If I were to end the blog today with a story that would wrap things up, this one in the Times today would be it.
Before leaving for Europe, I took a trip down to Maricopa Arizona, 40 miles south of Phoenix, in the Fall of 2005, and couldn't believe what I saw. In the middle of nowhere, and I mean THE MIDDLE OF FREAKING NOWHERE, there were homes going up like weeds in the desert, and there were crowds lined up to get in the doors.
I went into four of the developments - a Pulte, a Centex, a KB Home and I forget the fourth, and the homes were monuments to 2x4 bad construction, painfully terrible architecture and unlivable layouts. And of course, they were located in a place that homes should never have been allowed to be built, and a place that nobody in their right minds would ever buy a home, at any price.
And yet look at all the cars and pickup trucks (damn - lots of illegals here!) filled with bright eyed buyers. Look at all the selling agents all too eager to tell you how appreciation was 'in the bag', how it was a 'great time to buy' because prices were going up next week, and how easy it was to get a mortgage at a great low introductory rate from their lender.
And I decided right there and then to start a blog to warn people about what was happening, and what was to come. I had seen enough.
This one has it all HP'ers. It's long, so grab a cup of coffee, read the whole thing, and then comment. It's too bad the screwed homedebtor in the article didn't read HP or all the other sources that would have and should have scared him away from such a stupid decision. This article sticks out for me - from July 2006, before the sheeple in today's story made his mistake:
"Scott Helsel never figured on being a real estate agent.But Prudential Arizona Properties has been lucrative for him. Especially with home builders in the Maricopa area so desperate they're offering real estate agents double or triple commission rates to bring them clients, knocking prices down by tens of thousands of dollars or tossing in free pools and other upgrades."
So today's expose has the ignorant and now-screwed homedebtor. It's got the pre-foreclosure home renting out at a fraction of the cost of owning, desperate realtors on commission, and sheeple buying badly-located homes they couldn't afford and shouldn't have bought in an area too boring for words. It has the destroyed dreams, the closed businesses, the screwed town, the sea of foreclosures, and the lifetimes of savings lost. And it has the epic real estate collapse in Ponzi-Scheme-Central Phoenix Arizona.
Thank you realtors. Thank you mortgage brokers. Thank you builders. Thank you appraisers. You f*cked people like Daryl Fox for a commission, even as he f*cked himself. And now we all pay the price.
And a message to Congress: DO NOT F*CK WITH THIS MARKET. PRICES NEED TO FALL TO THEIR MARKET PRICE. HOMEDEBTORS THAT SCREWED UP HAVE TO GIVE THE HOMES BACK TO THE BANKS AND START OVER. THE BANKS THEN HAVE TO FAIL. AND THEN WE CAN ALL MOVE ON.
Here's the sad and all-too-familiar story. Post good clips and bites in the comments thread.
Thanks Frank for the link.