Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Thoughts About Home Prices and Shark Attacks

Unless you run a drug smuggling ring, human trafficking operation, or some other criminal enterprise like a church, the purchase of your home will probably be the biggest financial decision you ever make in your life. That's why the news about the housing market is so depressing. It's like getting married in Vegas to a hot girl and then finding out that she used to be a man. Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but the sense of disappointment and dread are probably similar. Again, this is just an assumption since I've never been married to anyone, let alone to someone who used to have a penis.

But when I see house prices in DC (in my neighborhood, since I'm too lazy to look elsewhere) the prices don't seem to be coming down a whole lot. Well, it seems that the news was exaggerating how bad the housing market is. To make a boring story short:
  1. the housing numbers that the news keeps quoting are coming from only 20 cities, some of which are doing much worse than the rest of the country;
  2. the decline in REALLY EXPENSIVE houses is included in those numbers so it makes it look a lot worse than it is (like if you average your salary and Bill Gates' salary and then came up with a number).

So, in a way this is like the Shark Attack scares. A few weeks ago I saw on every news channel a story about a guy who was attacked and killed by a shark in South Africa. Now I try not to pay attention to these types of stories because

  1. I don't live anywhere near the beach, so unless a shark is gonna come out of my toilet and try to bite my junk off, it doesn't really concern me;
  2. if you're taking surfing vacations all over the world when I'm here working, then I don't have a lot of sympathy for you, even if you get eaten by a shark.

But the real reason I was thinking about this (besides procrastinating) is that shark attacks aren't very common. You're 10x more likely to die from a coconut falling on your head than you are to die from a shark attack. But people don't worry about dying from falling coconuts because the news only focusses on shark attacks, because, lets face it, sharks have huge teeth and are really scary; coconuts...not so much.

Same thing with the housing market. Some people overpaid for their houses in some parts of the country, but that doesn't mean that people everywhere are going to suddenly stop buying houses and living in their cars. It's not the end of the world.

If you want to worry about something, then stop thinking about sharks and housing prices and start worrying about the earth being destroyed by a black hole that could be created in a particle accelerator in Switzerland. Coincidentally, the Mayans had an advance system of math that calculated the movement of the planets until the year 2012. They stopped at 2012 because they believed that's when the world will be destroyed. Freakkkkkky.


Anonymous said...

"Unless you run a drug smuggling ring, human trafficking operation, or some other criminal enterprise like a church,"

Well I got my laugh for the day! Thanks, that was a great line.

Anonymous said...

I know another shark stat that is much more relevant. You're 14x more likely to be killed by your own dog (not some random dog, but your own dog) than you are to be killed by a shark. Sleep tight, don't let the chunky foster dog bite!

John said...

You're spot on with the "housing crisis." With the exception of NW Arkansas where they went insane and built too many $500,000+ homes for Walmart executives to fill, there hasn't been much change in housing prices. However, getting any sort of bank lone is pretty well impossible.

Regarding the particle accelerator at CERN, my uncle built the particle detector (see the photo in the article) for it. So, if the world ends, I can claim that my gene pool ended the world as we know it. That pretty cool in a way; it's like being the nephew of the Beast. Though, if the world ends, who'll care?

And, here is a little icing for the Mayan end times: the world won't just end; it'll end when the demons that live in the dark between the stars come to earth and devour it. Just a thought.

Anyhow, probably TMI . . .

Jen said...

Oh no! Now, I am scared of coconuts, and my dog.

Funny, but true. House prices have not dropped much around here.

Jennifer said...

mmm... black hole. mmm... dog sleeping on my lap. mmm... 4 more years to get to the beach.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that home prices in your area seem to be retaining their value. (Big relief for you, I'm sure! But maybe not so good for all those people out there who can't afford to pay the big bucks to buy a home...?) :)

Anonymous said...

I was in Old Town this weekend and looked at housing prices just out of curiosity. They're still ridiculous. Housing slump, my ass.

Also, you make the end of the world sound like a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Old Town Alexandria. Home of that crazy coon ass, James Carville.

Lemmonex said...

The church comment made me chcuckle as well.

And amen on the screed against the shark attack coverage. A co-worker of mine grew up a few miles from the most recent one in CA and came running down the hall to talk about it. He didn't seem to impressed with my response of "I'm sorry? Was it your mom? Why does this matter?" Sometimes I am cranky.

HomeImprovementNinja said...

Mike: you're welcome.

Anonymous: thanks for the nightmares!

John: well, we'll know who wins your idiot award that year if they destroy the world, but who will be around to gloat?

Jenni: Yeah, I think it's the same in a lot of places that never experienced the original bubble.

Jennifer: Or...we could get Iron Man to stop it.

zandria: well, when you get your MRS degree, you won't have to worry your pretty little head about it.

You can call me, 'Sir': Alexandria is a strange bird.

Lemmonex: "Sometimes I am cranky."

sometimes ;)

Fargo said...

Here in Chicago, prices insome areas have really dropped. Others haven't changed much. Condo greed (developers and flippers) has helped to tank that market segment in many neighborhoods across the city, as they have really overbuilt. Lots of folks are wondering how long it will take for some recent conversions of formerly trashy buildings to reslummify.

Anonymous said...

You kinda remind me of that guy who lives in DC and says, "what housing collapse?... I love my house in Crawford." You probably live in DC in NW. That's nice. Go out a little bit to Springfield, Woodbridge, or Manassas and you can see homeowners chopping up furniture to keep warm. Kids play Xbox without the TV on families are so desperate. That aside, what we're going through doesn't even compare to the real estate implosion in Ireland, Spain, etc.