The Cost of Living Space

After I wrote about the young man who is paying $400 for 129 square feet of a miniflat apartment here in Seattle, friend and regular reader B. wrote about her first efficiency apartment in upstate New York, for which she paid $175 a month — about 600 or 700 square feet of space. She also got an outdoor parking space, a mixed blessing in her city’s snowy winter. She had closets and storage, and an outdoor balcony which added another 100 square feet, along with a fabulous view.

Jerry and I bought our home on San Gabriel Drive in Rochester, NY — about 2400 square feet to which we added over time — for $48,000 in 1975. Our mortgage payment, long paid off before I moved, was $357 a month.

Fast forward 40+ years, and relocate from staid Rochester to booming Seattle. Entry price here for a home or condo anywhere near downtown is 600-800K, and in the choice neighborhoods like Queen Anne, the entry point is probably 1M. Young people who work for Amazon or Google or Microsoft or Expedia or Twitter or Snapchat or Zulilly or Redfin or Big Fish can afford that — although prices are being pushed by Chinese nationals looking for safe places to park money who will pay seemingly any asking price in cash — even more than the asking price, if that’s what it takes to get the property amidst a welter of hopeful bidders. Rents are equally high, mid-3K a month for a large one bedroom with view, and over 4K for 2 bedrooms and space approaching 1200 square feet.

That isn’t happening in Rochester, or Syracuse, or Youngstown, Ohio, or anywhere in Trump land where struggling voters apparently still believe that their hero is going to bring back the jobs of a bygone time. The Democrats have a new pitch out to those voters called “A Better Deal”, but it sounds pretty flat to me next to Trump’s boastful promises. Nobody with any economic sense believes those promises are real, but Trump people do, and they vote.

I hate to see health legislation pass that is going to take medical care away from those people, along with lost jobs in hospitals and nursing homes, but apparently matters have to get much, much worse before people who vote Republican can actually grasp what they voted for.

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