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I heard from a reader who once sold a house in Rancho Peñasquitos and took a bath in the last downturn without a potential for a bailout:
I had to sell my house in 1994, one of the bad markets in history; between the time I listed it with the broker to the time I actual sold it, the value went down $45k…if I had been as irresponsible as some, I could’ve had a mortgage higher than the price I got…nobody gave me any money to make up the difference.
Some people just don’t understand that certain things we do in life as adults have no do-overs…adults need to take responsibilities for decisions that they made…good, bad, or ugly…we have become a nation of whiners…
Reader JF came up with his own solution:
No one should get a free lunch, what people need is employment. If someone is employed and cannot keep up with their mortgage, why aren’t they offered a lesser house that they could afford. Maybe a clearing house with all possible foreclosures listed. Someone with a $500,000 mortgage could possibly afford a $400,000 and so on down the line.
Here’s another employment-related thought. When I first started reporting on the foreclosure that were hitting San Diego, a lot of optimistic analysts were saying that as long as the region didn’t have massive job losses like when aerospace and manufacturing packed up and left in previous decades, the housing downturn couldn’t last long or be very bad.
Of course, we’ve seen the opposite: the housing downturn has been long, and bad, and has drained a ton of jobs from construction and finance and now other places in the economy, leaving the region in a recession.
There are a lot of people who stand to benefit from programs to help them stay in their homes that didn’t necessarily gamble unwisely on home appreciation, but just assumed their jobs wouldn’t vanish. There are others who’ve already lost their homes and many must be watching closely the plans to help those in the same situation they were in before.
I’m working on a story about this debate. If you’ve got questions or insights to add to this conversation, or personal stories, please send ’em my way: firstname.lastname@example.org.