Not Your Grandfather's Housing Crisis

When I last blogged for Redfin in this space some three months ago, we seemed to be in the midst of a wrenching but - whengrandfatherclock.jpg considered over the long view - rather routine once-a-decade or so real estate downturn.  

As sharp as the correction was turning out to be, after all, we had seen it all before.  Many Southern Californians remembered the regional housing corrections of the early ’80s and again in the early ’90s following boom (read bubble) times.  Though no fun for owners and would-be sellers of inflated properties, at least we had the comfort of historical perspective, and the foreknowledge that this too would pass; property values would eventually recover and begin to rise again.

Today, three months later, we have no such assurances, no such familiar historical perspective.  We’ve been plunged headlong on a journey through utterly alien territory.  Instead of a relatively routine once-a-decade cyclical event, we seem to be verging on an economic upheaval that happens once in a century, one whose contours and consequences are yet unfathomable.

The neatly compartmentalized housing crisis that was the center of our economic attention just three months ago has spun beyond the bounds of all but the most fanatical bubble blogger’s imagination, and is now mere prologue for the events that, on a daily and hourly basis, are unfolding on an unthinkable scale.  Not since 9/11, or perhaps Katrina, has the nation, and the world, been so transfixed by a cataclysmic spectacle.  That this one is reshaping the economic universe, rather than the political one, makes it no less arresting.

The role of Redfin’s bloggers in all this is, thankfully, modest and focused:  we strive to shed light on the current dynamics of real estate in the communities where we live.

How the financial and economic maelstrom that is accelerating around us will impact ordinary buyers and sellers, asking and selling prices, incomes and inventories, completely remains to be seen.

I’m happy to be back at Redfin keeping watch on my pockets of the housing market for readers in these extraordinary times.

  • Cindy Allen

    Welcome back, Tim. Great post. We missed you.