How Fannie — and You — Bought a Hapless House

dmerkow on Sep 28th 2008

How Fannie — and You — Bought a Hapless House

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How Fannie — and You — Bought a Hapless House

dmerkow on Sep 28th 2008

How Fannie — and You — Bought a Hapless House

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Economic Gloom Envelops Britain

dmerkow on Sep 12th 2008

Economic Gloom Envelops Britain

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Economic Gloom Envelops Britain

dmerkow on Sep 12th 2008

Economic Gloom Envelops Britain

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What I Saw in America: How About that Free Market?

dmerkow on Sep 5th 2008

What I Saw in America: How About that Free Market?

Quick update. . . it looks like Fannie and Freddie are going to be swallowed by the Feds. This is serious business.

My new prediction: which ever candidate is able to get out ahead on this group of issues, wins.

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An article too good not to pass along

dmerkow on Aug 25th 2008

The NYT recently did a piece on the exurbs of LA – Merced in particular. This is ground zero of everything the course was about and what this blog has tracked over the last few months.

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Blogging sabbatical

dmerkow on Aug 14th 2008

This blog was started up to share bits of news concerning suburban America and American Studies more broadly. It eventually became a place to trace the oncoming real estate crisis that is still buffetting America.

Did it achieve its goal? To some extent, yes. The content presented on the blog never really crossed the digital line and became fully integrated into the classroom experience. However, the blog has acquired a quite substantial readership (thanks!).

Quite a lot has changed for author of this blog. In the spring, I commuted from Williamsburg to Fredericksburg to teach a couple classes (insane, I wouldn’t recommend it). This summer my wife and I relocated from Virginia to Columbus, Ohio where my wife is on the faculty at Otterbein College. We went from the suburban sprawl of Williamsburg/James City County to sprawling Franklin County. Fortunately, we were able to find a place in a small town, unfortunately that small town has been swallowed by suburbia. It is a short walk to the school and the local business district. The rest of Westerville is far more car-dependent and nearby Polaris is the epitome of sprawling craziness. I haven’t found much in the way of gated communities . . . yet.

Obviously, the real estate crisis hasn’t come close to abating. My guess is that things won’t get appreciably better until 2010 or so and probably some markets will never recover.

Why did it happen? This was the endpoint of the long national rejection of urban life in favor of a suburban dream. It was connected to widespread hubris among all levels of society connected to the real estate market. It was of a kind with the dot-com bubble. People started with long-held notions about investment and home ownership and then used that to undergird a far more risky regime of unrealistic real estate development. I wish I could say people will flock back to the cities, but I think that most cities have become permantently multi-nodal. I think a more likely development is that we will see a shift toward greater urban-style living near each major commercial and industrial node, while places far from any node and with entirely car-dependent transit will wither over the long term. Transit will likely be the next big investment the nation makes, because it can be electrified far more easily than the car fleet – nuclear, solar, wind, water are all ways of producing electricity not filling the tanks of an automobile. I don’t think battery technology will ever make the electric car a realistic option especially since the environmental costs of car battery production is exceptionally high with the heavy metals that are needed.

I don’t think the future will see such a clear dichotomy between urban and suburban living and culture. I’m not sure what is coming next, but a new synthesis is probably in the making. Race has always been a core part of the suburban ideal, mostly for ill. How that develops over the next few years will have a major effect on how these ideas come together (or don’t).

Why the long post? Well I have a little dissertation to get finished. This has been a great outlet but it has also been an excuse for me to procrastinate. I may drop a link every now and then, but mostly I’m going to let others follow this more closely. You can still find me at Cincy’s Philly Historian and at UrbanOhio. Keep an eye out for groundbreaking work looking at how Philadelphia’s Jews experienced the urban crisis of the 60s and 70s.

Back to the cities!!!

