Everyone’s talking about “The Dark Knight,” and sure, Heath Ledger portrays one compelling Joker, but the movie that I want to see is “The X-Files: I Want to Believe.”

Perhaps that’s because as we sift through the onslaught of housing news, economic figures, and anecdotal tidbits we receive here at BUILDER Online, I keep on thinking of the original tagline for “The X-Files.”

The truth is out there.

That’s what I keep telling myself as this housing market takes down builders good and bad, as economic reports swing between hope and despair, as lenders blame everyone but themselves for the mortgage mess we’re in right now, as home building companies cling to down-payment assistance programs even as they suffer through the incredible housing hangover caused by such widespread use of easy money.

Not even foreigners can save us now.

But a combination of old-fashioned common sense decision-making and innovation can. Just look at the soaring level of interest in green building, which mixes practical concerns (conserve energy and save money on utilities) with fresh, sustainable building products. No wonder every locality is going green.

Of course, the business reporter in me shakes my head at the timing. “Great,” I think. “They wait until the housing market TANKS before adding these new requirements and costs?”  Talk about ironic.

The same could be said of the bankers and lenders, who fed the housing crisis with capital, only to abruptly shut off the supply of funds at the time when builders need assistance the most. Certainly, banks and lenders need to protect their investment, but they seem to have moved from one lending extreme to another. Just ask the buyers trying to get loans these days.

And don’t even get me started on the foreclosure situation, where there are more conflicting stories about banks, homeowner workouts, and REO sales than there are about the ages of China's Olympic women's gymnasts

But as I said earlier, the truth is out there. It will just take some time to sort it out.Alison Rice

Boyce on Building: Move ‘Em On Out
During 2008, the inventory of existing homes for sale has increased by more than 300,000. In the last two years, it has increased by more than a million homes.

Special Report:  Housing Bill Decoded
Get the facts on what this landmark legislation means for builders.

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