Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bad news from Iraq

Guess what the recent bad news from Iraq was:

Widespread sectarian violence -- nope;
Infiltration by foreign fighters -- sorry;
Lack of a de-Baathification law -- been done;
Roaming death squads -- oops, not that either.

No, the pressing problem harshing Iraqi mellow is ... high housing prices in certain neighborhoods. Headline: Baghdad's housing boom; subhead: With violence down, home prices are up as displaced Iraqis flock back home. For many, however, the cost is too steep.

The horror ... the horror. Some Iraqis cannot live where they want to, due to economic considerations. Others are forced, due to scarcity, to hurry up and make offers on houses in which they're interested. Still others, unable to afford the down payment, actually have to wait and save money before they buy.

(If you're a renter, you may not understand the last paragraph, but if you've bought a home, chances are that you're familiar with some or all of the above. Home buying is a tradeoff in so many areas -- location, timing, price, mortgage rate, condition, neighborhood -- and that's true in the US as well as Iraq. Why the LA Times thinks this is newsworthy at all is beyond me ...)

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