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Nope. You can’t do THAT!

20 Mar

I get email all the time asking me what you can do with ISBUs.

I get email all the time telling ME what I can do with ISBUs.

Admittedly, I know enough about anatomy to know that some of those suggestions were impossible, even for a gymnast or a “carny sideshow performer”.

But, I’ve recently discovered that there is ONE thing that you CANNOT do in an ISBU;

Cool Boys Bedroom

My kid would worship me like a GAWD if I built him this!

It’s just “Ice Water” – How about a dip?

23 Jan

I’m constantly getting email from “housing professionals” that claim I’m all wet.

They read my posts about “the state of the housing market” and then they saber-rattle about the media’s claims of recovery.

Yeah? It’s just “wishful thinking”.

No one wants to see housing stabilize as much as I do.

Most of America’s primary source of personal (family) wealth comes from the house they live in… wealth that is quickly disappearing as those housing values plummet.

How many of you lost your retirement saving in 2008 when the market ate everything in it’s path?

After 2008, most families TNW (Total Net Worth) was reduced to little more than the values invested in their homes.

Is your house worth as much now as it was a few years ago?

Are you “underwater” in a condition that makes your outstanding loan value more than the current street value of your home?

When “the experts” and other ilk spout that:

“The housing market is rebounding! Don’t worry! It’s Happy Happy Fun Time!”…

I get really hacked off.


There’s a reason that I teach families to build their own affordable, sustainable homes.

From the Federal Reserve FOMC statement September 21, 2011:

“…the housing sector remains depressed…To help support conditions in mortgage markets, the Committee will now reinvest principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. In addition, the Committee will maintain its existing policy of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction.”

What does this mean?

It means that the FED realized that forecasts defining the bear housing market for 2012 were spot on. So they used their control of the fiat money supply to temporarily inflate demand of the highly leveraged purchases.

The result was not naturally occurring “supply and demand” market conditions as some “experts” claim. The results were just a “Created and crafted market condition” – one that cannot be maintained “forever”.

First, anyone foolish enough to “forecast promise like Moses getting tablets off mountainsides” in  a sector that is so dependent on government action (or more accurately government inaction) isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. In fact, those forecasts should be printed on toilet paper, because then they’d be worth something… appropriate to their substance.

I have to wonder just how deep these people have their heads stuck in … um… the sand. They use words like “job creation” and “household formation”.

The best way to disguise failure is to try to redirect your attention.

“We’re producing jobs!”

Nonsense. Define the “jobs” being created, please.

Sure, the administration is producing Public Sector jobs, despite the requirement for “private sector jobs” to fund them.  Remember,  Public Sector jobs, regardless of how important they may be, do NOT contribute to the GNP. The creation of Public Sector jobs actually creates a hole… that taxes must fill.

And these taxes are paid HOW? By private sector workers in a job market that is slowly eroding, like ice on a hot sidewalk, that’s how.

Demographics don’t support the conditions that some “experts” claim to be in effect.

Sure, the fat cats are getting fatter. However, there aren’t a lot of fat cats. Most families lack an abundance of advanced degrees, high paying job skills or “work in a market that they’ve cornered”.

Now, add an economy that isn’t as strong as the media claims, higher taxes (checked your paychecks since the first of the year?) and a wage scale that is slowly eroding as bosses demand more and more work for less compensation (because you should feel lucky that you have a job) and you have a time bomb waiting to go off.

Want to really screw up product values? Eliminate millions of potential buyers from it’s purchase group.

The housing market is just such a product;

  • The millions that got foreclosed are no longer buyers.
  • The millions that will be foreclosed in 2013-14 are no longer buyers.
  • The millions that are unemployed will not be buyers.
  • The millions of graduates without jobs will not be buyers.
  • The millions of empty-nesters whose homes have devalued (and will devalue more) as additional foreclosures (bank reo – “Real Estate Owned” inventory) are released will not be buyers.
  • The millions of families that will see their taxes, healthcare and other expense increase will not be buyers.

How many of us have said things like;

“I should have sold in [fill in the blank]!”

When housing values return to previous highs and then SURPASS them, I’ll buy that the housing market is recovering. Until then, moves north of the baseline are just making up a small percentage of housing value LOSSES that lived under that baseline for years.

This isn’t about blame. You can finger-point anywhere you want. It doesn’t change the conditions. It’s about common sense.

Until the economy rebounds, until jobs are plentiful, until governmental spending is balanced by “fair and equitable” taxation… things won’t change.

