Is Home Where the Heart Is

Tom Brezsny
- Tom Brezsny

Is Home Where the Heart Is

Continuing the conversation….. weaving a number of current themes together, like the crazy new normal of the marketplace with its record high prices and historic low inventory.

And the market’s impact on affordability and availability issues that are at the heart of the housing crisis (after 40 years of slow growth). And how our rapidly aging demographic has morphed into a perfect storm that exacerbates housing challenges in ways no one ever really anticipated.

Here in 2023, all the underlying factors that drive the market seem to be moving quickly and inexorably towards a major inflection point… Even as we speak, construction crews with cranes are busy erecting some of the tallest buildings ever seen in SC, right Downtown on Front St., with more on their way south of Laurel and elsewhere in the County.

In recent months SC County has earned the dubious honor of being both the #2 Most Expensive Place to Live and the #1 Most Expensive Place to Rent in the Country. All while the State continues to ratchet up legislative mandates to force local jurisdictions to ease restrictions and pave the way for new housing units.

Meanwhile, interest rates are at a 20 year high (above 7.5%) and the University is forging ahead in pursuit of its goal of 28,000 students and the vacancy rate is pretty much stuck at 1%. Even as Silicon Valley VCs are gearing up for a new wave of AI-inspired investment that promises tol fuel the next region’s next gold rush.

Meanwhile, real estate sales have slowed and 2023 will end up with the fewest annual sales for the last 35 years even as the average price of a single family home continues to hover around $1.3m, precisely because the supply is so low.

Most people selling are over 65 and for the most part, they’re moving out of State because that’s the best option for downsizing, given the market dynamic. And the majority of people buying are also coming from elsewhere since it takes a huge income to afford an average priced home and those jobs are almost exclusively over the hill.

That’s a lot of stuff! What’s going to happen twenty years from now when those 65 yr olds start turning 85 and an increased mortality rate really begins to thin their ranks? Let’s dig a little deeper and see if we can get closer to the fundamental issue that’s at the heart of all of this.

Is home truly where the heart is or is it where the best investment lies? What’s the role of homeownership in our culture and how has it changed over the last 50 years?

To Be Continued….

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