Where homeownership went wrong

Book Review: 'Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us'

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As the real estate crisis evolved, popular media explorations of what caused the problem grew common, but have largely been characterized by finger-pointing sound-bite duels, one industry or interest group vs. the other, e.g., Wall Street vs. real estate brokers, and so forth. Whether or not you agree that further finger-pointing is constructive, you will find that "Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us," by real estate journalist Alyssa Katz, breaks the mold of surface-skimming blame-gaming.

Though its raison d’etre is to seek out the root causes of the mortgage crisis, "Our Lot" is an extraordinarily researched, deeply thoughtful argument that the government-powered social aim of increasing homeownership "in partnership" with the mortgage banking industry’s mission to sell homes and loans created an alchemy from which the current state of the housing market was a virtually inevitable, albeit eventual, result.