Who will buy all this housing to drive values and sustain the allegations of growth?

It won’t be “Mom and Pop America”, let me assure you.

It’s going to continue to be the rich and famous… like wealthy Russian “Oil” children and the denizens of Hollyweird…

The Renaissance Ronin

I wanna build “Redneck Heaven”…

31 Oct

As we work on projects here, continue to coordinate relief efforts for families victimized by Superstorm Sandy – a storm that lived up to our expectations as a terrible storm in the US NE – and try to get resettled ourselves after the wildfires raging in Montana helped us decide to move to “better digs” before winter starts kicking our butts (it’s actually snowing here already)…

I’m gonna hit the mail bag;

Dear Ronin,

I’ve seen this photo floating around the Internet for years.

The more I look at it, the more I want to take a page out of your book (Introduction to Container Homes and Buildings) and use those 20′ High Cube ISBUs that you are so fond of to recreate it.

I’m retired now and I have plenty of time to devote to this, so “sweat equity” isn’t a problem.

Heckfire, I’ll even go learn to weld!

Is this feasible?


My wife will kill me, but this is so cool, I’ll take the risk!


Dear “Soon to be deceased”;

I’ve seen this image too! In fact I suspect that just about everyone who ever used a browser to cruise the ‘Net has seen it.

About once a month, some enterprising soul contacts me (most of them, however,  do NOT have “murderous wives”), asking if this could be accomplished with ISBUs. 🙂

You better sit down, because I’m about to give you some bad news;

This isn’t a “Redneck Mansion” or “Trailer Trash Heaven” or even a complicated group of old campers thrown together by good old “Redneck Engineering” in the USA.


Most people think it’s just a “photoshopped image”, thrown together to impress the heck outta other rednecks…


The REALITY is that this is an outdoor theater set for an Anton Chekhov play called “Ivanov”… performed in Amsterdam in 2005.

It is not now, nor was it ever a habitable housing unit. It’s more “Architectural Sculpture”.

And while you COULD probably achieve this using ISBUs, I’m not sure why you would want to. It’d be expensive, inefficient and a monumental waste of space, unless you either have money to burn or a wife that you REALLY want to torment…

The only excuse I can see to actually try to build this would be in some kind of revenue generating “themed” tourist operation where you’d build it by the side of a busy highway and then charge admission. 🙂

I think that maybe you should take a pass on this one.

And, take your wife our for a nice dinner, huh? I’m thinking that if she’s saddled with you 24/7, she deserves it.


Who’s buying Houses?

12 Jun

With housing moving as slow as molasses, many families are building their own energy efficient, affordable homes,, in lieu of trying to arm-wrestle a bank for a shot at an affordable foreclosure.

Where I currently reside, there’s a foreclosure on almost every street in town.

While this is happening to our neighborhoods…

… some realtors are sending me “hate mail” telling me that “I need to shut up because housing is doing better than ever”.

So I have to ask;

“Yeah? Who’s buying these homes?”

Nick answered the question for me.

Foreigners Snap Up Properties in the U.S.


The six-year slide in U.S. home prices and the dollar’s weakness against some currencies are driving a property-buying binge by Asians, Canadians, Europeans and Latin Americans eager to own a piece of America.

Plowing money into real estate may sound like a risky venture to many Americans. But to growing numbers of foreigners, U.S. housing has never seemed a smarter investment.

International buyers accounted for $82.5 billion, or 8.9%, of the $928 billion spent on residential real estate in the 12-month period that ended in March, according a survey released Monday by the National Association of Realtors…

(Click the headline to read more…)

What do we make of this?

Who was it that said; “There’s a sucker born every minute”?

IMHO – These “investors” are in for hard ride.  US  properties will continue to decline in value.

What’s that? I hear Realtors gnashing their teeth and wailing at my decree…

I say this because sooner or later…

…the fed is going to be forced to end their “near zero percent interest rate policy” – which was enabled to prop up the Wall St capitalists as well as the failed housing sector –  in the next 2 years or LESS.

When this happens, you can expect up to a 20-30 percent price drop in real estate when even fewer “buyers/suckers” will qualify for a mortgage due to the rapidly rising interest rates.

Okay, gotta go now. My “Hate Mail inbox” is filling up… 🙂


Man Makes $329,984 from a $16 investment. Thank You, Internet!

10 Aug

They say you can find anything on the internet.

