Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everyone is having tough time

I was talking to my friend on the phone last night. I met her at a park near my house past spring. She was with her daughter and I was with mine. She came up to me and asked if her daughter could play with my Ju Ju & Soapy. I said, "Of course" and we've been friends since.

She moved from California with her only daughter after divorcing her then-husband. She is a single mom and has been struggling to be on her feet. She came to FL to live with her father and step-mom to star a new life which isn't going so well for her.

Anyway, she told me last night that there is 95% chance that she is moving back (btw, when you say 95%, do you call it a "chance?" It sounds to more like a definite plan!) to Minnesota where she is originally from. Her mother and all her relatives are there. She's been staying with her dad, but she's been wanting to move out and get her own place. But then, with the economy we're in and the money she makes wouldn't allow her to do it.

I kinda said, "But rent here isn't that bad and it wouldn't make that much of difference from Minnesota, no?" Her answer was a big "OH NO, IT DOES".

Me: Really? How much?

Friend T: I only paid $46 a month for daycare there. The rent was $420.

Me: What????? Really? I mean I thought $1000 for two bedrooms is cheap.

Friend: If you're used to living in Florida.

Me: But you lived in California before Florida. California is expensive.

Friend: Yeah, but I had a husband then..

Me: oh.......

I am not making fun of Minnesota, I am just amazed how cheap that state is to live!! Wait, if I remember, this house in Iowa was really cheap (I'm talking about a house Julia Roberts rents after running away from her psycho husband in Sleeping with Enemy. She only paid $600 for that beautiful house. A huge house. Well, it was in early 90's. Does that count?).

When I say to people that I moved from Hawaii, they all say, "Aww such a beautiful place. Why did you move? But I heard it's expensive to live there..."

I had never realized how high the cost of living was when I lived in Hawaii because I was so used to the lifestyle. I thought that's how it is everywhere until I moved to Florida four years ago. People were right about "Hawaii is expensive" theory and statement. Florida is cheap compare to Hawaii, maybe not a lot when you buy produce, but dairy products, it does get expensive in Hawaii.

When we moved back to the island 2 1/2 years ago, we realized that it was the most expensive time to live in Hawaii. The housing market was booming and many people wanted to live in the beautiful islands. The rent was expensive and food shopping was expensive. We got used to Florida's lifestyle then (cost of living wise), so I kept saying, "oh my god, it's expensive," everytime I went to grocery shopping.

But I guess you'd get used to it again, learn to adjust and start to feel comfortable again with Hawaii's way of life. It was unfortunate that JT got sick and had to move back to Florida because I truly miss Hawaii. I so long for the day when we can move back there someday..

Here is the comparison between three states I resided for the past four years.

-If you are in Hawaii, you'd pay about $1200 - $1900 for two bedrooms now for a decent place, depends on where you live (although I hear from my family and friends that market is slowing down and rent is falling.)

- When we were in NJ last year for nine months, we paid $2400 for two bedroom townhouse. Yup, absolutely RIDICULOUS. But that's what we did and many people do. We could buy a house for paying that much. NJ is beautiful, but expensive - I didn't see any difference living in Hawaii or NJ.

- Florida's housing market is horrible. It's great for people who rent because it's very cheap now. You can rent nice 2 bedrooms for $900 - $1200.

The condo we own here in SRQ, we bought it three years ago for $210k as an investment when the market was super HOT! Now look what happened in FL. It's one of the three worst states in housing market. Funny how things pun out. Now we're living in it and JT and I don't even want to know how much our place is worth because we know we won't be able to sell it for a loooooooong time. JT paid off our mortgage this summer because he was already losing money and he knew that we're not going to be able to flip it anymore. Oh my goodnees, so many people are filing for foreclosures here in FL. It's really sad..

So, the question to you everyone:

How much are you guys paying for your rent/mortgages? I'm sure it depends where you live, but what would be the average for 2 bedrooms? I know living in NYC, LA, Chicago or SF can be very expensive... But what about other states? Can you beat Minnesota's $420?


Franco said...

I can see how hawaii is expensive, it's a SMALL and beautiful place where everybody wnats to live.
here in GA we pay $950 for a thee bedroom apartment/condo.

BakerGirl said...

A one bedroom in a nice part of town and newer construction will run around 900 for a one bedroom. Baton Rouge has an odd housing market. However, when I tried to make it work in New Orleans that 900 got you a pretty crappy 450 square feet in an old, not maintained building.

Carrin said...

Maki, I can only tell what I know from living in the mid-west (Nebraska). Here goes;
The 2600 square foot home my ex and I owned cost us $1300/month. That got us 3+ bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a full basement and a 2 car garage! According to friends that was expensive.
Now Todd and I bought a home that was up for foreclosure. We have fixed up almost every room in the house ourselves. It is now a 5 bedroom house with a full finished basement that we pay $750/month for. It was cheap but we put ALOT of money into fixing it up.

LadyStyx said...

