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Overnight Reading

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It’s time for me to get some sleep, but if you’re still awake and looking for some reading, here are some news and notes.

* Enron sold future revenues of one of their businesses, and it was like one more hit of crack cocaine. I can’t get enough of colorful similes.
* Money Magazine’s Best Cars of 2006. My Honda Civic doesn’t qualify, but the Honda Accord does (Best Mid-Size Sedan).
* David Bach: Why homeowners get rich and renters stay poor. I’m close to finishing his new book and I’ll have a review up shortly. It’s quite motivating.
* 7 top taxpayer mistakes from MSN Money. I’ll focus on this soon.
* Here are three questions MarketWatch says we should be asking Ben Bernanke, the new Fed chairman: Is the Fed done yet? What is your inflation target? What is full employment?

Updated June 17, 2014 and originally published February 14, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Paul

While I completely agree that people should strive for home ownership, I think the VERY questionable math in Bach’s piece does the arguement a disservice. For example:

1. Landlords are raising rent at only 5% per year, but in his other example, property values are increasing at 10% year. With this much of a disparity (100%!) there would be huge incentives both to remain a renter or to buy as much property as you could. In otherwords, mortgage payments for new homeowners would be rising at a rate twice as fast as rents were.

2. His example of leverage is comical, too, because it completely ignores the transaction costs involved in real estate. Typically this is about 1% (closing costs) of the purchase price and 7% (closing costs, plus 6% comission) of the sales price. Using his figures, that is $2,000 on the way in, and another $15,400 on the way out, for a total of $17,400. Leaving you with a real gross gain of $2,600 on your $20,000 investment. Which is a 13% return, not the 50% return he claims. And oh yeah, we forgot to mention the capital gains tax you will owe on the sale because you haven’t lived in the house for 5 years. Let’s see, thats 15% of your $20,000 gain, which is $3,000. But wait, you say, that leaves me with a net LOSS of $400. Yes, and I am not even firguring in a mild 2% inflation each year, which would result in a reduction in the purchasing power of any gains anyway.

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avatar Paul

Ummm. Well, after getting out of my foaming rage, I re-read the article and saw that his holding period for the home purchase example was “a year or two.” Giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one — and assuming that he meant two years — housing values are really rising at about 4.5% per year, or less than rents are rising. But none of this changes my second critism, that his calcutations of the profits to be made are wildly overstated.

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