Now, I know they say that because I hear it all the time.

Well, now I’ve seen everything. Kenneth Robinson, a diehard Texas Real Estate man, proved it to be true.

You see,  Robinson used an obscure Texas law he researched online called adverse possession to obtain property rights to an abandoned $330,000 McMansion in Flower Mound, Texas.

From Google Earth

The $16 bucks wasn’t for bandwidth, either. It was used to pay a court filing fee to allow him to get legal access to the property.

Read more about it HERE.


I thought this sounded really fishy, so I called a real estate lawyer and asked if it was really possible. He said;

“Like others have noted, there is a “hitch” to using the “adverse possession” loophole;  to take advantage of it, the new “owner” must immediately pay all outstanding and current property taxes owed on the real estate.

Now, we’re talking about a house that costs $300+ grand and that’s not chump change in the property tax department. You have to figure on about $5 grand a year, at least.  And there are probably going to be outstanding penalties too.”

So Robinson is looking at being out of pocket somewhere between $30 and $50 grand before it’s all over.

That considered, he’s still getting the home for less than 15% of it’s appraised value.

When I started checking this story out, it became clear that people were really agitated at Robinson for;

(a) figuring out how to do it, and then

(b) actually pulling it off.

The question of the day seems to be;

“Would you even want to live in a nearly free home if everyone else in the community were out to get you?”

Lemme see… I just got a nice home for 15% of it’s value, in a good neighborhood, because I used my wits. The neighbors don’t like it.

Hmmm… Too bad. They’re probably just jealous that they didn’t think of it.  😉

In a world turned upside down…

7 May

Many of you know that I recently started an “offshoot blog”, called “Radical Architecture“.

The “theme”, you ask?

(You did ask. I have the emails to prove it!) 🙂

Take “unconventional materials” and then do “unconventional things” with them.

However, this really isn’t what I had in mind:

From the “Sometimes You’ve Just Gotta Ask Yourself WHY?” files;

The most radical intervention into architecture ever? A guy named Richard Wilson did this in the middle of the Liverpool city center. Most amazing art installation ever, huh? Okay, maybe not, but…

“Turning the Place Over” consists of an 8 meter diameter ovoid cut from the facade of a building in Liverpool city centre.

Okay. No big deal. We COULD do that…

But… He then made it oscillate in three dimensions.

He took a gigantic “rotator” used in the shipping industries (I’m told they use them at nuclear facilities too) and incorporated it into a huge opening and closing ‘window’, offering recurrent glimpses of the interior during its constant cycle during daylight hours.

Now, if I could just figure out how to get an ISBU into that equation, it’s make the perfect “Mother-In_Law” apartment… 😉

The Wagon is Broken…

3 Nov

Today we begin to rebuild America.

The voters have spoken and new courses are being charted. Time will determine if the right choices were made…

…but in the meantime a lot of us are still flapping from the handlebars trying to figure out what to do next.

Me? I believe in doing what I can for myself and mine – without waiting for “Uncle” to come in and screw it all up.

Yeah… others are a little less “antagonistic” about their views of Big Government. So sue me.

In America, anyone with half a brain knows that “the wagon is broken and it needs new axles”.

So, the smart family just “rebuilds the wagon” using whatever will work, when times are hard.

On a blog I read religiously (um… okay, perhaps “spiritually” is a better word) a “blog buddy” of mine made the same point I make when talking to new families looking to live an “unchained life”.

I don’t know Owen personally, but we’ve exchanged emails several times. He’s a smart guy and it’s clear that he CARES about his people.

I’ve mentioned him several times here on RR. For those of you who read the blog, Owen is an “Earthbag guy” and he’s a sharp pencil in a box full of broken crayons, to be sure.

Owen says:

“Thousands of families who have built affordable homes, cash up front, made of earthbags, straw bales, cordwood, cob and rammed tires are not in danger of losing their homes in the current mortgage crisis.”

(Editor’s note: He left out ISBU housing, but I won’t hold it against him. The conditions he so aptly describes still hold true.)

“And if you include affordable adobe, bamboo and thatch homes built worldwide, over a third of the world’s houses have avoided the mortgage crisis.

In general, the people who build these low cost, alternative homes are often the same people who garden and grow fruit trees, raise small livestock and/or live on farms and, in many cases, utilize renewable energy. This includes many millions of homes with passive solar design, earth-bermed and underground homes, wind and water generators, and photovoltaics. Less obvious, but just as important, are the countless homes who utilize rocket stoves, Lorena stoves, methane digesters, vegetable oil, rice hull stoves or one of the other myriad low cost, sustainable cooking and heating systems.”

