papered right over with even more debt, in the form of taxpayer bailouts, borrowing from our children, and rampant inflation.

Sorry about the double post.

Anonymous said...

Hello, BigBear.

I am new to the blogging sphere and was drawn into your site from the word "go".

My husband and i are both working very hard to get bills paid off early, etc. and so far, (knock on wood) it is working.

We have a small home that we refinanced 4 years ago at 3.5% for 15 years and are not about to leave it now!

In Michigan (like elsewhere in the country) foreclosed houses are cropping up all around us. We have 3 just on our street.

We live in a small town (less than 10,000 people) and so the effect of foreclosed houses are hitting alot of us.

My personal dream is to get as close to off grid as possible and dig in. I am taking baby steps right now (don't even know how to grow a garden much less preserve/can anything yet) but am determined to learn.

thank you so much for being on here and being and inspiration!


your new "cyber-friend", janet

P.S. i would deem it an honor if you would allow me to put a link to your blog on mine so that I can direct some friends to it, as well. Let me know!

The Other Mike S. said...

Unless there is some sort of bail out similar to the one proposed about a month ago by the head of the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), the bottom of the market will not be until mid-2009. That is when the last of the sub-prime loans reprice. A few months after that, the final foreclosure sales should happen, and "normal" market conditions should drive house prices.

The OTS proposal is for the FHA to issue "negative equity certificates" to lenders that refinance the sub-prime mortgages. They do a new loan at the new value of the home, and the FHA gives them a certificate equal to the old loan amount, less the new loan amount - the net negative equity.

The short of it is, this would transfer the (sure to be) losses from the banks and investors, to the public in general.

What I haven't seen addressed is how the negative equity would affect the homeowner. Generally, if a bank takes over a home and the loan is worth more than the home sells for at auction, the difference is considered income to the borrower (debt forgiveness), and is reported to the IRS.

BigBear said...


Thanks, and of course you can put a link on your page. Good luck with the process.

westyoungman said...

I hear ya, Bigbear. I intend to pay off my CO raw land as soon as my mobilehome sells (will be on this horrible market soon) in CA. We will build our own home a little at a time without debt. That is the only way I will feel secure.

At least I am not personally in the mortgage mess with my loan. I am not upside down and should still make a SMALL profit upon selling. Cannot wait to be out of here!

BigBear said...


Thats the only way to do it. It's not as convenient as building with a loan but it's all yours. Will you be trailer living in the valley or living in the structure as you build.?

Bill said...

Forgiven mortgage debt is no longer considered income, thanks to a 2007 federal law - big incentive to walk away.

Remember in some states (e.g. California) there are no deficiency judgements allowed on first mortgage loans - another powerful incentive to walk away.

Best proposal I saw on tonight's ABC news was to allow state/local governments to buy abandoned/forclosed real estate - yes, I'm sure east LA housing would make a great investment for CALPERS!

westyoungman said...


I forgot to add that we will first be moving to Durango while I attend a college in Farmington, NM. It should be brief since it is just a certificate program. We will rent there and travel out to the land on weekends as we can to begin improving the land in SLV. I guess we will have some of the same challenges as you have with living in one place and trying to build a home in another.

So I expect that we will stay in a trailer of some sort initially when visiting the land. When ready to live full-time, we at least want to have some sort of small structure to live in. Something that might become part of a larger home later, or a workshop or shed. It would likely be of strawbale and would be great practice for building a larger home. Of course, all of this depends on me finding work and changing my career field. I'm ready!