February 26, 2009
Funny and on-point, that’s how I like my articles:
A lot of optimistic people bought houses near the historic height of the market, say November 2005, for absurdly high prices, say $1.12 million, in places like the eastern Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles. These people are very, very sad. Trust me on this. But the sudden drop in housing prices hasn’t made it any harder for these people to pay their loans. That’s because your home’s value is utterly irrelevant until you want to sell it — the same as your baseball cards, Hummel figurines or casual encounters. (See pictures of Americans in their homes.)
The only people affected by plummeting real estate prices are the ones who bought a house that cost more than they could afford, hoping for a spike in value so they could sell at a profit or take out a new loan based on an increased value. Their home wasn’t just a place to live; it was an investment they thought they could liquefy at will. If we’re saving these poor souls from the 26.7% drop in their investment, we should give twice as much aid to everyone who has lost approximately 50% in the stock market since its peak. Especially those in Vanguard’s Tax-Managed Capital Appreciation Fund.