Thursday, December 25, 2008


The Million Dollar Short Sale

745 Linda Vista Ave Pasadena, CA 91103 (MLS#: 22119575)
Price: $999,000
Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,721
$/Sq. Ft.: $580
Lot Size: 0.37 Acres

"This is a short sale and is subject to bank approval. The home is located near the Rose Bowl on desirable Linda Vista Ave. The home has undergone extensive interior remodeling including an updated kitchen with custom cabinetry, stainless steel Thermador appliances, granite counters, and hardwood floors. The lot is large but is in need of landscaping."

Property history:

Jun 30, 2006 Sold $1,065,000
Apr 27, 2001 Sold $ 575,000

It's been on the market again since April 30, 2008, with 3 price changes. I assume that was the owner chasing the market down. Now it's up for short sale with a listing with just $1,000 short of a million. I'm curious how this will work out.

Bank Silliness

75 N Mentor Ave Pasadena, CA 91104 (MLS#: 08-316525)
Price: $359,900
Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,326
$/Sq. Ft.: $271

"Bank owned foreclosure. Don't miss this 1bed/1bath home! HW floors! Backyard! FP in LR! Info herein is not verified by agent. Buyer to verify all info. & rely on their findings. All offers must be submitted on CAR form w/pre-approval (NOT pre-qual), copy of earnest money check +proof of funds (if cash offer) & agency disclosure. Deposit check for loans $5K & up requires proof of funds. For a guarantee receipt of your offer please check our prvt. remarks for fax cover & faxing instructions."

First red flag with this listing is that while it's first listed as 3 br / 2 bath, the description says 1/1. A quick look at clears up the confusion. It is listed as an 810 sqft, 1 bedroom, 1 bath. Apparently last owner added an unpermitted 516 sqft. It's a big fat liability. If you buy this property, the city could fine you or make you tear down the addition at your own expense if it's not up to code.

At first glance $271 per square foot price seems good, but once you consider that it could be reversed back to its original size, that number jumps up to $444, plus whatever the demolition would cost. The property has been on the market since September and they drop the price at at even 5k every month. At his pace they will reach a reasonable price in a few years.

I especially like their demanding demeanor towards potential buyers. They should be begging people to take this turkey off their hands.

I do love the history of this property. It was sold for $750,000 in 2006, and then went back to the bank less then two years later for $652,963 owed. Seven months later the bank finally got around listing it for $379,900. If there ever was a poster child for the last seven years of real estate insanity, this is it.

Quote of the Day

"The phrase “self-regulate” is a non sequitur, a nonsense buzzword repeatedly by mindless parrots."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It Was The Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

There was a week ago an article in the New York Times business section about the housing market. The author cheerily declared what a great time it was to buy. He even threw in a little old school scare tactics:

"Then, everyone who sat on their down payment savings accounts for a few years too long will kick themselves for not taking advantage of what may turn out to be the buying opportunity of a lifetime for those who can qualify for a mortgage."

It's worth reading the readers' comments. They rip the article to shreds.

There are people who will tell you that this is "the best time to buy". Don't listen to them, it's a lie. I had people telling me that last summer, and see how that worked out. The people who say it are either real estate agents, or average people who have no idea of the market, but heard it from others so they keep repeating it. Some home owners who want to believe that this is the bottom of the market and their homes won't lose any more value will repeat it as a chant. Some impatient would be buyers, chomping at the bits, want to believe it. It's not true.

I'm not saying it's not possible to make a good deal if you get lucky, and the stars align just right, but this is not yet the best time to buy. These are very turbulent times for the economy and people should exercise caution and solid judgment. I have a bad feeling that the economy is in worse shape that most people realize.

There is list of slogans that people who would want you to buy now like to use. Here they are, and my comments:

"This is the best time to buy!"

They have been saying for better part of the decade, and look where it got us. Just because people who look self assured and authoritative say something it doesn't make it true. Do your own research.

"Buying a home is the best investment."

Studies have shown that homes on the long run are not a very good investment, they pretty much just keep up with inflation. On short run they can be good if there is a bubble, but I would not count on a new housing bubble any time soon.

"Buying a home is not an investment, it's quality of life."

