Home Sweet Over-priced Home
For kicks, last week I picked up one of those free real estate guides from the kiosk next to the Examiner and SF Weekly. I knew, before I opened it, that the Bay Area housing market was like a speedo on the mediterranian – tight and high. Little prepared me, however, for the shock of seeing in cold, hard, 12 pt. Helvetica font that a mousy, rundown home in my Inner Sunset neighborhood would set me back around $890,000.
Good news, yesterday, however, since I’m still a renter – SF is no longer the highest market in the land. The honor now goes to LA and Orange County. The glee in the local radio announcers voice was such that I half expected to find a rebate check from my landlord waiting in my mailbox. No such luck.
Today, in the SF Chronical, however, is an article pondering that maybe our home-comforts crazed, queer-eye-for-the-straight-property-owner, Free Martha culture has made homes more valuable and therefore more costly. It’s an interesting idea, and somewhat sensible. Everyone wants something in which to sink capital and hang curtains. Last year, there was an article in the Chron Sunday Magazine about how increasing numbers of renters were upgrading their rental digs because they’d long since given up any hope of owning a home of their own.
I’ll confess that as often as I’ve wanted to restore the lovely crown molding in my living room or figure out if the wainscotting is salvageable, I’m not about to buy a power sander or even a quart of paint.
But is our housing infatuation just another byproduct of our consumer culture? We need gagdets. Damn, no we need a place to put gadgets. It’s not an investment or an asset – it’s a storage shed.
Friends of mine recently purchased a home in Tracy. That’s way the hell in the Central Vally. It’s got big box stores and lots of sun. Does it have “culture” like SF? None to speak of.
So there’s the choice – stay and burn money enjoying my painted over fireplace or leave something of interest so I can acheive domestic goddess (with a career) status by planting my own herbs and matching my Kitchen Aid to my countertops.
So what is it – why do we need a home of our own – especially at nearly $1m for a crappy 2 bedroom with no yard? Is it because we need land of our own, or just a place to keep our crap and continue to follow popculture inspired trends?