Who's really to blame for the housing crisis
And continuing the trend of the previous post, Jim Sollisch has a piece in the Wall Street Journal laying the blame for the housing crisis where it truly belongs.
That's right. The cable network HGTV is the real villain of the economic meltdown. As the viewership reached a critical mass over the past decade -- HGTV is now broadcast into 91 million homes -- homeowners began experiencing deep angst. Suddenly no one but the most slovenly and unambitious were satisfied with their houses. It didn't matter if you lived in an apartment or a gated community, one episode of "House Hunters" or "What's My House Worth?" and you were convinced you needed more. More square feet. More granite. More stainless steel appliances. More landscaping. More media rooms. More style. You deserved it.
If you had any doubts about your ability to afford such luxuries, all you had to do was look at the 20-something couple in the latest episode choosing between three houses. Should they go for the fixer-upper, priced at $425,000? Or the one with the pool for $550,000? What about the one with room to grow for $675,000?
I don't watch this network, but I did see several of these shows when home for Christmas, as my parents are big fans. These shows really need to get out to Indiana. In my home town, which is a nice suburb with good schools, you can get a new, 3000 square foot house with finished basement for less than $250,000. Prices in California and New York are not normal, but those huge numbers are probably part of the attraction for viewers elsewhere.