Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Required Reading: Wednesday, July 15th 2009

Sacramento-area rents fall for third straight quarter – The Sacramento Bee

A massive deflationary spiral that has pushed home values down by half or more from their housing boom highs is now destabilizing pricing at large apartment communities across the capital region.

The New Energy Crisis – Minyanville, James Quinn

Part-Time Workers Mask Unemployment Woes – The New York Times

It is a startling sign of the pain that the Great Recession is inflicting, and it is largely missed by the official, oft-repeated statistics on unemployment. The national unemployment rate has risen to 9.5 percent, the highest level in more than a quarter-century. Yet it still excludes all those who have given up looking for a job and those part-time workers who want to be working full time.

Rent Your Own Home – The Atlantic, Felix Salmon

Home Prices Play Big Role in Americans’ Decision to Move – WSJ, Real Time Economics Blog

This is a change from the past, when jobs were the primary economic driving factor behind state-to-state migration. The study helps explain why migration has fallen off so sharply in this recession — with the drastic fall in housing prices, many people are staying put not for work but because they are tied to a home they either cannot sell or refuse to sell at today’s prices. Some economists, including urban theorist Richard Florida, have used this slowdown in mobility to argue against government policies that subsidize home ownership — the argument being that increased home ownership hampers economic flexibility by making Americans less mobile.

Obama's Zany 'Own-To-Rent' Mortgage Plan Would Create Legal Chaos – Clusterstock, John Carney

Obama mulls rental option for some homeowners-sources – Reuters

Under one idea being discussed, delinquent homeowners would surrender ownership of their homes but would continue to live in the property for several years, the sources told Reuters.

Officials are also considering whether the government should make mortgage payments on behalf of borrowers who cannot keep up with their home loans, tapping an unused portion of a $50 billion housing aid kitty.