AMERICA'S HOUSE PARTY
The cover report on the U.S.'s real estate bonanza and the way record home prices are changing people's lives drew responses from happy homeowners, worried prospective buyers and those dismayed by the rampant speculation. Some said the housing market is a bubble that's bound to break
Your article on the country's love affair with the housing market did a fantastic job of pointing out those who played the speculation game and won [June 13]. Such booms, unfortunately, are often followed by busts. Real estate may be safer than stocks or other investments, but to assume that this gold rush will continue forever is naive.
BRIAN M. STARNS - Portland, Ore.
As a real estate appraiser for nearly 30 years, I consider the housing market so bizarrely bent that it's seriously Enron-esque. When banks start loaning money to anybody who can sign his or her name, the end of the boom is rapidly approaching. All the greedy little lenders want every available cent invested in something, anything at all. I am sorry to say I am disgusted by what a thoroughly dishonest nation of money-hungry fools we Americans have become.
SUZANNE MURPHY - Southampton, N.Y.
Your story on rising property values on a block of Chicago's North Wood Street reminded me of my grandfather, a Polish-Lithuanian immigrant who lived on North Wood and kept his money in the walls of his house rather than bank it. If he were alive, I'm sure he would be scolding my Uncle Adam for selling the property for a mere $22,000 a few years back. Who would have thought that reading an article about real estate would awaken such a flood of memories?
PENELOPE HELENICK ADDY - Van Nuys, Calif.
Until I read about the crazy housing market, I thought I was the only one living in a place where people make real estate deals with money they don't have. Unless I become a movie star or join a drug ring, I will probably never have enough money to own a house in a decent neighborhood.
KAYLA DADGAR - Phoenix, Ariz.
Americans' greed is pitiful. People who speculate on housing while others remain homeless are shallow in the extreme. Tearing down perfectly good houses to build huge, gaudy mansions is wasteful, immoral and counterproductive. People must understand that the only difference between a homeless person and a person who inhabits the largest house in Beverly Hills is four walls.
RICHARD REBHUN - Los Angeles
You reported on the teardown craze in Brentwood Flats, Calif. We live next door to an 11,000-sq.-ft. mansion being built on a 16,000-sq.-ft. lot. The only thing more massive than the structure is the owner's ego.
BARBARA KLASKIN SILBERG - Los Angeles
Not a day goes by that my wife and I, proud parents of a new baby boy, don't relish the fact that we bought our house before its value made it too expensive.
JOHN POLAGRUTO - West Sacramento, Calif.
Out of the Shadows