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?

3 Comments so far

  1. fsharp4565 (unregistered) on July 27th, 2004 @ 8:00 am

    As George Carlin once said “That’s all a house is, a place for your stuff. If we didn’t have so much stuff, we wouldn’t need a house. I’m gonna need a bigger house ’cause I got too much stuff”. And this just confirms it: http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/news/local/8823760.htm?1c

  2. (unregistered) on July 29th, 2004 @ 6:23 am

    Here is an idea, trade in your elitest city living attitude for some simple economic thinking. With the exception of riding the stock/bonds market, real estate is one of the only real ways to make money. I bought my house in the East Bay (way east) less than two months ago and right now there are 3 houses the same as mine going for 10 – 25k more than I bought mine for. hum… 10 to 25 k in a month.

  3. (unregistered) on August 17th, 2004 @ 9:18 am

    Lame post. How about coming up with something more interesting to say before publishing?

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