June 25, 2007

Women of HousingPANIC - tell us your views on the bubble, buy vs rent, Suzanne, HGTV, nesting, buying without a man, and did women cause the bubble?

No guys allowed this thread.

Ladies, what's up?


Anonymous said...

Rule No. 42 - anything bad is the woman's fault.

keith said...

no comments from men this thread allowed folks (except the moderator of course)

women only

Tokyo Girl said...

The women who like Barbie, big weddings and mall jewelry shops usually become like that "Suzanne-researched-this" wife.
This type of American women usually marries some mainstream guy who wants to show how manly he is by making more debt with gas-guzzling automobiles and crap from China. Plus, they tend to be fat.
It is not their fault.
They just didn't know.
It is so pathetic.

If you don't want to be like them, get a smart foreign woman(or man) as your partner.

Anonymous said...

Yes. We women did cause the housing bubble, when we found out we could make more money flipping house than we could pole dancing.

stardust said...

I own pre-bubble(rent from bank), and most of my single gal-pals have owned since before the bubble. We are all well grounded - no housing ATM cash outs. I love not having a LL. Excluding my current bf, who I adore, men can be extremely bossy at times. All I can say is make sure you have a pre-nup!

I'm thinking that the bubble is just one aspect of a ww credit bubble (started by banks and hedge funds)that is beginning to unwind quickly now. I'm invested in mm and foreign funds. I'm very concerned with the global state of things.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

From a True Blue HP Chick, the bubble is tragic and it really got to me for a few years, but I am resigned to it now and ready for the Global Credit Crash.
Thanks to HP, I now work in the OIL sector, and in alternative energy (next bubble according to ITULIP) which is my way to secure my future as Inflation/Stagflation Proof, no matter what.
Now, rather than going all emo, in true female fashion, I am making plans, on my own, in preparation for the worst. HP has been a factor in my new direction, but I just really like hangin out with all the guys here!

Anonymous said...

Why is it Girls Night Out only when the place goes to hell? Or is that HELOC?

Anonymous said...

I would like to see more discussion on why this is happening globally. What percentage of speculators are non U S citizens. Why is the federal reserve system being used in several countries. Do they all have ties to our federal reserve? I think we are looking too much at our own 'TREES' that we are not seeing the global proverbial 'FOREST'. I never gave globalization much thought before, thought it was some kind of pipe dream. But with corporations running everything political, I think we better start discussing the implications of globalization and how it will affect us.

This Voice

Grateful said...

I will take this opportunity to thank you again Keith, for providing a public service. I'm not exaggerating when I say that your blog saved me from penury and heartache. I did my best to direct people to your site and many readily understood and heeded the warnings. Those who didn't are now consumed with fear and dread.

Arlene said...

In my house, I am the HP'er by nature--downsizing and decluttering are my things.

My husband is the "expander"--more stuff, more space. (He is at somewhat of a disadvantage in pursuing these things because it is his job that causes the frequent moves for which I do much of the work.) Thus, we are renters (and definitely non-bitter).

I DO know of women who have pressed for more house, usually because of an expanding family. Like the scary woman in the "Suzanne" ad, many of these moms seem almost crazed by the "better schools" notion, and THAT actually drives the real estate choice.

Otherwise, wife-instigated real estate moves only result in MORE house to clean and MORE driving for mom, neither of which make any sense. School is the heartbeat of the bubble.

It's sad that so many people are herded into a real estate shell game because the middle class seems to have given up on the public schools, which once fueled the REAL American Dream.

Anonymous said...

We caused it because women aren't good with math.

Jackie said...

I'm a thirty-year-old attorney, married, renting a one-bedroom apartment for $850 in an upscale suburb of a major city. That's a very reasonable rent for this area and we'd be happy to stay in this apartment for years, except that we're going to have children in the next five years. So we'll probably have to buy a house in the next three years, unfortunately.

That's the crux of the issue for women. If a woman wants healthy children, she has to have them before 40. Three bedroom apartments are rare, there aren't many well-kept houses for rent in good neighborhoods (with excellent schools), and it's best for kids to have the stability of staying in the same house for eighteen years, so most women want a house by their mid-thirties. Men have a higher must-have-house age, because they're usually a bit older than their partners and can thus wait until she's in her late thirties. It's not any "nesting" nonsense on my part; it's simply that we'll need a house for our kids.

