Economic Despair

Remember when your local realtor told you that house prices never fall. Well, housing prices fell in nearly every major U.S. market in November. Boston prices fall back dramatically; down 5 percent for the 12 months through November. Detroit was little better, off 4.5 percent. Of 20 major cities tracked, all but three showed declines in November and seven recorded 12-month losses.

It is enough to make you cry.

For those unfortunate real estate investors who now own an unwanted condo, perhaps renting the property is answer to those pressing cash flow problems. Well, renting sometimes has its problems as this landlord in DC reported on craigslist. He felt it necessary to issue a warning about a predatory tenant hunting unwary landlords in the nation's capital.

Read it and fear.......
"Beware if you are in the market for a roommate or tenant I just had a protective order filed against someone who did about 10k in damage to my place in 3 months. All crimial background checks came back clean.

This person is very charming and attractive. Blond hair blue eyes and big pecs about 5'11. He moves in, promptly gets fired from his job then starts drinking all of your private stock of liq/wines and or fills bottles with water. All crimial background checks came back clean because he uses the civil court system.

Once he has keys to your place it will take you months to get him out. All of the laws in DC protect the tenant only. The landloard or roommate is helpless to get him out before he begins his damage. The damage includes stuffing 32 months of pans with food under the bed to attract rats and roaches while you are attempting to get him out he is reporting you to the housing authority as a slum lord. He would open tuna cans halfway and pack all this food with towels and blankets under the bed. When you stop over to view will have a bottle of bleach open to mask the smell. He opened my mail and obtained my SSN bank statements and financial history.

He broke the dishwasher by putting plastic spoons and forks in it to melt. He broke an expensive can opener then hid it. He vomited all over the furnished room then hid it. He threw dishes out windows and stole items from other people in the building. Unfortunatly I did not find this out until I came back into town from michigan to find him still in my place in january.

His lease was only for October and November be he had no intention of leaving or paying rent. When he was removed on the protective order he was forced to take only what he could carry. By then he had moved my belongings into his truck. The police informed me that he had every right to things in my condo if he had keys, this includes removing my property to his truck. He stole property from other people then smashed it outside once the Protective order passed. He stole 3 bikes inside the building when he was asked to move his bike from outside.

In the things he left behind I found evidence that the did the same thing to another gay person in Atlanta and still another in Miami. He left behind library books like "how to beat a landloard in court" and "Every Tenants rights"."

Does this sound like a familiar story? A central bank lowers interest rates, cheap money fuels a housing bubble, higher house prices leads to equity withdrawal which feeds inflation. Then the central bank panics, raises interest rates and suddenly no one wants to take out mortgages any more.

That sad old yarn is playing out in the UK. The number of mortgages granted in the UK slumped to a six-year low last month. Overall, the number of mortgages approved fell to 123,518 from 209,669 the previous month. That figure had also fallen from the 140,866 loans that were approved the previous December.

Despite the higher rates, the housing bubble is still evident in the average value of a mortgage , which rose 9 per cent to £146,400 from levels a year ago.

Where do we go from here? Er, down maybe?

Say hello to the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-meter. It records the number of loose lending institutions that have croaked since December 2006. As of today, 16 lenders have hit the wall. Check out the ailing list. Grim stuff.

Expect the Implode-O-meter to climb remorselessly. The great and oh so late housing crash of 2007 has finally come to town.

Oh misery, misery when will the housing market recover?

Sales of existing homes plunged again in December. The National Association of Realtors reported that sales were down 0.8 percent last month. For the year, sales fell by 8.4 percent, the biggest annual decline since 1982.

What happened to the once high-flying housing market. For five straight years, prices increased at record levels. Today, the market is slipping into the abyss.

It is going to get worse, I tell ya, much worse.