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Sun., June 16, 2013, midnight

Real ownership threats

The article in the June 9 Spokesman-Review real estate insert, “The economic and emotional value of homeownership,” makes some good points. Unfortunately, it has been the emotional instead of economic value that drives too many decisions.

Author Joel White says “homeownership is under attack.” The government proposals do not end the mortgage deduction but limit the amount on very expensive homes. Some real attacks: banks holding back on credit-worthy customers, dragging their feet on foreclosures and renegotiations, speculators (flippers), corporate buying and building speculation. Most financial advisers list mortgage deductions as a less influential decision-maker. Flippers buy cheap, fix up and sell at the market price. It may be legal, but it is not moral.

Corporations buying up properties and increasing prices? Folks paying $100,000 over market (Seattle area) so they can get their kids into that good school, meanwhile abandoning another neighborhood they could have stayed in and fixed up? Where is the responsibility in building more developments farther away from the city businesses, causing more expensive commutes, abandonment of city centers by family neighborhoods?

No lessons have been learned. I am afraid the icon of the American Dream has become the false icon of the American nightmare.

John McNamara


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