It is actually true, but only if you buy smart. Owning a home you don't have equity in is just renting with all the extra expenses, stress and responsibilities of ownership. If your mortgage payment is so large that you live month to month with no savings, have to worry about what if you lost your job, that is not a a great "quality" of life.

"It doesn't matter that your home will lose value."

If you are so rich that a few hundred thousand dollars here or there don't matter to you, then sure. Otherwise it matters a lot. If you buy a home and then it loses a large chunk of value in a year, that's money - plus interest - that you just threw out the window. Lot of things could happen. You could get a divorce, have to move for a job, have big medical bills, lose your job. Your family may outgrow your home and need to upgrade, or you may retire and need to downsize. In any of those case it matter if you have positive equity in your home that you can borrow against to get you out of a jam, or if you can recover your money when you sell. And it matters how big the actual profit it is when you sell.

"If you don't buy now you will regret it, you will be priced out forever."

Hogwash. The real estate snake oil salesmen were using this scare tactics for years. In normal markets home prices stay in step with inflation. Only in bubbles do they sprint ahead, and you should stay out of bubbles. Currently there is a huge supply of homes for sale, high foreclosure rates will continue for years.

"People who don't buy now are timid."

Oh, this one is just childish. What next, make chicken noises?

"Nobody can time the bottom of the market."

You don't have to. As a smart man said: "Housing markets don't bounce, they splat." When it hits the market it will be sitting there dazed and confused, and the eventual recovery will be slow and gradual. All the major elements that made the last bubble possible are gone. There will be no new bubble any time soon.

"The prices came down a lot from the peak."

That means absolutely nothing. The peak was so far removed from reality that you can't measure against it. You have to look at pre-bubble values. I fully expect prices come down to 2000. Maybe lower, because of the poor state of the economy. A deep recession could force home values significantly lower than they would normally be.

"Unless you have a crystal ball..."

Be wary of anyone who talks about crystal balls. It just means that they'll disregard all logical forecasts based on real data in favor arguments based on urban myth, anecdotal evidence and sentiment. There have been a handful of people who predicted the housing crash for years, in face of mass hysteria and public ridicule. Peter Schiff was the favorite whipping boy on Fox News. Paul Krugman was worried about a potential housing bubble since 2002. Check out YouTube for either of them. How did they do it? They looked at the numbers and did the math. There were no crystal balls involved.

I post this chart again, because it's incredibly important to be able to see the current situation form historical perspective.

Overall here at the end of 2008 we are on the cusp of very bad things. The situation will get worse before it gets better. Shrewd people can do make fortunes in bad times, but those who just think they are shrewd can be seriously burned. I would suggest to anyone who is wanting to buy a home to wait 6-12 months at least. By then you'll have a better picture of the economy and how it effects you. Prices won't be higher and inventory will be plenty big.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tom Tomorrow

Paul Krugman is playing a cameo in the latest Tom Tomorrow Cartoon.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hundred Year Old House

Looking at new listings sometimes you see interesting stuff. Like this house built 100 years ago:

761 Boylston St Pasadena, CA 91104 (MLS#: 22119082)

Price: $199,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,044
$/Sq. Ft.: $191
Lot Size: 6,763 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1908
Area: Northeast Pasadena

"This REO is in TOTAL disrepair. Bring your contractor or . . . a bulldozer. "

They are not kidding. The place is in really sorry shape:

It's too bad, because if it had been kept up it could have some definite charm. My guess is it could easily cost hundred grand to fix it, possibly more if there are structural issues too. It probably would be cheaper and less painful to just bulldoze it off and put some condos in its place. It's unfortunate, I much prefer old houses with character than new ones without.

I wonder what made someone pay $375,000 for it last April. Was it a scam or flipping gone bad?

Friday, November 28, 2008

The High End

Interesting trend I noticed in Pasadena: more and more million, multi-millon dollar homes are entering the market. No week passes without a couple of them getting listed. I did a search on Redfin, and found 115 homes in Pasadena over a 1 million dollar for sale. Some are condos, town houses, but mostly detached houses. The averaged stats are interesting too:

listing price: $1,690,000
sqft: 4,338
$/sqft: $602
days on market: 106

Longest on market: 515 days
Highest listing price: $19,000,000 (same house)
Highest $/sqft: 2,089

What it says to me that the well-to-do is not immune to the market meltdown, but perhaps even more susceptible to delusions.

