I wonder if a house has ever represented as much as it does now, for people like Lisa and me. It has been the full measure and symbol of our wealth and security over the last few years; every cent we threw into it and every cent we took out, seemed so smart, like such a good bet. Every time we got ahead, we borrowed against the thing to remodel, and every time we remodeled the thing we congratulated ourselves of our wisdom, and every time we saw a house go up for sale on our block (They're asking three-eighty-five and it's half the size!) we became like derivative-crazed brokers; we stopped thinking of the value of our home as a place of shelter and occupancy and family-or even as the aesthetic triumph witnessed from our alley-but as a kind of faith equation, theoretical construct, mechanism of wealth-generation, salvation function on a calculator, its value no longer what it's worth but some compounded value that might exist given the continued upward tick of the market, because this was the only direction housing markets could ever go: up. All the geniuses said so. If housing had survived the dump of the technology bubble and the brief realization after 7/11 that we weren't alone in the scary, scary world, then what could possibly stop its march? In eighty years, the geniuses told us, actual housing values had only fallen once. One time in eighty years? I can still close my over-leveraged eyes and hear two decades of such party talk: real estate is the only safe bet; real estate can only go up; they aren't making any more real estate.
Do ótimo The Financial Lives of Poets, de Jess Walter.