Owen points out that you can read the entire article for free at the  Mother Earth News Blog.

You see, Owen has “mainstreamed”. I just hope all that “fame and fortune” doesn’t go to his head.

Building an affordable home is just a PART of the program.

By investing in your family (starting in your own yard) you invest in the future. And not just the future for YOU and yours, you enhance the future for everyone.  I believe this, and I know that Owen does too.

Go read his post. It’s a good one.

I’m cutting this short, I have to write Owen some “hate-mail” about neglecting to mention Corten Castles when he gets up on that soapbox of his!! 😉

Stay tuned.

Today is my Birthday. Usually, it’s a “cursed” day. I don’t know why, my luck just runs that way, I guess, but:

This is the best birthday present I ever, ever received:

From the luckiest-girl-alive department, the BBC is reporting today that an 18 month old toddler fell from a 6 story building, bounced off an awning and was caught… wait for it… by a doctor who was passing by.

She was completely unharmed, she shed a little tear and then she quickly calmed down.

G-d is good.

TARP used to mean a cover… Now it means a “Cover-Up.”

15 Oct

Here we go again;

Lately, I’m getting all kinds of hatemail from folks who think I’m “fearmongering” as I help families build ISBU homes.

If you read my blogs, you know that I AM one of those people who see hard times coming for Americans.

However, it seems some of my readers  actually believe that Obama is curing the nation’s ills and that housing is rebounding, “with bargains galore in a buyers market.”

So, I counter with;

  • “So… what do all these bargain hunters use to PAY for that property?
  • Where do they get the loans?
  • How do they save money to buy this property as the economy is slowly hemorrhaging?
  • Has housing REALLY even hit “the bottom”?
  • Or… has the recent bout of “foreclosure slow-downs” just suspended the market, until they all start slamming us at the same time, on a date to be named later?
  • Are they among the lucky percentage of Americans that work for companies that aren’t “right-sizing” and outsourcing jobs to Malaysia and India?
  • Do they still have job security?
  • Does anyone?

Like many others, I do see (mark my words) a combination of some sort of massive bailouts as well as legislation to give blanket immunity to this rather large slice of the financial industry.

I’m going to quote something I just read in another forum I participate/lurk in (because it parallels exactly my own feelings), written by a guy just like us… a simple guy named Tony who lives within his means in Louisiana. He’s a “down-to-earth guy”, with “down to earth brains”.

And, he uses them.

“Hold on to your seats because this is going to be rammed down our throats – we are about to be re-TARPED.

The jokers who compromise the ruling class will never hold the Big Money Boys to the same standards as the great unwashed (you and me).

The main argument against some sort of mass investigation or the Federal Reserve referring to the Justice Department is that the economy would take a huge hit. This is an admission that we are now unofficially a foreclosure based economy. It is an admission that justice (small “j”) takes a back seat to preserving the caste system.

Unless there is some sort of legislation or Federal Foreclosure Insurance (like flood or crop insurance), land that has never been foreclosed upon will have a premium price. Structures on land with even the slightest stink of unclear title will be left to rot.

This is what you get when you bail out criminals and do not force the shareholders of their corporations to take the hit they deserve.

From the Washington Post, October 13, 2010

Lack of proper mortgage paper trail could leave big banks reeling again

“The federal government’s pressure on lenders Wednesday to fix the paperwork problems plaguing foreclosures left unaddressed a far greater potential threat facing the financial system and the U.S. economy.

Beyond sloppy documents, the foreclosure debacle has exposed one of Wall Street’s little-known practices: For more than a decade, big lenders sold millions of mortgages around the globe at lightning speed without properly transferring the physical documents that prove who legally owned the loans.

Now, some of the pension systems, hedge funds and other investors that took big losses on the loans are seeking to use this flaw to force banks to compensate them or even invalidate the mortgage trades themselves.

Their collective actions, if successful, could blow a hole through the balance sheets of big banks and raise fundamental questions about the financial system, financial analysts and a lawmaker said.”

So, at the risk of “fearmongering”, I ask you;

We’re already buried by debt that our grandchildren won’t be able to repay. How deep can the hole get, before the sides cave in? Hmmm?

That affordable, sustainable rural home built of Corten Steel is looking better and better all the time.

Stay tuned.

