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Daniel Gross Sees the End of the Housing Boom

Daniel Gross writes:

HOME STRETCH: Among the flood of data suggesting high-end housing may be a bit overpriced, a few items have caught my attention in the past few days.

  1. High-end home builder Toll Brothers reported a fine quarter last week. But in a follow-up story, Kemba Dunham of the Wall Street Journal noted that "about 38% of buyers during the third quarter had interest-only mortgages, up from 19% a year ago."
  2. Business Week had a small graphic showing that in California, almost 20 percent of households spend more than half their income on housing in 2003. For the rest of the U.S., fewer than 10 percent spend more than half their income on housing.
  3. Westportnow.com, the website that covers all doings in my home town, reports that a home for sale in what should be the sweet spot of the local market -- about $1.5 million -- is offering a free Mini Cooper as an inducement.