In a recent email, Deb shared her thoughts about buying a home.
I just finished reading Stop Acting Rich, and it reminded me of something. . . . My . . .husband and I . . . bought a house. . . . The housing market was down . . . and we were looking in a blue-collar area because he needed to move into [a specific] school district . . . There was a tiny development of new construction, and we got a new four-bedroom colonial . . . . . . . later, a coworker of mine started to look for a house with her fiance. She showed up for work in tears because they couldn’t afford a nice house. “I want a house like yours,” she said, but was only looking in upper class neighborhoods. I told her that she could afford something better if she would buy in a blue-collar neighborhood like mine. She was so offended by this prospect that she refused to speak to me for a week!
Perhaps Deb’s friend would have a more realistic perception of the so-called “upper class” neighborhood if she had heard Bruce Springsteen’s recent interview on PBS.
Bruce Springsteen, the rock superstar, is equally great as a songwriter. To be a great writer, one must have a gift to perceive and explain the pulse and temperament of his/her audience. I believe that part of Springsteen’s talent is a function of his upward movement through four social classes. In the interview, Mr. Springsteen discussed his working class background. Paraphrasing the interviewer, “Well, today, with your success you have a lot more nice neighbors than you had when you were growing up on the poor side of town.” Mr. Springsteen said that he had found some jerks in every neighborhood he had lived in from the bluest of the blue collar to the those filled with expensive mansions.
Ms. H, the #1 seller of mansions in a major metropolitan area, agrees with Mr. Springsteen’s observations. She has found that some sellers are motivated because their next door neighbor is anything but neighborly, i.e. noisy, disrespectful of property lines, neglectful of property and home, etc.
It is one of the great affluent “myths” that people who live in expensive neighborhoods are superior to those who don’t. Just as one example, as stated in Stop Acting Rich, there are nearly three times more millionaire households living in homes valued at less than $300,000 [1,138,000] than there are living in homes valued at $1M or more [403,211].