Hey, someone bought a house this week!

OK, so President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush went for an existing house, not a new home, but this presidential deal represents a rare spot of good news for the housing market, which is in an undeniably bad place. Not even the promise of a 30-year home loan at rate below 6 percent is enough to push American consumers into buying a home.  Afraid for their jobs and seeking financial stability, Americans in 2008’s third quarter reduced their debt levels for the first time in 50 years.

Will this help? We’ll see, and we may not know for years. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair this week predicted that the housing downturn will continue into 2010. That’s difficult news for anyone to hear, and Jim Weigel of Shinn Consulting this week urged builders to be honest with themselves about the health of their companies.

That’s good advice for anyone, and perhaps the economy, the country, and American households would be stronger today if we had done so.  That’s the opinion of Steven Pearlstein, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post business columnist who doesn’t believe in the “Perfect Storm” that so many executives are blaming for their companies’ current problems. But his columns will help you navigate this economy’s choppy waters. --Alison Rice

BUILDER Blog Network
Get Editorial Director Boyce Thompson’s take on the impact—or lack thereof—of lower mortgage rates on builder sales, Ted Cushman’s evaluation of heat pumps suitable for chilly climates, and more on the Builder Blog Network.

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Learn more about markets featured in this article: Dallas, TX.