Pyramid ownership

Honestly, there are times when I wonder if “home ownership” isn’t one of the most elaborate pyramid schemes ever. I remember John at myths_americana telling me about buying his first house in the University section of Denver back in the ’60s for less than what a good down payment would cost you today. I know a bit about the Denver market – if that place is larger than a doghouse and currently standing under its own power, it can’t be had for less than $250K.

Somehow we managed to get out of Denver last year without taking too much of a bath on our little townhouse, but we’re aware that it could have been a lot worse. We read a Denver Post story on the housing situation there a few months back, and best I can tell the market collapsed about 15 minutes after our For Sale sign went up.

But a buying a house, that’s supposed to be about as solid as investments come, right? Well, maybe not anymore. According to a WashPost story sent along by West Bygod Desk Chief Steve Reynolds:

Foreclosure rates rose in 47 states in March, according to Foreclosure.com, an online foreclosure listing service. The rates in Florida, Texas and Colorado are more than twice the national average. Even in New York City and Boston, where real estate markets are white-hot, foreclosures are rising in working-class neighborhoods.

And:

Should the nation’s housing bubbles deflate, as many economists and federal officials expect, the foreclosures could prefigure a national crisis. Americans now shoulder record levels of housing debt — more than 8 percent of homeowners spend at least half their income on their mortgage.

I realize that I’m not a financial wizard, but it seems to me that the economy is veering off in a scary direction toward a place where under the mattress is as safe and productive a place as any to put your money.

We just put our current place on the market today, so we’ll see how it all goes. Our next address might well be a rental, though. If a storm is coming, I’d like to be laying as low as possible….

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