“Insulation Drama” is next…  TED. 🙂

St Louis ain’t just for BBQ anymore!

9 Sep

Live near St. Louis?

This just in…

For a while now I’ve been asking (quite loudly) why it seems to be impossible for “the little guy” to be able to raise his/her family in affordable, energy efficient housing. After all, apparently Taxpayer money is being thrown willy-nilly at everything that moves, so why not throw some at (gasp!) actually housing families?

If we can pay the Federal bills (whether we want to or not) to “create” jobs at $200k per job, or bask in the “lives touched” phenomenon that seems to be the latest spin… why can’t they throw some of that money into housing for the families that built this country?

Okay, it’s not ISBU. Hey, it’s not even “alternative housing.” But, if you’re looking for a rental, it might be a real good idea.

Media Advisory

September 14, 2010, 11AM


Diana Weis or Lisa Kortkamp, Capstone Development.
Bryan Zises, Zises Communications, 773-225-3787

Nation’s First Net-Zero Energy Affordable Community to Break Ground in Suburban St. Louis Cornfield

32 three-bedroom homes to lease for $590/month
Solar panels, wind turbines to cut utility bill to $0; LEED Platinum eligible design

JERSEYVILLE, IL – The long-awaited promise of affordable, net-zero, green living will finally become reality in a St. Louis suburban cornfield in southern Illinois, where 32 single-family homes will be rented for $590 per month. Solar panels, wind turbines and other technology will reduce the utility bills to $0. The homes are expected to be LEED Platinum certified at completion.

Groundbreaking Event for Lexington Farms Subdivision

Where: Fairgrounds & Cemetery Aves., Jerseyville
When: September 14th, 11:00 AM

“Cutting edge green renewable technology has been a cost-prohibitive, inner-city luxury that few could afford. Until today,” said Bill Luchini, President of Capstone Development Group. “This development will be rented to rural families that earn less than $41,000 per year. And they won’t have a gas bill. They won’t have a heating bill. When they get their electric bill, it is more likely to be credit instead of a cost. Green technology will truly make a more affordable and more sustainable life for everyone in the community.”

Financing for the development includes Federal Tax Credit Equity from the National Equity Fund. Financing from the Illinois Housing Development Authority ensures that the development will remain affordable for working families the long-term. Additional financing was provided by Sterling Bank.

The 32 single-family homes will each have three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and an attached two-car garage. A separate building will house a clubhouse/resource center, community room with kitchenette and bathroom, conference room, computer lab, property manager’s office and a storage room. The site will be landscaped with native plants to reduce water usage and will include a state-of-the-art playground.

When complete, it will also be the first LEED Platinum Certified affordable community of its kind in the nation.

Building Highlights

The homes will be approximately 1,230 square feet, and will feature central air conditioning, heat, hot water and other appliances that all run on electric energy, powered by roof-mounted solar panels on all homes, as well as wind turbines throughout the subdivision. Even the streetlights will be powered by wind and solar.

Modern building techniques will reduce construction waste to nearly zero. The design will incorporate highly energy efficient materials, long-term durability and maintenance, and an interior clean air environment.

  • Sustainable landscape practices include efficient irrigation systems
  • Water efficient faucets, showerheads and WaterSense toilets
  • Bathroom and kitchen exhaust vented to the outdoors removing sources of pollutants
  • Energy-efficient design, ENERGY STAR appliances, exceeding ENERGY STAR for New Homes requirements
  • Wall insulation at R-21 and R-49 insulation in the attic
  • Well sealed and air-tight construction reducing drafts
  • Low VOC paints
  • Energy efficient florescent light fixtures
  • Argon gas U35-rated low-e windows
  • Extensive use of recycled materials

Construction will begin in September 2010. The first homes will be complete and ready to lease starting in late 2010. The need for affordable family living is particularly acute in rural Illinois suburbs of St. Louis. According to a recent market study, the median family income in Jerseyville is 36% lower than the rest of Illinois and one-third of all families in Jerseyville earn less than $25,000 per year.

About Capstone Development Group and Blackhawk Apartments

Capstone Development Group has developed more than 350 rental housing communities in 16 states, with more than 14,000 units and over $1.5 billion of development. Capstone is proud to be the developer of the nation’s first 100% renewable, green, affordable community.

Blackhawk Apartments, Inc. is a not for profit developer of quality, affordable housing in under-served communities.

If you live near this site, go check it out!

Ever get the feeling that your home is strangling you?

