Flutterby™! : The high cost of living

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The high cost of living

2005-11-21 21:27:13.031192+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Family incomes are about 75% higher than a generation ago, and an average family spends less on clothing, major appliances and automobiles than 30 years ago. Where's it all going?

A generation ago, the one-income family committed about 54 percent of its pay to the basics—housing, health insurance, transportation, and taxes. That is, the one-income family spent about half its income to make the “nut”—the basic expenses that must be paid even if someone gets sick or loses a job. Today, these basic expenses, including child care so that both parents can work, consume 75 percent of the family’s combined income.

And The New York Times asked if it was cheaper to rent or buy, and, for good portions of California, the northeast, and Florida, found that it was cheaper to rent.

For new home buyers, prices in New York would need to rise roughly another 13 percent over the next five years for the average buyer to do better than the average renter over that span. In Northern California, where the gap between house prices and rents is largest, home values would need to go up about 19 percent by 2010.

(Both via Rebecca's Pocket)

[ related topics: Sociology Real Estate ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-11-22 00:04:40.94617+00 by: meuon

I'm not able to relate exactly. (The house is paid for.) The question I ask myself is how hard do I want to work.. and try hard to live in a manner that I can support with that much work. This past years has had some rough spots but I've made it strictly on what I've made as a mercenary geek for hire. What hits me is how people buy into a lifestyle that they can just barely afford. Even a slight downward change in income can cause major lifestyle changes, even bankruptcy.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-11-22 15:54:37.332681+00 by: petronius

The second page of the Times rent vs. buy article says it all: buying makes more sense in "the middle of the country". That is, the 99.99% of the country outside of Manhattan and Frisco. $3,700 rents are the stuff of fantasy here in Chicago. And what you would pay for a studio condo in SF would buy you a ducal palace in St. Louis.

I hit the other side of the housing bubble 2 years ago. We owned a second 1 bedroom condo on the shores of Lake Michigan, with great transportation to downtown and to shopping. It didn't have a parking space, a definite problem but not, I thought, insurrmountable. I charged a low rent, but couldn't find any takers for a solid year. The parking was a bigger deal than I thought, but during the period of micro-interest rates, my target demographic was buying, not renting. I finally sold it at a modest profit (we payed the loan many years ago) to some sucker in the building who wanted an investment. She is currently losing her shirt. I'm well out of the market.