Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Becoming Impossible

Dream of owning home slips further from some
Once-affordable cities too pricey for low- and moderate-income families
Housing prices are far outstripping salary increases for low- and moderate-income jobs, putting the American dream of owning a home beyond the reach of teachers, firefighters and other community workers in many cities, said a study being released Tuesday.
Being a professional writer is kind of like being a teacher--it doesn't pay like being a doctor or lawyer. So I, too, feel the pain of watching the home-ownership dream looking more like a fantasy.

Where is all this money coming from? That is all I want to know. Prices can only rise if there are people out there who can afford to pay them--or banks foolish enough to give money to people who really can't afford the payments to which they're committing.

I don't want much--a decent house, with a garage for both our cars and enough space inside for both of us, that's close enough to the places we work that we can actually spend time in it rather than driving to and from it. Oh, and a neighborhood that's safe and doesn't look like it recently survived a war or natural disaster (portions of Streamwood, I'm looking at you). Do I have to move to a small town and take a job delivering mail to make this goal manageable? Because right now, getting those things at a price that we can afford is going to mean moving to Huntley, or beyond. (Minnesotans, imagine moving to Monticello. Or Chisago City. Never heard of them? Exactly.)

And how will those of you who plan to have kids manage it?

I hope these worries and fears all look silly when I'm looking back on them from my mid-thirties. But something will have to change for that to happen.


Jessica said...

There's always the Dells, Richard. Hell of a commute though.

I know what you mean about where you live though. Growing up, I thought I'd love to live there and raise my family. However, seeing that the house I know as home is now somewhere in the neighborhood of $450,000--perhaps I'll have to reevaluate what I once thought.

Streamwood is scary, but not as scary as Hanover Park. Have you thought about Carpentersville? I know it's not as close as you'd like, but I think the housing market there is a tad more affordable...and Carpentersville is not like it was when we were little. There are some nice places off of route 25.

You can always go to Loves Park--outside of Rockford. Dirt cheap I hear.

Richard said...

You're right about the house you grew up in--that whole neighborhood has gone through the roof. The house across the street from us went from $250K to $325K in less than two years!

Believe me, I've given C-ville some thought, and it may be our destination--but there is definitely still a large part of town that looks like it has been hit by a bomb--or should be.

Hanover Park is worse than Streamwood, yes, but Streamwood is no picnic. The side of it we can afford looks run-down; the side we can't is, of course, perfectly liveable.

In all seriousness, I have been looking at Huntley; there are some old farmhouses there that we could get for a decent price and renovate. Considering all the growth out there, we'd have the same access to shopping and services. But we'd prefer to stay closer in. We should have a better idea next spring and early summer!