round and round...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Big Apple... big, expensive apple

I just stumbled upon a very telling and disturbing article. I live in New York. Brooklyn, to be precise. I love it here. I've never felt more at home in a place ever in my life, and I've lived in many places. I know I don't want to leave, ever.

I rent. I also know that my fiance and I cannot afford to buy real estate here right now... and probably not in the immediate future, either. We have decent jobs. We earn salaries that lots of people outside of New York would envy. For all intents and purposes we make a good living. I know we make more than his parents and we're probably not all that far behind my folks. The scary part is that we pay far more taxes, have a far higher cost of living, share $50k of college loan debt, and aren't even close to the kind of financial stability our parents had at our age.

The article talks about households who make between $80,000 - $150,000 a year being the hardest hit in terms of being able to get ahead financially due to rent/mortgage and tax brackets. Now, I realize that compared to many other families we are lucky as all hell that we have a lovely roof over our heads and we live comfortably. We don't take any of that for granted. But, we fall into the categories discussed in this article and it seems like an even more daunting task to be able to upgrade to something more than a one bedroom apartment unless one of us magically wins the lottery that we don't even play. We don't want to wait until the real estate market seems less frightening to have kids (we're both 30 and we want to have babies sooner rather than later), but the question of how to add another person into a space meant for two is one we're probably going to have to tackle at some point.

Two parts of the article resonated with me most:

"Hardest hit are earners and families making $80,000 to $150,000 a year, including blue-collar workers and professionals such as teachers and midlevel managers."


"It's becoming extraordinarily difficult to live in this city as an ordinary person," Mr. Fishman says. "[It used to be] you could have a decent life and put your kids through college. We're beginning to see the end of that."

The end of that? *le sigh* (thanks, Martine) I feel defeated and deflated. Funny how I just posted about affordable dog beds, right? 10 years ago if you would have told me I'd be part of a household making between $80k - $150k/yr I'd have been thrilled. If you would have gone on to tell me I'd still be renting, that my fiance and I were trying desperately to come up with the cash for a wedding that's 3 months away, and that we daydream of being able to buy a place of our own (so we don't have to eventually come up with some crazy living room/nursery scheme when SmallFry one day comes into our lives) with no real hope of that happening I'd have thought you were telling tall tales.

Has anyone conquered the urban real estate market and lived to tell about it?

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5 What people are saying:

Blogger Patti rambles...

I wish I could give you some concrete advice but I can't. I'll just send some good vibes for you though.

1/07/2008 10:33:00 AM

Blogger Melissa rambles...

Hey, Patti, good vibes are better than nothing! ;-) Thanks, girl!

1/07/2008 03:31:00 PM

Blogger The Rover rambles...

There are usually housing lotteries for "low-income" families - which, believe it or not, you qualify for. I'll see if I can find the latest link and send it to you.


1/08/2008 02:43:00 AM

Anonymous Safa rambles...

This whole thing is such a mess. Having been born and raised in Manhattan (spanish harlem) it's amazing to see th real estate and cost of living increases. I left the city and moved to the DC/VA area...a little more affordable but not much. My kid sister who still lives in the co-op we were raised in has fared better b/c it has been kept in our family since the '60s. It's amazing the amount of money people will pay for rent the few times she's sublet...CRAZY.

What I will tell you, don't delay children b/c of this. Because really, the time will never be have a strong foundation, stable jobs, etc...y'all can make it work.

1/08/2008 02:02:00 PM

Blogger Melissa rambles...

Rover, I'd love it. Perhaps we'll discuss on Friday.

Safa, you're so right. Thanks for saying it. We want to have a family and we'll figure it out whenever it happens. The time is never right, there's never enough money, etc.

1/08/2008 02:33:00 PM


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