A Comfortable Couch

Friday, November 12, 2004

Our new house

Here is the house we are renting in Charlotte. It's something like 1600 sq. ft. and looks nice from the outside. It's a pretty good deal for a $1000/month. A picture:



Here is a picture of next door neighbors house on the left:



And here is the other next door neighbors house on the right:



The whole neighborhood looks like this. All the neighborhoods in this area look like this. And they keep building more. But the thing is, there are tons of homes less than 10 years old on the market here, and they stay on the market for a long long time.

Within a five minute drive there are at least ten new housing divisions being built. They are EVERYWHERE! How can they keep building and selling them when the market is already saturated? I'm not sure, but my theory is cheap labor and cheap land.

Apparently NC has a big illegal alien population, fueled by the ease at which they can obtain a drivers license here. So that drives down the cost of labor. Coupled with the fact that there is a ton of undeveloped land you get a place where its super cheap to build new houses.

And boy are these houses cheap. The house we stay in has all sorts of cost cutting measures. The windows are single hung, only the bottom part slides up and down. The front door forgoes the traditional 2 locks and has the just the deadbolt only, the knob has nothing to lock it. The dishwasher is so loud you can't have a conversation in the kitchen when it's running. I could go on. And of course all the houses are all pretty much the same giving the builders assembly line efficiencies. While ours is in relatively good repair, one neighbor has siding that has fallen off the house and another has a tarp on the roof where it leaks. Cheap cheap cheap.

It's not like the house is horrible to live in, it's not bad really (it's got AC, a dishwasher, master suite, etc). It's that it's not built to last. The houses in these neighborhoods don't appreciate because like cars they simply wear out. They need lots of maintenance and repairs to keep them livable. And like cars they seem to lose their value as they age, so the builders build more. When you're in the market for a new home, why buy a house that's going to need a new roof in 5 years when you can buy a brand new one that won't need one for another 15 years?

In most of these neighborhoods the new houses start in the low 100's. Maybe cheaper, I haven't really looked. At least one existing house for sale in our neighborhood is listed at $120k. There are expensive areas in Charlotte as well, I'm not sure what the economics of those areas are though. It's kind of depressing, but I guess it's better than the outrageous market in the Boston area.

3 Comments:

Bob said...

Reminds me of an old song. See here.

3:26 AMlink  
Damien said...

Man, that's a depressing song.

7:08 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

Damien,

Man, this is the first "BLOG" I've seen! What a great idea. I'm sigining up for one! I've heard about them on the news but it never sank in how much of a treasure trove of information they can provide. I'm trying to realize my dream of long distance sailing and have found a Blog and BBS that is chock full of info.
Oh yeah....
Tell the wife to call her friend Kristen when you guys move down and we'll help you get moved in...I work for BEER!

Rick

11:33 PMlink  

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