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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Shoot Outs . . .

by Tanta on 7/08/2008 08:09:00 AM

. . . join Burn Outs and Trash Outs in the tabloid lore of the housing bust. Via Housing Doom, we find a 73-year-old man executing his real estate agent because the house he bought in 2005 is no longer worth the original sales price.

Like the recent case of the woman in foreclosure who torched her house, this story says less to me about responses to an RE bust than it does about a simple fact of homeownership in America: the universe of homeowners is big enough that it is a statistical certainty that it contains more than one person with long-term emotional problems and exceptionally poor impulse control that have very little to do with buying or mortgaging a home as such and undoubtedly predate that transaction by decades. There are simply people for whom losing their home (or their "investment") is unbearable stress that pushes them over the edge into violence. I am confident that these people would experience major illness, divorce, unemployment, a scratch on their new car or the neighbor's cat peeing in their yard as unbearable stressors, too, in the right circumstances.

I will nonetheless bet my neighbor's cat's bad habits that editorialists will endlessly recycle this story as a measure of the severity of the housing bust.