Friday, November 9, 2007

The Fall Out from Overextended Speculators

From The New York Times:

“Mr. Haupt is one of thousands of Americans who jumped into the raging housing market of the last decade, which was heralded in stories of neighbors’ windfalls and reality television shows like ‘Flip That House,’ ‘Flip This House’ and ‘Flipping Out.’

Driving past his empty house recently, Mr. Haupt considered how things had crashed so fast.

‘I feel like, yes, I overextended myself, he said. ‘But when do you know not to overextend yourself? If I had a crystal ball, I never would have built my house. But when do you know? That’s why we’re speculators.’”

From the Associated Press:

“The problems become self-perpetuating. Researchers say that each foreclosure chips away at neighbors' property values. But foreclosures here compound a larger problem.

Builders continue adding homes to the market at reduced prices. Investors are trying to sell. Lenders are seeking buyers for foreclosures. Homeowners whose financial troubles might be solved by selling can't compete, real estate agents say.

‘Sometimes the neighbors don't like you so much because you're one of the reasons the values are declining,’ says Kim Gordon, a real estate agent specializing in foreclosures who is listing two homes in the neighborhood. ‘But everyone has got their part in it. The homeowners overextended themselves.’”

From the Detroit Free Press:

“’It is only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming naked.’

Buffett, probably the world's most successful investor, was talking about overextended plungers in a receding market... “

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