I’m a dinosaur and I know it. I find looking at computer screens onerous, probably because my eyes are bi-focaled now and many hours of strain gives me a headache. I like books I can hold in my hands and newspapers made out of printed rag.
I buy tons of books but currently subscribe to only a few trade magazines and the weekend edition of the local newspaper. There are other things I’d like to pursue besides being an information dump. I like the weekend paper; it’s enough “news” strung together to suit me, told with a local twist. I read it all, even the sports page.
Lately I’ve been puzzling over strange articles that have been appearing in the painfully thin real estate section of the last few months’ Sunday Detroit Free Press. There on the second page of the section is a weekly article on recent celebrity real estate sales in Los Angeles. This week’s home sales included word of Penelope Cruz and Debi Mazar unloading their homes. Last week Ed O’Neill's transaction grabbed the spotlight.
What’s odd about the article is that it’s usually juxtaposed with a full page of Michigan foreclosures on Page 3. There’s something ironic and disturbing about the news of the rich and famous touting the sales of their mega-million-dollar homes when the next page features fairly nice houses being sold for pennies on the dollar. Some of the asking prices are so pitifully low, one could put the purchase on a credit card.
There’s a 2,350-mile Grand Canyon of an abyss between the real estate markets of the Mitten State and LaLaLand.
My children live in California, so I’m well aware of the glaring differences between the real estate markets of our two states. My home would be worth a couple million bucks (or more) in San Francisco; at this point it’s worth about $200K and the value is still plummeting. My grass alone is a premium feature and would be highly prized on the Left Coast. Add the fruit trees, Asian-inspired garden and vegetable plot, and my modest home starts to look positively star-like.
Alas, it's sitting in a suburb of a city with miles of vacant or burned out land and a 30% (my guess, an inflated figure) commercial occupancy. It might be an oasis, but it ain't worth much.