September 3, 2013

Renters Ruin it for Rest of Real Realty Realm

Stay up late driving back and forth across the new Bay Bridge? Let’s ease you back into your workweek with some good old-fashioned rentard reaming and homedebtor hating.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for ensuring we didn’t miss this.

As Renters Move In, Some Homeowners Fret

130902-renters-2homesBy SHAILA DEWAN. The New York Times
Published: August 28, 2013

MEMPHIS — Beneath the spreading shade tree in Laura Holcomb’s front yard, there are some 70 varieties of hosta, stands of elephant ear and a Japanese maple. For the 17 years she has owned the brick house on Rose Trail Drive in the Hillshire subdivision, Ms. Holcomb has devoted herself to her home and garden.

Across the street, Carl Osborne and his family have been tenants for two years, moving in after the previous owner lost the house in a foreclosure. They are happy to have a decent place to call home but, like many renters, they have not done much to improve the appearance or join the community.

They are not alone: the family behind Ms. Holcomb, the one two doors down, and several in the cul-de-sac across the way are among the renters who have been supplanting homeowners in this blue-collar, suburban neighborhood as investors buy single-family homes and convert them to rentals.

“Used to, we knew our neighbors,” Ms. Holcomb said. Then she gestured toward the few remaining owner-occupied houses nearby. “Except for the two that have been here, I don’t know any of my neighbors.”

Yeah, because who wants to bother getting to know a bunch of renters? They dress different, they talk different, and they certainly do not devote themselves to their home and garden. Check out the photo above, proof that rentards leave boats on the lawn. With tarps. OLD tarps. Next thing you know they’re letting the grass die.

130902-renters-chartIf you live in an apartment complex, then everyone’s in the same boat on the front lawn… renting.  If you live in a condo or townhouse complex, you might have a mix with some units rented out and some filled with proud homeloaners.  And some single-family home neighborhoods are more renter-ful than others.  California always had more renters than most other states, mostly because our property is so expensive more people have to rent who would otherwise want to buy. It’s much more difficult to rent a single family home in other states. That is, it was more difficult until investors snapped up all the foreclosures.

130902-renters-lowlifesWhat kind of hood do you live in, and are you the typical resident or the oddball? That is, are you the lone renter in a block of SFHs, or the owner of the apartment building that you actually live in (along with those rentard lowlifes who are always late with the monthly nut)?

We’ll leave you with this thought from the piece:

Even conscientious landlords and tenants invest less in their property than owner-occupants, he said. “Who’s going to paint the outside of a rental house? You’d almost have to be crazy.”

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:04 am






March 16, 2013

The Hipster in Suburbia: Do I Dare Hipsturb the Real Bay Area?

San Francisco’s Mission District is Hipster Central for the Bay Area.  (Also mentioned: The Uptown, Oakland.  But that’s in the East Bay, so fuhgeddabowdit.) A recent New York Times column (motto: We Still Think New York Is Important!) notes that not all the East Coast Hipsters are found in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg district, either.

Creating Hipsturbia

130315-hipsturbia-illo

By ALEX WILLIAMS, The New York Times
Published: February 15, 2013

Illustration: Ryan Inzana

A yoga studio opened on Main Street that offers lunch-hour vinyasa classes. Nearby is a bicycle store that sells Dutch-style bikes, and a farm-to-table restaurant that sources its edible nasturtiums from its backyard garden.

Across the street is the home-décor shop that purveys monofloral honey produced by nomadic beekeepers in Sicily. And down the street is a retro-chic bakery, where the red-velvet cupcakes are gluten-free and the windows are decorated with bird silhouettes — the universal symbol for “hipsters welcome.”

You no longer have to take the L train to experience this slice of cosmopolitan bohemia. Instead, you’ll find it along the Metro-North Railroad, roughly 25 miles north of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the suburb of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

130315-hipsturbia-decadeSo, barring any proper large city, where would hipsturbia be in the Bay Area?  Is Palo Alto too expensive to qualify?  Is Larkspar too tilted to aging hippies?  Could Hayward, City of Diversity, take the title of the “twee lifestyle”?  How can people who don’t want to be like everyone else find meaning in a subdivision full of identical tract housing?

Well, they can’t, that’s the point.  The challenge is to find low-density but non-conformist older single-family housing.  Or at least older and idiosyncratic housing amid primary low-density population centers and front yards.  We’d say look for neighborhoods near funky downtowns, with low Walk Scores or lots of bicyclists.