27 Aug

The McMansion is DEAD.

A lot of us THINK about building new homes for our families. And a lot of that thinking is aimed at refining a particular “alternative home” design or “building practice”, to help us save money while we build that home.

I preach building an ISBU Home using your paychecks and money that YOU save. We all know that conventional money lenders aren’t going to help you.

We talk about how it’s hard at first, but easier later, as many many families end up treading water (if they’re lucky) as mortgages slowly strangle them. We talk about how unstable the housing market is proving to be. We talk about all the foreclosures, and the economic crisis that is slowly killing America.

If you read this blog, you know that I’ve been saying all this for a long time (we’re talking YEARS, folks), and current events seem to be driving in the nails, like nuclear powered hammers…

How many reasons do you need… to take that step towards an affordable, sustainable home that will work with you, instead of against you?

Need I remind you that;

Existing-home sales plunged to their lowest level in 15 years in July 2010 as home inventories soared. This paints a pretty grim picture for the housing market in general, despite hopes of some kind of lifeboat (aka: government support) in a gruelingly stagnant and sluggish economy.

That’s a 25% decline from July 2009, folks.

I’ll point out that interest rates are at an all time low. In fact, they haven’t been this low since 1995 & 1999 (depending the the kind of home being financed).

Depending on who you “believe”, as home sales slowed, the inventory of unsold homes on the market grew to nearly 4 million in July. Based on current “production numbers” that Realtors value so highly, that translates to more than a 12.5 month supply at the current sales pace, and that’s the highest level achieved in more than a decade.

In a “good” housing market, 4 million houses in inventory would be almost six months worth of supply.

You didn’t have to be Albert Einstein to figure out that the expiration of a home-buyer tax credit in the spring was going to slow down home-buyers, but no one expected it to be this severe.

Admittedly, it was a stupid $8,000 “fingers in a failing dike” tax credit handed out to entice people to buy houses in a “nearsighted” effort to prop up the ailing housing market.

It just makes no sense. Little of this of late, does. Absolutely no “long-term” positive outcome can come from basically stealing money from taxpayers and then giving it to home buyers and sellers. All it accomplished was to cause people who might have been buying homes now to rush out and buy homes sooner and now we’re seeing the predictable crash that follows when the home credit expired.

And note that these people got less than they paid for, because THEIR new home purchases are also going to be included in those plummeting property values. It’s not like they are immune. And… taxpayers got their pockets picked, again.

Why aren’t people screaming? Oh wait… I did. And we talked about it.

The home sales drop, compounded by a meteoric rise in the inventory of unsold homes will translate to yet another death spiral of “down-legs” in housing prices, and I’m thinking that it’s right around the corner. Many economist agree with me on that.

People were quick to point out that house prices had begun stabilizing last year after declining since 2006.

So much for that…

There are no jobs, folks… no pay raises either. Unless you’re a fatcat CEO of a “gov’t supported company”, we’re all in the same lifeboat. High unemployment rates and almost non-existent wage “growth” are making many American families hesitate before signing o nteh dotted line, to achieve that major purchase, so I predict that a returning wave of falling home equity margins could further plummet us into a state of depressed confidence and “restrictive” consumer spending.

People kept saying that the sharp drop in mortgage rates in recent months would fix everything, and soon, we’ve be all better. Obama said;

“Don’t worry, I’ve got this one…”

Um… I hate to tell you this, but it appears that the programs and posturing applied by the buffoons on the beltway is doing little to stimulate demand.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has fallen to less than 4.5%, a depth that most would welcome in better times. But because of the conditions we all face as the “middle gets swallowed up”, the demand for new loans is weak.

Many of us won’t qualify as borrowers, due to the fact that we now face challenges qualifying for loans because of lost jobs, decreased salaries, or “squeezed” earning potentials.

And some of us are just too scared to jump into the water.

“The tide is still going out…”

For example;

According to the Wall Street Journal, a 58 year old retiree named Sue Dempsey is under contract on a short sale for a pretty nice three-bedroom home in Las Vegas that sold four years ago for more than $300,000.

The price she’s paying today: (you better sit down.,..) is less than $120,000.

While she missed the deadline for the tax credit, the price seemed unbeatable.

“We got such a great deal on the house, golly, we didn’t need anything else.”

I have friends that live in Henderson. Perhaps I should give them a call…

You can build one heck of an ISBU house for $120,000.00. And, you can do most of the work yourself.

Stay tuned.