Here’s the NBC segment I told you about on Friday. We were fleshing out some local impacts (or lack thereof) of the homeowner assistance program that President Barack Obama proposed last week.

Some homeowners and renters bristle at the plan, fearing the action will keep county prices higher than they would naturally be. Check out a snippet of reader Gman‘s comment on my roundup post last week about the program:

Regarding stimulus package, I disagree with all its objectives. First of all it claimes it helpps the “responsible owners”. If they are responsible why should my tax help bailout them. I am Engineer making good incom but decide to wait on buying a house because I am “responsible” citizen. Now Is obama going to help me out on my rental?

I certainly don’t think Gman‘s alone in his sentiment. But I am sensing, in the blogs and in my conversations about this, an interesting shift: as the economy gets worse, some people clutch a little less tightly to the “fairness” doctrine in thinking of how government should be involved in the housing market.

Case in point: As we were leaving the studio Friday, I was chatting with Brian Perry, the other guest on the show with me, and Bob Hansen, who was interviewing us for the segment. Perry told me he was at first quite upset at the plan but that his opinion had moderated.

“I’m a free-market, Wall Street guy, but the ship is sinking so it’s time to throw ideology out the window and do whatever it takes to save the system,” he said.

Still, the very requirements that might disqualify many San Diego homes from the program might keep prices falling here. That was reader Jason‘s take under the last post:

I support Obama, but I don’t like this plan. He’s trying to kill my Schadenfreude. I hope prices fall back to a sane multiple of incomes. I think it’ll happen, despite his efforts to stem foreclosures. Houses here are too far underwater to qualify for his plan, jumbo mortgages don’t qualify, and properties with multiple mortgages are not addressed. Hence, my hopes still float.

For more analysts’ take on the bailout’s impacts here and in Riverside County, check out Zach Fox’s story in the yesterday’s North County Times. Fox quoted economist Chris Thornberg:

But whatever happens, several local analysts said the bailout will do little to fix the housing market.

“They want to look like they’re doing something, but frankly there isn’t much they can do,” said Christopher Thornberg, an economist with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles who covers the Southern California housing market. “Too many people are too far under water.”

Chime in with your thoughts: send me an e-mail ( or leave a comment below.


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