Is the housing crisis spreading to 'stable' cities?

Seattle! Minneapolis! Atlanta! The New York Times' David Streitfeld says that cities once thought to be spared from the housing collapse are now in trouble

Home prices in once-stable markets like Minneapolis dropped more than those in bubble markets like Miami (pictured).
(Image credit: Corbis)

Homebuyers and economists alike thought cities like Seattle, Minneapolis, and Atlanta were "immune" from the plummet in housing prices that devastated Florida and the Southwest, says David Streitfeld in The New York Times. Not anymore. In fact, home prices in "bubble markets" like Las Vegas, Miami, and Phoenix are finally stabilizing, while "stable" cities where the housing bubble was "relatively restrained" are feeling the pain, Streitfeld says. What's the lesson here?

Life isn't fair: Everyone who blamed the whole housing crisis on fools who "paid $1.3 million for a particleboard McMansion in the middle of a desert and/or swamp" just got a big lesson, says Hamilton Nolan in Gawker. No matter what you do, "Playing By The Rules and Doing All The Right Things" isn't a guarantee that "your happy stable community" will stay happy and stable. Even the "nice cities" are in trouble. "Sorry, American dreamers!"

"Real estate market collapse: Now coming to the nice cities"

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Streitfeld's whole premise is wrong: Who says there was no bubble in Atlanta, Seattle, and Minneapolis? asks Ken Houghton in Angry Bear. Not "anyone who was paying attention." In fact, all three cities were correctly identified as "prime examples of housing bubbles," which makes Streitfeld's whole argument bogus.

"David Streitfeld knows better than this"

The problem is wages, not location: Our housing mess may have been caused by "unsustainable bubble in house valuations" in Florida, Las Vegas, and elsewhere, says Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress. But it's spreading because the Great Recession drained our purchasing power nationwide. When people can't afford homes, that creates "serious housing problems" even in places that never saw "noteworthy construction booms."

"If nobody has money, houses have to be cheap"

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