130315-hipsturbia-vansWe bet you could find something appropriate near the downtowns of Mountain View, San Carlos, or Willow Glen.  Where would you suggest?

Meanwhile, this is also your weekend Open Thread, to discuss any hipster sightings in the Open Houses you’re reporting on.

Comments (21) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

April 14, 2012

Saturday Soak: Your weekend Open Thread

120413-lightning-bridge

This image from SFGate shows eight lightning bolts hitting the Bay Bridge on April 12th.  How did you enjoy nature’s fireworks Thursday night?

You can also discuss this New York Times piece observing that California’s North/South divide is overblown.  The real divide is West versus East, and we coastal huggers are doing fine economically.  Inland is a much different story.  Stockton is looking into bankruptcy.  People moved inland, but the jobs didn’t follow, and then the housing values collapsed.  The coastal regions are more politically liberal and more eager for environmental policies that inland residents object to.  And geographically, a beach is not a desert.

This is an Open Thread.  How’s your weekend going?  Seen any good Open Houses lately?  How about those local sports teams, eh?

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

April 8, 2012

Lights Out for Los Gatos Painter Thomas Kinkade

Here’s something to deepen your observation of Easter.  While devout Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus today, this man’s passing on Good Friday leads to a kind of different kind of immortality, and we are not talking about paintings.

Thomas Kinkade, one of nation’s most popular painters, dies suddenly in Los Gatos at 54

120407-kinkade-2002By Mike Rosenberg, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:  04/06/2012 06:43:30 PM PDT; Updated:  04/07/2012 03:41:26 AM PDT

Thomas Kinkade, the “Painter of Light” and one of the most popular artists in America, died suddenly Friday at his Los Gatos home. He was 54.

His family said in a statement that his death appeared to be from natural causes.

“Thom provided a wonderful life for his family,” his wife, Nanette, said in a statement. “We are shocked and saddened by his death.”

120407-kinkade-tasteHis paintings are hanging in an estimated one of every 20 homes in the United States. Fans cite the warm, familiar feeling of his mass-produced works of art, while it has become fashionable for art critics to dismiss his pieces as tacky. In any event, his prints of idyllic cottages and bucolic garden gates helped establish a brand — famed for their painted highlights — not commonly seen in the art world.

“I’m a warrior for light,” Kinkade told the Mercury News in 2002, alluding not just to his technical skill at creating light on canvas but to the medieval practice of using light to symbolize the divine. “With whatever talent and resources I have, I’m trying to bring light to penetrate the darkness many people feel.”

120407-kinkade-products

Now, if you want to instead refer to the Los Gatos Patch (an AOL-owned series of hyperlocal blogs), Kinkade actually died in Monte Sereno, while with his live-in girlfriend, as he had been estranged from his wife for two years.  That would explain why his family was in Australia at the time of his death.  Kincade’s passing is indeed relevant to the Real Bay Area, since he lived in Los Gatos.  Or Monte Sereno, depending on which reported version you prefer.  But this scan of the firefighters’ frequency shows an engine was dispatched to 16342 Ridgecrest Ave, due to a 54 year old male “drinking all night, not moving.”  That address is owned by someone named Kinkade, and also had an “under influence of drugs/alcohol” arrest there last year.  The address is missing from most property databases, though, including the Recorder’s Office.

120407-kinkade-vallejo-village-at-hiddenbrookeKinkade certainly has his staunch supporters and determined detractors.  This Mercury News article generated 150 comments in just a few hours and had more than 250 by the following afternoon.  Most Merc articles draw under 20 comments.  The NY Times obituary generated an even more derisive stream of criticism, while the Washington Post put the negative commentary in the article itself.  The daddy of all Kinkade-dissing news items has to go to this 2006 Los Angeles Times piece, though.

But there’s an aspect of Thomas Kinkade that had managed to elude us all this time.  It turns out that his kitschy paintings of cottages in the woods inspired multiple housing developments.

That’s right, for the fan who isn’t content with buying a snowglobe or a throw rug, there were plans for actual tract houses trying to look like his paintings.    And one of the first such developments, the Village at Hiddenbrooke, was built in Vallejo right as dot.com went dot.bomb in 2001.  4259 Andover, The Villages at HiddenbrookeThe homes were 1800-2600 square feet on 4000 square foot lots.  The large photo above is interior décor from one of those model homes.  Most of the links to the builder and the development in the Salon article are now defunct.