I believe the bubble was caused by low interest rates; the upward pressure on all house prices that sub-prime loans and lax lending standards caused; and whatever peculiarities of our tax system made house flipping so appealing. All of the house flippers I've met have been middle-aged men, men set the prime rate, and most lenders are men. So, if we're going to discuss which sex caused the bubble, I'd argue that it was primarily caused by men.

As for my family, we'll definitely wait at least a year, in the hopes that the bubble will continue to deflate. However, because we plan to stay in the house for more than 30 years, it makes more sense to buy than rent.

Of course single women can buy houses on their own, but I wouldn't feel comfortable buying a house on one income. You never knew when you'll be fired and you'll be less able to relocate for a job (which should be one of the benefits of being single).

HGTV is fun to watch, but it's not something to take seriously. I've watched my brother tear apart several rooms in his house for remodeling projects he'll probably eventually have to pay someone to complete. Speaking of gender issues, I've often wondered if my brother tries so hard to make his house fashionable because he's gay and there's a lot of pressure on gay guys to have nice houses and stylish possessions.

Jackie said...

Arlene, I don’t see what’s wrong with wanting to live in a good school district. It’s better than paying for private school. We certainly plan to be involved with the school system. My husband or I will probably run for school board at some point.

As for “women who have pressed for more house, usually because of an expanding family,” if it had been left up to the man what would he have done with the new baby? If you have a boy and a girl, you need three-bedrooms. What other reasonable answer is there?

Role Reversal said...

My husband whined until he got a mcmansion (moving from my older renovated paid for house mind you) thank god we transferred and sold at the top, he is now a ferverently non bitter renter. But he will be the one to push for a house long before I do. Thank god I really love him.

I miss a few things about owning, but during turbulence with jobs or the economy renting is so much less stressful.

Anonymous said...

Girls just wanna have fun!

Anonymous said...

Don't blame me blame my hormones.

Cate said...

No, I don't think women caused the bubble. I think it's just stereotyping to say that women are shopaholics and make all financial decisions emotionally. I think men are just as bad. They want to look like the most successful badass breadwinner on the block. Big house, big vehicles, big TVs, big boat, big vacations, etc. apparently equal big 'private parts'.

We own and bought before the bubble with a prime 30 year fixed. We have about $350.00 on our credit card. That's credit card singular. I am definitely the more fiscally responsible person in my marriage. I think we would be much deeper in debt if it were up to my husband alone.

What I want to know is how many marriages are ending as a result of the bubble? A couple from my daughter's swim team is divorcing and their house in preforeclosure. The wife swears she did not want the house in the first place. She was happy with their old house but her husband wanted more square footage. So they spent a fortune upgrading the old house so it would sell quickly. Between the increased cost of the mortgage, the debt from the upgrades at the old house, the increased taxes and homeowner's insurance (we live in Florida), they owe more monthly than they bring in. I guess it was more than their marriage could take.

happy2Brenting said...

Glad you asked the question, Keith... Occasionally my husband expresses remorse that we didn't buy before the 50% runup in our area, but I assure him things will return to normal. In the meantime we've been saving like crazy for that large down payment. I agree with the poster that a bigger house=more space to clean. No thank you!

We happily rent a family-owned property in a very nice neighborhood where we know that some paid cash (Californians) and the rest have unbelievable mortgages. I'm already seeing many of these expensive houses--think 8 x median income--languish on the market a year or more, and I expect that in the next 3-4 years we'll be at saner price levels...

It's great to be debt free and have a postive net worth not tied to home equity. Whether we rent from a landlord or from the bank, it's all the same to me. It doesn't hurt that I have a scientific background and am already very frugally minded. I've always tended towards seeing things a little more rationally than my female cohorts.

Unfortch I have to hold my tongue when my girlfriends start talking about moving into a bigger house because 1800 sq feet doesn't work for them anymore. I've stopped telling them to wait until things cool off.... You can't stop stupid, especially when it's emotionally driven.

