Well, it’s nice to know that even if we urban- and suburbanites are suffering, that the farmers have something to smile about. The long-suffering backbone of this nation, farmers have been faced with falling food prices, higher feed prices, and many have lost their land to corporate farming. FarmAid aside, the best news to hit growers and ranchers is that “U.S. Farmland Values Reach Record on High Crop Prices.” Alan Bjergaa over at Bloomberg.com reports on the increase taking place across the country.
On the flip side, we are seeing prices tumble and large amounts of homes going into foreclosure on the outer finges of urban areas. Places like Solano County in the Bay Area experienced a growth spurt in the last 5-10 years, with large housing developments going up on what was previously farmland. City dwellers could get a bigger house with yard for a fraction of the price of a city flat. It was cheaper to buy a house in these areas (and a car to commute in) than to even rent in the big city. Downside always was the commute – at least the length of it and the time it took. Now, those people are paying a different price – the price of gas. It’s taking a toll on them, and it is preventing sales. People who were already reluctant to spend the time on the road, now realize it is too expensive to do so, causing developments to stall halfway through, and home sales to drop significantly. The Washington Post did an article yesterday on this very subject, and although it illuminates the problem in a different part of the country, the basic theme of the article is true for every state.
REO Chronicle recently ran a piece addressing the constantly debated “Rent or Buy? Craigslist and Realtor.com.” They (really) randomly chose cities around the country to illustrate the point, with the outcome being no surprise. In some areas of the state and country, it pays to buy, in others it pays to rent. Hmmm, I don’t find that terribly surprising, and it was purely financial with no emotional ties, tax advantages, etc. taken into consideration. Very cut and dried. I’d rather know if it is more feasible to buy now vs,. rent that it was 2 years or 5 years ago. Can anyone point me in that direction?
Also along the same lines is the idea of buying a home and having to rent it out or buying home just to rent it out. Janis Mara of SF Sweet Digs asked the question “Would You Ever Rent out Your House,” while Alison Ching wanted to know “Would You Buy Now to Invest and Rent Out?” The LA Times had an interesting article, “Homeowners rent out property as they wait for a better market.” It provides various scenarios, who is doing it and why.
Sue McAllister over at the Square Feet blog has gotten some firsthand accounts of people left stuck due to Financial Title Company pulling out of California last week. This is the second large title company to shutter its doors, following in the December wake of Alliance Title. Buyers and sellers alike are suffering at the hands of the closure, some even having trouble getting the keys to their new homes, and there is surely some nail-biting going on around the state.
Well, I hope by now that our readers are well aware of the plunging real estate prices that have occurred over the last year or two, here and across the nation, but apparently we need to be reaching more of an audience. Either that or we need to stock up on clues to hand out to people. Socketsite reported today on a consumer survey done by Seattle-based Zillow that, among other things, found that “Despite plummeting values across the nation, 62 percent of homeowners believe their property’s worth has actually climbed or stayed the same during the past year.” Wow, we should be handing out Ostrich Awards to that 62%.