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Want A Better Housing Market? Remember the Early 80’s!

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The early eighties. A wonderful time in the lives of many of us (at least as it sits WAAAAAY back in our rear view mirrors). Maybe not so much. The music was mediocre, the clothes were horrendous, and interest rates were not appealing.
The 80’s brought much change. My first wife, Della, and I had a newborn, some money in the bank and some horses and dogs to looks after. We both felt fairly secure in our jobs. The next step was obvious: buy a home. A friend told us about a great place for sale and knew a real estate agent and we were good to go. We didn’t care about scouring the web looking for the best deals (Al Gore had yet to invent it) and we did not spend time shopping around. We had no idea about interest rates until we met with a lender and then didn’t really care. We wanted to buy a house – it was time!
The interest rate, by the way, 18.5%. But like I said, we didn’t care. We wanted to buy a home!
When we lament over the housing market, we track a plethora of fascinating numbers that indicate precisely (?) anything we decide they ought to indicate. The good times are just around the corner, five years away, never coming back. Who knows? Answer: I do.
Look at why Della and I bought our first home. As I mentioned, we were a family on the upswing. Our careers were going nowhere but up. We were building a family and had growth aspirations for the space we would need for him and his soon to be conceived brother. And, we had saved some money. In short, we were optimistic about our future!
Today, there are couples/people in the same or similar circumstances. The difference is that it is a challenge for them to be positive in today’s world. For many, even being realistic is a stretch. The news, and this is nothing new, does absolutely nothing to make people feel good about being on the planet. So most people struggle for optimism and fortunately or unfortunately, it’s optimism that will bring the housing market back.
Interest rates have been low for what seems like forever. That hasn’t helped. We’ve seen most major markets become supply-heavy buyer’s markets. That hasn’t helped either. Prices have dropped. So what? And of course, we’ve seen our governmental attempts to save the housing market fall short, as we knew they would.
What we need is some optimism. We need to believe that tomorrow will be better than today. I’d like to think that we can elect optimism, but government in general, and our government in particular, doesn’t seem to lend itself well to that attitude any longer (at least it hasn’t in DECADES).
So what do we do? Well, that answer is simple: we look inside. Most everyone I know had a pretty nice Thanksgiving. I read about many on Facebook, Twitter etc….  So, let’s build on Thanksgiving (thankfulness and gratitude – not a bad foundation). In fact, let’s build on the fact that at some level most all of us would rather feel good than bad and go from there. 

Want a better housing market? The answer is optimism and don’t look anywhere else but in the mirror to find it. The more of us who find it, the better off we’ll be. In some ways this sounds like some grass roots, semi-subversive movement toward a better day ahead. Hmmm, cool.