Because your neighbors got it made
Just remember that it’s a Grand illusion
And deep inside we’re all the same.
We’re all the same…
The Grand Illusion — Styx
I find pretense very distasteful. There is a large subculture in Southern California that expends a great deal of money and energy trying to make other people think they are happy and successful. It is an illusion they cultivate within themselves.
Status is an internal perception about what people believe other people think about them. It has nothing to do with what other people actually do think about them (as if that mattered anyway).
For instance, I think the women on the Real Housewives of Orange County are soulless, gold-digging slags. My derision is only eclipsed by my disrespect for the way they live, what they believe, and what they represent. However, they think I, and everyone else who knows them through the show, believes they are something special, something to envy as if they really have it “going on.” They have status. Not because people regard them highly, but because they think people do. But I digress…
For people who don’t have the internal strength to base their self worth on what they believe about themselves, they end up basing their self worth on their perceptions of what other people think about them. Once they have given their power away to others in this manner, people will expend tremendous amounts of time, energy and money in a vain attempt to influence other people — hence we have fancy cars, opulent houses, designer clothing, and all the other trappings of conspicuous consumption. In my opinion, this is a sickness (their mind control fails on me.) It is a consuming disease which fed on the borrowed money made available during the housing/credit bubble.
Southern California’s prosperity over the last 7 years has been The Grand Illusion. Our entire economy has been built on borrowed money; our collective self worth has been built on borrowed money. As the credit crunch takes hold and our economy contracts, it will not just be difficult on people financially, it will also be difficult on them emotionally because many people will be forced to abandon their illusions of wealth, prosperity and happiness. One day with their vanity stripped from them, some of the most pretentious will look in the mirror and see how pathetic and insecure they really are.
Purchase Price: $572,040
Purchase Date: 5/29/2007
Sq. Ft.: 1,381
$/Sq. Ft.: $452
Lot Size: 5,000 sq. ft.
Year Built: 1974
Type: Single Family Residence
On Redfin: 39 days
From Redfin, “THREE BEDROOM TWO BATH HOME IN THE SOUGHT TRACT OF ‘THE COLONY’ THIS HOME IS IN ONE OF THE VERY BEST CITIES IN ORANGE COUNTY, IRVINE!! GREAT SCHOOLS, PARKS, CLOSE TO ENTERTAINMENT, TRANSPORTATION AND ALL THE GOOD STUFF. ASSOCIATION POOL AND MORE. THIS HOME IS BEING SOLD ‘AS-IS’ AND ‘WHERE-IS’ WITHOUT WARRANTY. COME HOME TO IRVINE TODAY AND START LIVING THE ‘O. C. ‘ LIFESTYLE TODAY!”
Even the banks seem to have a CAPS LOCK problem.
As you have probably noticed, we are starting to see an increased activity among banks to liquidate their REOs. Unfortunately, they are getting them faster than they are selling them. This is a trend that will likely continue.
Think back to the mass delusion that was the bubble: it was the Grand Illusion. People accepted the absurd as unquestioned truth. Does it seem reasonable that banks would continually offer negative amortization loans with 1% teaser rates; that it would be possible to refinance from one to another as each teaser rate period expired? Is it logical to think serial refinancing could go on forever? I had people tell me this was the new paradigm.
Is it logical to think that real estate can only go up in value? Do you remember the thought experiment in this post: How Sub-Prime Lending Created the Housing Bubble? Does it make sense that you could live off the appreciation of your house; that none of us would actually have to produce anything; that all we would have to do is own real estate to make a living? How can such silly beliefs make it into our collective consciousness? Are we so enamored with our fantasies of wealth that common sense can be ignored?
I don’t have any answers for you. I never did drink the kool aid, so I cannot fully empathize with this system of belief. Each of you that suffered from these delusions, even for a brief time, will have to answer those questions for yourself.
You will have to pardon my ranting and sermonizing today. Sometimes the insanity of it all builds up inside of me until it finds an outlet — generally on this blog. Remember, I still have my Reservoir of Schadenfreude I am trying to empty.
This concludes another week at the Irvine Housing Blog. My motivation is strong, and my energy level is high, so I will keep on keeping on. I hope you come back next week as we continue to Chronicle ‘the seventh circle of real estate hell.’ Have a great weekend.
The artwork was by Henri Mattise as a reference to the street name. I don’t know who designed the cover of the Styx album, but the similarities in styles was an interesting coincidence.