Category Archives: Housing Bubble





Before word spreads via text messages and homing pigeons I thought I’d let y’all know that the house we were gonna buy? The one I gushed about in the post just below this one? The great big house in a nice location? Not buying it.  *waves hand* Portal to hell in the basement and all that rigamarole- it’s much too boring to speak of at length (and anyways, a gentlemen doesn’t get into such things as framing deflection “estimated to exceed the L/360 that is the industry standard.”)  Long story short is that we would have had the luxury of wondering whether we would first burn to death, be killed in a collapse, or burst into flames during the home’s collapse.


We’re in the market for a house that abides by the following criteria:

  1. Spacious, 4 bedroom or 3 bedroom+office
  2. Finished basement or a good basement space to finish off
  3. Close (relatively) to UW-Hosptial
  4. Wiring that won’t start the house on fire
  5. If existing additions exist, they were not built by two drunk fucking idiots on a summer weekend
  6. A nice kitchen or an older kitchen with enough room to bring it up to date

I’m fairly certain that this fantasy house does not exist.  As in, there is no house that meets our space/configuration requirements that is also close to anything we want to be close to.  Lots of time to search, yes yes.  We’ll soldier on, but I’m starting to really want to dropkick the Madison housing market to the fucking moon.  Fuck these dumbfuck yuppies that built terrible, horrible, badly-designed-and-constructed additions on nice classic homes.  So many fuckface yahoos have lived in these areas over the years and imposed their stupid-as-fuck visions on them that it’s impossible to see a simple house anymore.  All of the terrible fucking additions fall into three catgeories:

  1. Nicely designed, well-constructed additions that enhance the existing space (One house)
  2. Nicely designed, incredibly poorly constructed pieces of garbage that will fall apart at any minute or qualify for a guest spot on Holmes Inspection. (Vast majority of house we have seen)
  3. Poorly designed, poorly constructed nightmares that only a fool would pay money to own. (The rest of the houses we’ve seen)

Say lah vee motherruckers.

The Housing Situation

The House

I was writing about the housing bubble on this blog a-way back in 2007 (though all those posts refer to the ill-fated Pabst Farms Money Hole), but I was following it via a couple of blogs back to 2005 when I was living in a wildly overpriced townhome on the SOUTH SIDE~! of San Jose, CA.

I had always said that, irrespective of my living situation (married or not), I would not think about looking to buy a home again until around 2011-2012.  I wanted to see what would happen when the tidal wave of ARM resets came due in a flagging economy.

Well, about the last thing I thought would happen is that banks packaged and sold the same mortgage several times over to different servicers.  In doing so, two things have started to happen:

  • If the homeowner is delinquent, the banks have started to sue each like crazy to be the one who gets to foreclose on the property.  The homeowner is screwed either way since they couldn’t pay- that sucks for them but now it’s mostly a battle to the death between multi-national corporations to get yet another empty house to flood the market with after sitting on it for months or years.
  • If the homeowner can easily pay each month… the banks will still sue each other like crazy to foreclose on the property.  Why? Because the homeowner is sending their payment to one servicer, but two or more servicers expect payment.  Bank A is happy with the money it’s getting, but Banks B and C haven’t been paid, so the mortgage will be foreclosed.  At this point everyone starts suing everyone as in the above scenario.  But the key thing here is that the homeowner did nothing wrong.

It’s because of this nightmare scenario that Atrios rhetorically asked this morning why any sane person would get any sort of mortgage at this stage of the game.  And I must agree- the banks have gotten so greedy that a foreclosed home is worth more to them than someone paying the mortgage each month; along with the fact that the colossally assholish mortgage bundlers fucking greedily resold a mortgage to multiple clients.  And the government protects these shitheels- doing nothing to protect people who legally bought their house, and who correctly paid the agreed-upon amount every fucking month.  That someone’s home could be taken from them by a multinational shitpile (and subsequently fought over by several multinational shitpiles) makes me incandescent with rage.

