History, I believe, is the best economic indicator; which is to say if you want to know if a real estate bubble exists you can create some model – you can write a mathematical formula – to argue for or against that proposition. Or you can look to history.
You can look for rhymes, not repetitions, so to speak. You can look for patterns – you can find the patterns – by looking at what you do not see: The construction of affordable housing in cities such as New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco; a rise in personal incomes commensurate with a rise in the price of housing or the cost of living; less household debt; fewer onerous mortgages; and more economic opportunity in general.
Look at the numbers, too. Not the numbers about some economist’s theory, but the figures concerning the facts of living in any of the cities listed above, where the average one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is $3,000; $2,181 in Seattle; $2,107 in Los Angeles; and $3,684 in San Francisco.
For a recent college graduate, with an average of $37,172 in student loan debt, who takes a job with an average starting salary of $49,785, for that man or woman — for that person new to California or the Pacific Northwest, for that dreamer en route to the Big Apple (or Brooklyn), the numbers do not add up.
Barring a non-inflationary quarter of double-digit growth, barring refunds from the U.S. Treasury to tens of millions of Americans, barring some act of Congress or some unprecedented act of debt forgiveness, people of all ages need to rethink how they will live in one of the country’s four major cities; in any city in the United States.
The solution to this crisis is a shift in culture, a slight change in behavior with seismic implications (in a good way) for urban living as a whole. In a word: Roommates.
The good news is that few of us have not had, or do not already have, a roommate.
The better news is that social networks may be a gateway to resolving this matter for good.
“Social networks continue to bring people together. They make it easier to communicate, connect and do business in general,” says Steven Yos, Founder of WeRoomies.
“They also are platforms we can better customize, humanize and personalize. Technology allows us to apply these means to achieve a specific end: To offer solutions – in this case, to help users rent a room or find a roommate – that match the needs of each individual. To establish trust. To ensure transparency. To save money. To create community.”
That is sound advice, in my opinion, because history continues to happen before our very eyes.