When Is a 'Meltdown' Not a Meltdown?

I love lines like "mortgage meltdown." As if every mortgage on every home in every neighborhood is melting away — right before our eyes.

Ignore the fine print. Worse, ignore the facts.

This "meltdown" affects roughly 4 percent of all mortgages out there. So, that means 96 percent of mortgages are being paid on time — month in, month out.

This "meltdown" in the so called "sub-prime" market ignores the fact that close to 9 out of 10 of those mortgages are being paid on time — month in and month out too.

Meltdown, to me, means nobody is getting loans.

Meltdown, to me, means nobody is granting loans.

But most prospective qualified buyers are getting loans, because most lenders are granting loans.

Meltdown is when that stops happening. Meltdown is not when that is happening.

Meltdown means, well, everything's melting down.

I know we focus on the one plane that crashes and not the thousands that day that do not. That's human nature. Swinging from an extreme of homebuyers who flipped properties like me flipping hot dogs at a barbecue is not a meltdown, but a "come to reality down."

Nothing goes up forever. Markets where prices doubled and tripled can't keep doing that.

Buyers treating properties like chips on a table can't keep doing that either.

Some do get hurt when markets inevitably do turn cool. But that's called a slowdown — not a meltdown.

And so-called "responsible" media who tell you otherwise? They're just called a letdown.

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