Some predicted a housing bust before it happened. Some of those people even predicted a big one. But most Americans, including those who should have been minding the store, went blithely along under the assumption that prices would not take a sharp U-turn.
This makes me wonder what we're not paying attention to now that we ought to be zeroing in on -- good trend or bad.
There's so much noise, it's hard to focus. Foreclosures. Robo-signing. Mortgage terms potentially changing. Mortgage-interest deduction potentially shrinking. The economy trying to right itself. What's in store for mortgage rates. How prices compare with incomes. How prices compare with rents. Federal budget cuts on the one hand, BRAC on the other.
It's all so much easier when you can throw on the 20-20 hindsight glasses.
But hey, give it a shot anyway. Here's your question of the day: How do you think the housing market will change in the next few years -- assuming you foresee any change -- and why?
Will the results be better or worse for most of us?
The last question of the day asked accidental landlords -- people renting their former homes because they can't afford to sell -- how the rental business is treating them. Interesting discussion, including advice from chappy10, an on-purpose landlord:
"If you're only getting enough to pay mortgage, taxes, and insurance, you are LOSING your money renting. You need a COMFORTABLE margin--I'd say 20-25%, minimum, to make up for wear and tear. Even if it's not for 5-10 yrs in the future, you need to do roof repair, buy new water heaters, change the locks and deadbolts, have the HVAC serviced, etc."