Housing Market Crash

The economy and the stock market are like the roaring twenties of the 1900’s.  A few are starting to draw that similarity.  Right now, everyone’s anticipating and enjoying the bubble like euphoria throwing money at home ownership. And many homeowners are wondering if they should sell their house.

As Covid 19 eases, this euphoria and over-confidence will pick up force, leaving some blind to the danger and others wishing for prices to fall.  It is definitely is the right time to sell your house.  Here’s 20 reasons below why the housing market might crash after this year’s home price surge.

Yet, the markets can become too exuberant (recovery, demographic demands, savings, high employment, and stimulus spending in the Trillions). It creates housing bubbles and stock market bubbles.  And crashes normally require a bubble period which acts as an accelerant.

As you can see in the chart below, home prices are rocketing and this spring and summer will see the fastest rise in home prices ever.  Hundreds of thousands of homebuyers will purchase a home in the next few years.   Few are pausing before committing to the purchase (FOMO, low mortgage rates, desperation) so there is no thought about a housing market downturn. 2007 all over again.

And they’ll be buying at the upper limits of their financial ability with no fallback position.  Even a minor slide could turn into an avalanche.

However, not many of us even consider the 3 month outlook let alone a deeper 5 or 10 year outlook when purchasing (of course, how many long term forecasts are available?).  Today, the average purchase price is $400k to over a million. The stakes are much higher today.

The higher home prices reach and the more euphoria enters the housing market, (bidding wars will be rampant this spring) the more the housing bubble grows.  With the economy surging through this summer, how could it be possible for a housing market crash? And what is all this talk about a stock market crash?

Buyers and sellers both are interested in this scenario. Buyers could be stuck with huge mortgages as inflation grows. Sellers should sell their homes this spring or summer at the home price peak.

Spikes in the market may be a warning.  Perhaps, the real question is when is this big downturn event going to happen?  Traditionally, bull cycles do end (2007).  And this 12 year run (longest in history) is enough for most experts to forecast an economic and real estate collapse soon.

Some saw trouble in 2005, 2 years before the 2007 crash. Are there weaknesses in the California and New York housing markets now?

Coastal Housing Bubble to Crash 2005.
Coastal Housing Bubble to Crash 2005. Screenshot courtesy of NRP.org.

The Timeline of Housing Market

This scary looking roller-coaster timeline of market corrections and crashes indicates that when the next does happen, it could be horrific.  We have to consider what keeps the cart on the track and what will send it plunging.

housing factors history timeline chart
Irrational Exuberance housing market euphoria factors. Screenshot courtesy of Wikipedia.

Some homebuyers still haven’t recovered from their losses in the 2008 collapse (caused by defaults on consolidated mortgage-backed securities).  Their home values plunged 30% and over 9 million lost their homes. Right now, 2.7 million homes are in mortgage forbearance.

Mortgage Forebearance
Forebearance Plans will End.  Screenshot courtesy of blackknightinc.com

Those who wish to refinance will be looking at big hikes, and a good portion of mortgage holders are deeply indebted. And we’re not at the end of rent moratoriums, and we know most renters won’t be able to pay back the rent they owe.

Mortgage Rates. Screenshot courtesy of Freddie Mac.

In 2006, there was no talk or worry about an economic or housing launched recession.  Yet one problem cascaded into a financial collapse. Today, the US and other nations have trillions in new debt, and can’t compete with China, who came through the China virus period unscathed.

Crash forecasts are revolving around interest rates and government bankruptcy, but the real threat this time is government meddling.  The Biden administration thinks it has control of the macroeconomic factors, and that a mountain of debt and regulation squeezes, high energy costs, and rising taxes aren’t a problem.

Commercial real estate is in severe trouble without stimulus because cities won’t be the same after the pandemic.  That debt issue isn’t going away, when companies realize workers aren’t coming back to their highly overpriced offices.  And many businesses are buried in huge debt going into the economic recovery.

The economy is rocketing (will reach 10% growth) but putting the breaks on just your dragster is ripping down the runway is not good. Some would call this a high speed wobble, where there is no control.

Once the governments get really scared (will New York City go bankrupt?) they’ll restrict mortgage qualifications, raise interest rates, which begins the process. Once everyone sees where the economy’s headed they start bailing out.

