Industry News

The housing boom legacy

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Editor's note: The following post written by Inman News Publisher Bradley Inman comes from the Inman News Blog. Click here to join a discussion on this topic. On Sunday, the New York Times published a story in its Style Section about the relationship between the divorce rate rising and home prices increasing. Three other consequences of the housing boom are noteworthy: foreclosures, bad architecture and poor housing quality. Much has been written about foreclosures, an ugly human drama with too much misery. Bad design and sloppy construction have received less coverage. Mortgage liquidity drove down interest rates, spawned exotic loans and masked the true cost of housing. Consumers bought more square footage than they needed. The middle class imagined it was richer than it was. Like private equity funds, homeowners borrowed cheap, realized fantastical leverage, and lived large. Many did not plan an exit strategy -- the housing slowdown has become a lesson in the dangers of conspicuous...