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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

How to Catch a Falling Knife

by Tanta on 4/10/2007 07:05:00 AM

Our Geoff e-mailed this to me, and I hereby claim to have read it. Only once, and at 6:30 a.m., I concede. But still, one ought to be able to read the newspaper once, in the morning, and still get something out of the experience other than a good gobsmacking.

I have suspicions that there is a reason why the example homeowner here is an anesthesiologist. This might make more sense to someone with his own DEA number.

In any event, we file this one under "columnist-underwritten loans," I think. I give you Buying a House in California May Not Be So Crazy:

For people with ordinary incomes, homeownership in the super cities is virtually impossible. Well, it may be virtually impossible, but it can still be beneficial.

If you take economists' consumption-smoothing approach – in which you focus on maximizing a smooth level of consumption over your lifetime rather than your net worth – a future of flat prices can be fine. A future of declining home prices can be better.

Remember: it's always a good time to buy. Especially when it's a good time to sell. It's not a house. It's not even a home. It's a consumption-maximization utility. Get with the program!