If you have only yourself to consider, choosing where to live can be a walk in the park, or down the shore, or under an arch, or through some tar pits – whatever suits your fancy. If you shackle yourself, lovingly of course, to another human being, and the two of you with clear eyes and full hearts bring forth new life into the world, well, choosing where to live becomes more fraught. Values shift. Priorities adjust. Apartments that seemed cozy start to feel like “the hole” in The Shawshank Redemption.
Meg Keene writes a lovely essay about growing up working class, defining security on her own terms, and why not-grabbing the brass ring of home ownership is the right decision for her family, for right now.
With “Are Foreclosed Homes the New Haunted Hauses?” Colin Dickey writes about zombie homes and uncanny real estate for the Paris Review Daily. It is so good.
A burst of new home construction in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and other cities have caused neighborhoods in those cities to quickly gentrify, and if you are a longtime resident and homeowner in those cities, it’s possible that you’ve seen the value of your home skyrocket as much as four times in a single year. Great, right? Not exactly. Not if you can no longer afford the property taxes and don’t want to sell your house. The Times reports that cities are mobilizing to help their longtime residents affected by gentrification by giving them cuts on their property taxes—which alleviates the burden among longtime residents, but will ultimately affect each city’s annual revenue. Still, the cities believe investing in longtime residents is worth it:
The tax adjustments are part of a broader strategy by cities to aid homeowners — who continue to struggle financially since the home mortgage crisis. In Richmond, Calif., lawmakers are attempting to use eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages to try to help homeowners keep their houses.
Housing experts say the arrival of newcomers to formerly working-class areas — from the Mission District in San Francisco to the Shaw neighborhood in Washington — is distinct from previous influxes over the past 30 years because new residents are now far more likely to choose to move into new condominiums or lofts instead of into existing housing, making the changes more disruptive.
Quixote Village is a community of formerly homeless adults in Olympia, Washington, who until recently lived in a self-governed tent city that rotated between church parking lots. Now these 29 adults live in 29 separate 144-square-foot tiny houses, arranged in a horseshoe shape. Each house has room for a bed, a desk, and a tiny bathroom with a sink and a toilet. There is a shared garden and a community center with showers and a kitchen shared by all the residents. If residents have income, they’re asked to pay 30% of that income towards monthly rent. Otherwise, living there is free.
I wouldn’t have thought so but this article about families in New York sure makes it seem weird.
I received an email from Liz, a licensed loan originator and self-proclaimed mortgage person, who suggested that readers here may be interested in an “Ask a Mortgage Person”-type column. Perhaps! Send your mortgage questions to email@example.com and we’ll see how this goes!