Let's look at this listing:

Price: $1,859,000
Beds: 4
Baths: 2.75
Sq. Ft.: 3,005
$/Sq. Ft.: $619
Lot Size: 9,152 Sq. Ft.
Style: Craftsman
Year Built: 1906
Area: Southwest Pasadena
On Redfin: 126 days

It's a beautiful craftsman home, at a prime area of Pasadena, but I don't think that in the current market it will fetch nearly 2 million dollars. According to PropertyShark, at the peak median pride of 2006 it would be worth $804,925, but at the pre-bubble year 2000 price a mere $393,284. Even if we calculate all the extras, it'll have hard time fetching three times the median in this rapidly sinking market.

While the listing price for the above house is probably unrealistic, the next one is just punch-drunk, what-the-the-hell-are-they-thinking insane:

Wonderful, classic garbage can photography.

Price: $1,875,000
Beds: 3
Baths: 4
Sq. Ft.: 1,914
$/Sq. Ft.: $980
Lot Size: 8,415 Sq. Ft.
Style: Craftsman
Year Built: 1906
Stories: 2
Area: Pasadena Southwest
On Redfin: 87 days

At a closer look, the house turns out to be in less then top condition, as the peeling paint on the porch demonstrates. Inside is even worse:

Someone has been at this place since the beginning of time, and it shows. This lonely survivor of a bygone era, surrounded by condos/apartment buildings would have been the perfect property to be sold to a developer for a premium price two years ago. It looks like somehow the owner missed the boat, and would now be kicking himself if he was not busy trying to turn back time by willpower alone.

The listing description is schizophrenic rant, at once touting the benefits the house and the benefits of tearing it down and replacing it with townhouses, plans already approved. Somebody is not reading the news about the sorry state of new home constructions. That's a hefty price tag for "potential."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


1514 Glen Ave Pasadena, CA 91103 (MLS#: F1786630)Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 704
$/Sq. Ft.: $604
Lot Size: 5,810 Sq. Ft.
Price: $425,000
"Wonderful investment opportunity. Start your passive income today with this 2 bedroom 1 bath income property located in a lovely residential neighborhood!"

This is comedy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Another Scary Chart

The blue line is the Dow in the Great Depression. Overlaid in red is the Dow now. From Dr. Housing Bubble.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Let me say this: I love Pasadena. I love the old trees, the streets you can walk, the stores, the restaurants, the monthly flea market at the Pasadena City College, the houses with all the character. Not that I think I'll be able to buy there, but I keep checking the listings. Today this one caught my eye:

246 E Mountain St Pasadena, CA 91104 (MLS#: F1785347)
Price: $520,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,053
$/Sq. Ft.: $494
Lot Size: 5,160 Sq. Ft.

Almost 500 $/Sq. Ft. for a small cottage on a modest piece of land? The average price of recently sold porperties is $346/Sq. Ft. , and none of them reached even 400. Then I looked at the price history:

Date Price
Dec 01, 1972 $17,500
Mar 09, 2006 $275,000

I was wondering why somebody in this market trying to sell a house for almost double they paid for it only two years ago. Propertyshark gave me the answer: they took out a morgtage for $352,500 at 2/2/2007 from First Street Financial Inc. What kind of financial moron gives a loan for a bigger amount than the house was purchased for less then a year earlier?!!! No wonder we are in this mess now. I'm also curious what the owner of a 1,053 sq. ft. house spent$352,500 on.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Where Are We Headed?

Some seem to think that the bailout - whenever it finally passes - will stop the downward slide of housing prices. I doubt it. As the post on Calculate Risk states "Right now prices are still too high."

Another very informative post looks at current housing prices from three different angles: real prices (inflation adjusted), price-to-rent ratio, and price-to-income ratio. All three indicate that prices still have ways to fall.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I discovered the house on the corner of Vineland and Kittridge in early summer, 2006. That area can be best described as a "dump," and the house looked anachronistic there. For starters it was on a really big lot. The house itself was smallish, with dainty peaked roof.

