The housing market is a mess. The home loan industry is limping along. The economy is on an IV drip. Bernanke makes Time magazine's Man of the Year. Tiger, well, nuff said.
But there are also some goods news sprinkled in somewhere there. Here's one.
The real estate meltdown is now credited with bringing down the U.S. divorce rate. That's right. The National Marriage Project just reported that last year this important statistic dropped 4%. See, couples on the ropes in the past used to quarrel over who gets to stay in the house and how to split the accumulated equity. When money is in play, there usually is a fight. But now so many married homeowners have no equity to battle over, so they decide to hang onto the holy matrimony and sail through the storm together while holding hands. When the housing market eventually comes back - could be a long wait in some areas - they can then drop the gloves and go at it. Or they may have managed to work things out during this cooling-off period and will stay hitched after all.
Las Vegas valley - including Henderson, Mountains Edge, Anthem, Spanish Trail, Southern Highlands, Summerlin and Rhodes Ranch - homeowner couples with mortgages are probably staying together in greater numbers because the housing market here is a nightmare. The divorce rate in Southern Nevada must've sunk double the national figure of 4%. If not more. And any realistic recovery here will likely take longer, allowing feuding couples actually extra time to work on their people skills. This theory may also hold water in the other mauled states like California, Florida and Arizona.
There are other avenues to explore for couples in trouble and underwater besides waiting the real estate market out. Short sale is now becoming more acceptable to mortgage lenders, renting the home out for the time being and the latest trend is to pull a strategic default. So, there are alternatives.
The mortgage and real estate mayhem has caused a lot of trouble to homeowners in many different ways, but it has also brought on some unintended, positive consequences. Like the lower divorce rate. Who would have thought that? The winners really are the kids whose squabbling parents are kind of forced to come up with workable solutions and tone things down, at least temporarily.
Photo by jdiggans