April 4, 2009

I've gotta give it up to the homebuilders and realtors. Their marketing was so good, they made people do insanely dumb things, like buy in the exurbs

"the American dream"

"buy now or you'll be priced out forever"

"home ownership is the best investment you'll ever make"

"real estate prices have never fallen in America"

"we're well worth the 6%"

"buy where the growth is - on the fringes of the city"

"don't worry about the commute - you'll never want to leave your suburb"

Meanwhile the exurbs are going to be gang-and-meth-lab-infested foreclosed rental hells for a decade or more.

We didn't need all those f*cking houses. The realtors knew it, the homebuilders knew it and the mortgage brokers knew it. The only ones who evidently didn't know it were the fools dumb enough to listen to a realtor on commission, while making the worst financial decision of their lives.

c/o the WSJ:

Kim and Robert Discianno had the American dream. Now, they rent a few streets away.

The Disciannos moved from Aurora, Ill., to their home here in Plano three years ago, lured to the outermost fringes of suburbs, known as the exurbs, by the promise of owning their first home. Today, their credit is shot and they no longer own, but Ms. Discianno still has a four-hour commute.

What is happening on the urban fringe is similar to the urban decay that plagued cities after World War II, says Christopher B. Leinberger, a real-estate developer and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. "Single-family homes and townhouses in cities were broken into rental units. Now, we're seeing that phenomenon move out to the fringe."


John said...

That isn't anything compared to what builders have been up to the last couple of months.


Anonymous said...

keith, i live near san antonio. they are still building shopping centers and houses all over the place. go figure.

Anonymous said...

"...the couple's...payment[s] soared, to $2,900 from $1,500. Rather than struggle with the bills, the family abandoned their home to the bank, moved out, and found a new home to rent...for $1,500...

...While she still owned a home, Ms. Discianno opposed renters..."


i've had it said...

if only these two suckers could have managed to stay in their home for a bit longer, they would have been bailed out completely by BO (you're buddy, keith!) and lived like a king and queen forever after.

well, millions of others in their situation will do just that - hold on long enough - and people like me will be paying for their $500k houses that they can't afford on their $40k household income.

Anonymous said...

i just read John's article on "staged neighborhoods" at


our govt must stop the realt-whores and developers. but they are so in bed with these folks you can bet your bottom dollar they won't do a thing.

Anonymous said...

when gasoline goes up to over 4/gallon again, and it will, you can be sure of that, then what will this do to the burbs, or what is left of them?

Rob Dawg said...

Yeah, stupid. I mean they should have bought cenurban condos instead.

Keith, I thought I had this cleared up 4 years ago ehen I explained the exurbs were only toxic inasmuch as they were 2001-2007 vintage. Did you forget?

JAWS said...

Stupid people flocking to the exurbs are like ants flocking to sugar. You can't stop them.

These Las Vegas lovers want the "new" house. I've been driving around here lately and "new" usually backs up to an empty field of dirt and rocks, and a busy intersection. Not to mention the block walls that encase the little street to nowhere. I do not get what these people out here see in a "new" tract home in the middle of a desert. And, the builders just keep on building.

There's a big REDC auction here on 4/11. So far, I'm not impressed. I expect it to be a joke.

Singular said...

Commuting four hours a day? What were these people thinking? You have stupidity right there. These people probably believed all the hype that if they don't buy NOW they will never be able to buy and so gobbled up all these previously unwanted homes in out of the way places in a silly panic.

Bukko_in_Australia said...

That's why I like Melbourne. This is a city that Kunstler would approve of.

The centre of the city is densely populated, and the council's master plan is to build lots of more highrises within the "inner suburb" core. Melbourne not only has an urban train network that runs on railroad lines, but it has a system of street trams that go to most of the major thoroughfares. (Most Aussie cities ripped up their tram lines in the 1960s, the way American towns did in the 40s and 50s.)

In short, it's like Amsterdam, Zurich and a lot of other European cities that didn't fall prey to the Anglo-Saxon vision of car-dominated sprawl. It will fare better than most cities in the Anglophone sphere when the oil starts runing out in a big way.

Anonymous said...

This is so Riverside and San Bernardino County in California. Exburbs to the max.