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ckramer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 04:10 PM
Original message
Renters Gloat Over the Housing Slump
The housing slump has been painful for millions of people who work in real estate or recently bought a house.

For Patrick Killelea, however, this year has been one long victory lap. Mr. Killelea, a 41-year-old software engineer, has long preached that it makes more economic sense to rent than buy homes. He recalls shouting "Wow!" when he heard about September's 9.7% drop in prices of new homes.

"I didn't want to gloat," he says. "But then again, maybe I did."

For years, Americans who refused to buy real estate at what they considered excessive prices were ribbed for failing to profit from one of the greatest booms in history. "Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?" needled the title of a 2005 book by David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.

Now, with the housing market in a slump, renters who sat out the boom are finally getting some satisfaction.

Dean Baker, an economist, believes that the slump validates his decision to sell a two-bedroom condo in Washington's Adams Morgan neighborhood two years ago. Mr. Baker says he received $450,000 for the unit, which he had bought for just $160,000 in 1997. Since unloading the condo, he and his wife, Helene Jorgensen, also an economist, have been renting an apartment nearby for about $2,300 a month.

http://biz.yahoo.com/weekend/rentgloat_1.html

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progressivebydesign Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. Renters shouldn't laugh.. dumbsits. Rents go UP in soft housing markets.
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 05:07 PM by progressivebydesign
Morons. They should hope for a good housing market, as rentals become more scarce and expensive when people cannot buy homes.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Oh, Rents Are Ridiculous, Too, in Hot Neighborhoods
All the idiots who bought for the purpose of an investment expect renters to foot the bill, and pay their entire mortgage.
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Sapere aude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. Yep that's the idea. Also the property appreciates in value. Renters should get money back in a
boom market.
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #2
26. And not just in hot neighborhoods.
I moved into a neighborhood over 10 years ago, when I could get a decent apartment for a little bit above what it cost to rent a room and kitchenette in someone's house. I intended to buy a condo and did some looking for a while, then took a break to save a bit more money and look at my options. The market went crazy after that, and even someone who makes double my annual income might have trouble affording a fixer-upper or a modest condominium.

It goes without saying that people below me on the economic rung are in very severe trouble, and of course waiting lists for subsidized housing are thousands of families long.

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high density Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. Our classified section is full of apartments
I've never seen so many advertised, in fact.
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QC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #10
36. Lots of floppers here trying to rent the houses and condos
they're stuck with. Of course, speculators are the reason prices here doubled in five years, making it impossible for people who actually work for a living to buy a house, so I have no sympathy.
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gorbal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
17. People CAN buy homes
That's the point, home prices are going down.
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MannyGoldstein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 12:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
19. Not Necessarily
When houses can't sell, they turn to rentals. In my neighborhood (fairly upscale - Newton Mass.), monthly rent is a fraction of the cost of owning a similar house - and we've been in a sales slump for about two years now.
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lindisfarne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
3. Yes. And renters should take advantage of lower house prices and low mortgage rates to buy a house.
Mr. Baker, mentioned in the OP, might be laughing now, but home ownership historically has quite high appreciation at very low risk - for most Americans, their home a significant source of their economic value, if not the largest source. Not having a house payment when you're 70 is significant, if you're living off of social security and a small pension or savings.
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shireen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
4. i'm a renter and i don'f find anything amusing about the housing slump
people are hurting! there's nothing funny about that. the title of that article is just plain stupid.

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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 09:14 AM
Response to Reply #4
28. The bubble was caused by Bush's tax cuts
It was the rich people buying investments properties for a few months then selling them for huge profits that drove the market up. Something like 40% of all homes bought were by people who already owned at least one property.

And where did they (the rich)get the money for this? Shrub's tax cuts on investment income.

People are not hurting, by the way. If they have a fixed-rate morgage, they are paying the amount they agreed to pay per month, regardless of the worth of the house. It's only the people that are trying to sell that are being hurt, and since most of them are investors with lots of money, I really don't feel bad for them.

The market HAS to correct, or nobody will be able to afford a house. Then everybody is a renter, so only the rich property owners have the credit and equity of the property, and that's not good at all.
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 06:33 AM
Response to Reply #28
40. Yes, the Bush tax cuts might have accelerated things
but the last round of high inflation in housing prices dates to the tax act, that in 1997 made up to half a million dollars (for a married couple)every two years, free from income tax. Previously, people had to "buy up" in order to not pay tax on housing gains, but the law changed all that. Anytime you create a potential investment that can theoretically yield 2.5 million dollars worth of tax free profit in a decade, you create the reason for massive inflation in the price of that investment.


