Flashback: Februrary 3, 2005

One of my favorite television shows is LOST so we're going to play a game called housing bubble flashback.  For LOST fans, click the play button below for sound effects during the ride.


The following picture is from a New York Times article written February 3, 2005 titled "Condo Fever Turns Buyers Into Early Birds."

From the article:

NGELINA UMANSKY, a 39-year-old spa owner from San Francisco, was visiting a friend in Miami two weeks ago when she heard about a new condo development downtown. Hoping to find a vacation home, but worried that others were interested, too, Ms. Umansky arrived at the sales office at 8 a.m. the day after seeing some model units.

About 50 other buyers were already in line. Two hours later, a sales agent summoned her and said she had four minutes to decide which unit to buy. She acted fast, offering $350,000 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit.

Ms. Umansky thinks she got a bargain; when she called on behalf of a friend less than eight hours later, she was told the asking price on a unit like hers had climbed to $380,000, a nearly 9 percent price increase.

Buyers review floor plans and maps first at a Web site or in a brochure. When they arrive at the sales "event," typically at a hotel or a convention center, they spend five minutes looking at a map and choosing a home before the next buyer moves to the front of the line. Price increases - up to 16 a day- are announced over loudspeakers.

"People get excited and get caught up in it," said Joel Lazar, a Transeastern vice president. "Even if they weren't planning on buying a home, they convince themselves to buy a home."

Last Sunday, Jeanette Gomez, a banquet server at a resort hotel, drove her mother, Maria Gomez, to her 11:12 a.m. appointment at a hotel in west Orlando. Although the senior Ms. Gomez wasn't planning to buy, she ended up making an $18,500 down payment on a two-bedroom town house. "I pushed her," her daughter said. "I said 'Just do it.' I think it's a good buy because the sales agent told us the price already went up $20,000 since yesterday."


The following picture is from the Dallas Morning News written yesterday titled "Thousands Line Up In Red Bird To Apply For Dallas County Rent Assistant Vouchers."

From the article:

Several Dallas County sheriff's deputies kept things orderly, and Dallas-Fire Rescue paramedics were on hand in case of heat-related problems.

County officials were to begin accepting applications at 8 a.m. but started early for the many residents who got there before dawn.

About 6 a.m., officials told applicants who had already formed their own line to line up elsewhere, and there was a rush to the new spot.

Daisy Emerson, 20, was among the first to apply after arriving at 4 a.m. to find what she estimated to be 3,000 people already in line.

"It didn’t matter who got here first," she said. "People who came yesterday shouldn’t have even wasted their time."

h/t Michael Panzer