The feedback on this affordable-vs.-market-rate story has been fascinating — thanks for sharing your thoughts on my story and on the perspective articulated by my colleague Scott Lewis this week, too.
Thought I’d share a chunk from an e-mail from reader CL:
I believe that the Housing Commission is doing a disservice to income-restricted buyers by encouraging ownership at all costs and by providing down-payment assistance in the form of grants or silent second mortgages. That does not teach financial responsibility. I believe it would be best to provide rental assistance so that would-be-buyers can save the down-payment on their own. In my view, households who cannot manage to save are simply not responsible enough to be homeowners. Witness all the upside-down buyers who are now walking.
By assisting buyers to buy during a real estate boom, the housing agencies helped inflate the market even more. They should provide rental assistance when prices are historically high; and provide purchasing assistance when prices are historically low.
Education is key. Unlike what the Real Estate myth says, it’s not always a good time to buy. Households should save during the good years and buy during recessions. Recessions happen periodically so delaying a house purchase is not a big sacrifice to make. It’s an excellent sacrifice of instant-satisfaction if a family wants to become financially secure. But I don’t believe that any public agency will teach that because the real estate industry would vigorously oppose it. It’s also doubtful that mainstream media would publish such stories because they get advertizing from the real estate industry.
I’d be interested to know: what do you think the fallout of this market will be on the programs where governments give subsidies to developers to build these types of for-sale units? Click my name below to send me an e-mail.