DVDs of Bravo's Flipping Out or A&E's Flip This House
You know what's really frustrating to watch after a housing crisis when average home prices have dropped 5.8% in the past year and more than $35,000 since 2008? Some jackass trying to fix up an already expensive McMansion and sell it for profit.
You know what makes that even more frustrating? When the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that same jackass and countless other jackasses helped create that housing crisis in the first place. A study released by the Fed last week pointed out that house flippers had a huge role in artificially inflating home prices between 2004 and 2006 -- as did the dopes who paid those prices -- but exacerbated the problem in 2007 and 2008 when their speculative investments started going bust and they didn't have the money to cover.
When the crisis began, 20% of home sales in soon-to-be sorry states such as Arizona and California were to people who owned three or more properties. By the time the housing crisis hit its peak between 2007 and 2009, those same speculators were responsible for 25% of all delinquent mortgages.
In mid-2005, when house flipping still seemed like a fun, victimless way to make a buck, A&E launched
Flip This House
to document the good times. By the second season, one of the show's local developers was already being accused of staging remodels and engaging in real estate fraud.
That same year,
to capitalize on the trend, but star and home designer Jeff Lewis discovered early on which way the market was headed and chose to focus on luxurious home remodeling instead. The move saved the show, which just wrapped up its fifth season.
In either case, these shows -- which still have seasons available
-- are probably the last thing you want to give a loved one who either can't get approved for a mortgage or is so underwater with their current mortgage that they're coming to Christmas dinner in a diving bell.