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LETTERS

Market prices are sending some packing

March 14, 2004

Regarding "The Middle-Class Housing Squeeze" by Allison B. Cohen, March 7: What was particularly interesting was that it mirrored exactly the conditions in L.A. in 1988-89.

My ex-wife and I moved to L.A. in 1986, and I confidently told her "let's not buy, houses are overpriced here" even though we saw a very nice home in Inglewood for $139,000.

By late 1988 we felt like we had to get in immediately or never ever be able to afford a home. We bought an Encino townhome for $295,000.

After my divorce in 1991, I bought her out. I then proceeded to watch the townhome go down in value after the riots and earthquake, until I lost my job and did a "short pay" on the mortgage, selling the home for $180,000.

I live in the Bay Area and have rented ever since. I promise you, this housing hysteria will end in devastation for many families, and they have only their own "house lust" to blame.

Dale Holmgren

Millbrae

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I left California 10 years ago for the same reasons stated in your article. It was a difficult decision. What many of your readers have to realize is that Southern California is overrated. I now own a house that cost a third as much as a comparable home in Southern California, and I make more money.

There are so many better places to live, where you have a chance to make a life for your family rather than sitting on a freeway three hours a day to pay your mortgage. Anyone who stays behind is out of their mind.

Scott Gardner

Loveland, Colo.

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My wife and I just left Southern California after a lifetime there. We left family, friends and our way of life because we could not afford a home and retirement.

I work for the U.S. Army in Iraq and had to pack up my family and move from California to Texas on my time off. We did this so that we can purchase the home we need and be able to retire without worry.

It is a sad comment that we, along with many others, had to make this heart-wrenching decision to leave our home and a place we love so that we can live without being married to a mortgage.

James Thorn

Taji, Iraq

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Once again, the ubiquitous article featuring whining middle-class couples who complain that they can't buy anything under $700,000 in L.A. Give me a break.

The problem is not that there aren't houses out there for the taking. The problem is that some frustrated first-time home buyers are unwilling to make the sociocultural shift required in order to find their dream house.

My husband and I moved to beautiful El Sereno from Marina del Rey last year. We bought a bright, roomy, sunny hilltop house with air-conditioning, fireplace, high wood-beam ceilings, hardwood floors, drop-dead gorgeous views and a two-car garage on a large lot for $250,000.

As I write this I am looking out my window to the snowcapped San Gabriel Mountains. We also have stunning panoramic views of downtown and great freeway access. Unless and until first-timers have the vision and flexibility to consider areas that may be outside of their comfort zone, they will be chasing the same pitiful few overpriced shoeboxes along with everyone else.

Mary Rosendale

Los Angeles

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"If people really want to be homeowners, they will find a way to make it work." That [quote from Jim Hamilton of the California Assn. of Realtors] is the cruelest statement I have ever seen in your paper. After 20 years of believing that I could finally earn enough money to buy a condo in the South Bay, I finally had to give up and move East.

I made that decision after I looked at a one-bedroom condo in Torrance (700 square feet) that was priced at $295,000. You would not believe what $295,000 will buy outside of L.A., New York City and San Francisco.

I love L.A., but it's now only for the super-rich and the hopeless poor.

Sad.

David Griffith

Charlotte, N.C.

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