Top Ten Cities Experiencing a Housing Recovery

Written by Sam on August 25, 2009 – 2:09 pm - (via Yahoo!) lists the top ten cities that are possibly experiencing a housing recovery. To determine the top cities they analyzed areas with high house sales growth rates in the last year but with relatively low foreclosure rates.

The top cities are:
10. San Jose, Calif.
9. Santa Barbara, Calif.
8. Redding, Calif.
7. Denver, Colo.
6. Bremerton, Wash.
5. San Luis Obispo, Calif.
4. Salem, Ore.
3. Colorado Springs, Colo.
2. Lincoln, Neb.
1. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

It looks like California has a strong showing with 4 of the top 10 spots. With real estate in a slump across most of the country, it’s probably a good time to buy a house. The only problem is if you have to sell your house as well. In my state it seems like the higher-priced houses have taken a bigger hit. I have one acquaintance who recently bought a house for about $400k that had previously sold for close to $1 Million before the crash. That’s a change in value of $600k. In contrast, the value of houses in my neighborhood, which are now selling in the $200-300k range, have gone down in value an average of $50k. This would seem to favor a strategy of selling a house in a lower price range (say $100-300k) and buying a house in the upper price range, but that has a much higher potential upswing in value once the economy recovers. Not that I would recommend such a strategy, but it seems to make sense.

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Cash for Refrigerators

Written by Sam on August 24, 2009 – 9:20 am -

Business Week (via Yahoo!) reported today on the government’s rebate program for new energy-efficient appliances. Similar to the “Cash for Clunkers,” the program will give rebates of $50 to $200 on new appliances. It was unclear to me what types of appliances will be covered, but it sounds like at least refrigerators and washing machines will be covered. There was no real specific information about the program since individual states will be determining the exact parameters.

I’ve been trying to get my head around these government programs and the affect they’ll have. I honestly hate the idea of the government encouraging and funding consumer purchases. What’s wrong with people making due with what they have? I assume that a large portion of the people participating in these programs will make their new car and dish washer purchases using debt, thus further increasing overall consumer debt. The article listed above mentions how the appliance market has suffered because people have been choosing to fix their appliances rather than buy new. GREAT! That’s responsible behavior. It’s not a problem to be solved by the government. If industries such as appliance and car makers are suffering, they need to adapt their approach, re-tool their businesses, and look for ways to innovate. They shouldn’t rely on the government to bail them out. The whole thing frankly gets me riled up.

Now I’m no economist and can’t eloquently argue the virtues and vices of Keynesian government spending programs. Maybe they’ll have an overall positive impact. But my gut tells me they are wrong simply because they encourage lazy behavior. They don’t encourage personal accountability which is what got us into this economic mess in the first place. Citizens will eventually have to pay for these government programs in the form of increased taxes, which will be harder to pay with their added debt from appliances and cars.

I guess we’ll find out soon what the details are of this newest program so stay tuned. If you are in the market for a new appliance, by all means try and take advantage of this program. If you’re not, be happy with what you have and please don’t go into debt just to take advantage of a measly little discount.

Am I way off on this? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. I actually would love to hear some good reasoning as to why the program is a good thing so I can at least feel a little good about it. Will energy-efficient appliances really save the environment that much? Will this really help the economy turn around?

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