It’s not easy figuring out which streets in Hiddenbrooke are part of The Village.  And given that the builder was London-based, that’s a particularly interesting name for a community accused of being somewhat, um, ersatz.  Here’s a home that sold last year, and do check out its history, because it sold for less in 2011 than when it was sold new nine years beforehand.  You can check out the neighborhood on Redfin but nothing seems to be for sale there now.

However, Kinkade did not stop with just the one housing development in Vallejo.

Architect Rann Haight, left, financier Roger Stewart, center, and builder Steve Torres have signed a deal to build luxury homes that will be based on the Thomas Kinkade paintings on the table in front of them in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, April 21, 2006. The luxury homes, to be built around Lake Coeur d'Alene, will cost $4 million to $6 million. (AP Photo/SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, Jesse Tinsley)The photo at right shows the team planning for five Kinkade-inspired $4 to $6 million luxury homes around Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho named The Gates of Coeur d’Alene.  This project was launched in (of course) 2006, at the height of bubblicious housing insanity.

Plans for 100 homes based on the cottage paintings were being developed later that winter for a project in Columbia, Missouri called The Gates at Old Hawthorne.  Prices were expected to come in at $500,000 to $1 million.  It’s not clear if any of these plans came to fruition, as the builder’s website no longer seems to exist.  This 2007 article reflects the typical attitude of housing boosters, acknowledging the slowdown but insisting that It’s Special Here and full steam ahead for the Kinkade development:

120407-kinkade--missouriThe homes are being built at a time when the U.S. home market is declining. However, Columbia and Boone County have been able to avoid the national trend. The median price for new single-family homes in Boone County has steadily increased, going from around $136,000 in May 2003 to a little over $188,000 in May of this year. And while the price of new homes is rising, the number of homes being built has decreased from 79 single-family units in May 2003 to 52 this May.

“In general, our home market is good, (but) it’s not as good as last year’s,” said Brent Jones, president of the Columbia Board of Realtors. According to Jones, the present home market is a buyer’s market. The effects of the market are even more apparent in the sale of high-end houses, like the Kinkade homes. […]

“News stories give the idea that the market is homogenous,” Jones said. He cited cities that have experienced extreme home appreciation, and are now experiencing just as extreme depreciation. The Columbia market is relatively stable and hasn’t had the appreciation that other markets have experienced, .

However, market fluctuations are not a concern for HST.

“One of the reasons we came to Columbia is because Columbia’s economy is so strong,” Stewart said. Sales of the Kinkade houses are surpassing the inventory, Stewart added.

120407-kinkade-empty-caveThere is no evidence that either of these Kinkade-inspired home developments were ever built.  Most references to them are from 2006, when everyone was drunk on Kool-aid.  Here’s an application for an alternative use for the Missouri land, which suggests nothing was ever built from the Kinkade project.  The Gates of Old Hawthorne website is gone, and here are some empty lots for sale from that project.

Just like the empty cave in today’s Holiday Story.

Have yourselves a Happy Easter, and remember: This means Spring Bounce has begun!

Comments (19) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

March 11, 2012

The Ultimate Man Cave in Carmel Valley. Or anywhere else.

If you’re willing to drive a little, you could either save a lot, or you could have it all.  Thanks very much to Burbed readers CLS and nomadic for sending this tidbit in.

21,000 Square Feet of Cold War Memories for Sale, Satellite Dish Included

120309-jamesburg-sat

By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN, The New York Times, Published: February 9, 2012

CARMEL VALLEY, Calif. — Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes the ultimate gift for the Dr. Strangelove in your life: the 21,000-square-foot Jamesburg Earth Station, a satellite relay base from the 1960s that was built to survive a nuclear attack.

120309-jamesburg-dishPerched on a remote hillside overlooking the Ventana Wilderness here on California’s Central Coast, it is a white elephant that costs $3 million, a tech-lover’s paradise on 161 acres equipped with a 97-foot satellite dish. (Though the signs reading “Danger: High Voltage” are perhaps not the best marketing tool.)

In its glory days, this sprawling bunkerlike redoubt on Comsat Road played an essential role in national life. Built in 1968 by the Communications Satellite Corporation, the Jamesburg Earth Station and nearly a dozen others like it helped bring the first televised images of Neil Armstrong on the moon and President Richard M. Nixon in Beijing into America’s living rooms. They also pulled in signals from satellites in geostationary orbit that made international telephone calls fast and easily accessible for most Americans.

“It’s the ultimate man cave,” said Jeffrey W. Bullis, a Silicon Valley electronics mogul, who bought the property in 2004 for $2 million from AT&T and is now selling it, complete with the hand-carved Tiki gods from Vanuatu that he placed at the entrance as a homey touch.