It was a Republican Congress that wrote the law, but President Clinton signed it. I worked in title insurance for twenty five years, and I noticed that sales really picked up once the word got out on that tax loophole.

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judaspriestess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
5. 2300 a month for rent
when he had a mortgage for 160K a payment of about 1200.00

2300 x's 12 = 27,600 x's 10 years = 276,000.

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lindisfarne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. He's probably laughing because he made a ton of money selling before the market slumped,
and has invested the money he made in the stock market, which is doing better than the housing market this year (assuming you chose well). Even a 6% CD is better than some housing markets ... But long-term, not a good choice, and >80% of the population can't afford to take the risk he did.
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Sapere aude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:30 PM
Response to Original message
6. I have a fixed rate mortgage at 4.5%. My house payment is $1400. Soon average rent will be higher
than my house payment and I have equity in my property. Go rent if you want. Not me!
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lindisfarne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Wow. How did you get a fixed rate mortgage of 4.5%? Can't be a market rate - they never
went that low? Or did you pay a lot up-front to buy it down?
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Sapere aude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. It is a Cal Vet loan. I am a Vietnam veteran and it is a special program for us in CA.
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 05:40 PM by Sapere aude
The rate is one percent over the Fed rate. I just got lucky when the Fed rate went down a few years ago. I have 20 acres and a new home and facilities for my horses. I guess getting shot at for a year had it's advantages.

I did not have to put a lot down,but I sold a previous home so I had some money to put down but that did not have much of an effect on the rate. I put 15% down.
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shireen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. i'm glad to hear that
Veterans deserve the best this country has to offer. Unfortunately, this administration is not living up to its obligations. It's good to know that California has made this very low interest loan available for vets.
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cureautismnow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #8
24. Yes, they were that low.
I refinanced in May '04 at 4.25% for 10 years and no points.
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kineneb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #6
22. our rate is higher, but our payment is still cheaper than rent
in the financial disaster of our lives, the one thing that worked out well is our house. We had to sell out in the SF Bay Area, and were able to buy down, out in the country. We own most of the house and are paying off a small equity loan at 6.5% fixed.

You (all) are allowed to throw (virtual) things at us: our mortgage payment is $167.50/month (not including taxes or insurance). Which is good, because we are living on Hubby's SSDI payment of $1200/month. If we had to rent, we would be screwed.
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natrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
12. in san fran prices flatten but never decline alas i am a perpetual renter
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. In which case, you'll LOVE this website - though you may already be familiar with it
http://www.burbed.com

December 22, 2006
ON THE WORLD RENOWN SAN FRANCISCO PENINSULA a barely standing house

MLSlistings Property Detail for MLS number 669922
868 SAN MATEO CT
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
$549,900



1) When did Sunnyvale join the peninsula?

2) When I think San Francisco, I dont think Sunnyvale

3) This really is one of a kind - mostly because its surprising its still standing. Click on the virtual tour to see whats left of this fiasco. Heres a quick teaser:


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lapfog_1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. Living here in Sunnyvale...
I can tell you that it's not part of the "Peninsula"... Maybe they got the address wrong, perhaps they meant 868 Sunnyvale Court, San Mateo, Ca... THAT address would be on the peninsula.

Anyway, this house is what the real estate types here call a scrape off. You are not buying the crappy house, just the property so you can bulldoze the house and build one of these "small footprint McMansions" (the ones that are odd shaped because the foundations extend to every conceivable corner of the lot and then it's a jumble of levels to maybe 3 stories.

And before, you would invest the $550K for the lot, invest another $300K for the McMansion (or more), and try to flip it for $950K to $1.1M. But not in Sunnyvale. Maybe Palo Alto, maybe Mountain View. Saratoga. Los Gatos. Not Sunnyvale.

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. My favorite was a house in Palo Alto for $350K
Nice-looking property, about 2,200 square feet, 4 BR, 2.5 BA, if memory serves.