I’m certainly not buying a house in this climate.  How about this, you asshole fucking bank? I get a mortgage, and then I pay you for 30 years.  You fuck.


Via Atrios again, there’s this:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Michael and Pamella Negrea have never been late on a mortgage payment in the 15 years they’ve owned their home in Eastlake. But they’ve been foreclosed on three times.

Martin and Kirsten Davis, meanwhile, lost their home in Cleveland to foreclosure two years ago. The reason: a mess that started when they accidentally paid 14 cents too little on their monthly payment.

And Michael Rendes of Berea had his mortgage sold last year to Bank of America. The bank foreclosed on him in November, after insisting for months that it didn’t hold his loan and wouldn’t accept his payments.

On The Receiving End

The Brewers really took one (or twelve) to the chin last night.  I’m not sure why everyone is/was so keen on Dave Bush; I’ve never seen him as anything other than mediocre.  His fastball is slow, he works slowly, and he regularly gets roughed up for a bunch of runs (particularly early).  Good ol’ Ned is high on the kid, though, so that means he’ll be pitching (and losing) for the rest of the season.  Early in the game things looked good.  It was in the fifth that the Reds really broke the door open and streamed through.  Say lah vee.

In the ‘April Showers Bring May Flowers’ equation, we’re firmly in the ‘showers’ part.  Rain two days ago, rain yesterday, rain today, thunderstorms tomorrow.  The grass is starting to turn from brown to green, which is heartening and I was able to jog to the gym yesterday.  I just gotta wait out the next week; then it’s off to California from the 20th to the 26th, followed by a Las Vegas vacation.

I decided to start writing about the housing crash and my opinions on it, but I haven’t posted anything yet because I’m unsure where to start and because, when dealing with a contentious topic such as this, I really hem and haw when discussing it.  I need to make sure I present my views correctly.  I hope those posts will be more thought out and edited than the dreck I currently serve to you, my adoring friends.

Pabst Farms Totally Kicks Ass!

I think I’ll keep following up on this as long as the Journal-Sentinel continues reporting on it. I realize that the majority readership of this blog doesn’t necessarily care about an enormous commercial development in Oconomowoc, but I think it sums up nicely the poor decisions going into a lot of real estate development in Wisconsin. I’m starting to tire of good farmland continually being concreted over so that yet another Best Buy, Wal*Mart, Target, Kohl’s, or Pic’N’Sav can go up. I am irritated that in order to build mixed-use communities, America finds the need to build a set of condos and then open up a mega-mall next to them.

So I should really separate my irritability over the entire Pabst Farms concept with my utter disdain for the idea of a gigantic upscale mall that is a short drive from other, existing huge malls yet built for people to flock to from all over southeastern Wisconsin. I don’t suspect any of this would outrage you, dear reader, because frankly I’m the sort of weirdo that only gets really mad about weird stuff like this. So, I invite you to share your reactions even while I guess most of them will amount to, “Calm down.”

On with the show.

Remember when I said:

I’m sure there will be all sorts of backpedaling and reassurances by the Must-Replace-Farmland-With-Malls-At-All-Costs folks that those assholes and their Hummers will have a Chili’s to go to on Wednesday nights in Oconomowoc.

Yeah, it was yesterday. Well, the JS already has a reassuring article about how totally kick-ass Pabst Farms is, even if those jerks from General Growth Properties totally were jerks and canceled their plans for a 1.5 million sq. ft. shopping mall!

At 1,600 acres, Pabst Farms is bigger than Shorewood. Most in the news this week have been 184 of those acres, where General Growth Properties planned, then backed away from, a 1.5 million-square-foot retail complex including a mall, multiscreen cinema and two hotels.

See? JERKS! We’ve got 1,416 acres of awesomeness even without your Jerk Faces!

In the coming days, I think I’ll post on how the continuing housing crash (another place where the cheerleaders won’t stop cheering, even after the game is over and the star quarterback wrapped his Ford F150 around a lightpole on the way home from a party) likely spells doom for the 1,200 planned residences.