120309-jamesburg-welcomeIf you have a spare $3.5 million burning a hole in your pocket, I can’t think of a better use for it than a historical satellite dish made obsolete by fiber optic technology.  Especially because this 21,000 square foot bunker can also be used as an indoor shooting gallery.  Imagine the fun you will have with your remaining family members here!

While the 102 acre property including the satellite dish and its adjacent 46 acre parcel are currently “off-market,” the listing agent still features it on his website, and the current owner would be delighted to see it placed with someone who would appreciate just what this property is.

120309-jamesburg-houseThis is a must-have property for anyone who remembers the glory days of Apollo 11, and wants to own some of the technology that made it possible. 

Or you could just tear all this crap out and build 28 McMansions on 5 acre ranchettes and go bankrupt much more quickly.

Oh yeah, there is a house on the property somewhere, so you don’t need to bring a tent.  Also, lots and lots of room for storage, and by lots I think they mean enough room to fill a Saturn V.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:30 am

February 19, 2012

SF Foreclosures: They’re Doing it Wrong

Here’s some cheery news for your Sunday open house visiting!  This might make you think twice about offering anything on a short sale, REO, or previous foreclosure.

Audit Uncovers Extensive Flaws in Foreclosures

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON, Published: February 15, 2012

An audit by San Francisco county officials of about 400 recent foreclosures there determined that almost all involved either legal violations or suspicious documentation, according to a report released Wednesday.

120216-ting

Photo, right: Phil Ting, Phil Ting, the San Francisco assessor-recorder, found widespread violations or irregularities in files of properties subject to foreclosure sales.  Annie Tritt for The New York Times

Phil Ting, the San Francisco assessor-recorder, found widespread violations or irregularities in files of properties subject to foreclosure sales.

Anecdotal evidence indicating foreclosure abuse has been plentiful since the mortgage boom turned to bust in 2008. But the detailed and comprehensive nature of the San Francisco findings suggest how pervasive foreclosure irregularities may be across the nation.

The improprieties range from the basic — a failure to warn borrowers that they were in default on their loans as required by law — to the arcane. For example, transfers of many loans in the foreclosure files were made by entities that had no right to assign them and institutions took back properties in auctions even though they had not proved ownership.

120216-fraudWell, that’s San Francisco for you.  That doesn’t mean foreclosures in the nation’s other 3140 counties and county-equivalents should have any problems at all.  You see, bankers in San Francisco were so terrified of the terrible impact Prop 8 had on gay marriage and real estate values, they didn’t want to look at what they were signing.  For three whole years!

Good thing the $26 billion foreclosure settlement between five huge banks and 49 state attorneys general is already signed!  Who knows what kind of trouble there would be if this sort of report had been released beforehand.  Why, San Francisco homeowners wouldn’t be getting their share of the $147 million (provided they managed to hold onto the house while the banks were doing everything possible to claw it away, in which case $2,000 each ought to cover it).

This is an Open Thread.  Are you more or less likely to buy in San Francisco after reading this story?

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

November 12, 2011

Edgar Martins, Artist or Real Estate Professional?

A while back, we featured this home with WYSIWYG photography that didn’t pretty up a thing.  Remember this place in East San Jose with the really inspired photography (if by inspired I really meant WTF)?

image

This was the home where most of the photos were of the floor and the bottom third of the walls.  At the time I said that the agent was a misunderstood artist, and the opposite of Edgar Martins.  You were probably imagewondering who Edgar Martins was.  Today, you’re going to find out why this Portuguese-born Macau-raised fine-arts photographer is just like a realtard.

Edgar Martins was commissioned in 2008 for a very high-profile New York Times Magazine photo essay on the physical results of the mortgage meltdown.  There was some resentment from American photographers over this gig being given to a European, but Martins certainly had a gift for the compelling image.

Then someone worked out why they were so intriguing.  His photos weren’t what he claimed they were.

imageMartins has always said that he didn’t do any post-production of his work at all, that there was no digital manipulation. Looking at his work now, it’s screamingly obvious everything was mirrored, cloned, and shopped out the yinyang. For years all the fine arts types believed him until Adam Gurno (unixrat) on MetaFilter called shenanigans, and as a result, the New York Times yanked his photo essay.

Martins’ response was of course his stuff is manipulated, you stupid idiots. That was the whole POINT, and none of you saw it because I told you it wasn’t there, you ignorant fools.

