The Collected Works of Author and Blogger Larry Roberts

Are renters also to blame for nimby resistance to more housing? The conventional wisdom holds that renters favor new construction and homeowners oppose it because renters want more abundant and less expensive housing and homeowners want more valuable housing and less traffic. But is it really that simple? A new study says no. Nimbys oppose all development because they believe their neighborhood was perfect when they moved in, but new development removes beautiful natural features, clogs the roads with more traffic, and changes the character of the community they moved into. True Nimbys don’t evaluate the pluses and minuses of new development and form an opinion based on facts. True Nimbys oppose everything, and in doing so, they fail to…[READ MORE]

California housing enjoys strong fundamentals but faces potential headwinds Housing fundamentals are strong, but if they get too strong, rising mortgage rates will spoil the fun. Signs of a strong economy are all around us. U.S. retail sales rise, and inflation posts largest gain in four years. Unemployment is near historic lows, and Trump plans to dump fuel on the fire with a massive infrastructure spending program. The US Housing market is poised for a strong start in 2017. The underlying economy was strong enough for the federal reserve to raise interest rates again in December. Unemployment is low and wage growth is picking up, so more qualified borrowers are likely to become buyers in the days ahead. Further, with mortgage…[READ MORE]

Some homeowners wisely take a step down the property ladder Escaping an onerous mortgage can be the best thing for a family’s financial and mental health. I feel bad for loanowners (AKA underwater borrowers). When I started blogging in February of 2007, I felt a sense of urgency to convince as many people as I could they shouldn’t buy a house. I knew the impending price collapse was going to have serious long-term consequences on people’s lives. Many would succumb to the weight of their debts and lose their homes in foreclosure. Many more would endure years of owing more on their mortgage than their home was worth. Mortgage debt is always a heavy burden, but when it greatly exceeds…[READ MORE]

Consumer debt is a deadly parasite Warning! Don’t read today’s post if you have a weak stomach or a strong affinity for consumer debt. This is your only warning. Hang on, Alice, as we bolt through the rabbit hole on an adventure to financial Wonderland. Come with me on a fantastic journey to the Great Lakes to save fish falling prey to evil bloodsuckers, and along the way, we will save borrowers from the evil of debt peddler, Louie the Lender Lamprey. The Sea Lamprey and the Great Lakes Prior to canals of the nineteenth century, the Great Lakes were a thriving fishery. With over fishing and the introduction of the sea lamprey through the canals, the fisheries of the Great Lakes were devastated. According…[READ MORE]

Low house prices provide an economic boost Low house prices make for lower debt service payments that benefit the economy as money is liberated to circulate and buy goods and services. Low house prices benefit everyone because low house prices make for low loan balances and less debt-service. When borrowers carry excessive home debt, the excess comes directly out of disposable income. Since consumer spending is such an important component of the economy, the excess interest payments drain the economy (and enrich lenders). It’s really that simple. Legislators, existing homeowners, and bankers all want rapidly rising home prices. Legislators want to see home equity rise because it provides free money to homeowners reducing government dependency. Bankers like rapidly rising home…[READ MORE]

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