Yesterday was a bit of a shock to the system. It’s not until you leave the Detroit area that you see just how different it is from SoCal. In many ways, the area seems oblivious to the deep recession (I’d call it borderline depression. If not economically, definitely on the psyche of the area.)
Walking through store is funny. While I’m certain that there are many people on the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, the stores don’t seem to notice. Next time you’re in Target on 26 Mile notice the posture of shoppers. It’ll indicate the confidence level in spending money.
Clearly the housing market is polar opposite. You wouldn’t believe the sales pitch this lady tried to give us on an apartment last night. Not only was the apartment sub-par (worn out, horrible location for a family) when we were done she just said, “We’ll wave the application fee if you give me $100 to hold the place. But we can’t get you in until August 25th.” That’s the hook for spending $2000/month in San Diego? We weren’t impressed.
The general pitch I’ve gotten from renting a house (as opposed to renting an apartment in a complex) is “this house would sell for $500,000 so we don’t think what we’re charing for rent is a lot. Never mind the fact that the person has owned the property for years and probably bought it for under $200,000. For us… this is like Michigan pre-bubble when there is a massive difference between what a place is worth and what the market will sustain.
We know this is how it is here. We’re not in denial. And I’ll even admit that it’s a little refreshing. It’s fun to not hear every newscast or front page story be about the economy or gas prices. In some respects I understand the “Nation of Whiners” comment. I think most of what we’re feeling is that millions of people have to bite the bullet and start paying down their personal debts. Having less personal debt automatically makes you a more aggressive shopper.
More housing stuff later today. We’re pretty excited about the next one we’re looking at.