To be honest, he said the above more like this:

This work explores the concept of ‘home’ as an idea and a form, and summons a disquieting conjunction of reality, hyper-reality, fantasy and fiction.

And he justifies lying to his fans, his clients, his curators, and his employers with this PoMo putrescence:

“It is my view that there was a clear misunderstanding concerning the values and rights associated to the creative process which made a renown publication like The New York Times Magazine, commission a fine-artist, such as myself, to depict a very specific view of reality without taking all the necessary measures to ensure that I was aware of its journalistic parameters and limits. On the other hand I did not see these as a valid boundary. . . . Whilst I welcome some of the debate that is taking place, I did not envisage that it would be mostly centered on polarities such as ethical/unethical, right/wrong, real/unreal.”

imageYou see, that’s what selling homes is all about. It’s telling people there’s no downside, there’s no time to lose, there’s nothing that can go wrong as long as you BUY NOW. The TIME to BUY is NOW.

And we should have known from the get-go that they’re ALL lying.  And if we didn’t, then being tricked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars is just part of the context of representational imagery and the insubstantiality of happiness from material things.  Let’s not debate pointless polarities such as true/false, positive/negative, gain/loss, permitted/unpermitted, yours/mine, or signed/forged.

imageI do recommend you look at his “This is Not a House” set of photos on his website, and his photography book of the same title has just been released.  Note there is no more bluster about his images being unprocessed or unaltered.  Now “his interest is in summoning a disquieting conjunction of realism and fiction by ‘cutting into the real’.”

imageThe book description for This is Not a House also says it was a commission for the NYT, but neglects to mention his rather public firing for misrepresenting his artistic process.  As fine art critique of bubble building and bust, it is indeed powerful stuff. Most of it also looks shopped. I can tell by the pixels.

And as realtard speak, it’s obvious fiction stubbornly insisting it’s 100% factual.  Home prices never go down!  Yes it’s affordable!  Buy now or be priced out forever!  The rules of the market don’t apply here!  The TIME to BUY is NOW.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:00 am

October 29, 2011

Chinese Property Bubble? Here’s how they’re making more land!

It’s Halloween Weekend, so we’ve got a couple of creepy pieces for you both days.  Today, another dispatch from Beijing, courtesy of The New York Times.

Harassment and Evictions Bedevil Even China’s Well-Off

By ANDREW JACOBS,
Published: October 27, 2011

Photo, right: Yan Lianke outside his house, to be demolished.  (Shiho Fukada for NYT)

BEIJING — It is a familiar tale of modern China with a sadly predictable denouement. A group of people wake up to find demolition notices affixed to their homes. After they reject the government’s compensation as too meager, a dark campaign of harassment ensues. The bulldozers arrive in the dead of night. Score another win for the boundless authority of the state.

But the struggle unfolding at Huaxiang World Famous Garden, a gated, suburban-style community on the exurban fringe of the capital, is not like a majority of redevelopment battles that each year lead to the forced eviction and dispossession of countless families.

image(Photo, left: A banner vows to sacrifice “our blood and lives” to save homes.  Shiho Fukada for NYT.)

The residents involved are by and large middle class and privileged — doctors, financiers, retired government bureaucrats — who thought they were immune to such capriciousness. Among their ranks is one of China’s most successful fiction writers, Yan Lianke, whose satirical novels about famine, AIDS and the cruelties of the Cultural Revolution plumb the suffering of ordinary Chinese.

Just as notable is that their subdivision is new, the oldest house no more than five years old. At least three of the homes were completed this year. The local district government, however, says the residences and their pampered gardens must give way to a road-widening project that was announced in July. Everyone was given just three weeks to leave.

This is what happens when the rule of law is a complete fiction.  Moneyed interests, working hand in glove with a powerful government, and even supposedly rich people end up losing their homes… to even richer people who want that well-situated land.

imageAren’t you glad we live in the United States?Instead of obnoxious sound trucks, nasty text messages, mysterious thugs and early morning bulldozers, we just have the banks forge some title documents and claim they own your house because some ginormous spreadsheet somewhere says they do.  And didn’t we have Alan Greenspan propose burning houses down as the low-cost strategy?

This is why the word “Occupy” combined with any geographic place name is now banned as a search term in China.

And if you think this is scary, just wait until you read tomorrow’s article. Meanwhile, this is an Open Thread.  What Open Houses are you visiting and what Tricks will you play there?

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day from Burbed!

