《经济学人》:美国房地产市场,持续疲软
日期:2011-04-21 10:27

(单词翻译:单击)

The effects of America's worst property crash go very wide
房地产崩盘连锁效应,情况还能更坏?

TO THE many dubious distinctions of Las Vegas, add one more: foreclosure capital of America. According to RealtyTrac, a property-listings firm, one in every ten homes in the city was in some stage of foreclosure last year, almost five times the national rate. In North Las Vegas, a poorer suburb, the figure was one in five. These statistics would be even grislier were it not for lenders’ inability or reluctance to eject all those who are in default at once. People who have managed to hold onto their homes are far from lucky: property prices are around 60% below the peak they reached in 2006, leaving 70% of homeowners in the area owing more on their mortgage than their property is worth. (Nationally, the proportion of homes that are “under water” is a still-awful 23%.)

拉斯维加斯的诸多不安因素又添了一个:取消住宅赎回权的资本。根据房地产上市公司RealtyTrac,去年城中每十座住宅就有一所被取消赎回权,几乎是全国平均水平的五倍。在北拉斯维加斯相对贫穷的郊区,这个比例达到了五分之一。如果不是默认贷款人无力偿还或还不愿意退出一次违约的不算在内,这些统计数据将更加恐怖。然而守住自己的家园的人也很不幸:楼价比2006年达到的峰值跌了大概60%,这导致该地区70%的房主,所付的抵押贷款超过了房产的价值。(在全国范围内,缩水房子的比例维持在可怕的23%。)

All this makes Las Vegas the most extreme example of the many cities in America’s sunbelt that grew rapidly thanks to the cheap and abundant credit of recent decades, only to suffer fearsome property crashes during the subprime crisis and the ensuing recession. The ten most foreclosure-afflicted cities in the country are all in Arizona, California or Nevada, notes RealtyTrac. Of the ten most foreclosure-prone states, only one—Michigan, with its car-related problems—lies outside the sunny south and west. As these places are now discovering, it is not just unfortunate property-owners who feel the reverberations of such monumental busts, nor are their effects confined to pocketbooks.

上述数据使拉斯维加斯成为美国众多城市中最极端的例子。几十年来廉价而丰富的信贷使美国阳光地带发展迅速,然而次贷危机和随之而来的经济衰退中,却遭遇到可怕的房地产崩盘。Realty Trac指出,美国的十个被取消赎回权情况最严重的城市都在亚利桑那州,加州或内华达州。另外饱受止赎权之苦的十个州里,只有密歇根州不处在阳光地带(美国南部和西部),是因为汽车的相关问题。这些地方的人们现在发现,不幸的房产所有者深受破产之痛,已经不限于经济利益。

The signs of the crash are everywhere in Las Vegas. The city’s outer suburbs are eerily quiet, thanks to the preponderance of unsold and foreclosed homes. There are few lights in any windows, and few cars on the roads. Banners and boards advertising hugely discounted housing flap and rattle mournfully in the desert wind. In North Las Vegas every second house on some streets carries a “For Rent” sign, offering rates of as little as $150 a month. One or two houses on each street have been boarded up and abandoned. Even on the city’s famous “strip” of cavernous casinos and high-rise hotels, the razzle-dazzle is marred by the grey concrete hulks of abandoned building projects.

崩盘迹象在拉斯维加斯随处可见。由于过多未售出及被取消赎回权的房屋的存在,该城市的远郊出奇的安静。窗口很少透出灯光,路上车辆稀少。标明巨幅折扣的横幅和广告板被荒凉的风吹的呜咽作响。在北拉斯维加斯有些街道上的每两家就有一家挂着“出租”标志,费用低至每月150美元。在每条街道上都有一两所房子被封或者被遗弃。即使在城中著名的洞穴赌场及高层酒店一带,其繁华也被废弃的建设项目,处处遗留的灰色混凝土给蒙上了污点。

When a property crash becomes as pervasive as Las Vegas’s, explains Devin Reiss, a former head of the Nevada Association of Realtors (NVAR), it takes on a life of its own. Nasser Daneshvary of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has found that the value of homes near foreclosed properties falls faster than the market as a whole, until so many homes are foreclosed that average property prices fall to the level of foreclosures. That, in turn, leaves more homeowners deeper in negative equity, saddled with mortgages that vastly exceed the value of their homes. NVAR reckons that as many as a quarter of those who suffer foreclosure do so by choice, to escape such a trap. Locals swap stories of cunning borrowers who buy second homes for a song before deliberately defaulting on their first mortgages.

当房地产崩盘普遍成拉斯维加斯这样,美国内华达州房地产经纪人协会(NVAR)前会长Devin赖斯解释道,就要命了。内华达大学的纳赛尔丹尼施维尔发现,拉斯维加斯附近被取消赎回权的住宅的物业价值下降的比整个市场要快,而众多住宅都被取消赎回权以后,平均房产价格也会下降到这个水平。这反过来会导致更多产业主陷入负资产抵押,背负大大超过其房屋价值的按揭贷款。据NVAR估计,多达四分之一的人为了躲避这样的陷阱自己选择放弃赎回权。当地人互授机宜——狡猾的借款人,在故意拖欠他们的第一批抵押贷款之前先买第二套住房。

This sort of downward spiral, in turn, has a dire effect on local governments, which tend to rely on property taxes for much of their revenue. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, expects its take from property taxes will fall by over a fifth this year. The problem is all the more severe, says Susan Brager, the chairman of the county commission, since demand for the services the county provides has risen amid the downturn. Local authorities also end up picking up the pieces when developers go bust or homes are abandoned, leaving fees unpaid, infrastructure to be completed and property to maintain.

