I just discovered (via Jonathon Delacour) the The Women’s Quarterly. They have a great article about post-dot-com-boom living, “It’s So Unfair!”:
This summer Bruce and Cathy put their house on the market for a million dollars. It may shock the reader to hear the house is not worth a million dollars. It is a $175,000 two-bedroom Cape, onto which Cathy and Bruce added two extra floors and four extra bedrooms. Those bedrooms, while not obvious desiderata for a family of three, should bring the asking price up to half a million dollars. But what of the other half mil? Well, just add up the appliances, brand new in 1998, and Cathy and Bruce probably paid that much for them. There’s a gas grill that costs as much as a Mercedes (“Grill conveys,” reads a taped-on sign) and a Sub-Zero freezer with appliances that match it perfectly. (“Freezer conveys.” “Toaster conveys.” “Juicer conveys.”) And much more. It’s a half-million- dollar house and a half-million-dollar yard sale.
The price tag has nothing to do with appraisals, of course, and everything to do with what Bruce and Cathy see as justice. They expect to live as secure as socialists in an economy that has enriched them as capitalists. They do not believe in the Law of Supply and Demand. They believe in the Divine Right of Real Estate and Stock Appreciation.