In these days of economic uncertainty and panic, this local newspaper provides daily doses of surreality and fantasy. The above picture is an ‘advertorial’ emblazoned on the top page of a section on properties available to buy – most at a level not to be achieved by ordinary working mortals, should they wish to indulge their acqusitiveness so.
The current situation of the mess in the real estate market in the U.S., we are daily reminded, here in Canada by the news media, does not necessarily mean we here are headed in the same downward spiral economically. Housing prices have ‘merely adjusted or levelled’; what we now have here is a ‘buyer’s market’ with housing taking slightly longer time to sell or exchange owners. Thus, today’s article advises how to turn a temporary slow-down to advantage, and trade up to more desirable properties. The house illustrating the article is a generic design so common in new housing projects here, which are determined by marketers to be the type of structure most of us should want, if we want to be seen as upwardly mobile and of stable home economic standing.
I have been casually observing the construction of such houses in my municipality during the past few years. They are built of flimsy materials, and have all the appearance of a house of cards, if one wants to indulge one’s imagination – all surface nicety, without underpinning of much substance. Now, I know deep in my guts, that marketers want me to ‘trade-up’ to such a house, from my modest, sturdily built 1950s bungalow, which has none of the furbelows and flourishes of such a desirable edifice, and casts a suggestion that our family finances are barely adequate – i.e. we look to be struggling lower class folk. According to marketing savvy, all of us should aspire to living on streets and in houses that in reality are nothing more than Potemkin villages – false fronts of economic status achieved. Those who have been so convinced have left in their wake community after community of empty houses, untenanted and abandoned in a flight from bad investments of money they didn’t have.
What kind of house is liveable? The dream house, the tract house, the shack? When all that keeps the elements from impacting on family comfort and security is the shack – simple and secure -then the shack is liveable despite being cobbled together from different building materials. It is entirely a matter of perspective. And of aesthetics, many might opine. But does the unsatiable desire to live an aesthetic life (the parameters of which are determined by marketers) lead to greater satisfaction in living? That is for individuals to determine for themselves. It might seem that the answer to the foregoing question may be a ‘no’. Everywhere in North America people are bankrupting themselves for a dream or a fantasy of ‘better living’.