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Fool Flashback: Housing Implosion

This article is part of our Subprime Survival Guide.

Look away if you can -- the following information may be painful, even disturbing, to read. It's a chronicle of the housing rise and fall of 2006, studying the twists, turns, ups, and downs. While some people turned a blind eye to the impending problems, hoping their home prices would keep rising, others cast a hairy eyeball at this potential house of cards.

Read on, Fool, and see whfether you can spot the warnings signs of the subprime meltdown and homebuilder weakness in some of our most provocative articles of last year. As the saying goes, those who fail to study history may be doomed to repeat it.

Jan. 26, 2006: Soft Landing Alert
America's favorite new "investment" (i.e., housing) finished up the year strong -- or so the National Association of Realtors (NAR) would have us believe.

March 2, 2006: Another Housing Hoohah
This month's widely reported housing market "cooling" just might be anything but.

March 24, 2006: Housing's Ups and Downs
Another month, another slew of confusing, if not contradictory, housing data.

April 28, 2006: Homebuilder Stocks Getting Creaky
A.G. Edwards issues sell ratings on Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL  ) and Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH  ) . It also downgrades Lennar (NYSE: LEN  ) and Pulte Homes (NYSE: PHM  ) to "hold" ratings.

May 5, 2006: For Whom the Home Tolls
Question: "How can you tell when a home-selling industry insider is lying?"
Answer: "His lips are moving."

June 9, 2006:I Want My Bubble Back!
According to the National Association of Realtors, "The housing boom has ended, but sales at historically healthy levels will continue." Seth Jayson, as ever, remains skeptical.

July 18, 2006: Too Many Houses, Not Enough Homes
Condo construction dominates the skyline of Rick Munarriz's home state, Florida. Who's going to live there, he wonders? Where are these people moving from?

Aug. 29, 2006: No Housing Bust Here!
The latest batch of housing numbers is like a slow-motion train wreck.

Sept. 7, 2006: Homebuilders Get Comical
Homebuilders pull out all the stops with teaser rates and 40-year mortgages. When those loans adjust, however, it's no laughing matter.

Sept. 8, 2006: Housing Cheerleaders Losing Pep
NAR chief David Lereah finally -- finally! -- acknowledges openly that sales are tanking and prices going down.

Sept. 19, 2006: When Bubbles Attack!
In a beautifully ironic twist, the NAR president is unable to sell his house! I'll bet he really wants his bubble back.

Sept. 25, 2006: 24 Years Old, $2 Million in the Hole
If there are more people out there like this tragic young man, Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC  ) and Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) made some very stupid loans.

Sept. 29, 2006: Harvard Hypes Housing, but Why?
Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies seeks to reassure a nervous and gullible public that all is well with housing.

Sept. 22, 2006: The Homebuilder Blues
The stocks of major homebuilders have slid nearly 31% over the past year. In fact, most are now trading with single-digit P/E ratios -- some even below 5.

Sept. 25, 2006: Know Your Numbers: Home Sales
A closer look at NAR's data reveals some unusual insights.

Dec. 5, 2006: The Negative Amortization Trap
Most borrowers heard that negative amortization could help them choose a lower monthly payment. Unfortunately, some of them didn't know the trap they were falling into.

Wait, there's more!
Looking back can be enlightening, but Fools always want to keep their eyes on the future. Learn more about the subprime mess with our Subprime Survival Guide. And as always, check Fool.com for the latest news and views on the issues that matter to you.

Fool editor Joey Khattab does not own any of the shares mentioned.


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