San Francisco: “Will Losing Your Home Kill You?” by Doc Gurley, San Francisco Chronicle, November 23, 2010
If you work in a homeless clinic, every so often you’re going to see a Mike. He’s easy to spot in the waiting room because his clothes are too business-y and nice. But there is always some detail that gives him away. This time, it’s his hair that’s mashed up in back and he doesn’t seem to know it. Three months ago he went through a divorce and lost his house to the IRS. For two months, he’s been living out of his car, wheeling and dealing, trying to put something together, sponge-bathing in public toilets. He came in because he’s recently lost his car, and then his phone, and you get the feeling he waited two hours to be seen mostly hoping you’ll let him use a clinic phone to make a bunch of calls. He can’t really say why he’s here, his speech is pressured and he’s only got a roll of blankets to keep him warm and he’s vibrating with stress, his hoarse voice rising as he describes his life, how his back is killing him, how he can’t sleep, and you notice that his hands are shaking.
Nation: “10 U.S. cities where renting rules,” by Claire Bradley, MSNBC Real Estate, November 19, 2010
We’re all aware that the housing market, well, stinks right now. With an excess of supply and lowered demand, it’s a buyer’s market — but is that true everywhere? Here are 10 cities where renting rules, and why you’re better off writing your landlord a check than taking on a mortgage.
1. New York
Average List Price: $1,879,000
New York: if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, right? That certainly holds true for real estate, because the average home price in the Big Apple is nearly $2 million. Rent is high too, but it still makes more sense than owning a home: According to Trulia, New York City’s rent-to-buy index is 35, meaning that it would take 35 years of renting before you match homeowners’ expenses. That rent check may make you cringe, but it beats paying a mortgage in New York.