Your housing. What happened? Good responses.

We challenged readers a couple weeks ago to sum up in six words what’s happened to their housing during the recession.

We’re getting some good responses. I wanted to highlight a couple today and give you another chance to weigh in. I’m also going to tell you my six word story.


First, though, from our readers.

Reluctant landord breathing underwater avoiding foreclosure.

That’s how Matt Johnsrud of Duluth described his experience. “I bought in 2005, moved jobs to a different city, and haven’t been able to sell for the incredible hit I would take. The remedy so far has been leasing to tenants, which I would rather not do,” he sad. “Landlording is stressful, even more so when you are over 200 miles from the property.”

Cheryl Polipnick posted that in her Twin Cities neighborhood, “I have three homes in a one block radius of my home that are in foreclosure and been sitting vacant for up to a year. Within 500 feet of my home there have been three homes that have been built within the last three months that range between $200k and $300k. What is wrong with this picture?”

Her six words: “Stop building……buy what is built!”

Here are the six words that sum up my experience:

Bought small in ’98, equity survives

My wife and I came back to Minnesota and The Cities in 1998 when the market was hot and getting hotter. There were lots of houses at the high end of what we could afford.

But we were coming from a situation in another state where we’d bought too much house relative to our incomes. We decided we weren’t going to do that again and focused instead on lower cost housing near work. We were able to build equity faster and stay well above water in the Great Recession.

Many Minnesotans haven’t been as lucky. The research group CoreLogic reports17 percent of Minnesota mortgage holders owe more than their homes are worth. That’s better than the national average of one in four mortgages underwater.

Incredibly, Nevada leads the country with 70% of mortgages underwater.

We’re no geniuses. But even in 1998 it wasn’t hard to figure that a steep climb in housing prices would deliver a steep drop at some point. We were also helped by my in-laws, who let us live with them for months until we found the right house.

So tell us what you’ve seen or experienced when it comes to housing and mortgages. But make it short!

If you’re renting your home, no doubt you’ve been affected in some way, too. Please tell us.

We’ll publish your stories in future posts.


NOTE: Our efforts were inspired by SMITH Magazine’s ongoing Six-Word Memoir project.

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