Just one problem, though - a landslide on the property. The house had been ruled uninhabitable, you'd need huge retaining walls and/or high-pressure grouting to keep the lot it stood on from sliding down the hill, you couldn't get a loan on it and the MLS listing contained statments you don't usually see in an MLS listing, like "enter at own risk."

But for only $350,000 and a bit of sweat equity, it could be yours!! :eyes:
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lapfog_1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I remember years ago driving on 237
right near the 3Com campus...

There was an old house in the middle of a construction zone field. Probably one of the original farm houses around here.
Anyway, it was in very bad shape, not on a foundation, big holes in th walls, roof almost gone, really falling apart.

Somebody put a large hand painted sign on it "Silicon Valley fixer-upper $950K" as a social comment on the real estate prices around here.

I wish I had taken a picture... it was pretty funny.
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caligirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #18
27. We know that house! Hubby drove past it every day for a year. I don't think its there anymore
but it was near Montague Expy and Coyote Creek.
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #15
32. exactly, a "scrape off"
i was in mountain view a few months ago and had to travel thru a few neighborhoods. i can't begin to tell you how many "scrape off's" i saw! in sac, it just doesn't happen like that. anyway, i'd be driving down an ordinary low to middle class neighborhood with post ww2 houses, and every few houses would be a mcmansion, totally out of place. it was so weird...
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 03:27 AM
Response to Original message
20. Well I have no choice but to rent
At 30K a year there is no fucking way I can afford to buy (except if the bubble burst I suppose). Not a damn thing I can do about it.

At least I don't have to mow the goddamn lawn.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 07:40 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. I'm in a Similar Boat
I make a few more k than you.

Maybe in a few years, Habitat for Humanity will catch up to us.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
23. Timing is everything - I'm better off for having bought when I did
Edited on Sat Dec-30-06 10:38 AM by slackmaster
I bought in December 1994, at a very good time for home buyers. I was married at the time. We had been struggling for many years to try to get into a position to buy, and when we did it was not easy.

Because of California's "Proposition 13" limits on property tax increases and a May 2003 refinance at a low fixed interest rate, my housing costs are pretty much fixed until I have the place paid off in about 2016 at which time I will be about 58 years old. If I were to sell now and buy another home of comparable price, my annual property tax bill would increase by about $5,000.

If I had elected to continue renting instead of buying when I had a chance, I would be much worse off today.
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Changenow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-30-06 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. Bingo
15 years ago was a great time to buy, the last bubble had bottomed out. Now is a great time to rent. In a year or so things should have settled down again.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. We bought in 82 and are still here
When we bought the house it cost us $81K..and when we did a refi 2 yrs ago,(new roof/concrete work/new kitchen/new AC) it appraised at $400K..color us pleasantly surprised :)..
We're staying put until my husband retires and even if the mraket drops, we'll have enough to pay cash for a small modular home somewhere :)

We're tired of yard work and this place is too big for us, (but we have tons of "stuff" to sort through before we move one)
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #30
34. socaldem
that's what i plan to do too. i'm in norcal, but will retire in about 4 years. i'm hoping that housing prices will not go down too much so i can buy a piece of property somewhere cheap (south?) that i can have a mobile with a garden and some animals. that is the life, imo. good luck with your dream :hi:
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #23
33. me too
i bought (first timer) in 1996. housing prices were very low in sac. i refi'd in 2004, but only for about 30 grand so i could do some remodeling (new floors, bathroom, garage door, gutters). the time to sell for a huge profit has come and gone. ah well, you win some, you lose some.
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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 05:54 PM
Response to Original message
29. limited equity co-ops could be a long term solution
http://www.coophousing.org/about_nahc.shtml and http://www.innovations.harvard.edu/showdoc.html?id=3187 (for a more technical academic view)

I remember this being bandied about in the early 1980's as a way to preserve affordable housing for moderate income folks.

You are basically taking the housing out of the boom-and-bust market by restricting the resale value increase to the average rate of inflation.

You lose the opportunity to sell and make a killing, but because the appreciation is forever restricted, the price remains affordble.
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
31. Better to rent or buy?
That depends on a lot of factors. In general, if you are in a stable market (not one of those that has been ruined by speculators over the last few years), can afford to buy with a reasonable down payment and handily make your FIXED RATE payment, and you are planning on staying put for at least 5-10 years, buying is definitely better.

