NEW NORMAL: Real estate values have surged by 25% since pandemic…

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The new real estate normal

STAR, Idaho — The new “For Sale” sign had been posted in the yard for less than 10 minutes when the first visitors started driving by the house, slowing down and stopping to take pictures. Trevor Descisciolo watched from his front lawn, trying to understand how the home he referred to as “a basic little starter” had suddenly become a destination in the far exurbs of Boise.

A few minutes later, another car pulled to the curb, and the driver rolled down his window. “Do you guys have a list price yet?” he asked.

“We’re finalizing it soon,” Descisciolo said. “What kind of place are you looking for?”

The driver stared for a moment and considered the house. It was a two-story craftsman in a subdivision of mass-produced homes, where identical mailboxes aligned the sidewalk and some of the cul-de-sacs backed up to cornfields. “Honestly?” he said. “At this point we’re looking for pretty much anything.”

In the record-setting housing market of 2021, homeownership has become the dividing line for a fractured economy that’s racing toward extremes. Real estate values have surged by almost 25 percent since the beginning of the pandemic, creating more than $1 trillion in new wealth for existing homeowners. Many of them have used that money to buy investment properties and second homes, further driving up prices while first-time buyers increasingly struggle to afford anything at all.

WELCOME BACK, CARTER: Inflation & Crime Spike Under Weak Democratic President: 1970s Redux.

The ’70s are back!” declares French fashion magazine l’Officiel. No kidding: Prices are up, crime is up, Iranian kidnapping plots targeting Americans are up. . . . Surely the groovy sounds of disco and a heady whiff of Hai Karate cannot be far behind.

My first political memory is feeling pity for President Jimmy Carter, who was obviously overmatched by the job and seemed to be universally loathed for his inability to do much of anything. That was the worst of the 1970s: gasoline rationing, high unemployment, inflation running so hot that the price of meat was remarked upon in both a Brady Bunch episode and a Warren Zevon song. (How’s that for pop-cultural omnipresence?) And in the middle of it all was purse-lipped, dead-eyed Jimmy Carter, who could not have been a flatter or duller representation of the 1970s if he had been printed on linoleum.

That was the last time I felt pity for a politician.

 

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