We're not in the best neighborhood, but not the worst either. The rent on our 3 bedroom townhouse is close to $1000...but the place is in rough shape and it takes the landlord FOREVER to fix anything if it isnt an emergency (the heating was fixed in one day while the vanity in the bathroom took them 8 MONTHS!). If you want to live in some of the even cheaper places, there's a long waiting list and if you shoot for the more upscale neighborhoods....well forget it. Why? Because the one bedroom (800 sq ft) apartment that was our corporate housing until we got into our own place....ran $1200 a month!! Shall I repeat...that was for a ONE bedroom. Now granted, it was near public transport (communter train) but still... and then on top of everything you need the renter's insurance and many places INSIST that you have it within a month of renting from them.

The Rambler said...

$1475 for a 2 bedroom 1 bath 750 sq ft. townhome. Secured/pool/tot park...but man, what I pay here I could have a beautiful 4 bedroom house with a yard in Cali by my cousins house....GRRRR...but, Hawaii is my home, my family...

Nicole Marie said...

San Francisco: studio- $1400
2 bedroom: $3500+
(in my neighborhood at least)

I told a tourist on the trolley this one day and I think she almost passed out. She was from the midwest.

ka1t_lyn said...

Wow, I don't own my own place (or rent) but these are some outrageous numbers to me. My mom rented a three bedroom, two bath, finished basement, fenced in yard, with a sun room house for $1200/month. No way I'd pay that much (or more) for an apartment. I'm in metro Detroit (and not a bad area really).

Bayjb said...

Um I don't know any non-student housing in Minnesota that was $420 that wasn't scary or a cave. That's not appropriate for kids. I know it's a tough time but you have to weigh the positives and negatives.

Maki said...

Franco: Wow, that's really cheap! I've heard that GA is a very nice place to live because of the land and how reasonable to rent or buy any type of house.

BakerGirl: Um, it sounds like Florida before housing market tunked. It's kind of expensive, isn't it?

Carrin: Really??? 5 bedroom house for $750???? Granted, you've invested a lot of money fixing it up, but still that's REALLY cheap! I'm so jealous!!!

LadyStyx: $1200 for one bedroom is kind of expensive, isn't it? $1000 for 3 bedroom is not that bad though.. It's so interesting depends on where you live the rent fluctuate.

The Rambler: Yep, that sounds about right - do you live in town? We rented 2 bedroom house on the North Shore for $1500 which was pretty good at the time. Including lanai, the place was 1600 sq ft. And yes, it doesn't matter if the place is small or big, you are in Hawaii - that's best.

Nicole Marie: I know how expensive it is to live there. I used to live in Berkeley and it was expensive then. My best friend (my maid of honor) bought 2 bedroom condo with her sister and they paid 500k!!! Crazy!!!

kat1_lyn: It's so interesting to know that different states/cities have different idea of how much is appropriate for rent..

Bayjb: I talked to my friend today and she told me that she was on low-income program where she only needed to pay 30% of income for rent and it fluctuate; depends on the income? Does that make sense?

Sarah said...

Seriously? $420 in MN? Was that 10 years ago? My rent for a 1 BR at a not so nice place, 20 miles outside of the city, was $800. And it was TINY! I hope your friend isn't let down when she comes back and realizes that it isn't as cheap as when she left.

I paid $350 for a 1 BR dump of a place 200 miles north of Minneapolis 10 years ago...those were the days!

If only owning a home wasn't so high priced I would stop renting. :)

Punkn said...

Very interesting post. I wandered over from Ladystyx's place. I think Missouri is kind of middle of the road. We have lived in our home for 29 years, so I really have no clue what rental is here. Of course it would depend on whether in the rural area or metropolitan areas.

Riff Dog said...

Los Angeles really depends on the neighborhood. I think in bad areas, you could probably rent a 2-bedroom apartment for $1,000 or so. Nicer areas will get expensive quick.

Middle class neighborhoods, probably minimum $2,000, with most between $2,500 and $3,000, but I'm just guessing. Luckily we bought a long time ago and our mortgage is only $2,500/month. Our new neighbors pay triple that.

Anna Lorraine said...

i live in nyc, the rent here is insane!!! well i guess it depends on the area also. 2 bdrm apt can go up to $2500 (depending on the location) and if you're lucky a decent apt with 2 bdrms usually go for $1200-$1500

Maki said...

sarah: yeah I asked her and she told me that she will go to subdivion that offers low income housing. They fluctuate depends on how much she makes, I guess. I hope she'll be happy there.

Punkn: Hello. Yes, it totally depends on the suburb or metro area, right? Thank you so much for stopping by - hope to see you again!

Riff Dog: Really, I know LA is crazy expensive. My friend lives in LA and she rents 2 bed for $3200. She owns her business, so she is fine with it, but expensive!!! Triple of $2500 is really eye popping crazy!

Anna Loraine: I know the rent there is insane!! My hubs cousin lives in West Village - she just bought a condo there and her place is only 1 bedroom and it's 750k! That's insane!!!!!! Although I'd love to live in NYC and call myself a New Yorker once in my lifetime:)

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