Talked to dad on the phone today. There's a double wide in his park in Florida going for $3,000. The guy would take less. He was rebuilding it. Stripped it down to the studs. Put in new drywall and new floors, then gave up on the job. Not only is the guy asking $3,000, he's leaving behind about $1,500 worth of tools. Don't expect housing in Florida to bounce back in the short term. Someone could move in, finish the job, and live darn cheap. At this give away price, it's not selling. This is a nice park: huge live oaks, manicured lawns, ponds, swimming pools, recreation centers, and other niceties.
There's a lot of toys for sale. Lately, I've been checking out the used sailboat market. Prices are dropping -fast. Oh there are plenty of boats asking top dollar. Most likely the owners owe money on it and can't drop the price lower. It's funny and sad at the same time. I'd be looking at at similar boats going in the 3,000 - $4,000 range. Then there'd be the occasional boat, little different from the rest, asking $12,000. Apparently, he didn't get the memo. No one's buying toys right now.
Cash is king. Loans are hard to get.
So we have deflation in things like houses, boats, used cars, motorcycles, RVs, and electronics. What is increasing in price is food. They are being sneaky about it. When is the last time you saw a one pound can of coffee? Most often they are in the 12 oz range, or less. If it wasn't gardens and Farmer's markets, fresh veggies would not have been a big part of my diet this summer. So things we can live without are going down, and things we need are going up. Not a good mix.
How about unemployment? Anyone actually believe the government numbers? If you do there's a bridge in Brooklyn that might interest you.
I've friends with experience and education who've been out of work for months. Others are working for a lot less money than they used to. People who used to be able to work all the overtime they wanted are now lucky to put in 32 hours/week. Until the regular Joe starts taking more money, in real uninflated dollars, there won't be a recovery.
It's entirely possible, likely even, that the economy will never be the same. Eventually things will stabilize and it will be the new normal. However, my guess is that it'll be a lower level that what we had before.
Collapse is an uneven business. Some things take a small hit. Other's go right down the drain. Even in a downturn, there are people who do well. Some parts of the country will turn in to ghost towns, others areas may even boom. Overall, however, there seems to be a downward trend. The highs are never quite so high but the lows drop lower.
On the bright side, if I time it right, I might be able to get a sweet little sailboat for a song. Then if things go really well, I won't have to sell my house and live on it full time.
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