UnNews:Housing bubble burst toughest on monkeys

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1 September 2006

House23

Trapped by rising interest rates, this poor chimp was left without any equity in his home.

WASHINGTON (XP) -- The recent housing market freefall has left many families scrambling for ways to keep any kind of equity in their homes. But perhaps hardest hit by the devaluation of real estate are the nearly 1.7 million chimpanzees and other great apes who lose their homes and often have no other recourse than to try and survive in local parks or wilderness areas.

Many chimps were enticed into buying $200,000-$500,000 "McMansions" by increasingly lower interest rates offered over the last decade that gave the false appearance that their income was sufficient to make a major housing purchase. In fact, incomes have decreased during the Bush Administration by nearly 3 percent.

Some of these unfortunate apes were even encouraged by unscrupulous brokers to falsify their incomes and sometimes their species, since few home loan applications were verified by financial records. Now these unfortunate primates are up against bank accounts that were drained to make huge down payments, coupled with shrinking home values, leaving them essentially penniless.

"The Federal Reserve has flooded the market with easy money," said Paul Denrinberg, spokesperson for the National Association of Housing and Finance. "But now that housing is returning to a more reasonable and accurate valuation, the true value of the money is being revealed, and it's not a pretty picture."

Apes and monkeys statistically earn nearly 13 percent less than humans in comparable jobs, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Department of Economic and Employment Opportunity. As a result, monkeys have correspondingly deficient savings.

"A lot of monkeys bought into the hype that investing in real estate was a way to build a kind of 'bullet-proof' wealth," added Denrinberg. "They'd hear people say things like, 'they're not making any more land," and convinced themselves that as long as the population kept growing, so would demand for real estate, and therefore values would stay high. Now many are facing real poverty."

Some economic experts expect the drop in real estate values to trigger a recession much longer and harsher than the one following the "dot com" bust, since the option of lowering interest rates is no longer available. Additional stress on the economy created by the Administration's continuance of the expensive war in Iraq, coupled by rising energy costs, are also putting the squeeze on apes and chimps nationwide.

"The situation will only get worse as more monkeys lose their homes and are forced into social programs that already have had their budgets sliced to the bone to finance the war," said Denrinberg. "I wish I could tell you there was a banana at the end of the tunnel."

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