From Publishers Weekly
Williams, a freelance journalist, provides a blow-by-blow account of the recent inflation of the real estate bubble and its economic—and emotional—impact on middle-class families like her own. The author paints a vivid picture of the crisis in New York City, where even with a housing budget of $400,000, she and her husband found only properties that provided less than 1,000 square feet of living space or were located under bridges or facing expressways or were in dire need of six-figure renovation. She provides cogent explanations of the recent financial crisis and foreshadows its still-developing repercussions, given that she is one of the millions who signed onto an Alt-A (not quite prime) mortgage. Her family's search for a home and their journey through the mire of the New York real estate market rises to affecting heights and is a compelling, clearly written story that will interest anyone seeking a personal perspective on the causes, depth and long-term consequences of the financial crisis and the ramifications of past and current policy decisions. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Williams had a young daughter and was considering having another child when the tinyness of the family’s Brooklyn apartment, the pressure of the New York housing market, and the house-hunting and -buying activities of friends all brought to a fever pitch her own desire to take the plunge into home ownership. Over a three-year period that included the birth of a second daughter, Williams discovered the alarming pace of gentrification in New York, the maddening inverse relationship between home price and mortgage rate (when one was rising, the other was falling), the dizzying array of elements that go into buying a home (from finicky co-op boards to snippy real-estate brokers and lenders), and the widening gap between those who can and do own their homes and those who don’t. Loath to leave their beloved Brooklyn, Williams and her husband looked further and further afield, pondering the similar moves their friends were making across the nation. In this engaging and personal look at the home-buying process, Williams takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster of fear and envy as she illuminates some of the market pressures that lie behind the nation’s current financial crisis. --Vanessa Bush