This Housing Downturn is a Political Event

It’s the political factors that are key this time because the economy will do well for at least 2 years until stimulus runs out. There’s little support for the economy post stimulus, and China Trade deficit has reached $70 per month.  What if the US dollar was suddenly devalued in international finance?

When house prices reach ridiculous heights as they will this summer, the government will face pressure to do something about it.  They won’t be able to build houses fast enough even if zoning laws were to allow it. The Canadian governments made moves like this 4 years ago and the housing market there collapsed.

Screen capture courtesy of foreignpolicy.com

We’ll see if the economy, stock market, and housing market will stand strong and free as the drivers of the boom are removed and buyers flee from all time price highs. The Democrats will need to be master magicians to keep the Jenga pile from tipping over. I’ve listed the full set of housing market crash factors below.

When Do Housing Bubble’s Burst?

Markets always slide right after they reach big bubbly price highs which don’t match what consumers can afford, and as supply increases and buyers and mortgage holders lose their jobs.  And buyers keep spending big with bubble cash.  An event or series of small uncontrollable financial events can cause housing purchase demand to retreat as people withdraw from big-ticket purchases.

A stock market crash could coincide with the housing event and stock prices are highly inflated, not supported by real earnings.

This could be all about hyperinflation, political mistakes, and baffling complexity.  This situation is novel, just like Covid 19, which means fear and misunderstanding will sweep in like a cold winter wind.  The fact is, most Americans cannot protect themselves. They are at the full mercy of the economic machine.

The Tale of Two Distinct Housing Markets

The K shaped recovery.  The US housing markets are a dichotomy, first with wealthy, cash-rich buyers unaffected by the pandemic shutdown vs all the others faced with rising rents, foreclosure, evictions and homelessness. Consider all the landlords who face imminent foreclosure due to chronic rent defaults.

And falling home prices and foreclosures will not solve homelessness.  The situation in San Francisco and New York shows this clearly where people are selling and leaving those states in droves while record numbers move to the streets to live.

There are lots of unemployed, poor people who could rent or buy the vacant apartments in Manhattan, but they can’t afford them.  The rich are leaving Manhattan, and many others too (to Philadelphia).  The big migration adds to the risk of a housing market collapse in cities, that could bring down all housing markets in the US.

Just as an example of the trending factors, let’s look at affordability.  Home prices are bubbling to record highs while unemployment rages and stimulus holds together businesses.  Wages are stagnant, high density real estate investors may lose everything, first time buyers are disappearing from the market, homeowners are holding onto their properties unnaturally, and stimulus has to be discontinued).  As in the stock market crash predictions post, the event this time might be a slide that can’t be stopped.

Screenshot courtesy of NAR

We might understand a stock market correction, but with the stock market forecast on a volatile but upward trend, one more Trillion dollar Federal aid package, growing American wealth, $4 to $5 trillion in the money markets, improving economy and good jobs report, and the confidence of a great nation still intact, is it even conceivable we could see a housing market failing?

Actually, the election alone might be the catalyst for a housing and stock market bubble catastrophe.  The Democrats have called for drastic changes, based on ideological and their political preferences.  Trashing fracking, bailing out democrat states and cities, out of control stimulus spending, with renewed regulation and higher taxes, hasn’t been factored into forecasts. Democrats and many Americans simply refuse to see the danger.

Printing Money Out of Control

By printing trillions of hand out money, inflation is the result. Home prices are already rocketing and stock prices are grossly overvalued (54 x price earning ratio for Tesla stock).

The issue of money printing is only one factor.  The out of control spending now taking place, was well beyond the imagination of financial experts when they warned about spending.  The US is maxxing out its credit cards. What happens now?

Dangers of Out of Control Printing Money.  Screenshot courtesy of CNBC

What can Collapse a Housing Market?

Rising taxes and mortgage rates. And this is what the Democrats are campaigning on. They’re enhancing the threat via calls for regulation — a strong anti-business agenda which would be enough to send capital investment elsewhere. After all, why would the wealthy agree to be taxed and why would investing in the US make any sense at all?