BTW it's fun to watch HGTV if you don't take it too seriously. I am amazed by how much crap people accumulate and then wonder why no one wants to buy their house when they've stuffed the place with ugly furniture and hideous knick-knacks. I'm also made aware of little shortcuts sellers make when they try to sell their house (e.g., "paint the cabinets! it may not look good for very long but hey, that's not your problem by then").

yuccatree3 said...

I'm a thirty-year-old attorney, married, renting a one-bedroom apartment for $850 in an upscale suburb of a major city. That's a very reasonable rent for this area and we'd be happy to stay in this apartment for years, except that we're going to have children in the next five years. So we'll probably have to buy a house in the next three years, unfortunately. That's the crux of the issue for women. If a woman wants healthy children, she has to have them before 40.

I'm a woman, but I'm always amazed at the number of women who seem so desperate to have children, no matter what. To them, it doesn't what is happening locally, nationally or globally. Who cares if the global credit market is about to crash, which will shove all of us into an horrendous financial crisis that could bring on a depression much worse than last century's Great Depression. No, they're just gotta have kids, even if they may have to watch them go without medical care or even starve to death down the road....

Happy renter said...

Because of the help of this and other blogs, I decided not to buy property yet -- instead, I cashed in some stock and bought myself an Infiniti G35 - cash. Ha!

Happy renter.........

Anonymous said...

Because of the help of this and other blogs, I decided not to buy property yet -- instead, I cashed in some stock and bought myself an Infiniti G35 - cash. Ha!

Happy renter.........

Wow, you would have been better off buying the house, at least you would have had something that in the long run would appreciate. That infinity in 5 years will be worn out, and worth 1/5th of todays price. It would take a heck of a housing crash for a house to be worth 1/5th of it's value. Now that is an emotional purchase....

Anonymous said...

When I see Suzanne it reminds me of a woman I used to work with in IT. She lives in a gated mcmansion community(ARM-nothing down), has expensive cars, golf club membership, pricey health insurance for her cat, is pro war, pro entitlements for the rich(up to and including insurance fraud), anti any kind of food, education or social programs.. including even katrina assistance.

she bullies her husband 24X7 and gets her way at a micro level- down to ruling on the shrubs he can plant and types of mulch he is allowed to use.

It seems sometimes that she is completely uncomfortable being a woman and is even embarrased to do anything traditionally female like maintaining social relationships or value anything traditional like security or cooking(she never used her oven after a $100,000 kitchen upgrade)

Avoiding the housing bubble trap seems less about gender than about people being comfortable enough with themselves to say, I value myself (and close friends, relatives...) if you don't value me because I dont have an extravagant house, oh well, it's your issue.

I think the media works hard to make everyone insecure regardless of gender. It might not be 'all about Suzanne'.

There are a lot of issues of course.
With housing so expensive and the public schools getting worse each year we are going to collectively need a new american dream for women with kids.

In summary, women are much cooler than men and have been keeping the wheels from falling off the trolley quietly for years. But enough is enough, we are ready to hit the big RESET button.

Anonymous said...

I'm Laura Vella and I have to post Anon because I have been having trouble posting under my blogger name. Anyway...

There is no doubt, renting is the only way to remain financially stable in this historic housing bubble. Why pay for an overpriced house when all the costs associated with it keep rising when prices are falling? If we had bought this place, we could only qualify with an interest only loan at todays prices. So, we wait patiently and rent.

The Suzanne video is so disturbing and sickning to both me and my husband. - I believe women's emotions definitely rule the decision to buy a house, in most cases- even if a couple can't afford to buy one. But wait, Suzanne said "we could do this"!!

Actually, both my husband and I watch BuyMe on HGTV for pure entertainment value only. We just can't believe these stories are real- but they are. Totally unbelievable. And these other decorating HGTV shows really do brainwash women to keep updating their homes. Shopping for a lot of women is the same as crack cocaine.

To me, nesting is just an excuse to follow the crowd, it must give women something to talk about to each other. It's also an excuse to re-decorate. In the end, it only makes the retailers more wealthy. Why would I want to buy some chinese junk that raises Potterybarn's profits?