Pabst Farms Harvest

Schadenfreude is powerful shit. For example, I am delighted by others’ housing misfortunes but not so much that I hope my friends are affected. Example two: that goddamned Pabst Farms shit in Waukesha. When last we saw this monstrosity, the developers were attempting to cajole the city of Oconomowoc into giving them ever more liquor licenses. Apparently, swamping an area with booze is terrible when it’s an urban area where you can walk there and back, but delightful when you have shitheads driving their Hummers in from Brookfield to get swamped at the local Cheesecake Factory.


Well then, it appears that the Housing Crash is starting to take fools like these down with it:

So-called big box stores, such as a Target and Kohl’s Department Store, could replace a regional shopping mall planned for Pabst Farms in Oconomowoc, commercial real-estate industry observers said Thursday.

That’s because western Waukesha County might not have enough residents to attract the types of retailers needed to create a large mall.

Those comments came after the Journal Sentinel reported Thursday that the developers of Pabst Farms are seeking another company to build a large upscale mall at I-94 and Highway 67 in Oconomowoc. Peter Bell, president of Pabst Farms Development Inc., said Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc., one of the country’s largest mall operators, might be bowing out of the high-profile project.

So, when we last left these geniuses, their Million Dollar Idea was to build an EVEN BIGGER mall in the middle of a cornfield in goddamned Oconomowoc. You know Oconomowoc, right? About 10 miles east of the huge Outlet Mall in Johnson Creek? Or maybe you know it as the place 30 odd miles from Mayfair Mall? The point is, the region doesn’t really need anymore Mega-Ultra-Town-Centres. Especially ones catering inexplicably to the luxury market.

Well shit on a kringle, cuz now we have the worst of all worlds. The stupid shopping center is going up, destroying arable land in the process, but it’s going to have the exact same dumbfuck bullshit that you can find on any commercialzed street in America. Ooo! It’s gonna have a Target? PROMISE? Wow, honey, pack up the kids; we’re gonna hit that Kohl’s in Oconomowoc.

I fucking hate real estate developers.

UPDATE: Looks like the developer has dumped the project all-together. I’m sure there will be all sorts of backpedaling and reassurances by the Must-Replace-Farmland-With-Malls-At-All-Costs folks that those assholes and their Hummers will have a Chili’s to go to on Wednesday nights in Oconomowoc.

Morning News Roundup

I read the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel online edition every morning, and today there were two interesting items.  One has to do with something I talked to wwhazz about last week, and one is another entry in my ongoing cynicism towards home-buying at the moment.

I wouldn’t say that it boils my blood or anything, but it is annoying that the city of Oconomowoc is allowing a Gigantor Shopping Complex to get crapped right into a large field on the outskirts of their town.  Apparently Mayfair Mall is too urban (urbane?) (both?) and the developers wanted to suck up some of that Johnson Creek Outlet Mall fat money cake, so they planned a Mega Mall 30-ish miles outside Milwaukee that would house your usual assortment of Bed, Bath, and Beyonds, Cheesecake Factories, and William-Sonomas.  Because yeah, with gas at $3.65/gal it makes sense to drive 30 miles to eat at an Olive Garden.  Here’s the rub: oops, the city is out of liquor licenses.  Now that makes me more happy than you can know, but apparently there’s evil shenanigans afoot.  As always, laws are only for the stupid, not the rich developers who want to tramp down arable farmland and build another fucking Chili’s.  And while I’m hoping this derails the extent of the project I’m not holding my breath.

Next up, it’s heartening to finally see that Milwaukee area homeowners are getting the picture.  New home listings are sagging, but the gold in the linked article is actually a secondary topic: the fact that most home purchase contingencies these days include clauses about the sale of the buyer’s home first.  This is creating ridiculous “chains” of offers.

“A lot of my deals are four and five people deep,” Buzzell said. “I have sold a property to a lady, whose house I now have on the market, which I’ve sold to a guy, and none of the deals will close until his house sells.”

Hey hepcat, dig that ownership society groove.  Look out below, middle class coming through.