Although the Biden admin is infusing over $2 Trillion into the economy, an inflationary bubble could lead to stagflation, cost of living crises, stock market, and housing market crash. Withdrawal of investment money from equity markets, and flight of capital could crash GDP and jobs, leading to collapses of both the housing and stock markets. That means the Dow, S&P, and NASDAQ would crash.

The Corona Virus arrived at an inopportune time. The US had still not regained full footing, with a $500 billion trade deficit each year and a government and people divided. Any change, or any severe turbulence could send the US economy plummeting, and given Joe Biden is leading in the election polls, the threat is very real.

Oil, Tourism, Hospitality, Small Business Decimated

The added weight of a prolonged Covid 19 depression will keep US production subdued for at least another 12 months.  The curse the dems have put on the economy will be there for them to clean up in 2021.

Previously I stated that too much demand existed for the market to crash, but the Covid 19 situation doesn’t seem to have an end.  Prolonged stimulus will be needed over at least 5 years to keep the markets from collapsing. Simply stopping evictions without supporting landlords and mortgage holders won’t work.

Real estate owners need funds to pay their debts and banks need those payments to avoid catastrophe too.  This situation is so severe that the dems have no idea what they in for. They’re so obsessed with discrediting the Donald Trump than they’re eyes aren’t on the road anymore.

Interest in buying homes is up, but much of this might be wishful fantasy.  The fact is, many returning workers are on the edge.  Any loss of employment through the dark winter could push our Jenga pile over.

Screenshot courtesy of Google.

However, it seems the hunt for homes is on across America.

There is still a lot of interest in the possibility of a recession or at least, a fall in many housing markets across the US and Canada (Alberta Canada is in free fall right now). Given the VIX is registering the highest volatility of all time on the stock markets, and hyped media reports seem to send shock waves throughout the world, the specter of a housing market crash haunts us all.

20 Major Crash Factors for the US Housing Market:

  1. Democrat blocking of Trump policies and stimulus during and after the pandemic
  2. pandemic is slow to pass or comes back in October
  3. home prices ridiculously high given that we’re in a recession
  4. housing bubble inflates while economy goes into high speed wobble inviting drastic government intervention
  5. big rise in tax on corporations and billionaires causes wealth to flee the country
  6. stock market at peak volatility
  7. bankers quickly anticipate trouble and begin tightening mortgage lending
  8. end of moratorium leads many homeowners, landlords, cities, and renters into desperate bankruptcy situation
  9. the Fed has to raise interest rates too quickly in 2nd half of 2020 to cover debt/capital needs,  and given the size of home loans, a 1% increase would create defaults and panic selling
  10. global economic failing impacts US economy
  11. key housing bubbles in NY, Boston, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco collapse
  12. Trump loses election in November (Democrats are anti-business and previously allowed the China trade imbalance
  13. cold war with China escalates as trade imbalances become ridiculous and China continues invading countries
  14. a return to globalism which would wipe the US dramatic gains of the last 3 years
  15. “America First” dream fades accompanied by dramatic drop in purchases of China products (trade war)
  16. banks recognize the threat and begin raising mortgage rates and lending requirements
  17. single-family housing construction permits decline
  18. homeowners too fearful and dumping overpriced homes and condos while the getting’s good
  19. massive student loan and personal debt defaults
  20. investment tax breaks end
  21. stimulus spending ceases or isn’t effective (too long term at a risky moment in time)
  22. yield curve inverts again thus scaring the financial community

Cities such as Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Los Angeles, Baton Rouge, Bismarck, Anchorage, Casper, Midland, Lafayette, Bakersfield, are cities most likely to crash.  The cities of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco are almost on life support in the ICU, so floating these cities will drain state and federal funding.

Some cities will teeter on the verge of bankruptcy, floated only by loans and optimism.

Will Home Prices Plunge at Any Time?

People are asking whether home prices will fall?  NAR Realtor Survey reports that home prices are already falling and some

We’d have to agree there has been significant housing development, but never quite enough. Trump tried to end the regulation that has been and still does strangle housing construction in CaliforniaFlorida, Arizona, Illinois and other states.

However if the Dems won the 2020 election, and shipped jobs back to China, vast amounts of investment capital would flee the US. The job loss, defaults, and lack of lending would indeed be part of an epic type housing market crash and stock market crash.  This possibility darkens the 6 month and 1 year projections considerably.

