broadcast around the world on live television at the Oscars last night.
It's been going on for years now. 'Karens' rudely confronting people of color, or gay, or speaking a language other than English. Racists or misogynists or elder abusers hitting people on the street, pushing people off subway platforms into oncoming trains. MAGATs hurling insults at people for being in favor of various civil rights. Stalking and killing physicians who provide abortions.
Last night was a symptom of the disease that has infected our society. The joke Chris Rock told last night at Jada Pinkett Smith's expense would have been ok if she had told it on herself. If she'd said, 'don't I look like I could play the next GI Jane?', it would have been funny. But that isn't what happened. Instead, Rock insulted her, and instead of Will Smith inviting Chris Rock to take it outside or meet him at dawn with pistols as he would have in days gone by, he just immediately acted on his anger.
What happened last night was a tragedy and represented a true fall from grace. On a night when Will Smith was recognized by his peers for his performance in a film as being the best from any leading actor in any other film all year, he chose to let his anger destroy the beauty of that moment. That is a true tragedy.
It's a symptom of the breakdown of our society. We have lost our ability to react reasonably to any kind of slight or to tolerate people with whom we disagree. Frankly, I don't see how we are going to come back from this and that represents a national tragedy.
But still, despite the rapidly rising costs, demand from home buyers remains robust, with listings flying off the market and sales stronger than pre-pandemic levels.
The key metric driving these historic hikes is inventory. There were roughly 730,000 homes for sale nationwide in February, compared to 1.4 million in February 2020. Historically, inventory has generally bottomed out in December and then rebounded as sellers listed their homes in preparation for the busy spring shopping season. But this year, supply has continued to dwindle well into the new year and inventory was 11.9% lower in February than in January.
Of the 50 largest U.S. metros, those with the largest inventory deficit since 2020 are Raleigh (-69.7%), Hartford (-63%), Providence (-61.8%) and Miami (-61%). Those seeing the smallest decrease are San Francisco (-7.8%), San Jose (-17.9%) and Austin (-26.9%).
It's crazy out there and classic demand/supply dynamics. I live in Durham--adjacent to Raleigh with the largest inventory deficit since 2020--and I watch the real estate market on a regular basis. I've watched Zillow predict the value of the house I bought--to be constructed--in April 2020 rise 39% since then! Yikes. The builder of my development is getting ready to open a new phase later this summer with another 68 homes and I suspect they will be throwing darts at where to start the pricing. They are currently selling homes in nearby Cary, with starting prices for the same floor plans at more than $100K higher than where pricing started when I bought just two years ago. And most people aren't buying the bare bones houses; most of my neighbors have spent $50-100K more on upgrades!
Here's a link to another article which suggests it's going to be another two years before inventory rises to pre-pandemic levels.
Of course, Putin may have blown us all up by then.
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