It is impossible for renting to be better over the long term, but it would take me an hour to explain why - simply put you can't get something at a loss indefinitely.
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Little Wing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
35. Rent's too high around here, everything's too high around
here. No gloating to be had. However, interestingly, since the person living above me *and I don't miss Stampy for one second* there's been hardly any attention for the place. I couple quick visits by people now and then, but never anything apparently serious.
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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
37. I should add, I'm renting an 2 bdrm town house (crappy one) for $825
Edited on Sun Dec-31-06 09:18 PM by superconnected
a horrible deal in my city, everett, wa.

My rent would be $725 a month but I refused to sign a lease.

I was waiting for a house not to literally double the amount I pay a month for living in a place. I've spent over a decade hearing people with house payments twice as much as mine say rent's the same amount. No, it usually is not. Not unless you bought in the 70's...

Anyway, the housing prices coming down is great for me and so many others who can do the math.
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zann725 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 11:47 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. You're in Everett? Have you considered Bend,OR? Plenty NEW house rentals in low $800,to mid-$900/mo.
And THESE prices are in nice neighborhoods, close to everything. (Average 3 bedroom house, w/garage and FENCED yard). Safe and clean.

I recently left a notoriously high rent area... SoCal because of long-time, obscenely-high rent. I now pay LESS rent for an almost NEW home (1500 sq. ft.) than I previously paid for a crappy old Single or small one bedroom apt. in a not-so-nice neighborhood in SoCal.

Like other renters, I really WOULD like to buy one day (before I die). So many years of so much wasted rent...

For now though, no complaints...as comfortably, I 'ride out' the realty decline, silently smiling.

Proud that I did my googling well, found an area that meets both my financial (rental, plus NO state taxes, etc.), and social needs. For those of you still in over-priced, over-crowded rental areas...if there is ANY way you CAN relocate, I heartily recommend considering it. I know with jobs and family and all, often it seems impossible. BUT in retrospect, I now often ask myself why I waited so long...over 20 years, to move from such an over-priced, high-stress, high-crime area to such a natural, peaceful, small-town, yet cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Good luck to all. The realty 'tide' IS turning. Perhaps slower in some areas...and yet...
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customerserviceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 06:40 AM
Response to Reply #37
41. I'm down here in Vancouver, WA
and paying about $800 a month for a one bedroom place, in an OK neighborhood. The cops are too busy protecting the rich people in the other neighborhoods a few blocks away, so I hardly ever see them crusing down the street where I live, but that has its good and bad sides.


My recommendation is to wait until massive amounts of foreclosure property hit the market. Lenders have been damned patient during 2006, but they will eventually have to start repossessing homes that people simply cannot make the payments on. A lot of folks will see that they owe far more on their houses than they are worth, and with no other good choices, will just walk away from them. The lenders will try to sell them with really great terms, back during the last housing recession in the early 1980's, they even offered to pay moving costs (as well as closing costs) just to get the properties off the books.


Look around you, everything built within the last 25 years was NOT part of that housing bust. And the baby boomers needed the multiple bedroom houses, they were starting families. Now, they just need a place to approach retirement in, and don't need the mega-home, which is too damn expensive to heat and cool, anyway.


My advice, keep on waiting. I expect the situation for buyers will be better one year from now.

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gtar100 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 02:42 AM
Response to Original message
39. The "gloaters" aren't typical renters
I am sickened by this headline of this article. Appears to me they are trying to put a rift between owners and renters. But these "renters" are real estate investors. $2300 a month? Sheesh, I'd be happy if my $500 rent went to $450 but gloating wouldn't be part of the mix. This landlord/tenant scenario is so out of whack across the globe anyway. Evolution has taken us from savage cannibals to savvy cannibals.
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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 07:34 AM
Response to Original message
42. There's no way I could afford $2,300 a month for rent!
I guess it depends on why you want to own vs. rent. I'd rather have my affordable, fixer upper house. We work on it ourselves and it consistently goes up in value (current project completed: slate flooring in the sun room). Plus, if I decide to paint all the walls purple and all the ceilings black there is no landlord telling me I have to live with white everywhere. And my cats aren't in jeopardy of being ousted . . . most of the time. LOL.
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ckramer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-01-07 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
43. Money spent on too much housing basically is a waste
One only needs a bed and a roof to get by the night.

It's amazing people are forced to spend this much on that.

Only originate from America!
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