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Quick Take: Air-Headed Real Estate Incentives

I thought I'd seen it all when it came to desperate home-holders, trying to offer anything to get someone to put a bid on an overpriced house. The offers have included granite countertops, luxury vacations, leases on pricey cars, and dream dates with yours truly. (OK, I made that last one up, but if any homebuilders out there need a helping hand, remember, I'm available.)

Today, I was pleased (doubled-over-laughing pleased) to find a California real estate agent offering this century's version of Green Stamps: airline miles. That's right. Buy an overpriced and quickly depreciating, new, half-a-million dollar home in bubblicious California, and these guys will sport you 250,000 airline miles, enough for, oh, $4,000 to $6,000 worth of air travel.

Now, if you think that doesn't sound like much, given the fact that, in Los Angeles, prices are dropping at about a 4.8% rate, then you're doing too much math. If you're thinking, "Let's see. A 4.8% price drop on $500,000 equals $24,000, so that air travel only buys me two or three months' worth of price depreciation these days," you're clearly not cut out for the "American Dream."

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