Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Amerikan nightmares

via The Housing Bubble Blog:

The Associated Press. “Sherrill Zenie said all she wanted was a piece of the American Dream, but what she got was ‘a kick in the rear.’”

“Zenie is one of a legion of a relatively new type of homeowner, a ‘flipper,’ who sought fast money by rapidly buying and selling homes to capture a profit on each as prices soared. Speculators who bought multiple homes like Zenie were once a boon to the U.S. economy when they pushed home prices to record levels over a five-year period. Now their unsold homes are the bane of a sickly housing market.”

“‘Nobody is looking, either to rent or to buy,’ says Sherrill Zenie, of Delray Beach, Florida, who is stuck with two unsold condominiums there after profitably selling two others.”

“She owns the condos outright, as well as her own home, part of a vacation home in Vermont. But taxes, maintenance and a home equity credit line cost over $2,000 a month for the two condos alone, a stretch for Zenie, who is out of work on disability.”

“‘I wanted to follow the American Dream,’ she says. ‘I wanted to be an entrepreneur and make some money — not a killing, but some money. Instead, I got a kick in the rear.’”

“Her husband has found a job in another state to help pay the bills. ‘Am I panicking? I would be hysterical if my husband weren’t in Mississippi working.’”

“‘People were buying a condo in Florida, or five condos in Florida before they even broke ground, and before they even had the condo half-way built they would sell them for hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits,’ notes Jim Gillespie, CEO at Coldwell Banker Real Estate.”

“‘The big lesson is that even during hot times, if you’re going to invest in real estate or stocks or bonds, gold or silver, or anything, and you try to time the market and invest with the intent of flipping in a very short period of time, eventually you are going to get burned,’ Gillespie said.”

Does it occur to someone like this that "the American Dream" is perhaps not truly traceable to some hogwild crapshoot that has little to do with reality and less connection to common sense?

On NPR today: why a guy works for Blackwater: So he and his wife can go on a real vacation, to a biker convention, in style:
Patty Herbert shows me their new air-conditioned trailer. They paid cash for it recently. And they'll use it to tow their two Harley Davidsons behind their Ford F350, to the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. link

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