"Here we go, whooooooooaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!! Hahahahaha!!!" This was my dad on the roller coasters at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg when I was a kid.
My wife and I bought our 1st house in South Phoenix in March 2003 for around $155k. South Phoenix has been ground zero in the housing crisis and is often mentioned in national news regarding the subject. We didn't know what would happen in 2003 of course, we just knew we were getting a reasonably nice 1400 square foot 3 bedroom place that was 3 years old and in a part of town convenient to our jobs. S. Phoenix was going through some revitalization at the time so we felt it was rough around the edges but would improve, and it did.
According to Zillow, at the height of the bubble our place would have sold for $288k.
In September 2008, two things happened. 1st, my 1st born daughter was born. While we were in the hospital for three days with that, the second thing happened: credit markets almost froze up and the world almost imploded. But we didn't know, we were just trying to figure out what the hell to do with a baby and how to get any sleep.
Things went south in South Phoenix. All the growth and revitalization stopped and started to go backwards. I started thinking about schools for my daughter and the school district is one of the worst in the state, and our state is one of the worst in the country. It was time to move to a better part of town.
In April 2010 there was the home buyer tax credit thing going on, so we listed the house and got a few offers. The day before closing in July, the deal fell through. We had already moved out, we were going to close on our new house in the North Phoenix area in three weeks and wanted to move. It appraised for $147k. We kept it on the market through October. The house sat empty and there were no offers. We were hemorrhaging cash. So, we rented it out.
In August 2011, we decided to refinance it under Making Homes Affordable. We didn't qualify because we were so far underwater. The appraisal: $93k. 38% drop in 13 months.
Feb 2012 they dropped the 125% requirement under Making Homes Affordable, so we went through with the refinance. Appraisal: $104k. 11% increase in 5 months.
March 2013: Our tenant is buying a place. We talk to our real estate agent and decide to list it again. Prices are skyrocketing. Our neighborhood is suddenly selling in the $110 per square foot range again. We listed it for $158k. In four days, we got five offers, all of which were at or above the asking price. We're agreeing to one of them today. So, if all goes well, we'll get a happy ending. We're looking at a 61% increase in value in 13 months.
This is the second roller coaster I don't like. The 1st was the Shockwave at King's Dominion in Virginia. At least that one just gave me a headache.