Redfin helps NY Times trace home’s history to illustrate boom, bust cycle

Can one house tell the story of the American housing market — not just the most recent boom and bust, but the one before it?

Seattle-based tech brokerage Redfin helped The New York Times trace the history of 12204 Backus Drive, which was completed in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Bowie, Md., just in time for the 1990s slump. The house has changed hands several times since, at prices ranging from $215,000 to $540,000.

The woman who bought 12204 Backus Drive at its peak price in 2006, Leslie Johnson, put down 5 percent and took out a piggyback loan, paying $4,175 a month for both loans — more than her take-home pay.

Just about every company that helped facilitate Johnson’s home purchase, a subsequent refinancing, and failed short-sale attempt “ultimately faced investigations and lawsuits related to predatory lending, foreclosure robo-signing, misleading investors or other abuses,” the Times reports.

After being repossessed and sitting vacant for two years, a construction company bought the home in 2012 for $215,000, installing a new roof and air conditioner, and investing in upgrades like hardwood floors, tile and carpeting.

When Johnson saw pictures of the home on the market, priced at $390,000, she cried. Last year, the house sold “for an amount that might be considred auspicious,” the Times reports — $381,000 — to a 31-year-old auto parts manager and a 28-year-old second-grade teacher.

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The couple who sold the house at its peak, Roberto Ramos and Chong Kim, saw its value skyrocket by 80 percent in four years. But they used the money they made to buy a bigger house that they lost in a short sale. Today, they are saving up to buy again. Source: nytimes.com.