Monday, October 22, 2007

Lessons From the Foreclosure Crisis

by Tanta on 10/22/2007 09:45:00 AM

Via the New York Times:

“The market’s really low right now, so you can get a good price,” said Lori Crook, a food server at Keys Cafe who said she was looking for a place she could fix up and sell. “Even if you can’t sell it right away, if you just sit on it and sit on it, it will go up.”

The auction involved a tiny fraction of foreclosures in the state. Julie Gugin, executive director of the nonprofit Minnesota Homeownership Center, projected statewide foreclosures at 20,000 this year, up from 11,000 last year, based on data from sheriffs’ sales. . . .

“This is such a stark and dramatic illustration of how serious the problem is,” said Ron Elwood, a lawyer at the Legal Services Advocacy Project, which lobbies in the interest of low-income residents. “The reality is, half the reason 300 homes are being auctioned off is that speculators tried to make a killing and failed to do so.” In Minneapolis, 55 percent of foreclosures this year involved houses not occupied by their owners, according to county records.

But instead of alarming buyers about the risks, the auction of so many foreclosures at once was an invitation to speculators, small and large. Some, including Bryan Kihle and Jim Casha, who bought a four-bedroom house for $145,000, bid without seeing the properties. “I just looked at the picture and thought if we got it cheap enough, we could rent it for a year, then sell it when the market goes back up,” said Mr. Kihle, a building contractor.
Some day this war's going to start.