Crappy Houses (was: OT - Gas to hit 4.00)

Andy Bradford amb-plug at
Mon Jun 23 21:33:25 MDT 2008

Thus said Dave Smith on Sat, 21 Jun 2008 11:41:21 MDT:

> > Higher than what? To which standard of quality are you referring?
> Perhaps you missed some of the earlier posts in the thread.

No, actually I didn't. And in fact,  I may have even agreed at one point
that the  quality of today's homes  seems less than it  was 50--60 years

> Earlier in the thread, there seemed  to be consensus that homes built 
> today are  made with  shoddy workmanship  and cheaper  materials than 
> homes of yesteryear.                                                  

Some are some aren't. Who decides?

Assuming that I am allowed to  reject your anecdotal evidence, much like
you rejected mine, let's proceed...

> Example 1:  I live in  a neighborhood  where virtually every  house is
> brick on all 4 sides. The houses  in the neighborhood range from 50 to
> 90 years-old. This was not a  high end neighborhood when it was built,
> and yet today,  you'd have to pay  premium prices to get  an all brick
> house.  ... Why  can you  not buy  such a  house today  without paying
> through the nose?

Let's see... how big  are these homes? I'm willing to  bet that they are
not much more than 1200 sq ft (probably less on average in actuality). I
imagine that if consumers wanted smaller  homes, like they were built in
the 50's,  then they could also  afford the same level  of quality. When
homes  get larger,  for  them to  stay affordable  to  the masses,  they
obviously must take  it out from somewhere (in this  case we are talking
about quality).

Here's an interesting thing to research...  how much do homes like those
in your neighborhood sell for? Compare  that to prices of new homes with
the same features, size, and lot.

> Example 2: My parents bought a large, new home 8 years ago in Northern
> Virginia in an upscale neighborhood.

1  example  of  anecdotal  evidence,  denied.  Also,  I  don't  consider
appliances part  of home  builder quality. They  don't have  to purchase
them from the  builder and they certainly don't  affect the craftmanship
put into  the home  being built.  Of course your  typical reply  will be
coming: ``they didn't have a choice.''

> Do you think consumers *want* that?

If consumers have no idea what they want they the are making the biggest
purchase in  their life, they  have no business  making it. And  if they
want to join in the home buying frenzy, buyer beware. The school of hard
knocks can be tough to get through.

> Example 3: (again from my house).

More anecdotal  evidence that can be  tossed out. How big  is your brick

> Why is this? I don't know for sure, but I have some theories:

You sure seem  pretty convinced that it is greedy  builders (and just to
make  it  sound  quasi  economic  you throw  in  ``coupled  with  higher
demand.'') And of  course builders now suck, they have  lost their touch
in creating great homes and no  longer have the skills. Shouldn't we all
be COBOL programmers; man their code was just supreme!

> Do you agree  with my examples? If so, what's  the explanation in your
> opinion?

I might agree with your examples in  that they show that some homes were
built with quality.  I don't agree that this  represents the workmanship
or quality of all homes for any  given period. But I clearly don't agree
that greedy builders are at fault. I'm of the opinion that consumers get
the quality that  they can afford. If  we all agree that  the quality of
homes has  gone down,  that might  just mean that  people can  no longer
afford higher quality homes. Or maybe  people are not as into purchasing
well built homes  thus allowing more money for other  things like boats,
RVs  and other  big ticket  items.  Maybe monetary  inflation, the  kind
generated by the Federal Reserve System, is actually harming our economy
to the point where the average affordability has gone down.

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