Friday, December 31, 2010

Bigger than we think

It may have been Robert Nelson who wrote that private communities are where most Americans want more governance. This makes sense. Most Americans have most of their wealth tied up in their home. And there are all sorts of commons problems associated with neighborhood quality and neighborhood change. Hence the demand for rules. The rules amount to rights vs. protections trade offs that the market for homes in private communities is supposed to vet.

But the new layer of governance brings on a new layer of politics, which is never simple. Add to that the wave of foreclosures. And add to that a very slow foreclosure process. "You can get away with living for free for two years ..." The quote is from this WSJ piece re the extra difficulties at a Florida condo association with 15 percent of the owners behind on their association fees. The report describes all of the neighbor-vs-neighbor acrimony that results. The housing mess is bigger than we think.