Here in happy-go-lucky Austin, where music blares from every venue, Tex-Mex and BBQ are served 24/7 and Shiner flows faster than our drought-starved regional waters, things apparently aren't so rosy on the home front.
In today's edition, the New York Times looks at Merced, Calif., the most foreclosure-ridden town in the United States. But what caught my eye, aside from the idiot moves made by lenders, buyers and even municipalities, was the map that detailed other areas where a sizable portion of homes are worth less than what buyers paid.
Right smack dab there in the middle of the Times' map, in the middle of the Lone Star State, was a tinted section that is Central Texas, aka Austin and its environs.
Not that it matters so much to me and the hubby personally right now since we're not one of the negative equity contributors.
For us and the vast majority of owners, a home's value really isn't a factor until you get your annual tax bill or get ready to sell.
We'll get another tax bill (actually two, our county and our school district) in a few months. And we'll grouse over how much it is and how it's being poorly spent. But at least the levies are tax deductible.
And we're not moving any time soon, despite my annoyance at neighbors and their messy, noisy dogs. That's what good fences are for, the construction of which is a home improvement project that could add to your home's basis and reduce any potential capital gains bill when you sell.
True, the percentage of Central Texas homeowners with mortgages greater than their homes' values is relatively small. But it still is disconcerting to see evidence that your locale has way too many folks in over their heads house-wise. That's not good for anybody.
You can read the story about Merced here. Once there you'll find the link to the full negative home equity map.