How the financial crisis of 2008 affected my little neighborhood in Glendale, Arizona
It's been over a decade since the 2008 financial crisis that hit everyone so hard. And that meant that people lost their homes, they lost their savings, they lost their investments. It was a terrible time.
As I was pedaling through my little neighborhood in suburban Glendale, Arizona (near Phoenix) this morning, it seemed like yesterday when I saw just about every other house for sale. And I knew a lot of people who were losing their houses, by being (not that I understand it, "upside down").
I bought the house I'm in (well, signed the mortgage papers for it) in 1993. It was perfect for me, a single man, as all I really wanted was a garage, and a tiny backyard to sit in. And at the time I remember that it had everything going against it for resale - the tiny size, the fact that it didn't have more than two bedrooms, even the streets weren't maintained by the city, and were narrower than the surrounding city streets. I got it, and it was cheap, even by Phoenix standards. And I had recently moved from California, and had never, ever thought that I would own a house, especially not in the suburbs, and with a garage, and a place for a garden. I loved that place, and I still do.
Of course, over the years I saw that since this was a relatively inexpensive neighborhood, it showed signs of people who really only had enough money to pay their mortgage, and not much else. The landscaping in most of the houses died, and while none of the houses really fell into disrepair, a lot of them could have, as they said, "stood a lick of paint!"
After 2008 my neighborhood got real quiet, and I wondered what would happen. To my surprise, the houses that were for sale sold quickly. My best guess is that people who had owned bigger, more expensive, homes decided to scale back. Most of the houses here in my neighborhood are three bedrooms, but none are bigger. There are no three-and-four car garages. The houses don't stand on acreage. Like I say, this was fine for me, but most of the people that I had talked to in the '90s were looking for what I would have a considered mansions, with a bedroom for each child, no matter how many kids they had, and a rec room, and a garage large enough for a couple of SUVs, and workshop, too.
In the last few years I've seen a big difference in my neighborhood. The people who live here for the most part have the budget to keep up their houses, and their yards. I'm seeing trees being planted. I call it "the greening of my neighborhood".
I was 35 when I bought my house, and I often wondered what the neighborhood would look like in my senior years, which is now. I plan to "age in place" here, until my days are done. This isn't what I expected the neighborhood to look like, but it's a pleasant surprise. I like it here, and this is where I want to stay.
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Posted by Brad Hall