I’ve developed house envy. Oh, yes, rampant consumerism has got me in its clutches with its glossy magazines full of shiny coloured appliances and kitchen islands and heated bathroom tiles. I’ve never really cared that much about where I lived until I had a kid because now living somewhere is about finding good schools, friends for him to grow up with, some place to put down roots. I really like this neighbourhood, it’s sleepy, but it really feels safe and comfortable. People look you in the eye here. Have you ever driven in a really affluent area and just looked at the cool houses and wondered what it would be like if you lived there? Looking over the water through a giant picture window. Or sitting on the wraparound porch with a mint julep. (I’ve never had a mint julep, but perhaps it tastes like a mojito.)
Okay, you have to do this. It will take about 10 minutes, so do this when you have time. It’s fun.
It gives you an idea of the kind of homes that are actually available right now that are typically selling for $1.75M and up. And no, I’m not kidding. I saw one sold for 2.3 Mil that was over a million dollar less last year that the realtor was advertising as “livable but needs renovation”. Wow, what a selling point, eh? Livable. Translation: you could if you were really desperate but it’s really about the land value. In highly desirable neighbourhood, old houses are being bought like candy for insane amounts of money by foreign investors generally. The houses are dated and cramped, so they are torn down (cheaper than renovation), and new ones are going up and if the lot is big enough, then 2 houses are being built. People’s noses are out of joint because it means that unless you have a shwack of cash and can move quickly and outbid multiple offers, you cannot afford to move into a home in this neighbourhood. People including hubby and I. And since you are paying well over a million for just a house that is over 60 years old, you have to have deep pockets to either renovate it or rebuild. It’s all about location, folks so you pay for the hood where the hip middle class live. That million dollar home that we used to dream about when we were kids is now $3MILLION and it doesn’t come with a tennis court and a pool. It comes with neighbours on either side of you and a garage if you’re lucky. I’m watching House Hunters and Million Dollar Listings and I can’t believe that some people are being picky about a $154,000 home with 3 bedrooms and a backyard. I’m like – I’ll take it and we’ll just commute by airplane! In fact, I’ll take 3.
People are obsessed with real estate here, people are always asking if you rent or own and how much and how many sq. ft. When I moved here years ago, I thought it was a bit weird and frankly how much I pay is no one’s business but now I’m used to it. It’s always the topic of conversation at a meeting or at the dog park. I used to hide the fact that I rented because inevitably I would be asked for how much. Once in our old building, I was introduced to someone in the elevator as the girl who “rents out so and so’s suite”! How infuriating! Like my name is not sufficient enough information. Good grief.
Of course, we could always buy a ticket to a charity lottery in hopes of winning a place. Of course the house in the neighbourhood I like (you know, the one where you can walk to the grocery store, dry cleaners and Starbucks) isn’t anywhere near as nice and big as the one in the middle of nowhere where you have to drive ten minutes to mail a letter. I don’t need a huge house, of course, it’s not like I have a bunch of kids to fill the rooms. I do dream of a walk in closet the size of bedroom, though. Sto0rage, glorious storage for my junk. I grew up in the suburbs in a semi-detached bungalow and I really hated it. I never had my own car, the long walk home from the bus stop in the freezing winter, hours lost commuting back and forth, the isolation I felt as a teenager….. it’s all tied together for me….uggh, it just makes me shiver. Odd though, here I am a grownup and I’m still imagining what it would be like to live in one of the “nice” houses on a tree lined street. With nice lighting fixtures.
I nauseate myself sometimes. Seriously. Somehow this parenting bag just sets off a whole bunch of bells and whistles in me.