Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Parties, Road Races & Real Estate

I've spent the weekend at a round of holiday parties, plus one of my favorite road races of the year--Christopher Martin's Run for Children. Chris opens his restaurant and collects toys from 1800 runners who then run, drink beer, and watch tattoo and T-shirt contests (I've never been around for that part; I'd have to be taller, to see over all the men who crowd into the bar!). I ran as part of Sharon Oster's Dean Team. She's the new Dean of the School of Management at Yale, and she challenged her students to beat us. She paid to charity for each kid who passed us.

Everywhere I went, I got asked about the real estate market. I'm surprised that more people aren't giving up the zero per cent yield on T bills to buy real estate instead, particularly first-time homebuyers. They will be getting a $7500 tax credit, which acts as an interest-free 15-year loan from the government, if they buy a primary residence before July. Individuals making up to $75K and couples making up to $150K are eligible for the whole credit. I'm also surprised that people aren't using their (depleted) IRA accounts to buy real estate. The rules are somewhat complicated, and different for each kind of IRA, but it's a great alternative to the nail-biting check of the Dow every day around 4 PM.