I climbed through the well worn hole on the chain link fence. There were big old trees surrounding the house, a bird bath to the side. There was graffiti all over. This green and black one felt strangely fitting.

There were a couple of extra buildings in the back and a boarded up gazebo.

Behind one of the buildings I found an old work bench. The whole place harkened back to an earlier time. Have there ever been orange groves in North Hollywood? I wouldn't be surprised.

A couple of weeks after my visit the house burned down. I sneaked through the fence again. The walls and the trees were still standing, but the roof was gone. I got my first peak into the house. The only recognizable feature was a white tiled fireplace.

Next time I drove by the house was bulldozed off. So were most of the trees.

There was a note on the fence, something about building an apartment building, or maybe condos. Then the notice was gone, but they haven't built anything. It's just a big empty lot now, with overgrown dead weeds, and tree stumps.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Charlie Rose - September 15, 2008

Luckily I just happened to land on the channel as the program was starting. I stayed up till 1 am to watch it. Then I watched it again on the web today. It is refreshing to watch smart people talk about issues - Wall Street in this case - without theatricality, taking their time, talking in a way that does not talk down to the viewer, yet understandable to the layman.

"A discussion about the crisis on Wall Street with Lawrence Summers, Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times Charles Gasparino of CNBC, Josh Rosner of Graham Fisher & Co. and Nouriel Roubini:"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Land of Overpriced Shoe Boxes

In the Summer of 2007 I walked into an open house on Chandler, Burbank. It was towards one end of the newly constructed walk/bicycle path, within spitting distance of the high-voltage power lines. The house was 640 sq. ft. From the postage stamp size front yard I stepped into the living room, where the wall and even the ceiling had dark wood paneling, making the space feel even smaller. The normal size fridge was too big for the kitchen, I could only walk past it sideways. The bathroom was small, sparse and ugly. Backyard another postage stamp. The punchline is that the seller wanted over half a million for this ugly claustrophobic shoe box.

This insanity is apparently not over yet. Just look at this listing:

101 W Howard St Pasadena, CA 91103 ( MLS#: C07136762)
Beds: 1
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 670
$/Sq. Ft.: $746
Lot Size: -

The description is a must read:
"Beautiful 2 bedroom 2 full bath home. With cool patio perfect for those family and BBQ gatherings truly a must see. Located in desirable area of Pasadena near downtown, shopping, freeways and schools. This cozy home is great for a small family and or a business executive. Tree lined street! HURRY, HURRY, HURRY THIS HOME WILL NOT LAST!"

"This cozy home is great for a small family..." A family of gnomes, perhaps? "...and or a business executive." A what?!?

There is also a little bit of discrepancy there. Is this a 1 br, 1 bath, or a 2 br, 2 bath? How on earth could you possibly squeeze 2 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms into 670 sq. ft?
Like this I guess. Well, who needs to open that closet door, anyway?
The lot size is maesly 3052 according to county records, so it doesn't even have a huge lot going for it.

The seller who bought this house for $114,000 in 1999, and now wants to make a cool 440% profit on it. This begs the question: IS HE OUT OF HIS FRAKKING MIND?

I especially love the the last line of the description, since the property have been sitting on the market for 360 days! You'd think at the one year anniversary they'd change the description and, uh maybe knock the price down a notch, like, oh, 300k or so.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Inventory in Los Angeles County is declining..."

...and the real picture:

Yes, technically it is declining, and sales are up, but if you step back and look at the full picture, you realize how tiny these movements are, and how deep in the doo-doo the market still is. Not to mentions that the Option ARM loan resets have barely started to make their effects felt.