Housing Market Crash Timeline

What would a timeline for a housing crash look like?  Here’s a guess: a 5% drop in home prices in May, 7% in June if everything holds economically.  If the Corona Virus is held at bay, home prices could stay flat for July,  and then begin a slight 1% increase in August and September.

If President Trump is elected, and that’s a big worry now given his handling of the Corona Virus emergency. We’re at Easter now and in no way can people go back to work or kids go to crowed classrooms. The drain on the economy is huge and the housing market will see a slide.

45 economists surveyed by NABE expect the economy to shrink by a 26.5% rate in the second quarter, after a 2.4% decline in GDP in the first quarter. In the second half, they expect growth to turn positive, with an increase of 2% in the third quarter and 5.8% in the fourth quarter — from a report from CNBC.

Consumers are expected to resume spending once the pandemic is over, but everyone can see how dependent the economy is on US consumers.

The Democrats are persistent in their media assaults on the President, believing that at some point they can haul him to the ground. But as voters ready to vote, Trump will warn them about capital flight, international supply chain dangers, dangers of foreign dependence, government spending pullbacks, lost jobs, lower wages, and foreclosures.

He could make a case for his bullish approach to running the country, because an ineffectual President would get railroaded for sure.  It will be very interesting to how US voters react in the Presidential election.

Threats to the Markets

Number one threat now:  The endless continuation of Corona Virus infections. With no cure on the horizon, no one can say when the economy can get rolling again. However, it does appear that China is rolling again. It’s a wild card because medical experts simply don’t know what havoc it will wreak on the economy.

Another open trade deal with China is very risky. It might push jobs back out of the US and devastate business investment here. Investors are confused about where to put their money and are simply holding on to it.

If President Trump accepts a poor trade agreement with the Chinese, it could suppress US stock markets and push us into recession, even if multinational corporations breathe their own sigh of relief.  I don’t believe any trade deal would be signed and the two are miles further apart now. America First, means the Chinese are gone.

Which are the cities most likely for a housing crash? Which cities should you buy property in 2019?

How Vulnerable is Your City?

Yet, investors and homebuyers should still be concerned about a housing bubble in their cities. Not all states have recovered from the last recession, nor benefited from any Obama era Federal government policies.

In late 2021, could the Fed ratchet up interest rates to pay for all the stimulus?  In fact, almost every recession, housing crash, or major catastrophe has been aided by fast rising interest rates. These rate spikes kill off business and put extreme pressures on mortgage holders. Markets collapse quickly then interest rates are quickly lowered.

This transition to a US centered economy over many many years, still puts the country into a vulnerable period of uncertainty and GDP risk.  Will companies build factories here or instead hold off and hope for a Trump loss in 2020?

Unfortunately, “soft landings” after rate hike cycles are as rare as unicorns and virtually all modern rate hike cycles have resulted in a recession, financial, or banking crisis. There is no reason to believe that this time will be any different — Forbes report.

Crashes Historically Follow Price Bubbles

Markets fail when you least expect them to. After reading this post, you’ll see how easy it could happen from California to Texas and New York to Chicago. What will stop the dominoes from falling?

Don’t we learn from history?” Perhaps history can only tell us whether the housing market 2020 is headed on a downward path, but can’t really say when or how it will happen, which cities might crash.

This recent chart from Case Shiller shows the volcano like shape of the last collapse. What’s different about this new rise is the unsteady, less steep climb, upward.  Those halting steps could show the fear of investors and homeowners and how panic might be bigger factor this time.  Alternatively, it could show housing market resilience.

Subprime mortgage default started it last time, but will something else launch the avalanche for the next one? Will a global recessionary tsunami rocket to US shores?

Zillow polled 100 economic experts about the economy and they believe a recession is coming in 2020. It’s amazing that they saw it coming, but it took a non-financial agent to start the recession.

Housing crash warnings have been sounding for many years both here and in China, which means the pressure for a big eve nthas been building.  China is in trouble and so is Canada. With pressure, the human element, the human reaction, built on expectations built up by obsessively negative anti-Trump propaganda, could be sufficient to launch a panic-induced collapse.  A panic meter might be the most significant crash signal.

