Rollin' Like Sisyphus

The Next Bubble Will Look Frighteningly Like The Last Bubble

Posted in Life's A Gamble by Huckleberry on April 11, 2014

While the gettin's good.

While the gettin’s good.

Home is where the Hell is, if you’re unfortunate enough to either hold a bad mortgage or are invested in interests holding bad mortgages.
Yes, “sub-prime” mortgages are back, and by “back” I mean they never really went away, they just shifted and localized to specific “high-value” neighborhoods, neighborhoods simultaneously pumped up with (or propped up by) speculative investor cash from China’s melamine-encrusted upper crust.
I’m getting a front-row view of this as it unfolds in my own neighborhood, the neighborhood where my wife grew up when it was a sleepy suburb, but now it’s HOT and FRESH. Many other areas nearby collapsed in 2007, this neighborhood treaded water. We bought the house in 2010, for what I still think is way too much money, but in the meantime, the property’s value has rocketed up significantly. At least three nights a week for the past 10 or 11 months, someone comes to the door claiming to represent “Interested Parties” offering all cash to buy my home. When I politely decline, they walk up to the next house, and on throughout the neighborhood.
Anyone paying attention to the fine work done at Zero Hedge knows that the speculative cash fueling a lot of this is nearing, reaching, or just surpassing its peak. I’m tempted to sell, because I could get several hundred thousand more than what I paid, theoretically in cash*. And given that I put just a shade over 50% down when we closed, getting all of that back on top of so much profit could really set us up right, somewhere safe(r) than here.
However, that window is closing, quickly, and there is as always a complication.
Like I said, we’re living on the street my wife grew up on. Her parents still live across the street. Her grandmother lives next door to us. Lifelong family friends still live all up and down the street. It’s a slice of Mayberry orbiting the decay of the City of Angels, with a tightknit community stronger than anywhere else I’ve lived**; when one of the neighbor’s houses was broken into, the men from three different nearby houses headed over with their rifles, because the nearest LAPD station is 10 miles and 30 minutes (in traffic) away. Sure, a block south of me is the familiar urban hellhole. But right behind my house is nothing but foothills and wilderness for miles. Almost certainly, the Woman will choose to stay with her kin rather than cash out and follow me East, at least until after the bottom falls out of this thing.
Of course, when the bottom does fall out of this thing, that’s that and there’s no room for Mulligans.
So if you’re wondering what’s keeping me up at night, in addition to everything else, that’s it.
* Though it wouldn’t stay in cash for long, I can tell you.
** Except for the vegan neighbors. They’re part of the problem.


3 Responses

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  1. Doom said, on April 11, 2014 at 11:52

    I got into a home, at the bottom of the market, in a stable bracket. It is holding. The neighbors were strangers, good people though as I account such things, but this has changed to a very strong positive. I’m still a stranger, and not kin, but… certain qualities I have are considered… valuable, even in my weakened state. Plus, I actually have land, enough to grow vegetables to feed a block of families, with outhouses for livestock, a henhouse, and a home made to last and handle the temp changes hereabouts very well. And still? I sleep with some level of concern. There is no safety in these time. None. There never was a guarantee, it’s just that there is now a guarantee but it’s not one anyone wants.

    I wish I could suggest you shrug it off. I’d love to tell you to sell and scoot. But it is never that easy. I know what I would do but I am not you, or in your shoes. As I see it, you are being the captain, given orders as to course, knowing the hit is coming, but deciding to go down with the ship while staying on a course toward disaster. While it seems harsh… it is much easier. It took dreams, literally, to get me where I am. Dreams I could not resist. Even then it took four years to move, two years to find this home, and three or four years to finally become halfway settled.

    Time. Tick-tock… and dreams. Find a dream or move the furniture on the deck to settle your mind until the sinking. I’ll… add your concerns to my prayer list.

  2. Huckleberry said, on April 11, 2014 at 14:14

    Appreciate your prayers, thank you.
    Yeah, I’ve longed joked that I intend to go down with the ship.
    Gallows humor; it stops being funny the closer you shuffle toward the Hangman’s Arch.
    I’m just gonna miss the farm I was going to buy is all.

    • Doom said, on April 11, 2014 at 15:14

      Now THAT’S the attitude I try to inspire, once the choices have been made! Of course, if you could get the farm to haunt your dreams, you might be surprised how quickly you find yourself becoming a dirt rancher. No offense, mostly. *cough*

      You are most welcome for the prayers. I buy them in bulk, at a discount, and so many seem to need them. So…

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