Wednesday, October 05, 2005

News vs. Life

No, I'm not asleep at the wheel! This post was already in draft form when the comment was left on the last post!

Yesterday, it suddenly seemed like there was an explosion of news about the housing bubble starting to burst, with a front page story in the NY Times and plenty of other coverage of last month's NYC real estate stats. (prices down, inventory up, basically) And today there is a story covering data from the IRS on income levels and taxes paid, showing that income inequality continues to worsen. (One intriguing contradiction found within these stories: it is the high end of the real estate market that is dragging down averages, and apartments at the low end are still showing huge increases. Ironic given that the IRS story shows that the people who buy luxury properties have more money than ever and the people that would want 1-bedrooms don't!)
Sometimes it's hard to locate yourself in these macro trends. If my offer had been accepted on that apartment, I'd probably be a nervous wreck seeing all these stories. I'd be furiously cranking out spreadsheet calculations with doomsday numbers, feeling like an idiot for buying at the height of the market. As for income inequality, I can look at those graphs and plunk myself somewhere in the 60-80th percentile range, but what does that really mean? Am I benefiting from current tax policies or am I getting screwed?
Obviously I am somewhat obsessive about certain topics and am constantly trying to analyze numbers and plan my life according to spreadsheet formulas, but sometimes you can only take this so far. Life goes on, I go to my job, earn my salary, pay taxes, live in one home and think about owning a nicer one someday. I'm not going to put blinders on and ignore where things are going in the world, but I can't live by my position as a demographic data point either.
So I was actually less gleeful about the housing market news than you might think. At least right now, there are fewer apartments on the market in my desired area and price range, and who knows what next month's data will say. I'm going to keep watching and waiting before I do the happy dance, and if a great apartment popped up tomorrow, I might still make an offer. In the meantime, what I really need to focus on is the price of Gatorade.


Anonymous said...

don't get so offensive, honey. i wasn't suggesting you were asleep at the wheel. just surprised you didn't make some hay out of that times article is all...

your blog -- it's great. :)

Madame X said...

I didn't mean to sound offensive, or offended! :)