(Graph from

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Some People are Still Trying to Flip

2721 Marengo Ave Altadena, CA 91001 (Listing #: 752760615)
Price: $525,000
Beds: 3
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,300
$/Sq. Ft.: $404

This house sold 07/24/08, A bit more than a month ago for $425,000.
It looks like It's been renovated, fresh paint, hardwood floors, and do I see granite countertops? I must admit that glass tile thing over the kitchen counter is very nice. There is one discrepancy however. It is listed as 1,300 sq. ft, but the county records indicate 1,209 sq. ft. Did they do an addition? Does it have permit? All in all, not a bad looking flip, and seems to be priced along the lines of other listings in the area. It is questionable however how good a chance it has to sell at that price. It does not compare favorably with this other property:

4390 N El Prieto Rd Altadena, CA 91001 (MLS#: F1778214)
Price: $435,000
Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,302
$/Sq. Ft.: $334
Lot Size: 8,220 Sq. Ft.
Very nice, newly remodeled house, same size, much bigger backyard, and location is as good, if not better, at a much better price.

**Edit: Further research uncovered that the first house was not for sale any more, the listing agent just never got around updating it. The final story of it is that it was listed for $525,000, but sold for a 100k less. The second house is still better.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

About That Granite

At the top of the housing boon era television was awash home buying, home selling, house flipping reality shows. The most atrocious of was Probably Flip This House! I expected it to be a This Old House meets the 21st century deal, but I was wrong. The shows were pretty much in one vein: flipping crew purchases run down property without proper inspection. They start working and discover that all kinds of things are wrong. They scratch their head, bitch at each other, and try to figure out the cheapest and fastest way to cover up the problems. The end result is a house that looks good on the surface but has shoddy workmanship. The whole thing was nauseating.

Ironically, at the same time there was another show on, a Canadian import, Holmes on Homes. This excellent home improvement show was centered around Mike Holmes, a general contractor extraordinaire. He took houses ravaged by lazy, incompetent or hack contractors, extensions, renovations gone horribly wrong, and fixed them up the way they should have been done on the first place. I have a feeling most of the houses from the other show would have qualified for this one.

But what does it all have to do with granite? I'll tell you. It seems that on every house flipping show I've ever seen the highlight was putting the granite countertop in the kitchen. The Sell This House type of shows too. "Having trouble selling your home? No, it's not because the pice is horribly inflated. You just need granite countertops!" One day people will look back at the granite countertop fixation of the early 21st century with the same horror as at wood paneling and shag carpeting.

I personally don't care too much for granite. I don't hate it, but can do without it just fine, and actually prefer butcher block. There is also this small issue of granite being more or less radioactive. One another alternative I'd like to try out is recycled glass countertops. Just look at these, they are awesome.

But the reason why I started obsessing about this is this: Last weekend, driving around Burbank I dropped in an Open House.

741 N Lima St Burbank, CA 91505 ( MLS#: F1765113)
Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,958
$/Sq. Ft.: $327
Lot Size: 6,615 Sq. Ft.
Almost the first thing I saw upon entering was the remodeled kitchen complete with stainless steel appliances, and of course granite counter top. It was in sharp contrast with the rest of the house, none of which have been touched in decades. The online photos actually make it look better than it does in reality. For starters it didn't have any furniture. This half bathroom had peeling linoleum floor.
The main bathroom made me gasp. I suspect most of its parts date back to the original construction - in 1939.
There are no photos of the living room and I know why: It had a dirty carpet and yellow and purple walls. Seriously, is it so hard to buy a bucket paint and repaint the walls? There are also no photos of the small back yard paved over with concrete. This house is not a REO, an older person must have lived here. On a shelf of the closet of one of the bedrooms I saw stack of very old records, possibly gramophone records.

Overall, the house was not bad, but needs a lot of work, I don't think it's worse the asking price, no wonder it's been on the market for 127 day. So I guess granite cuntertop is not the magic bullet. I can't believe they spent money on that, but not on a bucket of paint.

The Secret Price Drop

2785 Fair Oaks Ave Altadena, CA 91001 (MLS#: P653943)
Price: $339,000
Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,208
$/Sq. Ft.: $281
Lot Size: 8,100 Sq. Ft.

According to the listing this house has been on the market for 6 days, but as luck would have it I bookmarked this very property several months ago, as one with some potential, but too high a price tag. I noted the list price at the time - $456,000. That's a $117,000 or 26% drop from earlier in the summer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Prices Are Moving (Down) Again

There was a bit of stillness in August, few new listings, no movement in prices, but after Labor Day it picked up again.

