Friday, December 01, 2006

What a quarter million dollars buys...

This is ridiculous. Someone paid $250,000 for a parking space in the Back Bay. Look…Mapquest shows you where!!! The other good part about this map is that I live somewhere on the page, but I won’t say where…hee hee.

I am certainly not the only person to ever bring this up, but that kind of money can buy you a pretty spectacular spot to live in most of the country. Heck, I grew up in the third biggest city in the county and a quarter of a million bucks buys a LOT. Same goes for my other place of residence…the Phoenix area. 250 large goes a long way out there, too.

But not here. It buys you a small parcel of bricks on which you can leave your car without getting towed or ticketed. I am not really sure why I bring this up, it is certainly not news to anyone.

Anyway, my point is that Real Estate costs gross amounts of money around here. The 250 grand for a parking space is not really representative, but don’t let that fool you…housing is expensive. I think the going rate around here for a condo is probably about $1,000 per square foot (so a 1,000 square foot apartment costs more than a million dollars.) That probably wouldn’t include parking, which we just learned is an entirely separate and expensive proposition.

Granted, this is pretty much the most expensive part of the city (as far as I know), and there are other parts that are less obscene. But it still probably costs $500 a square foot to find any place worth living…I am sort of guessing at that (anyone else in Boston, feel free to chime in).

And it doesn’t really get a whole lot better…all of the surrounding towns that would qualify as “nice” places are ridiculously expensive, too. Someone mentioned to me that Dedham is a town that is a little cheaper than some other towns in the area. The average single family property value in Dedham is $361,422. And that is the assessed value…the market value is probably $440K. And that counts as affordable around here.

Ok, I will confess. I was feeling kind of flush after my promotion and raise, and I thought “Gee, I wonder if I could buy a house somewhere.” Not that I don’t appreciate the enormous generosity of Smoking Hot Roommate, but, you know, I am kind of independent and stuff. Anyway, that idea got nixed pretty quickly.

But my question is, how do people do it? I probably make more money than a lot of single moms and dads...and that doesn’t even count the handouts from SHR, Big Sis and Papa Bear. So, how does a mother of two who makes $50,000 a year live around here? Surely there have to be some, right? Did she spend $250,000 or $300,000 on a little house far out from the city? Or does she spend $1,500 a month in rent somewhere?

The raw economics of it are horrifying. If you make $4,000 a month and immediately lose $1,500 of that to pay taxes, health insurance and the like, then you are left with $2,500 to raise a family with. Now, immediately throw out half of that for rent, or more for a mortgage and what are you left with? $1,000 a month to pay for food, clothes and entertainment for three people, plus a car, car insurance and everything else that goes into living?

I just don’t get it. How do people do it?


Dimples said...

I don't live in Boston and it's tough enough as it is!!

Jordan said...

I don't know how some people do it.. really, housing costs are skyrocketing. I know just in the Orlando, housing has more than doubled in the last few years. It was GREAT a few years ago, but then everyone caught on and bought a 'vacation' or 'investment' home (for 200 - 250k)... so many people did it, that the builders more than doubled their prices in less than 2 years. That 250k house down the street two years ago, now sells for $515k. So many people got so greedy by buying their houses and more than doubling the selling price less than 2 years later, that people have finally caught on and are saying "screw that!" then about 6 months ago, house buying came to a HALT. Finally people are lowering their asking prices... but they still have a way to go.
I'm a single mom too... but I'm a nurse. So I guess I can do double shifts the rest of my life.

Still just me said...

I was a single mother of 3 once. I had to live in a government subsidized apartment and get food stamps. I hated it, but I had to put a roof over the kids heads and feed them too. I was also working full time.

Ally said...

I think a lot of people rent instead of buying. It's amazing how many families carry significant consumer debt, so I'm guessing they are buying things on credit and just barely getting by each month. When I think about people who make minimum wage I really don't understand how they do it.