Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why You Must Never Take Advice From The R-J

An astute blog reader pointed me to the fact that today is the anniversary of an April 28, 2008 Review-Journal editorial that essentially exhorted all of us to rush out and buy houses at what were believed then to be rock-bottom prices.

Get a load o' this. From under the headline, "Affordable Housing: It's 2004 in Las Vegas all over again," some choice excerpts:

Working men and women who were convinced only two years ago that they'd never be able to afford a new house in Southern Nevada now have an abundance of choices around town. In the northwest valley, one builder is selling homes from $149,900. In the northern valley, homes with more than 2,000 square feet start at less than $200,000. Homes with more than 3,000 square feet can be had for a little more than $300,000.

Naturally, builders and real estate agents are doing all they can to tout this buyer's market. "These prices won't last!" they warn.

They're just a bit off the mark. It's not that these bottomed-out prices won't last. It's that they can't last.

[snip - longish market-is-God blather explaining how capitalism works in kindergarten terms that ignore any broader potential complications.]

The days of discounted new housing are nearing an end. At some point in the next few years, consumers will have to pay full price. And when that happens, the hand-wringers of the political class will moan, "Remember when you could get a new house for less than $200,000 -- in 2008?"

Ya don't say. So, how much farther have values around here fallen in 12 months since this editorial? 30 percent? More? What was that I read last week about the prospects of the median home falling to $100,000? Where'd I see that again? Oh, right.