The Fed and Asset Bubbles: Beyond Superficiality

There is considerable discussion about tasking the Federal Reserve Board with monitoring and even taking actions to prevent asset bubbles. Before they move too far, the Fed needs to understand what happened in the housing bubble to which they responded after the world economy was decimated.  read more »

A Threat To Home Owners Associations

In the 1990s, just about the only site amenity that most suburban developments offered was a fancy entrance monument. Usually, there were no other additions beyond ordinance minimums and even those weren’t generally elaborate. Some of these monuments did cost millions, but once past the gilded gates, the seduction ended, and residents were greeted by familiar monotonous cookie cutter subdivisions.  read more »

The Week New Urbanism Died?

It has been a bad media week for New Urbanism.

The day that New Urbanism Died?” was the headline of the St. Louis Urban Workshop blog that detailed the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Whittaker Builders, developer of the “New Town at St. Charles,” a premier New Urbanist community located in the St. Louis exurbs (beyond the suburbs).  read more »

American Hobbit Houses

Soon after President Obama took office, a proposed plan to “develop federal policies to induce states and local communities to embrace ‘smart growth’ land use strategies” was announced.

This “Livable Communities Program” is intended to save land and clean up the environment. It is seen as encouraging denser housing arrangements to deter automobile use and accommodate the transit industry, according to goals set by the Secretaries of HUD, EPA and Transportation.  read more »


NGVideo: Reviving Plotlands

Everybody knows we urgently need to build more homes in Britain, but how, when and where will this happen? WORLDbytes interviewed Ian Abley, an architect and manager of Audacity at the plotlands in Dunton, Essex where from the 1920s East End working class couples built cheap homes themselves. Could we do this now?  read more »

HOPE for Only One Homeowner with a $300 billion Price Tag

The Housing & Economic Recovery Act of 2008 was passed last August. It created the HOPE for Homeowners Program, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would help 400,000 homeowners to refinance their loans and stay in their homes. Here's a stunning revelation: According to the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), in the first six months since the law was passed, exactly one (1) homeowner refinanced under the program!  read more »

Case-Shiller Housing Price Index Chart, December 2008 - The Free Fall Continues

S&P released the December Case-Shiller Housing Price Index data this morning: no market has been spared from the free fall. Steep price declines continue in ultra-bubble regions Las Vegas, Miami, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Even the relatively healthy markets of Charlotte, Dallas, and Atlanta have been sliding since mid-2008. Here's the line chart:  read more »

Case-Shiller Index, Housing Price Correction Continues

Today's latest release of the Standard and Poor's Case-Shiller Housing Price Index indicates a continued price free fall across the board. Hyper-inflated markets such as Miami, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, San Diego, and Las Vegas continue to come back to earth. Check out the chart.  read more »

Campaign Money and the House Bailout Vote

The late Jesse Unruh, longtime speaker of the California Assembly, was a giant of a man, both in accomplishment and girth. But he will be forever remembered for having said that “Money is the mother’s milk of politics”.  read more »

Altars to Marble Kitchen Counters: Churches Converting to Condos

In Boston, 65 parishes have been shuttered since 2004 and 30 have been sold - some to developers. And now, these former neighborhood institutions are becoming something truly unholy - high-priced condominiums. This article in the Boston Globe chronicles the trend. But hey, at least the priests are offering their blessings to these buildings' new uses at the developer's behest.