Monday, April 10, 2006

real estate

Two months going over the market in Boston, and what they tell me about the 'bubble' is all true. One simply cannot find housing in this city, whether it be a small corner of a larger building partitioned into a smaller box. Those are $450-$500 per sf. The better spaces in the nicer areas easily rocket into a higher bracket of $700-$800 for each square foot of livable floor area. Can you stand up in it? Perhaps. Can you live there? Possibly. Is it up to code? Absolutely not.

I've seen bedrooms that have no exits, more crappy vinyl windows (Harvey) that overlook vacant lots that are cleaned ("the cleared area is deeded to your unit"), disguntled sellers listing at $value_of_house + 35%, free flat panel televisions included because a regular tv wouldn't allow you to pass in the living room/hall, 20-year old kitchens advertised as new, acrylic floors hung with

but that's not the biggest problem. you are competing with everyone who is now a housing millionaire, and you are using play money. Furthermore, this puts you under the auspices of a "risky borrower", and you are instantly at the ercy of anyone else, even if you are offering more. Why? Well, they had a house before, they're simply older, or there is another reason. I have seen new luxury lofts where an open house was overrun by seemingly younger couples that us, who are seriously considering the larger units, for $600k+. What am I doing wrong? There are too many to be a lottery winner, or a dot commer, this is a TREND. And I missed it. Capitalism can suck sometimes.

So, what I am going to tell you now is a secret, but the latest dream home may be the one that puts me over the edge. A new career awaits. That, or the trip through affordable housing, downpayment assistance, family begging for a few thousand (which will be the extra .5% that gets us into "safe" loan territory). And if I, god forbid, pick the wrong neighborhood, I could be on the hook for it all. The quest for equity should be a sure thing, but it won't be, I know.