Monday, October 15, 2007

Phoenix & The Blob

Remember that horrible B-grade horror movie from the 50's called The Blob? It gave me nightmares for a week. OK, so I was an impressionable, sensitive & gullible little kid. What?

Anyhoo, tonight I read a post on Steve Belt's blog, and it reminded me of the visual of The Blob rolling over everything in it's path, sucking them all up and incorporating those rolled over into it quest for world domination, as it grew ever larger.

Why would a post about population growth remind me of a rolling ball of red goo? Because the metro Phoenix region is growing at a mind-staggering pace. We'll have 8 million people calling the Valley home in the coming 20 years, as Steve so precisely researched. 

My point? Valley homeowners would do well to keep that population stat in mind as we all ride out this roller coaster of a real estate correction. Eight million people need a whole lotta homes to live in.

If you stay in your current home for even a fraction of those 20 years, you'll be just fine in terms of the return on your investment in your home.

It seems to me that the "Home As ATM" phenom that overtook us all in the past 2 to 5 years suits the American mentality to a T. We love anything that allows us to get rich quick, with little effort or sacrifice on our part. I'm not holdig myself out as a great example; I fell for the idea that my home would never stop appreciating.

Truth is, our homes were never meant to be vehicles to wealth. They're meant to be a place to live in for the long term, put down roots in a community, raise children (or flowers if kids aren't your thing), and build a little more love into the neighborhoods we inhabit.

Building wealth is another monster altogether. There are scores of books on the subject, including the seminal (and sometimes controversial) Rich Dad, Poor Dad. A blog I follow called BawldGuyTalking is well written and thoughtful.

But your home? It's just a home. Live in it. Make it your own. Love it. But our national expectation that our homes would spit out $100's at us every time the calendar page changed was, well a little bit like a B-grade movie.