Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Contrary to the thrust of this story, homeowners such as this are not 'hidden victims' of the mortgage crisis...

Yes, she has been paying her mortgage... and yes, she can't sell her house for as much as she would like.

But 'victim' is not the word to describe people whose misfortune is in some part the result of their own actions. You're not a victim if the injuries you suffer in a car crash come about because you were drunk while behind the wheel... or because you didn't buckle your seat belt. And you're not a victim if you refuse to get out of harm's way when you have the opportunity.

As for the 'victims' of the housing crisis...

You're not a victim of the mortgage crisis if you went out and bought a house anytime in the past handful of years. A big reason housing prices have fallen so much is because prices were bid up so high to begin with... and everybody who bought a house during this time frame helped bid up prices to that precipitously high level. Sure, this woman only bought as much house as she thought she could afford... but being able to afford something isn't the same thing as saying the item is fairly valued.

And you're not a victim if you had passed on the opportunity to sell your house at a great price anytime within the past handful of years. Anyone who chose not to sell their house when prices were higher made their own bed, and it isn't right to label them a victim when their calculations go sour.