Washington D.C. has a shortage of affordable homes – government aid is called for, of course

From the Washington Post comes this sad story of a shortage of cheap housing in the D.C. area. I realize that it’s the Post, but wouldn’t you think an article on this subject could at least mention in passing the incongruity of a government hell bent on raising real estate prices while looking for ways to subsidize buyers?

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3 responses to “Washington D.C. has a shortage of affordable homes – government aid is called for, of course

  1. KC

    We lived in Arlington, VA for about five years in the late eighties. I was skeptical about buying a house there as I have not done so well with residential real estate in general. However, I was told by so many that it was the safest place known to resell a house. Living there, I kind of felt like everyone should have the chance to live in this cultural wonderland paid for by the taxpayers. As it slowly became more and more crowded with people beholden to the federal government directly or indirectly, we began to feel out of place, even suffocated. And, of course, I lost money selling my house. But all of the would be purchasers were of a kind : almost no cash down, high paid jobs, dramatic debt and big loans. It seemed like a house of cards even back then but I still can’t quite understand how we lost money with that scenario.

  2. Old School Grump

    KC at 9:54, I think you were subject to bad timing in this instance, rather than bad karma. The 1987 crash took longer to ripple out to real estate prices than the more recent economic unpleasantries have done, but even DC federal workers’ white-collar neighborhoods had to feel it eventually; the parasite can’t prosper when the host is ailing.

    We, as buyers in Greenwich in 1991, benefitted from the malaise. (But don’t be envious; we’ve gotten our financial comeuppance in other ways.) Sister-in-law in Arlington bought a teeny-tiny cape on a street of teeny-tiny capes in the late 90s in the high 2s and sold it in 2006 in the mid 7s.

    Anyway, I read the link, and it what it shows most clearly is the different mindset between metro DC and metro NY.

    In metro NY, it is refreshingly direct, as in: “… So you’re middle-class , and you didn’t have the good fortune to weasel into a 4 bedroom rent-controlled apartment, or inherit some money or some property, or buy something in the one brief shining moment when things were kinda cheap, so … I should care? What, you think Charlie Rangel is going to give up one of his rent-stabilized apartments for you and your big boo-hoo?”

    But metro DC is home to a bunch of politicians (and their vast coterie of parasites, including the media) who feel they must PRETEND to care. Enough said.

  3. KC

    Thanks for the insight OSG. We actually sold in the early nineties so your time line makes sense. And to be honest with you, the market was all over the place. Our house, while “charming,” lacked some of the modern amenities that many buyers seemed to want, that could well have played a part.