I was going through my public “To-Do List” when I came across this user submission:
Talk about the upside of the bubble in terms of neighbor quality
I really enjoyed one aspect of Seattle’s bubble. I loved the “rising tide” effect that seemed to be transforming my neighborhood. Hard to quantify. More of a qualitative discussion.
I really enjoyed newer buyers who invested in their homes and yards, doing long-overdue maintenance and painting, as well as some remodels and improvements, bumping out some long-term neighbors who were letting their paint peel off, let their yards go, parked jalopies on the street, burned trash in their fireplaces to save a buck, etc.
Not trying to be judgmental, but I do miss that dynamic, that feeling that the neighborhood was on the “up and up”.
It’s an interesting observation that is similar to my post from last week: Foreclosures Benefit a Neighborhood, Not Hurt It, only from the pre-bust perspective.
While many neighborhoods no doubt felt like they were improving during the bubble, the problem was that most of the “wealth” that was fueling these improvements was illusory. Rising equity was being immediately converted into debt and spent on things like “long-overdue maintenance and painting, as well as some remodels and improvements,” in addition to expensive cars, vacations, and other creature comforts.
I’m reminded of Douglas Adams’ flying party, which I posted about a few times before the bubble burst and the economy collapsed, taking with it all of that imaginary wealth.
The longest and most destructive party ever held is now into its fourth generation, and still no one shows any signs of leaving.
The problem of when the drink is going to run out is, however, going to have to be faced one day.
Sure, it would have been a blast if the party could have gone on forever. But it couldn’t, and it didn’t.
I’m interested to hear your take on this reader’s comment. Were there positive aspects of the housing bubble that could somehow be brought back without the all of the unsustainable economy-destroying side effects that came along for the ride last time?