Price A House Low And It Will Go


How can the real estate market be hot at the bottom of Southern California? Jim the Realtor Klinge has no explanation, but he sees the evidence. One place closed above asking. Another went for a million greenbacks at auction. San Diego County buyers are so eager that even blackhearted Jim has been called out for being too optimistic.

Jim gives thanks for the Home Buyer Tax Credit, and also says that these are cash deals. I don't think it's literally true that in every case the buyer writes a check for the whole amount or brings a suitcase full of money to settlement -- just as it is not literally true that banks aren't lending at all these days.

However, if many first-time buyers are putting down a large amount of cash, we could be seeing the too-long-deferred triumph of the bubble sitters. They rented or backseat-surfed through maddening years of Flip This House. Now the smart shoppers are taking the gold bars out of their wheel wells and fulfilling the real American dream, of buying a reasonably priced house with ready money. You may believe, as I do, that the market still wants to give back a non-trivial portion of its currently appraised value. But owning your home, I'm told, has rewards that go beyond personal finance, so Excelsior to the bargain hunters.