A small statistical event then might only be needed to spark a crash event (like an ember at a California summer campfire).

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Will the Housing Market Crash?

Will homes prices fall across the US.  Many homebuyers wish they would.

Review the traditional housing crash factors discussed below from geopolitical events to trade related to rising interest rates, the end of stimulus spending, and excessively high home prices.  A trade war with China could be crash factor #1.  Will debt, deficits, and tariff barriers be the issues that start bursting housing bubbles? Will it be political opposition by the democrats and meddling within the US?

See the local metro housing markets: ChicagoSan Antonio, San Francisco, PhiladelphiaSan DiegoLos Angeles, Miami, Houston, Seattle, New York, Sacramento and Boston and for all of Florida.

Certainly the recent comments of the President that “Trade Wars are Good” don’t help settle the panic. Trade tariffs, strong inflation and cost of living rises, along with high mortgage rates and the adjustment to new protected market economies are serious threats.

Even Trump supporters are worried about the transition ahead to 2020.

In this post we try to take an objective look at the unthinkable. At least, it’s unthinkable for some that booming markets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Seattle, Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas, Charlotte, Boston and Miami could possibly collapse.

Others can’t wait for the bubbles to burst so they can finally buy a home. Irrational thinking that can create strange events.

Is the Toronto housing bubble (worst in world now) the future for US cities?  If the China housing market crashes, will the reverberations hit the US markets? What an interesting but scary phase of US history this is.

When Will Local Market Bubbles Burst?

If you look at the forecasts for all the bubbled up city markets such as San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Seattle, New York and Boston you’ll likely think back to prices before the last crash.

Mathematicians have studied housing bubbles, such as The University of Pennsylvania, and their HOUSING BUBBLE STRUCTURAL MODEL AND HYPOTHESES models couldn’t figure it out. The factors they studied do play a role, but housing bubbles and crashes are likely a cultural phenomenon (outside of major recessions).  It comes down to values, attitudes, dreams and panic emotions.

There are some financial market players who make their fortune on crashes and if consumers are miffed about the direction of the market, it would be fertile ground for crash talk.

As long as Americans are employed with rising wages and growing GDP, housing crashes aren’t likely. Yet, a few experts such as Harry Dent are convinced a housing market disaster looms in the next few years.

A growing number of homeowners and buyers are talking housing bubble. With prices stable, economy strong, and demand persistent, why would so many feel the market could crash? Is buyer and seller pessimism enough to launch a sudden collapse?

Neil Kashkari talks extensively about false prophets (Alan Greenspan) and the sources of market bubbles such as $100 barrel oil, and other uncontrollable situations.  He says market bubbles and crashes are very complex and the source is often completely unexpected. Could the oil sheiks take the US economy down again? Could China do it? Is the $20 Trillion debt a threat? Or is just the end of a bull run in the stock market?

However, in those cases where debt is fueling the asset value increase, a correction could trigger financial instability, because banks might take huge losses and potentially fail.” — Neil Kashkari.

Check the stats and 2021 forecasts for the Denver housing market, Chicago housing market, Boston housing market, Los Angeles housing market, San Francisco housing market, Philadelphia housing market, and New York housing market.

Top 10 Cities Most Likely to Experience a Housing Crash

From a report in AOL.com here are the top ten US Cities most likely to experience a deep falling:

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Charleston, SC
  3. Buffalo, NY
  4. Fresno, CA
  5. Los Angeles, CA
  6. Dallas, TX
  7. Salt Lake City, UT
  8. Austin, TX
  9. San Jose, CA
  10. San Francisco, CA

Best Cities to Invest in Real Estate

Are you looking for the best cities to invest in real estate or to avoid those metros most likely to crash? The top 80 cities to buy rental properties gives you a peak at the potential of rental property investment.

Is this the right year to buy a rental income property?   Should you sell your house, and when is the best time to sell it?

Real Estate Market | Stock Market Crash | Home Prices | Will Home Prices Fall? | Are House Prices Dropping in California? | Housing Market 2021 | Are House Prices Dropping? | Buy House | Should I Sell My House? | Will the Dow Jones Crash? | Is the S&P Going to Crash? | Is the NASDAQ Going to Crash? | Will New York Homes Prices Fall?Will the Housing Market Crash? | Will Mortgage Rates Fall? | Will the Stock Market Crash in 2021? | April May June Forecast | New York Housing Crash | California Housing Market Crash | Will Home Prices Fall in Florida?Los Angeles Housing Crash | New York Housing Crash |  Dallas Housing Market Crash | Will Stock Prices Rise in 2021? |  Will Home Prices Drop in Florida?Home Prices Falling in Colorado?

