Thursday, June 02, 2005

Talking in the elevator

Getting Crushed in a Housing Collapse
"You'd get on an elevator, and it would be quiet," recalls Dannis, president of appraisal firm Crosson Dannis in Dallas and a lecturer at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business. "No one would talk." "For sale" signs dotted neighborhoods, with families unable to sell simply mailing their keys to the bank and walking away from homes destined to go into foreclosure.

But there was also a pervasive change in mood, a shift that affected everyone -- even those secure in their ability to remain in their homes -- and which contrasted sharply with the euphoria that reigned from 1982 to 1985, says Dannis. Back then, "everyone was happy and optimistic about the future, and they'd talk to each other on elevators," he says. But after the real estate market fell, "everyone was morose," recalls Dannis. "It felt like there had just been a funeral."