And we know you dads all want to do the right thing as far as your children are concerned. That’s why you read this blog.  You want to buy the best possible house (in the Real Bay Area, of course) for your family!

Here’s what some non-RBA dads are doing for their children.  Clearly, you need to know this, because your children must have the best of everything.

The Gift Apartment From Mom and Dad

By VIVIAN S. TOY, Published: June 17, 2011

Sean Zia, left, in the West 34th Street studio that his mother bought him. Marina Santos, center, lives on West 57th Street, in a studio officially owned by her parents. Olivia Waldman’s East 72nd Street home is owned by a family trust. Photos: From left: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times, Damon Winter/The New York Times, Lauren Fleishman for The New York Times. 

Roban and Peter Clagnaz (photo right) in the apartment on East 88th Street that they bought for their twins, Joanna and Evan.  Photo: Chester Higgins Jr/NYT

FOR some parents, an engraved pen set just won’t cut it as a graduation present. It seems so insubstantial, so unoriginal. Anyway, the kid will just lose it. So how about a New York apartment?

Real estate brokers say that in the last year, they have seen more parents shopping for apartments for their grown children, hoping to take advantage of low mortgage rates and apartment prices that are still about 20 percent down from the market’s peak.

“I got a digital watch for graduation,” said Barry Silverman, an executive vice president of Halstead Property, “but I’ve worked with families where the children are getting an apartment.”

These congratulatory apartments are often studios or small one-bedrooms, but on occasion they are bigger-ticket items, he said, because “the parents see it as a long-term investment and a good place to park their money.”

imageHave you considered the advantages of buying your child their very own RBA property?  This New York Times article quotes parent after parent explaining that they bought their children apartments in Manhattan because it was not only a wonderful graduation gift, but also an excellent investment.  Mortgage rates are low and property values have fallen back.

All these conditions apply here in the RBA as well.  So why wait until your child graduates from college?  College is probably overrated anyway.  Invest the college fund into an RBA house now, especially one with a garage!  Then your little Taylor or Braden can start hanging around the Y Combinator crowd in search of venture capital without even finishing high school.  Maybe Peter Thiel will expand those fellowships into an UnUniversity!

You want a really happy Fathers Day?  Knowing that your flesh and blood will have a couple of IPOs in the pipeline before getting a learners permit ought to do the trick.

Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

April 16, 2011

Priced Out of Marriage Forever in China

For Many Chinese Men, No Deed Means No Dates

By ANDREW JACOBS, New York Times, Published: April 14, 2011

(Photo, r. Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times.  A billboard promoting real estate in Beijing. Amid a real estate boom, men are finding themselves lovelorn as women hold out for a mate with property.)

BEIJING — In the realm of eligible bachelors, Wang Lin has a lot to recommend him. A 28-year-old college-educated insurance salesman, Mr. Wang has a flawless set of white teeth, a tolerable karaoke voice and a three-year-old Nissan with furry blue seat covers.

“My friends tell me I’m quite handsome,” he said in confident English one recent evening, fingering his car keys as if they were a talisman.

But by the exacting standards of single Chinese women, it seems, Mr. Wang lacks that bankable attribute known as real property. Given that even a cramped, two-bedroom apartment on the dusty fringe of the capital sells for about $150,000, Mr. Wang’s $900-a-month salary means he may forever be condemned to the ranks of the renting.

Last year, he said, this deficiency prompted a high-end dating agency to reject his application. In recent months, half a dozen women have turned down a second meeting after learning that he had no means to buy a home. “Sometimes I wonder if I will ever find a wife,” said Mr. Wang, who lives with his parents, retired factory workers who remind him of his single status with nagging regularity. “I feel like a loser.”

Who knew?  Wang Lin may feel like a loser, but as far as these women are concerned, he is one.

kenshohi-cover3Look, Spring Bounce is here.  Do you feel a renter is a loser?  Or is that the case only in China?  Consider that in Japan, with its 20 years of deflation, most twentysomethings feel that buying nothing is the best strategyThis NY Times article on the same subject was written before the devastating earthquake and tsunami, though.  Will the reaction against the conspicuous consumption of forty and fiftysomething Japanese continue through the national emergency?  Or will the youngsters rally and buy property for the good of the nation?

Well, how about this?  The National Association of Realtors feels they are fighting for survival now.  Doesn’t that make you want to run out and a buy another house so they can?

This is an open thread.  Share your thoughts on the above ideas, or any Open Houses you may visit, or anything you like.

Comments (71) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:25 am