As surely as many bad things pertain to our current global depression, it has had a twofold benefit for me personally. Mind you, I am little fond of the decimation of my retirement accounts or the continuing unemployment of my significant other. Still, I am a renter in L.A., and one has to see some redemption in the free-fall of rental prices (even if they are not, perhaps, quite so rapid as those of underlying property values).
I just moved to a new apartment a few days ago. As with most moves, it was accompanied by endless fretting over finding just the right place, with advantages and drawbacks of each one. Quite a few candidates went through the mill, in various neighborhoods (but generally roughly West Side). The ultimate result was renting a Fairfax District place, 400 feet away from our prior apartment…with similar size and architecture, but at $2650 for a 3BR rather than $3500.
The obvious advantage here is, well, it cost a lot less money. We got a perfectly good deal when we started renting the other place 2 years ago; but in today’s market, the prior place was simply overpriced.
Which arrives at the second advantage, also not to be neglected: schadenfreude over the “plight” of the owning classes. Prior to moving, we suggested to our landowner that we would be happy to continue renting at a reduced rate of $3000/mo. With a sense of arrogant entitlement, she insisted that she “could not afford” to collect less rent than our prior amount, it apparently being the moral duty of tenants to buy a house for her.
Especially living so close by, there is a joy in seeing the continuing “For rent” sign on the lawn of the old place, with a slowly dropping purported rental amount listed on it. My guess is that after a month vacant, she’ll arrive at the fair-market amount of $3000, and rent the place. As with most situations, I do not see schadenfreude in this matter as the venal sin or guilty pleasure that so many misguided moralists might. As long as one does not cause, nor even desire to cause, equitable suffering, pleasure in its observation seems a noble endeavor.