Friday, February 08, 2008

Most middle class still can't buy a house
Prices have fallen but not by enough to make it possible for nurses, fireman or teachers to buy homes of their own says a new report.
By Les Christie, staff writer
January 31 2008: 6:03 PM EST

NEW YORK ( -- Despite the housing slump, most middle income workers still don't earn enough to buy a median-priced home in their hometowns, according to the Center for Housing Policy.

..."We hear a lot about the 'information economy,' but most working families are still employed in traditional service occupations. In many metro areas, these families continue to face home prices and rents that are beyond their means, and as a result, employers have a difficult time attracting a quality workforce," said Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center.

...Maya Brennan, a spokeswoman for the Center, said, "A drop in prices is not going to close the gap for most workers. Prices are not dropping that much." She adds that places where they are cratering, such as California, the drops are coming off very high peaks.

Even when possible, and even when home ownership is possible, Brennan said, it is still often very difficult for workers. "People are having to stretch their wages from paycheck to paycheck, make sacrifices or move farther out [from their jobs] to afford housing."

Moving farther out into suburban sprawl is the last thing anyone should be doing right now, class. We must come up with better ideas to work together - without the speculators, investors, swindlers, and usurers - to pool resources and buy land and buildings as owner-occupied residences and businesses. No more slumlords and hucksters - and no more profiteering off our own people. Just ordinary families working together. It can be done - indeed, we must do it. We must put aside our foolish intolerance and judgmentalism and work for the greater economic good of our communities. We must bring back the social contract at all levels of society - we are our brother's keepers.


Garnel Ironheart said...

The problem is one of expectations. For example, I live out in Hamilton, a medium-sze industrial town 70 km west of Toronto. Because it's a blue collar town, the houses are half the price of Toronto. The compromise is that I have a much smaller Jewish community around me but with all the stuff that happens in the big places, I don't see that as a disadvantage.
Many people, however, want to live in the big city and at the same time live in a nice house with a nice backyard, near a nice school and park, etc. Well, that means demand is up and supply is limited so of course prices are high. That doesn't make it rational.
For example, there's another city about 90 km west of Toronto called Waterloo. Lots of high tech (RIM lives there), beautiful parks, lots of facilities but it's only a medium size city so they have a huge doctor shortage since most doctors want to live in, you guessed it, Toronto. Me, if they had a decent size Jewish community with the basic stuff I need like a school and mikveh (they lack both unfortunately) I would seriously consider moving there.
So it's the attitude we're fighting against. You can't blame developers for asking a lot for new homes. After all, they're in it to make profits and someone must be buying these places.

Ahavah B. said...

I have to drive an hour west or an hour and a half north to get to the nearest mikveh so I know that annoying that is. But I'm surpised you are expecting other people to solve problems for you. I have also considered that I'm going to have to take matters into my own hands if I want that changed - 7 years ought to be adequate time for fundraising. So why don't you also form a mikveh society and starting a homeschool co-op that can grow up and be a dayschool for the town where you want to move? There's nothing stopping you. You know the income will be good if you're the only doctor!

Garnel Ironheart said...

Right now I'm a 2 minute walk from the mivkeh, shul and school. I'm a 7 minute walk from the supermarket with the kosher section. Other than work, I don't really drive much anywhere else except the occasional visit to my paretns who are 140 km away.
And I wouldn't be the only doctor where I'd want to move either.