Housing

Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Housing

A Question for Alterman About Breitbart

In an otherwise excellent article about the Breitbart scandal/Sherrod non-scandal*, Eric Alterman writes the following: To be fair, Kurtz does come up with one legitimate example [of liberal excess]. He quotes MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, observing that Sherrod’s reputation had been “assassinated by Fox News”–which is undeniable–but who also referred to and “that scum Breitbart.” Olbermann…

Or, if you prefer, the housing bubble that started well before the onslaught of CDOs. First, let me point out for readers that ScienceBlogling Mark Chu-Carroll’s description of the latest Vampire Squid Goldman Sachs scandal is perhaps the clearest and most concise description of the whole CDO problem. Having said that, CDOs weren’t the fundamental…

I’ll have more to say about housing as an investment (hint: in quite a few cases, it’s incredibly bad), but one thing to keep in mind is that people don’t always protect their investments as well as they should. Last week, there was a massive, nine-alarm fire, in a Boston apartment building–fortunately no one was…

In fact, it didn’t even require much in the way of theory. As financial reform legislation moves its way through the legislative process, we’re going to hear a lot of claims along the line of “No one could have predicted this.” Which makes me wonder if we’re going to militarily occupy Wall Street for a…

More on the Potential for Debt Revolt

One thing about Big Shitpile that seems to have gone under the radar is the potential for–and, increasingly, the reality of–debtor revolt. That is, people who owe more than their home is worth refuse to pay without a renegotiated mortgage. Sean Broderick thinks that “a debtor’s revolt is going to be one of the defining…

There’s been some discussion about Joel Kotkin’s argument “The War Against Suburbia“, kicked off by The NY Times making it their Idea of the Day. Leaving aside whether there should be a ‘war against suburbia’, it’s just not true. First, there has been a decades-long policy of federal subsidization of housing prices through the mortgage…

In response to my post about the scientist glut, ScienceBlogling Razib writes: But that aside, what’s the point of funneling more math and physics graduates into math and physics instead of finance if they can’t put bread on the table? Or is the issue narrower, specifically the difficulty of getting an academic job? Or perhaps…

You Can Walk Away

File this under caveat mutuor. Henry Blodget points out the obvious in his retort to those who claim people have a moral obligation to remain in mortgages that are ‘underwater’ (paying more than the house is worth)–it’s a business contract. Blodget (italics mine): Importantly, the reason is not that “Wall Street deserves it” or “We’ve…

Yes, You Can Walk Away from Your Mortgage

I’ve made this point before–if your mortgage is underwater, you should consider a ‘strategic default’ (which is what it would be called if you were a business), and, unless you were speculating, it’s not unethical to do so. First, you didn’t force the lender to give you the money (and to the extent that there…

With Big Shitpile rolling on, there’s been a lot of discussion about the ethics of defaulting on a home mortgage. Several people have commented on the hypocrisy of denigrating homeowners for doing the same thing that businesses do, without any moral qualms, so I won’t say any more about that here. What I do find…