When I lived overseas I noticed a large number of homes had two and three generations living under the same roof, AKA, the Waltons. The German government gave subsidies and tax breaks to families to add on to their houses. I didn’t see a lot of young couples starting out with their own houses, old or new.
Some older folks may have spent a little time living with the folks when first married, but most likely we started out with meager means and found a cheap apartment or a modest cottage to start our matrimonial journey. In our case the roaches chased us out into a nicer place as we wondered if we could afford the extra $65 for our upgrade.
I’ve repeatedly declared that we are a spoiled people, especially the youngers. It’s probably partly our fault and partly that of a world around us telling them they can get it all now. You might can, but at what price. Most of us did the stair-step process taking life in increments, one manageable bite at a time. Even then some of those steps strained us a bit at times.
Most of us strive to possess the American dream. If we’ve been fortunate, it didn’t morph into the American nightmare. We recently lived through a time of great prosperity and easy credit with low interest rates. Anything and everything was available. Stick it on the card. Now we see interest rates begin to rise and credit cards getting maxed out.
It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for the youngers as even the starter home may be slipping from their grasp as bidding wars erupt to push existing homes out of the reach of regular folks. Then add the challenge of trying to get financing lined up to build a new home with exploding material prices and numerous shortages of building supplies and you’ve got a whole lot of wild cards gumming up the works and making price projections a guessing game. Throw in a widening gap between what you get for your old home and what you’ll pay for a new home and you’ve got a poker game in progress.
America is one of the unique places where the youngers and some of us olders feel like we have a guaranteed right to build or purchase that dream home. We believe if we just work hard and save our money we can reach it. Unfortunately today all bets are off. We all hope and pray that things can return to some form of normalcy where regular folks can once again have a reasonable expectancy of being able to once again get a slice of the pie and experience the American dream that seems to be rapidly slipping away.
By Dr. Juan Harrison