Our Daily Bleg: A Real-Estate Dilemma

Mike, a 30-year-old engineer, writes in with a real-estate dilemma in which he’s considering a tricky tradeoff: is it worth sabotaging his own credit rating in order to walk away from a house that’s worth far less than his mortgage? Already Been Blegged Here’s what Freakonomics readers have been blegging for lately. How to Handicap […]

Economist Price Fishback: The Real Facts About the Original Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (and What They Mean for a Modern Incarnation)

More and more people are calling for the government to create a Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) modeled after the New Deal version that went by the same name. The first person I heard suggesting this was economist Alan Blinder in a startlingly prescient New York Times Op-Ed piece back in February of this year. […]

Diamond and Kashyap on the Recent Financial Upheavals

As an economist, I am supposed to have something intelligent to say about the current financial crisis. To be honest, however, I haven’t got the foggiest idea what this all means. So I did what I always do when something related to banking arises: I knocked on the doors of my colleagues Doug Diamond and […]

Love Data? Zillow Wants You

We’ve blogged a few times about Zillow (here and here), a website that is trying to shake up the real estate industry. I’ve made radical predictions about the future of the real estate industry. I’m hoping that Zillow will help make those prophesies come true. So to do my part (and because I am as […]

Space Bubble Real Estate

Lots of people want to buy property in outer-space, argues blogger Glenn Reynolds. He points to customers of Lunar Embassy who pay $16 or $20 for novelty acres on the moon. But to go from gimmicky certificates to serious lunar (and Martian) real estate development takes a serious economic incentive — like the concept of […]

Is the Housing Crisis a Public Health Nuisance?

Public-health officials in northern California are worried that foreclosed and abandoned homes — at least the ones with swimming pools — might become a breeding ground for mosquitoes that could carry West Nile virus. From a Mercury News article: Worried health officials will embark today on an aerial search for backyard, watery havens for mosquitoes […]

Suburbs Are Hurting From Birth Rates and Gas Prices

A recent N.P.R. report about housing prices in D.C. shows the close link between driving costs and the housing market. According to the report, home prices in the suburbs have fallen 18 percent while those in the District have risen 11 percent. No doubt some of this difference is due to a change in demand […]

The Birth of the Death Incentive?

Sixty-nine-year-old Bob Fanning may have hit upon a new senior citizen benefit that makes your home a more attractive sell the closer you are to dying, the Chicago Tribune reports. To stand out from other Wisconsin homes in the real estate glut, Fanning offers this incentive: The buyer of his home will be named the […]

What’s So Special About the Subprime Mess?

The answer, according to the economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, is … “not much.” Here’s what they describe in a new NBER working paper about the causes and consequences of the current subprime crisis: Our examination of the longer historical record finds stunning qualitative and quantitative parallels to 18 earlier post-war banking crises in […]

The FREAK-est Links

U.S. government cracks down on street gangs. (Earlier) Martin Feldstein discusses inflation, income disparity, and the housing market. The Ivory Coast tries a new tactic for tardy employees: be on time, win a house. Busy airports hire “sign consultants” to reduce traveler confusion.