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19 Comments

  1. A real estate agent recently told me, if everyone is sitting on cash waiting to buy house in 2020, what do you think is going to happen? Too many people are waiting in sideline, as soon as we have semi dip, everyone will run to buy house and price will go back up. I am guessing Q1 to be the dip and price to be up by summer when normal people buy anyway

  2. I’m waiting for the federal reserve to roll back interest rates before I buy a home. It’s an outrage that every recession or financial crisis was assisted by rate hike cycles. The federal reserve should be audited heavily if not abolished altogether. How can we allow one single entity, a privately owned entity, that type of control over our economy.

  3. Are you waiting for the house prices going down again in the bay area? Just hold your breath and keep dreaming. It won’t likely happen until 2035.

  4. Hi Gord, I really liked your article. I am happy to see Salt Lake City as one of the top ten cities likely to get experience a crash. My wife and I are saving up cash for our first home. We are both 33 and have one daughter. We can’t believe how ridiculous the asking prices are for the crumbling shed 1950’s homes are here in SLC. The contractors out here only build huge $300k+ homes or high density housing which is nothing we want. The wages here have not kept up with the increase in home prices. Any idea when Utah might see a price crash? We can hardly wait!

  5. Hi Gordon, great article. Like others I have the money to purchase a home now but I’m wondering if I’d be better off waiting till 2020 to do so given the potential volatility and uncertainty ahead in the next year or two. My current market is the Salt Lake City Utah area, would love to hear your thoughts!

  6. I’m looking to buy my first home in northern CA but I’m going back and forth with whether I should hold off. Prices are incredibly high here. I keep thinking prices will decrease (been saying that since 2015) but that’s not happening. Enjoyed reading the article.

  7. Gord, been considering buying in North County San Diego for the last couple years but really fear these out of control prices could come back to bite this first time buyer. Do you think its a good time to buy or wait another year or so?

    1. Hi Jack, I can’t offer advice and I can’t imagine a first time buyer buying in North County. Oceanside home prices are up 11% in the last year, so a lot of buyers/investors are optimistic. I don’t see availability improving much in San Diego County and with the economy so strong, things look good. However, with geo political uncertainty, you need to be able survive a crash anytime in the next 5 years!

  8. Hello Gord, any idea about the DC market and Northern Virginia? The average price of a 2100 sq foot townhouse is now $675K and over inflated. I want to buy because I have a toddler and we need more space but don’t want to be under water if the market crashes.

    1. Hi Skylar, I can’t offer advice unfortunately. Availability in Northern Virginia is very constrained, so the question is whether new homes are being built. People aren’t selling their homes, listings down 4%, and the economy is strong. It’s risky which is why governments are amending financing rules. Did you consider buying a property with a rental income unit?

  9. Me and my husband want to buy a first home (Condo) in San Diego, do you think it is a good idea to wait? interest and home price is high now. we are confused…

  10. I’m in the market to buy a house in San Diego County and turn it into a vacation rental. I own one and it is very successful. I’m wondering if I should wait to buy, and if a recession would lead to a decrease in vacation rental bookings? I’m concerned and do not want to find myself under water. Any updates on this fascinating chain of discussion as of April, 2018?

  11. So Gord, it sounds as if there are quite a few people posting on here that need to run for office, all I hear is a ton of gum flapping, that’s all these lefts are good for, nothing but talk. Trump 2020

  12. Housing prices are overinflated and the “growth” is unsustainable. I am hoping that it all crashes down again because I want to buy a home and I am not interested in buying at the insane prices that are around right now.

    1. Lana, a lot of people are talking housing crash in many markets, but that could take the whole economy down. Even with a crash, it would still be tough for buyers. The right approach to bring prices down is more housing supply. The governments should provide tax breaks and other incentives for housing development and legislation which promotes new housing projects. Good finding a place you can afford.

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