Tuesday, June 17, 2008

US Real Estate and the Global Economy

Fast Company's Big Idea for June 9, 2008 was:

“The American housing bust has become responsible for a substantial portion of the world's problems. ” - Inspired by Mark Landler, New York Times.

My response:

"Housing is one factor that has us flirting with a bitter cycle of economic erosion. Is Housing the cause? I think more likely it's a symptom of the rampant consumerism and lack of thrift among Americans in general (including this American in particular) over the past decade(s). I think the quote stopped at least one step short of identifying anything that can be considered a cause.
Remember that real estate is a local phenomenon. We're a long, long way from global collapse of real estate markets. If folks were buying homes in the late 70's/early 80's when gas was scarce and mortgage rates were 18%, I think we can find our way through the current mess, where gas is still available, however expensive, and rates are hovering around 6%.
The silver lining here is that houses are becoming more affordable, not less, and pressure will continue to make our housing more efficient."

I'll note that I should have said our choices in housing more efficient, meaning that where and how we live will be affected, and what we view as necessities will be pared down.

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