Austin journalists explains to Californians what happened to Texas real estate during the late 1980s and early 1990s. As if Californians needed any advice.

Prices slipped. Inventory ballooned. Thousands of homeowners and condo owners put their keys in the mailbox and walked away from their mortgages. When that happened, prices plummeted. Then the condo lenders disappeared. Condo prices fell some more.

Those who tried to tough it out found themselves in an odd position. They could rent identical units around them for less than they were paying on their mortgages because the other units had been sold to speculators who paid cash. But they could not refinance to a lower interest rate because their condo was now worth less than their mortgage balance.

They were “condo slaves.” They were indentured to their depreciated property.

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