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March 23, 2008


As for Westervelt, well it depends what part... We moved further up the hill on Westervelt and little did we know on that rainy spring day we first saw the place that a group home existed next door that would create chaos, garbage, and unbearable noise at all hours of the day and night. A little 'gentrification' up the hill would be welcome. And trust me, we pay for the luxury of living in the forgotten borough. It's not like our rent is cheap.

But alas we're moving soon to a condo I'm buying off Victory that has amazing views of harbor. And that place I could never afford anywhere else in NYC, so i suppose the non-gentrification works both ways. Although I'd like to see conditions improve on the north shore, homeowner or not.

I wish I could stir up some controversy by saying I disagree with what you've written here, Brooklyn Controversy, but I don't.

Probably because my view of the world was influenced by people whose views were formed by the experience of the Great Depression, I'm a political progressive but a conservative when it comes to personal finances. I don't take on debt thoughtlessly and I don't take risks, which amount to the same thing.

I'm not Hercules; why wouldn't I exchange a modest amount of property maintenance and upkeep for some help with the expenses? We owned a one-family house only once; we built equity there that allowed us to buy the income-producing house we have now.

Thanks again for writing.

The key is to hedge your investment with an income producing property. Whether its a basement, garage or parking spot... anything is better than a 1 family with no income options.

Thanks for your comment, Vee. I agree completely.

While there's nothing to cheer about as people of all ages lose everything because of (a) lax regulation of the mortgage industry and (b) their own stupidity, there are at least two positive effects of the return to sanity in property valuations in New York.

Probably sooner than we think, people who were priced out of the market will find a way back in. Just as important, if Obama, Summers and Geithner are serious about reform in residential lending, the financing options available to buyers will protect them from predators.

What I would also like to see is a de-emphasizing of the One Family House as the gold standard of residential property ownership. One of the reasons my wife and I are in good shape financially is that it all doesn't depend on us; we depend on the rental income we collect each month. And because our property not only provides us with living space but provides income, too, the value of our house has remained pretty stable.

'Given the national economic downturn and the shaky state of real estate everywhere, including Manhattan, I don't think Martha has a lot to worry about for the forseeable.'

Yeah, and ain't that GREAT?!

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