This weekend, someone stole my newspaper on Saturday, so I didn't get to read my beloved Real Estate section. I bought the Saturday paper on the newsstand but it didn't contain the advance Sunday sections that home subscribers get, and these, of course, were not delivered with my Sunday paper. I was tempted to go and buy another copy just so I could read the RE articles, especially since this week featured the special "Key" magazine section. But then I remembered that I could read it online for free. I was still sort of tempted to spend the $4.50 or however much it is now, just because I like reading it on paper-- I guess I'm old-fashioned that way, but in the end I decided it wasn't worth it.
The Real Estate section is fascinating to me, not just because I am interested in the housing market, but because it is the section of the paper that really shows how differently New Yorkers live, and the skewed perception we have of ourselves, at least those of us who read the Times, etc. Every week in the RE section, you can read some priceless comments that just make it sound as if everyone in the world is just deprived if they have to live in anything less than a $750,000 one-bedroom apartment with a doorman and views of Central Park. If such an apartment even exists in that price range, that is!
The RE section is also quite the showcase for over-indulged children, as it seems rare for them to profile anyone under the age of 35 whose parents aren't paying at least part of their rent. This weekend's article, Buying with Help From Mom and Dad, is a classic. Here's my favorite quote:
More buyers are turning to therapists to help them work through how they feel about depending financially on their parents when they have carved out independent careers and lives. Dr. Richard Shadick, a Manhattan psychologist who works mainly with 20- and 30-something New Yorkers, said that “a good portion” of his cases focus on the problems of seeking financial help from parents to pay for housing.Awww! Your parents bought you a million dollar apartment and you need therapy to cope with it! I only wish I had that kind of psychological problems!
The article discusses many of the reasons these people need therapy, besides their feelings of dependency: often parents buy their children apartments with strings attached, such as a stipulation that no boyfriends or girlfriends can move in, and that family visits must always be accomodated. And there is the young woman who is upset that her parents want to buy her all-new furniture to replace her funky vintage items-- again, a "problem" I think I could learn to live with!
Some of these parents do sign contracts with their kids and make sure there is some level of accountability and varying degrees of repaying the money. And to be fair, another main point of the article is that today's market is just so different from even 10 years ago, when young adults like me with halfway decent junior-level jobs actually could afford to buy entry-level apartments much more easily. But I can't help it, these kinds of stories still make me feel a bit ill.