The Invisible Hand

Mysterious forces, neither controlled nor understood at the highest levels of gov't, seem to be moving people out of homes they cannot afford, and are replacing them with enigmatic pod-people: folks who can "pay their bills" and who "saved money to achieve long term goals." No one knows what this may imply for the nation's mortgage relief plans: Falling Prices Draw First-Time Home Buyers

While her friends ran up credit card debt and bought show homes beyond their means, Taina Goldman saved for a down payment. She moved back in with her parents, sharing a room with her young daughter, ate in and worked two jobs

“I don’t live dangerously,” said Ms. Goldman, 42, a nurse. “You can’t live on ‘what if.’ ”

Now, she is reaping the rewards. She and her daughter recently moved into a three-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch-style house, with a pool, after putting 20 percent down and persuading the seller to cover most of her closing costs. She paid $187,000 for a house that sold in July 2006 for $370,000.

Thrift, self-reliance, and waiting for your moment. So crazy, it just might work

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