…To Help First Time Home Buyers

February 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm Leave a comment

This is a comment I posted on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show web page, in response to a feature on the effect of President Obama’s housing recovery plan on local communities in the New York metro area.

“First of all, Brian, thank you so much for addressing these critical issues.

My husband and would like to buy our first home, after renting for a very long time and waiting out the housing bubble. However, it seems that despite the hysteria surrounding the falling housing market, prices around the New York area haven’t come down much, or at least enough. I expect the decline in prices to continue, as people come to terms with the loss of high paying jobs and re-adjusting mortgage rates. So we’re still waiting it out.

Everyone seems to forget that even current prices reflect the housing bubble – which means homes throughout the country should never have been priced as high as they were in the first place. I think banks who own property are not doing everything they can to price their homes fairly – they still want to make as much money on them as they would have during the real estate bubble.

I guess the advantage of being raised by parents who went through the Depression is that we were able to make peace with renting a small apartment, even as we watched wistfully as all our friends bought homes.

I think its time for those who can no longer afford their homes to switch places with us. Pay cheap rent, get back on your feet, and save up to buy a home again. Meanwhile, give those who have been more responsible with their money a chance at owning a home they can really afford. Banks need to sell these homes are fire sale prices so that people can finally afford them, and they need to get past their insatiable greed, which was a major cause of this economic crisis. By lowering prices on the homes they own, banks can build solid assets again, which they (not to mention the rest of the world)  need desperately.

It would be great if the government could set up something with banks directly to facilitate this. And forget the middlemen (real estate and mortgage brokers) – they’ve lived high on the hog for too long, and perpetuated the real estate bubble as well as greed and irresponsibility. Great care should be taken to ascertain that these homes would go to single home buyers, not speculators.

I would love to hear more shows that address these issues and if there are indeed programs being set up between governments and banks, to let us know about them. So far all the efforts seem to be bailing out homeowners who made irresponsible choices rather than helping first time home buyers, who could contribute real stability to the economy.”

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