Friday, March 13, 2009

This Week: The Sunny Side of Life

In a time of economic malaise, this week was a ray of hopefulness in an otherwise dark landscape.

Lots of great things happened. Bucking long-term trends, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9.3% and the S & P 500 rose 9.0%. Lawrence Summers, President Obama’s top economic advisor said that there are early signs that this economic crisis is beginning to ease. And 30-year fixed mortgages rates fell to 5.12%, nearing their 37-year low hit in January.

On top it, Bernie Madoff is headed to jail!

Even the foreclosure crisis is getting a shimmery spin. No longer do reports concern only heartbroken, evicted homeowners, blighted neighborhoods, and banks holding toxic mortgages. There’s a sunnier side to all this mess.

The new wave of reporting is about how buyers of bank-owned properties are getting bargains. We're on the speculative rebound!

There are heart-warming stories about families buying their (foreclosed) dream home – one they can afford – and the nervousness and jubilation that goes along with it.

In Detroit, outside investors are scooping up homes – the city has over 1,800 homes priced under $10,000. (“They're coming to us, saying ‘Look, I want to buy 50, 100, 1,000.' They want to own every decent and cheap house they can find.”)

We’ve gone from the Tiffany days of real estate when every property was a gem to the Costco days in which consumers are buying in bulk.

There are even stories about foreigners buying American foreclosures – which seems to be a lot more fun than a trip to Disneyland!

So, enough of the bad news. For at least one week, let’s celebrate a little economic cheer.