In order not to make the same mistakes twice (not that new ones won’t be discovered in time) experts across the world continue to scrutinize the collapse of the U.S. housing market. Lots of books have appeared on the market, but one which stands out in reviews, “All the Devils are Here”, deconstructs the monumental, messy affair in an outline of what went wrong in the boom years.
Co-written by New York Times Columnist Joe Nocera and best-selling author and Vanity Fair contributor Bethany McLean, the book, published in portfolio hardcover in 2010 looks back in depth to the beginning of unregulated mass cash-out refinancings. Home ownership not being the issue, but rampant consumer spending of equity and credit enabling people to live vastly beyond their means.
Have our politicians and banks learned their lesson? That remains to be seen. At least as consumers we should be once bitten, twice shy on over-stepping our borrowing abilities by putting homes on the line.
The authors of “All the Devils are Here” point fingers not at one group, rather at Congress and federal regulators primarily, with a trickle-down effect on banks, politicians and wall street.
Books aside, now that the big suburban box home has had its heyday, one thing we have learned as a society is that it is time to look more closely at developing energy efficient, compact homes within walking distance to schools, stores, public transportation so that our kids and their kids are much less likely to find themselves in the sort of housing finance hot water that has scorched today’s homeowner.