When I was 34 and single, I bought a condo. The price was less than what I actually qualified for, but I wanted to stay under the max and I also put 20% down because I didnt want to pay PMI. These standards have all but disappeared in todays RE markets. Regulations keep people and instutions in check. we are now seeing the ramifcations of what happends when lenders turn their heads to it.

Most of our friends are struggling with high mortgages and taxes. We personally know at least 10 couples that bought either "500K starter" homes, upgraded to bigger homes or worse, purchased second, and third homes, one couple even has 4 mortgages. We only know 3 other couples that choose to rent during this cycle.

Lastly, women need to stop worrying about what other people are doing, and stop trying to compete against their friends and the media. If women would put energy into understanding current events instead of researching what new Coach handbag is coming out next month, they wouldn't have so many financial troubles. Sex in the city has warped womens minds into believing that purses and shoes are more important than having money in the bank.

Thanks Keith for letting me vent about what is wrong with my gender...I'll step down from my soapbox now!

Anonymous said...


A woman, no way, read the previous posts girls, if it postures like a duck, brags like a duck and arrogantly opines like a duck... well you get my drift....

Jester said...

I'm a 39 year old married woman with a 43 year old hubby. We got our acts together late in life but now we have some means... just in time for the beginning of the bust.

Hubby is the one who was RABID to buy. He came through a period of financial turmoil and sees a house, I believe, as a symbol of success or arrival. I understand, but through blogs like this (and ONLY through blogs like this) I learned about what was happening and said no way.

It was hard -- I know what people mean by the stress on marriage that real estate conflicts can cause -- and we're not under any financial stress! We don't want children!! And still!

The arguments, me trying to paraphrase what I've learned on these blogs -- forget all that when faced with the power of desperate human emotion, male or female.

He played the role of "Suzanne's mark." I can only imagine how much worse it could be with the genders reversed, and all sorts of gender politics folded in.

You guys helped me stay strong by sharing your cowboy stoicism. Whenever he gets going again I imagine I'm Tom Skerritt from Top Gun. Or hell, even Michael Ironside from Top Gun. Look lethal and knowing and JUST SAY NO.

Who caused this mess? A dumbass generation. My dad taught me about the Great Depression. Took us kids to see films about the Depression, talked about what it did to his own family -- everything. He passed the memory of that fear on, and I'm sorry to say that we're in for quite an experience of our own. Who knows what it will be.

What I've learned: No one is entitled to jack spit. History doesn't care what you expect, or think you deserve, or about your brass sconces and your home theater system. If we have been born to see another devastating chapter of history, then so be it. Suck it up, buck up and yeah, man up and adapt.

Word to my sisters.

Wise Woman said...

Yuccatree is one of those bitter child-hating women who stayed single past her prime and now resents women who want to have a career and home and family too
(with a man, to make matters worse).

Don't listen to her, 30-something attorney. I have a sister like her - she is a lesbian and hates anything that is traditionally female while claiming to be pro-woman. She calls women who want children "breeders." It is a screwed up way to think about life. You are on the right track. Besides, I don't think that children in America, especially those who are the children of attorneys, will ever have to worry about starving to death.
Wise Woman

Jane said...

I recently visited the USA from Australia. I was amazed how stupid and lazy the women appeared. The men weren't much better. I think the American bubble is quite different to the Australian bubble in what caused it. Here, while it was greed and pretention, it came on the back of a huge resouces boom thanks to China.

The impression I got in the USA is that it is like a great sports team that have won all of their games for so long they figure they will always win and they no longer train and have all gotten fat and lazy. It was really sad to see.

starve the beast said...

I've always had this nesting instinct to own a house. For me it's a security/permanence thing. I don't know if that comes from being female. But I'll tell you one thing - thank God I don't want kids because I'm 34, single and I live in Los Angeles. I don't know how anyone could expect to start a family in this city.

starve the beast said...

I can see where women would get a bad rap for their hand in this bubble. Females do make up a considerable portion of the population, after all, and a lot of them (just like the menfolk) aren't too bright.

Personally, I've always wanted to buy a home. I'm not sure if this comes from a female "nesting" instinct, but I've always had it. Maybe I inherited it from my grandmother who badgered my grandfather to buy rental property in Hermosa Beach back in the '70's. If only he had listened ... instead he bought another car. Talk about stereotypes.

