LOS ANGELES TIMES--A world record of $1,300,000 was set in late May for the price of an inflatable house in the overheated California housing market. The buyer, Buster Mornduck, said he was lucky to get the home given the extreme competition for inflatable houses across the state.
"I don't actually have the $1,300,000," said the new owner of the Long Beach house proudly. "Citibank is lending the entire sum to me, with no money down. With the bank holding the mortgage for the time being, I don't even have to pay interest until 2007, and no principle is due on the adjustable rate mortgage until 2015." Mr. Mornduck is an unemployed swimming pool cleaner, and had been living in a rented trailer on social assistance for the past five years with his family, including five children and a dog. Then the bank made him the exceptional offer of a home.
After the purchase closed, Mornduck was able to immediately obtain $200,000 in cash out financing on the value of his house, although this will stretch out the eventual mortgage payments until the year 2125. To celebrate, Mornduck ordered a five year supply of Budweiser beer utilizing a good portion of the cash advance. Yet his bank manager was happy to oblige.
"With interest rates so low, my bank can afford to be generous," said Gerald Luftbrain at Citibank. "Although we don't really know anything about this client, we project that he'll be paying off the house for decades."
Fred Bruntwold of the California Inflatable Housing Association (CIHA) said that the market was skyrocketing, and that was good news for his association.
"My members are working like crazy cutting rubber and gluing it together to make these inflatable houses for entire subdivisions popping up everywhere in California," he enthused. "This new record price of well over one million dollars is money in the bank for us all. This housing appreciation is good for the economy, good for America, and good for the world."
Such rosy sentiments are indicative of the overall trend, as Mornduck is not alone in his exceptional purchase. According to a recent survey, 46% of new homes sold in California are inflatable, and closed at prices averaging over $700,000. In addition, 67% of the new owners are unemployed.