In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 27, 2005 / 20 Sivan, 5765

Housing envy is booming

By Tom Purcell

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I envy my friends in Washington, D.C.

Four years ago, one of them paid $165,000 for a half duplex near Old Town, Alexandria. She encouraged me to buy a place just like hers right down the street, but I hesitated. I wasn't sure if I was going to stay in the area. I thought the price was a little high.

But what do I know about anything.

I had no idea that just a few years later, interest rates would rocket downward. I had no idea the Federal Reserve would pump an unimaginable amount of dough into the economy, or that aggressive mortgage firms would use interest-only gimmicks and other tricks to qualify anyone for a massive loan.

That duplex that I could have bought for $165,000 is now selling for $465,000, and I'm out a cool $300,000 for not buying when I could have.

That's why I read with great interest a recent article in the Washington Post. Housing envy has become the newest psychological phenomenon to strike America's high-growth metro areas.

You see, there are people working side by side, making the same income, but the one who bought a home four years ago is worth, on paper anyhow, $300,000 more than the one still renting. And the one still renting now has to pay a king's ransom to buy the same house.

I often fall into daydreams about what I would have done with all that dough. I could have sold the Old Town duplex and paid cash for a six-unit apartment building in the Pittsburgh suburb where I now live.

I could have moved into one of the units and rented out the others. After all my costs — taxes, insurance, etc. — I would have had a positive cash flow of $2,000 a month or more. I could have retired my corporate clients for a year or two, and spent all my time completing the books I've been struggling to write.

But all has been lost.

Because I missed the housing boom in Washington, I am forced to attain wealth the old-fashioned way. I have to earn it.

Scared off by the insanity of the Washington real estate market, I fled back to Pittsburgh. With job growth and population growth flat, there isn't much of a boom in Pittsburgh. Property is very affordable.

I bought a modest property, my second, because it will make a nice rental. I'll live there a spell, then rent it and buy another. Gradually, slowly, painfully, I'll grow a nice little nest egg for my retirement years.

And as I struggle to build wealth, I am filled with envy — envy for those who made boatloads of dough by doing absolutely nothing except buying homes in high-growth metro areas before the insanity kicked into high gear.

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The envious part of me would delight in seeing their bubbles burst. It happened before in Washington. In the mid-1980's, the last time the market soared there, people got caught up in the frenzy and speculators snapped up condos as investments.

In 1999, while looking for a place to rent, I met an older fellow who had bought five condos in the mid-1980's. He had paid $115,000 each for his condos then expecting their values to soar over the next decade. But they didn't soar.

When we talked in 1999, he told me the units he paid $115,000 for were worth $90,000. After years of managing his five properties, his investments produced a negative debt of more than $100,000.

Of course, he told me his story a little over five years ago before the current boom kicked into high gear. Right now those same condos are probably selling for $250,000 or more. After being flat for years, their "value" has doubled in the past two years.

His story makes me wonder if today's buyers will experience a similar fate when interest rates go up, money availability tightens and the loan gimmicks disappear.

Who knows, maybe the day will come when such folks envy fellows like me.

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© 2005, Tom Purcell