Housing analysts, economists, and the mainstream media just don't get it. More than happy to report that 2004 was the biggest year for the private construction industry since 1996, they never, ever report the downside. That being the huge environmental toll it takes (everything from wholesale timber cutting to loss of farmland) and the ever increasing abandonment rates central cities, demolition of historic housing, increased traffic congestion, pollution and decaying infrastructure. Why rain on the parade of the fatcat builders and developers who are laughing all the way to the bank.
They can’t see beyond the low mortgage rates as the ticket to 10% growth in perpetuity. They only cry gloom and doom if those mortgage rates were to go back up because God help us all if construction workers are out of work and just maybe someone might buy an older house and live within their means.
Where are the articles about revitalizing our older housing stock and helping marginal neighborhoods in older sections of town? There aren't any in mainstream media. That's because these analysts and reporters and the viewers they target don't give a damn about fixing up houses in our declining cities or preventing our National Forest from being sold off to the timber barons. They only see rampant new construction as this country’s sole economic salvation, something that is bought hook, line and sinker by a dumbed-down public who see tawdry new houses in the suburbs as the be all end-all of their existence.The strength last year came in housing activity as builders continued their mad dash to erect houses to meet soaring demand propelled by the lowest mortgage rates in more than four decades.
Total private residential activity rose by 14 percent to $542.7 billion last year, a 14 percent gain which was the biggest increase in a decade. It marked the second double-digit annual gain. Private residential building had been up 12.9 percent in 2003 after an 8.6 percent increase in 2002.