2008-12-12 / Letters

It's The Real Estate, Stupid

Dear Editor,

I keep reading and hearing a lot about the recession we are in, but I hear very little about what has gotten us there. And that is the real estate. It's not fair for the American people to have to settle for the ones assigned to fix the problem, when they were the ones who allowed it to get out of hand in the first place. I'm speaking about our politicians. There are too many to blame, so I am voicing my opinion on how it might contribute a little bit to solve the problem.

As a licensed New York real estate broker for more than 45 years, I can only tell you my experience. I firmly believe the current price of real estate, especially housing, was and still is artificially inflated. In my estimation, the price of a house is worth about half, or less, of what it is at present. The same applies to rentals. It was always the rule of thumb that a homeowner should be able to carry the mortgage on his own. At present, no blue-collar worker could qualify to buy a house even if he had the 20 percent down payment. The prices must come down to suit the wages, or the wages come up to suit the mortgage, or maybe a combination of both. Until that happens, there will be a stalemate.

Congress must address the issue immediately even if it means losing billions of dollars in the process. The foreclosures are spiraling out of control. The banks are not willing to admit their mistakes and forgive the inflated prices on the housings they mortgaged. Real estate across the country must be re-evaluated to the wage earner. Most of the foreclosures would have been saved if that were done immediately. There would be a small amount of foreclosures still unable to survive at half the price.

That is my opinion. If you have one, make it known.

JOHN BAXTER

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