Thursday, July 13, 2006

We like to live in expensive places...

Hey y'all. I have been incognito this week due to my sister, Katy's visit. I will post pictures later (as well as Big Island pics that are still on Kyle's camera which is currently somewhere on a beach on the east coast).

Anywho, in some random news, it turns out that Forbes ranked Tucson #7 in the list of the most overpriced places in the United States. Tucson?!? I mean, I know that the housing costs have increased drastically in the last few years, but come on? Overpriced? I would die for Tucson prices again, given my current #4 ranking on the list. Check out Honolulu's median home price of $625k compared to Tucson's measly $250k! Maybe the prices really gone up that much in the six months I have been gone? Help me understand!


Brian said...

As I mentioned when I posted about this, what matters is the disparity between housing costs (which grew 25% is the last year) and salaries (which on average are low, low, low). Basically, a majority of people living in the city of Tucson cannot afford to buy a house here now.

Tucson is definitely the oddball on the list, because in absolute terms it isn't that expensive. Which tells you how dirt poor most people really are here.

Arthur said...

It is an oddity - however, the rise in costs should be observed in other cities as well.

What does seem odd is the lower salaries. My bias is that the major employer in the city (the U of A), does pay worth crap. However, the other industries that are drawing in additional workers to the city (Raytheon, etc) tend to be more high tech based, and come with the accompanying higher salaries. These well paid workers buy the houses because, well, it seems cheap to them, and end up raising the prices for everyone else. Relatively.

Brian said...

Good point. The same thing is happening in Raleigh, b/c people come down from the northeastern corridor and think a brand-new townhouse or condo for $350K is a bargain. Even though you can get a nice house in an established neighborhood a mile or two away for half that.

Caroline said...

Yes, I guess the disparity between income and housing is definitely the problem here in Honolulu as well. You have all these natives living in tents on the west side of the island because they can't afford to buy a house anywhere. Thanks for the clarification, gentlemen!

K said...

San Diego is not on the list!! That will make me feel much better when I write out that rent check that has an extra zero in it!

KHampton said...

This has been an issue in the southeast forever. Low prices are a signal of excess capacity. Or in the case of the southeast, low wages were a signal for companies to relocate there.

Needless to say, the southerners resented rich Yankees coming down and raising land prices. Of course, that is only poor/young southerners with that sort of resentment because they typically rent. The higher land values are welcomed by landowners. Same issue in Harlem right now and U street and southeast in DC. The gays are pricing them out of their houses.

It is an interesting "externality" problem. Kind of like the unfairness of my having to live in a a place where, despite my own desire for Indian food, I canot get it due to the lack of interest by people who leave near me.

There is a lot to say about this issue.

Brian said...


Funny you mention that. Marsha and I have actually decide that a great strategy for buying a house in Durham will be to figure out where the gays are going.

marsha said...

Hahaha - it's true! People are bitching and moaning in Durham about some neighborhoods undergoing a slow process of gentrification - sign me up!

Arthur said...

Check out this latest "top whatever" article from Forbes.
This time, it is the 150 Cheap Places To Live.

Under "Steroid Cities", we find Tucson.

That's right. The former overpriced city is now also
one of the cheapest places to live. Of course, this
all fits when you look at the article and see that it
is one of the cheapest places to live, assuming you
get paid a big city salary and get to telecommute.

Hmm. Are these articles just written to sell magazines?