Well, after a very intense six weeks of househunting (I estimate we’ve now viewed about one hundred separate homes), other obligations require us to take a break for a week or two. For those keeping score, we bid on two houses, the one I blogged about that was located in South Park, and another I have not yet mentioned here.
The Redfin listing for the South Park house can be seen here; I believe it’s still on the market, and considered simply as the house, it’s quite a deal. However, the combination of South Park’s specific urban challenges with the introduction of PCBs to the mix really rules it out for us, despite our conclusion that the home itself is unlikely to be directly affected by the chemical.
The other place we bid on is located in South Seattle near a new development called Othello Station, to the South of Seward Park. It is a lovely home. We understand that the seller has accepted another offer.
There is a certain incredulous desperation to my personal feelings in this hunt, sparked and confirmed by the year-by-year evidence of resale prices so easily accessed via a neighborhood search of prior sales. In Capitol Hill, for instance, a cursory examination of prior sales to the South of Madison, near Seattle University reveals multiple large homes form the first three decades of the 20th century which sold at prices between $150k and $250k as recently as five years ago.
Here is an example of just such a home that Vivian and I considered at the time of its’ prior sale, in 2000. It had been a rental, and was a wreck, but reasonably affordable at $250k. Today, the home is just in the process of closing at a projected $475k. Kudos to the foresighted persons who purchased and renovated the house. Knowledge of impoverished failure tastes alkaline in the mouth; impending exile looms like a freight train in the night.
I literally feel as though I am obligated to conduct this search in order to avert actual death by violence, as though I am hunted by men with guns, and I awaken in the night with soundless screams dying in my throat. Adding to my personal sense of horror at the situation is the clear evidence that the housing market here is direly inflationary, a direct result of the dramatically increased liquidity of capital for this purpose. A recurring image in my dreams is a photograph of a starving urchin in the Weimar Republic, carting the proverbial a wheelbarrow full of marks.
It will be a relief.