Feature

The bogus housing recovery

Housing may look like a great investment these days, but it pays off only “for a select few.”

David WeidnerMarketWatch.com

The housing recovery is a cruel myth, said David Weidner. We all read in the papers about low interest rates, rising real estate prices, and overheating markets. But “very few homeowners are seeing the benefits.” Housing may look like a great investment these days, but it pays off only “for a select few—namely, those with access to ample credit and those who aren’t tied down to expensive housing purchases made in the years before the financial crisis.” Existing borrowers are still struggling, and more than 7.3 million mortgage holders are still underwater on their homes. And even in “all those hot housing markets,” it’s investors—not existing homeowners or first-time buyers—who are snapping up those properties and cashing in on the housing upswing. The “Wall Street interests” who control consumer credit are profiting richly; they can beat almost any buyer by coming in with all-cash offers, sometimes above the asking price. But for those of us who bought our homes before the crash, the so-called recovery amounts to a waiting game to see when—or if—our homes will reclaim their former value. And for the millions who lost their homes outright, “it’s a different market altogether: It’s one that’s over.”

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