699 E Ladera St Pasadena, CA 91104 (MLS#: 22113837)
Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 990
$/Sq. Ft.: $364
Lot Size: 4,997 Sq. Ft.

I'm curious how you can squeeze in 3 bedrooms and 2 baths in a 990 Sq. Ft house.

Listing Price History
Jul 30, 2008 $450,950
Sep 02, 2008 $359,950

That's a $91,000 drop in one month, a good 20%. Somebody is starting to get the message, though I think they are still a touch high, considering that it is quite a small house and nothing special. From the Google map image it looks like the only ugly house on a street of cute bungalows.

There is this other house just down the street:

810 E Ladera St Pasadena, CA 91104 (MLS#: Y805230)
No picture, though it's been on the market for 36 days already.
Price: $365,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 872
$/Sq. Ft.: $419
Lot Size: 5,000 Sq. Ft.

Listing Price History
Jul 29, 2008 $515,000
Aug 26, 2008 $365,000

That's a whopping $150,000 or 29% drop in barely over a month. I guess that's the bank getting desperate. Still, $419 $/Sq. Ft for a tiny house in "as is" condition? That's more than the previous house, which at least looks decent.

Beautiful California Home

A Rant About Real Estate

Few people would argue that real estate prices have gone out of whack the past few years, especially here in Southern California. Yet, few seem to realize how much those prices have to correct before getting back to realistic levels.

People's beliefs regarding the housing market seem to be based more on urban myths than facts. Just a year ago an otherwise reasonable person told me that housing prices never go down. It is not true historically, regionally, but was especially oblivious to reality at that time. The current myth that everyone seems to believe is "This is the time to buy. Buy now or miss the window." I don't believe that to be true. The real estate bubble left a psychological mark on people, making them think that completely outrageous prices are normal. Even now after the bubble have burst they can't quite grasp the real scale of things.

People seem to believe that we have almost hit the bottom and that prices are going to be merrily bouncing back up soon. I seriously doubt that. The subprime mess is not even over yet, and the Alt-A crisis is just starting up. Unlike subprime, these loans were given to people with good credit rating. Also these loans were by average larger amounts than the subprime ones. The borrowers of these were set to pay interest only for a set period (5-7 years) after which they have to start paying back the principal too, making their monthly payment jump up significantly. Seventy percent of these type of loans were given in California and Florida during the bubble. Their current state of payment delinquencies and defaults reflect perfectly how the subprime crisis started. There are also the Pay Option ARMs where the buyer could decide how much to actually pay at any month, possibly less than even the interest with the interest getting added to the principal. Many of these people after several years ended up owning more than the purchase price, ending up with negative equity. By all signs it looks like that the second, larger wave of foreclosure tsunami is about to hit our shores.

But lets put away the business talk and just look at the numbers, the basics: the SoCal median income is around $60k, the median house price is over $300k (over $400k in Los Angeles). No amount of urban myth can bridge this gaping chasm. Some people are expecting a mass of buyers rushing in for the now "affordable" prices. Let's be frank, the prices are not there yet, and the number of potential buyers is limited. Sure, lot of people want to buy, but most of those who were likely to make rush decisions, get over their heads have already done it the last five or so years. Those who are left are most likely to sit on their hands, window shop, and simply just wait it out. Not to mention that the tightening lending regulations now don't allow them to borrow more than they can afford.

Another urban myth is that everyone wants to live here and it makes the most outlandish housing prices acceptable. There is a tiny truth to it, you can expect to pay a higher percentage of your income on your mortgage payment here than less desirable places, but you can stretch that only so far, before it snaps like tired old rubber band. It's simple physics. The irresponsible lending practices of yesteryears have masked this simple rule for a while, and even though the market snapped, a lot of people rather put their heads in the sand than accept it.

There are forecasts out there predicting that the downward spiral will last for several more years and that the housing prices will slump to 2003 levels or even lower before starting slowly climb back up. Fortunately this is not like UFOs or the Bermuda Triangle, so in the next few years we'll see who was right and who was wrong.

Bubble/Bust Psychology

Relevant Links:
New York Times
Mr. Mortgage
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
CNN Money
LA Home Search
ABC News
Business Week
Dr. Housing Bubble
More CNN Money