Next year they’ll pay people to take houses


The median price for an existing, single-family detached home in California sank to $247,590 in February from $418,260 a year earlier, the Los Angeles-based group said in a statement. The U.S. median price fell 16 percent during the same period, the second-biggest drop on record, according to the National Association of Realtors

That number is really sobering. It’s not quite as much of a precipice as it looks like at first, because lots of the sales are foreclosures, where the bank will take any price it can get. When ordinary people are can’t get the price they want they try not to sell because that would mean turning a paper loss into a real one (and indeed the market almost ground to a halt in 2008, with sales up now, mostly foreclosure sales). So what it really means is that prices have dropped 50% in two years rather than 40% in one…

But you know what? Some of those houses, in places no one would want to live except that they were the only places you could find a house — they’re still a lousy deal.


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