Sunday, June 08, 2008

Small victims of the Big Sh*tpile

By Libby

The ongoing meltdown in the housing finance industry is so huge that it's sometimes difficult to grasp just how widely it impacts the greater economy and our entire quality of life. It's the little individual victims that really tell the sad story.
Turnout was modest and bidders were few Thursday, May 29 at the annual Orange High School “Project House” auction, setting the scene for what followed next.

“This is the first house we haven’t been able to sell,” said auctioneer Phillip Walker of the firm that bears his name.

Walker opened the bidding in the mid-$50,000 range but was forced to drop the price until it reached the high $30,000 range before he temporarily stopped the proceedings. After telling the gathering this year’s house was one of the best he ever had the privilege to auction, he began anew.

It made no difference. Second round bidding started in the low $30,000s, far below what it had cost to construct the house by at least $15,000. Bids slowly climbed but then stalled just beneath the $40,000 mark.
They ended up suspending the auction. It's more than a little alarming that a 1,200 sq ft., 3 bedroom, two bath with a vaulted great room & master bedroom can't be sold at, or even near, cost but the damage done here is wider than just a failed closing.

The students who built the house are teenagers and their already fragile self-esteem is being destroyed by the lack of interest. Further, the program depends on financing the next project from the sale of the last so the entire program is in danger of shutting down, jeopardizing the future of this very worthwhile vocational training for a fair number of young people whose future economic security may well depend on gaining those skills. Without them, the likelihood that they will opt out for a lifestyle of petty crime in lieu of dead end service jobs increases greatly. That's not good for anyone.

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