Buying a house? You’re just throwing money away!

The NYT deconstructs real-estate-agent investment hype.

.. or so says the NYT, in a splendid deconstruction of real-estate agent hype about house-buying as a “no-lose investment.”

Note the positive-feedback loop; as house prices level off or dip, people who could only convince themselves that the house they wanted was affordable by assuming steadily rising prices discover that they can’t, in fact, afford to own it. That realization (along, of course, with the meltdown in other-than-prime mortgage availability) ought to drive down prices further, at least out here in HousingBubbleLand.

Footnote A person who sells houses for a living is a real estate agent, or real estate broker. “Realtor” is a made-up word, and a registered trademark of the real estate cartel, which does an excellent job at preventing the falling transactions costs enabled by improving computer and communications technology from being available to home-sellers. Why do reporters insist on using that silly label? Is the guy who sells bedroom sets a Furnitor?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: