Against a housing bailout: let the prices fall!


WalletPop's Bruce Watson wrote an excellent piece in favor of a housing bailout -- I disagree with him, but he makes the best case of just about anyone I've seen. Bruce writes:

As homes remain vacant, yards get overgrown, windows get broken, and property values plummet. After all, it's not as if there are scads of responsible borrowers waiting in line to buy overpriced tract homes in suburbia. If subprime borrowers fail en masse, as they seem likely to do, property values will drop across the board, hurting the very people who are currently baying for the blood of failed borrowers. To put it more bluntly, self-righteousness is not a hedge against a failing economy.

First of all, there are plenty of people lining up to buy tract homes in suburbia -- just not overpriced ones. Let the damn prices fall and the buyers will come! Artificially supporting prices is just bad economics. When I hear people warning that allowing housing prices to reach equilibrium on their own will result in plummeting property values, I have to ask: is the widespread availability of affordable housing such a serious problem that we need to do everything in our power to prevent homes from being more affordable?