这种恶性循环,反过来对惯于以房产税为主要税收的当地政府造成了可怕的影响。克拉克郡,包括拉斯维加斯,预计今年其房产税收将下降五分之一以上。问题将更严重的是,全郡委员会主席苏珊布拉杰说,由于全郡的服务需求已在低迷中上升。地方当局也停止了对开发商倒闭或家园被抛弃状况的援助,这就会遗留许多未付的费用,未完成的基础设施和待维护的房产。

All of this ripples through the local economy. The construction business, once a mainstay, has withered. Local governments are trimming their staff. Some of those who have lost their homes or jobs have moved away: the population of Nevada started falling in 2008 for the first time in decades. And even those who stick around may be infected by the surrounding gloom. Alan Swinson, a builder living in North Las Vegas, says he has struggled to keep up with his mortgage in the past and is now determined to scrimp and save all he can to ward off future calamities. One recent study found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that high levels of foreclosure tended to drag down not just investment in property but also car sales.

以上所有经由地方经济传导都会引起波动。一旦主要支撑建设业不景气,地方政府就会削减员工。那些失去了家园或工作的人陆续搬走:几十年来,首次从2008年开始,内华达的人口出现了下降。即使是那些留守的也被暗淡的周围感染。艾伦斯温森,在北拉斯维加斯的一个建设工,说他此前一直在努力偿还他的按揭,现在则决定尽可能的厉行节约来抵御未来的灾难。最近的一项研究发现,这也许毫不奇怪,被取消赎回权的住宅过多不只对投资房产造成不良影响,也包括汽车的销售。

The knock-on effects go further, argues Terrie D’Antonio, the head of Help of Southern Nevada, a charity. Moving house can cut people off from their friends, churches, schools and community groups. Many have lost their homes because they have lost their jobs. All this leaves them isolated and depressed. And that can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency and so on. The number of people turning to Help about all these problems has jumped in recent years, Ms D’Antonio says. A 2009 survey of Latino families around the country whose homes had been foreclosed had similar findings: amid the stress, marriages broke down; family members fell out; children’s academic performance suffered.

还有更多的连锁效应,南内华达州的一个慈善机构主席特蕾 大安东尼奥认为。搬家会切断人们与朋友,教会,学校及社区团体的联系。许多人由于失去工作而失去家园。这让他们陷入孤立和沮丧。导致会吸毒和酗酒,家庭暴力,青少年犯罪等。近几年,在这些问题上寻求帮助的人数大大上升。2009年对拉丁美洲各国家庭的调查表明,被取消房屋赎回权的家庭也有类似的困境,情绪紧张,婚姻破裂,家庭成员减少; 孩子的学业不佳。

The proliferation of foreclosures has impinged on politics, too. Local politicians all have pet schemes to pep up the property market. Democrats at both state and federal level have tried to cast themselves as friends to struggling homeowners, voting for various measures to encourage forbearance by banks and tide over borrowers in arrears. Shelley Berkley, the Democrat who represents Las Vegas in Congress, huffs and puffs about Republican plans to shelve such schemes: “Talk about kicking people when they’re down!” But Republicans in districts with lots of foreclosures are more sympathetic to the over-indebted than the party as a whole. Joe Heck, the Republican who represents many of the city’s suburbs, recently cast the sole Republican vote to preserve one of the programmes Ms Berkley is so worried about. His predecessor, Dina Titus, a Democrat, was booted out of office last year amid anger about the state of the economy—yet another victim of America’s housing bust.

越来越多取消抵押品赎回权的危害也已经延伸到政治。当地政治家都计划振兴房地产市场。州和联邦一级的民主党人试图像对待朋友一样对待陷入困境的房主由投票出台各种措施鼓励银行延期偿付,来帮助欠债的借款人度过难关。雪莱伯克利,议会中代表拉斯维加斯的民主党人,对共和党人打算搁置这些方案的计划十分愤慨:竟然想着落井下石!但是,在许多止赎情况严重的地区的共和党人,比党内总体对过度负债者表现出了更多的同情。乔 海科,城郊共和党的代表,最近投票要求保留伯克利很担心的一个方案。他的前任民主党人士迪那提多,由于去年受恶劣经济状态的影响而被解雇,也算是美国房地产泡沫的另一类受害者。

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重点单词
  • associationn. 联合,结合,交往,协会,社团,联想
  • academicadj. 学术的,学院的,理论的 n. 大学教师,
  • trapn. 圈套,陷阱,困境,双轮轻便马车 v. 设圈套,陷入
  • figuren. 图形,数字,形状; 人物,外形,体型 v. 演算,
  • exceedvt. 超过,胜过,超出界限 vi. 领先
  • inabilityn. 无能,无力
  • commissionn. 委员会,委托,委任,佣金,犯罪 vt. 委任,委托
  • performancen. 表演,表现; 履行,实行 n. 性能,本事
  • confinedadj. 幽禁的;狭窄的;有限制的;在分娩中的 v. 限
  • alcoholn. 酒精,乙醇,酒