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Philadelphia-area home sales down, prices mixed | Philadelphia Inquirer | 08/12/2008

dmerkow on Aug 13th 2008

Philadelphia-area home sales down, prices mixed | Philadelphia Inquirer | 08/12/2008

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Golf Course Communities’ Double Bogey

dmerkow on Aug 13th 2008

Golf Course Communities’ Double Bogey

Oh the humanity .  .  .

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Economic Malaise Threatens To Undermine European Unity

dmerkow on Aug 13th 2008

Economic Malaise Threatens To Undermine European Unity

This is about Spain, but Italy is also have issues. Spain’s is heavily connected to the real estate bust, Italy to general malaise.

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Bank Failures Rise but Critics Say Not Fast Enough

dmerkow on Aug 13th 2008

Bank Failures Rise but Critics Say Not Fast Enough

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You think the government is wasting a few billion a year on mass-transit subsidies. But what about the huge subsidies for cars and trucks? – By Daniel Gross – Slate Magazine

dmerkow on Aug 9th 2008

You think the government is wasting a few billion a year on mass-transit subsidies. But what about the huge subsidies for cars and trucks? – By Daniel Gross – Slate Magazine

Ahem!

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Gas Prices Apply Brakes To Suburban Migration

dmerkow on Aug 9th 2008

Gas Prices Apply Brakes To Suburban Migration

Hopefully it stays that way at 3.00 dollars a gallon

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Fun Demography

dmerkow on Aug 9th 2008

USA Today and the NYT . . .

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Follow up in the NYT to the Atlantic

dmerkow on Aug 9th 2008

Section 8 often brings problems with it . . . NYT

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Big ol’ Link Dump – the move is finished

dmerkow on Aug 9th 2008

Economists don’t know what your house is worth . . . NYT

Banks in bad shape means mortgages rates are going up . . . NYT

Renters are getting screwed too and CR analyzes why – a lot of landlords shouldn’t be and probably spent too much for a rental property. . . WP and CR

Unpleasantness in Florida . . . the Guardian

Samuelson on the addiction to homeownership, unfortunately often landlords suck more . . . WP

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Dynamic Maps of Nonprime Mortgage Conditions in the United States

dmerkow on Aug 6th 2008

Dynamic Maps of Nonprime Mortgage Conditions in the United States

Fantastic maps! How is your town doing?

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Hot Property Blacks and Hispanics twice as likely to get high-cost mortgages – BusinessWeek

dmerkow on Jul 31st 2008

Hot Property Blacks and Hispanics twice as likely to get high-cost mortgages – BusinessWeek

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Ford. Love, Adolf. « The Edge of the American West

dmerkow on Jul 31st 2008

Happy Birthday, Mr. Ford. Love, Adolf. « The Edge of the American West

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Home Values Are Down, and Not Just at the Bank

dmerkow on Jul 29th 2008

Home Values Are Down, and Not Just at the Bank

Some serious historical context from one of the leaders in the field . . .

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This Time, It’s Different

dmerkow on Jul 29th 2008

This Time, It’s Different

A little peak oil in the Washpost

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S&P: Home prices drop by record 15.8 pct. in May – Yahoo News

dmerkow on Jul 29th 2008

S&P: Home prices drop by record 15.8 pct. in May – Yahoo News

Things aren’t getting better despite the silly NPR show last night . . .

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Calculated Risk: Q2: Homeownership and Vacancy Rates

dmerkow on Jul 28th 2008

Calculated Risk: Q2: Homeownership and Vacancy Rates

Interesting data. . .

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CARPE DIEM: Detroit: Cheaper To Buy A House Than A New Car

dmerkow on Jul 28th 2008

CARPE DIEM: Detroit: Cheaper To Buy A House Than A New Car

Ouch!

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Calculated Risk: Graphs: Existing Home Sales

dmerkow on Jul 26th 2008

Calculated Risk: Graphs: Existing Home Sales
This suggests to me that sales will fall further later this year and in 2009.

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