Zombie direct debits

Back in 1919, not many people could afford to buy a car. Loans to do so were often hard to obtain. So General Motors set up the General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) as a financial services subsidiary. GMAC would provide you with a loan you could use to buy a GM car. By the 1990s, GMAC pretty much had the car financing thing down pat, and decided that the real estate market was easy money.

Mortgage protection insurance

Buying a house is a really good way to attract the attention of sleazy businesses. We’ve had about a dozen offers of mortgage protection insurance. It’s not the service which is sleazy, it’s the way they offer it: The envelope has a message saying something like “Urgent information about your mortgage”. The name of the company we arranged our mortgage through is displayed in bold on the envelope, and usually in large bold print on the letter inside, to make it look as if it’s from them.

Massachusetts property crisis

Crystal posts a link to a Boston Globe story about property prices in Massachusetts. Houses here cost so much because there are too few of them for all the people who have been drawn to Boston because it’s such a great place for great minds to do great things. But that reputation, which has kept Boston competitive all these years, is beginning to buckle under the weight of absurd home prices.