Sunday, February 22, 2009

Why a property crisis is good for us

With house prices drooping faster than my once-firm thighs, I've finally realised how GOOD a little property crisis is for us. I have been caught up in the chaos of a sliding property market. Having my husband leave me and then force us to sell our home at a time when the market will not pay the same price we paid FIVE YEARS AGO, is about as much fun as going to sleep with a plastic bag on your head. But after much angst, turmoil and horror about my situation, I've realised that a small economic and property crisis is fantastic for making us realise what we truly seek in a house - shelter, sanctuary and a comfy cave to keep our loved ones safe. It's also perfect for making me see what the average homeowner (or aspiring home owner) needs to steer clear of. We don't need to take on more debt to "upgrade". We definitely don't need to take on more debt to "invest". And right now would have to be a very risky time to be spending lots of money on renovation. There are plenty of property analysts - read Neil Jenman or even Australian Property Monitors Liam O'Hara or economist Steve Keens - that think property prices are going nowhere fast. Tomorrow's Sun-Herald property guide will be in the Sydney newspapers, and the statistics are unpleasant for most homeowners, who will see slight drops in the value of their home. I wrote some of the stories in the guide, and hope this will be one of the last years where we see so many price problems. The majority of us won't mind the price drops because if you aren't selling, what does it really matter? Hopefully most of us will also take a good look at the home that gives us shelter each day, and see it in a whole new light. I'd like to think we go back to the good old days - like when these magazines were on the stands in the 1973 - when we bought houses we could afford, decorated them with style and love rather than lashings of credit card debt and went to sleep happy.

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