Saturday, October 16, 2004

Yard Sale

Citizens' Voice of the Day:

"Everybody's complaining about affordable housing, what about affordable drinking? A local bar raised its prices by 80 percent in the last year. What's this world coming to?"

We're in the middle of a yard sale out on Thomas Street. John and David have most of the goods to sell, but we're selling a few things too, and Little Boy brought a bunch of older record albums over to see what he might be able to get for them.

Ri and Sandy came by, so did Vickie and a friend of hers (Vickie's a bartender at Schooner Wharf), Roger, from the Butterfly Conservatory, was here, and Little Boy's mom, Dottie came by and talked for a while. It feels like a real neighborhood here this morning. This is Bahama Village as we know it on a beautiful Saturday morning. After yesterday's rain, the air has turned delightfully cool and dry, with a several-knot breeze coming in off the Atlantic side.

Later, we're going to Eaton Street for several gallery events, starting at Kate's, then the new, private Poison Gallery just a few doors down, and possibly to the One-Legged Dog after that.

Roger and Robert (the Roger who was here earlier) are moving from Virginia Street to Elizabeth Street, in the 600 block, a very nice neighborhood. They are leasing an apartment in a house that underwent renovation and remodeling on Trading Spaces on HGTV a few years back. I remember when that happened, because it was the first year of the program and the press made it a big thing. They're paying $1500 a month, a $100 more than the place on Virginia. We talked about rents generally, and about some of the other places they looked at before finding this one. In that range, $1400-1500, one can still find decent rental housing. Below that, say at the going rates of $1100-1200 one sees most often in the paper, it might be necessary to compromise on some things, like no outdoor space, tiny rooms, or maybe a shabbiness.

There is a steady drumbeat that comes through the press of "affordable housing is a problem. We have to do something about affordable housing". And it is a problem. As the selling prices of properties continue to escalate in double digit percentages to seven-figure levels, more of the rental stock gets taken off the rental market even though many of the properties so purchased are left vacant for a part of the year by part-time residents, or are being bought merely as an investment with the intent of turning them over again at higher prices in a year or two. So, even if the property stays on the rental market, annual lease renewals tend to escalate in relationship with selling prices.

I know that I've written on this theme in the past, so this is just to kind of bump the subject back up near the top for those who are newer visitors to this blog, and for whom the information might be helpful. We'll try to answer any questions that come to us via e-mail or in the blog comments section itself (just click the Comments button below, or get our e-mail in the About Us link at the top).

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