Being just a wee bit on the nosey side, we went through an open house across the street today. The house is described as:
"Charming home in charming neighbourhood. Large kitchen. 3 bedrooms. Spotless and clean. Roof 3 years old. Fully fenced yard. Garage with gardening shed. Basement has recreation room with wet bar and separate entrance.Potential to place a suite in house. Washer and dryer upstairs, washer and dryer downstairs and a beer fridge."
And all of that is true. And in many ways, being as it doesn't have "Evil, Kill, Die, Die, Die" carved into the windows (one of the houses I looked at only days before this one fell in our laps did) it is indeed charming and lovely. But here's the thing (and please understand that I am so very well aware of the position of priviledge from which I speak being a homeowner) for the very nearly half a million dollars they are charging for this place do you really need to tell me about the beer fridge in the basement? For half a million does it come with a magic beer fridge that automatically refills itself with lovely microbrews daily? Because I think that would be appropriate. Because yes the house is charming, but it is still in need of plenty of work, and it is still a very wee house.
After our nosey house tour we stood out on the lawn and chatted with the lady who lives next door. She's an older gal, though not nearly as old as the 99 year old whose house we now have, or the gal who passed away putting the place across the street on the market. As I talk to more and more people on our block it seems that our block is largely inhabitted by old gals, most of them have survived their husbands at this point, and none of them seem to be able to quite wrap their heads around the housing prices. I can't blame them, neither can I, and we probably paid easily four or five times what they did for their houses (actually make that ten times) and we didn't come close to paying $500K. While I know how very lucky we are, I can't help but fight off this sinking feeling of doom when I see the price of housing in this town (or this corner of the world for that matter). As I say, I know how very priviledged we are and I know the circumstances that got us here. I also know that we're walking pretty close to the line in terms of handling our monthly expenses and really just managed to swing this. And, after every conversation I have with one of these gals over the veggie garden or rose bushes about how things are changing in this neighbourhood I think about how there is no way these gals could afford to live in this neighbourhood were they out on the housing market right now. And yet, they are so much a part of this neighbourhood and one of the things I love about it. I worry about our ability to have mixed populations in urban centres with prices going the way they are. When these gals are all gone, who will move in? I've still got a good few decades before I join their ranks afterall. And I think about how we're heading screeching for a brickwall in terms of housing low income folks in this town as the threshold for low income gets higher and higher relative to the cost of living. I'm not sure what the solution is, or if there really is one. I'm sure others have seen similar trends in this same town even and had similar concerns in the past, and I can only hope there is some kind of cyclical nature to these kinds of things.