One thing I will say is this - Thank God I don't want children because I'm 34, single and live in Los Angeles. I don't know how anyone could expect to start a family here.

northwest chick said...

No, women did not cause the bubble. For one, that would be a rather simplistic, not to mention, misogynistic, explanation for an event that was surely caused by a myriad of factors. Your fine blog has documented this as it was happening and has explored all the various threads leading to our current real eastate market. I'm surprised that knowing how much you know about this issue that you'd even ask this question. Were you baiting us?

The Suzanne video is hilarious and scary. Yes, there are women like her, more than I care to contemplate. But, I'd wager that most speculators were men. And of all the factors that created the bubble, I'd say that speculators caused the greatest share of problems.

As a woman, the thing that worries me the most right now is that there seems to be a strong effort in the MSM to push single, professional women into home ownership. It sickens me actually. I would have never bought a home when I was single. It makes no sense on many levels.

Anonymous said...

Reading this blog on a semi-regular basis helps me stay grounded. My husband and I have spent this past year selling our "mortgaged" investment properties. We took our profits and we have now payed off our home and land as well as all other debts. No, I will not accept any feelings of guilt for being responsible with my money and investments.
I have shared my concerns about the "bubble" with many people, often to have them stare blankly at me as if I have a mental condition. Most people chuckle and like to say you are overreacting.
For years I have watched friends and family fall into massive holes of dept and use their homes as ATM's to keep up with the Jone's. I watched as my sister-in-law replaced her furniture every six months, the time it took for her to rip some more equity out of their home.
I am now watching with a sort of morbid curiosity to see how things shake out over the next few years. I am certainly not wanting to witness the financial destruction of families with children and other obligations, but at what point will our society learn to live within a budget?
I am always so fascinated by the trolls who comment on this forum that the people here are monsters. I am convinced that these are the same people who will be insisting on a government bail out when they are about to be booted out of their homes due to their own financial tragedy. Why should I or my children pay for your gamble? We have planned carefully and spent frugally.
We also have food storage and other emergency supplies. When a friend learned of our food storage she actually thought I needed therapy because we were once again "overreacting". What? Needless to say I have now stopped sharing our ideas of preparedness. Why should we be judged? The issues really exist in the homes of those in denial. Open your eyes! Even if nothing happens, being prepared will make you feel more at ease.
Both men and women need to take responsibility for the mess we are in. Greed and the need to impress others with our "things" have brought so many families close to ruin. I pray that we will be saved from our own vanity. If my prayer offends you then consider yourself a part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

On the internet, no one knows you're a dog. (dumb ass owner is at work while I surf all day..woof)

Anonymous said...

What can I say? I thought that men and women were beginning to communicate better after the 70s. I think I was wrong. The only thing that's changed is the PC dialogue (outside of blogs like this) in public. All and all, women don't need men and vice versa. I think in Europe and even in Japan, a lot of women live alone and don't require a live-in partner which is probably best. Likewise, if prostitution was made legal here, like it is in Holland, Japan, and a host of other countries, a lot of American men wouldn't date either and only those who really love one another will get together for long term relationships. Sigh...

Penny said...

I'm Penny from Colorado. I've been following this blog since the beginning (the fall of 2005). I haven't recently posted any comments.

I don't think women caused the bubble.

First, I think men and women are equally irresponsible when it comes to finances and you find all levels of responsibility in both sexes.

Even IF it could be proven that women are more financially irresponsible than men, there is no proof that women are more irresponsible today than they were 10, 20, 30, or more years ago when there wasn't a bubble. In fact, as times have progressed, more women have taken control of their own lives and have become more responsible.

Even IF more women than men wanted to buy homes so they could have a nice place for their children to live, buying homes to LIVE in and not as an investment did not cause the bubble, or at least not all by itself.

IF it can be argued that MEN are more interested in taking big risks and making financial investments than women, then men probably contributed to the bubble more than women because of their increased greed (i.e. flippers, mortgage loan officers, etc.)

I think the biggest cause of the bubble was the interest rate going so low, followed by those bad mortgage products which allowed uninformed people (men and women alike) obtain mortages that they never should have been offered and were beyond what they could really afford.