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:: Friday, May 27, 2005 ::

Running Out of Bubbles

I'm lucky in that my housing market hasn't gone TOO insane, but even looking around Houston I can see the signs Krugman is talking about:
Even Alan Greenspan now admits that we have 'characteristics of bubbles' in the housing market, but only 'in certain areas.' And it's true that the craziest scenes are concentrated in a few regions, like coastal Florida and California.

But these aren't tiny regions; they're big and wealthy, so that the national housing market as a whole looks pretty bubbly. Many home purchases are speculative; the National Association of Realtors estimates that 23 percent of the homes sold last year were bought for investment, not to live in. According to Business Week, 31 percent of new mortgages are interest only, a sign that people are stretching to their financial limits.
Not that it matters how much they're warned -- once you hit the point where Joe Average is speculating, it's past the point of no return. The pros are getting out, and the amateurs are supplying all the profit.

Makes me glad we purchased our home for a VERY good price several years ago, with a large downpayment. And that we're considering buying sometime over the next five years. I won't be snapping up the investment homes of the suddenly massively broke, but I will be looking at a buyer's market. Selling our current home might be a problem, but not as bad as those looking to sell 200,000 dollar homes in a 125,000 dollar market.

I'm just grateful that all those I know purchasing homes right now (or recently) have done so with the intention of living there for a decade or two -- not in the hopes of a quick profit.
:: Morat 9:32 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 ::

10 insurgents die in fresh clash with Marines - Iraq's new chapter

I thought the election had changed everything.
U.S. Marines clashed with and killed at least 10 suspected militants here on Wednesday as more than 1,000 American troops raided yet another city in western Iraq, launching a major operation against insurgents and foreign fighters thought to be infiltrating from Syria
Guess not. Oh, we also killed an Imam (doesn't really matter whether he was or was not firing on US troops. It's bad news either way).

This particular quote does not inspire me with confidence towards Ye Olde Grande Iraq Adventure:
"People have always been nice to us. But you can tell the (insurgents) have been doing some damage because people are real scared," said Marine Capt. Christopher Toland, of Austin, Texas, a platoon commander in the 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment.
Reading down further, we appear to be blaming Syria rather heavily. I suppose this means invading Syria IS off the agenda. After all, if the Syrians sneaking across the border and using light infantry weaponry are capable of holding 135,000 US troops at bay, fighting their actual military would be suicide.

More seriously, I wonder how long it'll be before the White House admits the problem happens to be "tens of thousands of pissed of Iraqis using the shitload of weaponry we never bothered to secure" and not "foreign terrorists". I'd imagine flying cows come first.
:: Morat 1:04 PM :: ::

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