Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Man's Home May Be His Castle, but Only to a Point
Here's a link to the New York Times article on HOAs, with a quote or two from me:

To Evan C. McKenzie, an associate professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the squabble over the house is yet another expression of "privatopias": the growing power of homeowner associations that, he said, are "completely transforming the definition of home ownership."

Professor McKenzie, author of "Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government," noted that in a regular municipality, the Duffields' application to build a 72,000-square-foot house "would have to be evaluated according to the guidelines that applied at the time." But because of the power wielded by homeowner associations, he said, the Bryan Ranch residents were able to "basically move the goal posts."

"Home ownership has always meant a sense of dominion and control over the intimate parts of one's life," he said. "But when you buy into a homeowners association, it's a different form of government. It's not a liberal democracy."

Friday, December 23, 2005

BREITBART.COM - New Home Sales Plummet in November
It seems obvious that the real estate bubble is losing air in a number of markets. Yet for some reason this has become a partisan issue with some conservatives, who argue on the radio and in the press that anybody who points out that fact is talking down the economy in order to help Democrats in the 2006 elections. If there is a more ridiculous argument, I haven't heard it. Facts are facts, and it sure looks to me as though the housing market is in for some tougher times. I don't see a collapse, but there is no way the insane prices in some markets can keep going up, and that spells trouble for some people who are betting everything they have on continued housing price inflation.

Sales of new homes plunged in November by the largest amount in nearly 12 years, providing the most dramatic evidence yet that the red hot housing market over the last five years is starting to cool down. The Commerce Department reported Friday that new single-family homes were sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.245 million units last month, a drop of 11.3 percent from October, when sales had surged to an all-time high. Last month's decline was even bigger than the 8.7 percent drop-off that Wall Street analysts had been expecting. While sales of both new and existing homes are still on track to set records for a fifth straight year in 2005, analysts are forecasting sales will decline in 2006 as the housing boom quiets down.

Private Cities: Global and Local Perspectives... now out, selling for a mere $130.00 (!) That is the new book edited by Chris Webster, Georg Glasze, and Klaus Frantz about the internationalization of the gated community/private neighborhood is out. I have a chapter in it. The Amazon link is here.
City probes neighborhood's upkeep - The Clarion-Ledger
Fred Pilot sent this piece about "Who picks up maintenance bill after homeowners group dissolves," a question I think a lot of municipalities will need to answer as the years go on...
Home Is Where The Rules Are
Bob Nelson's Op-Ed in the Washington Post, giving a boost to his new pro-HOA book...thanks to Nancy Levy for the link.