Inflation is so low that it’s too low.
At least that’s what numerous experts, including Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, keep telling us.
Just don’t expect anybody trying to buy or rent a place to live to buy that pitch — especially in these skyrocketingproperty-values parts.
To illustrate that painful price point:
In 1991, a local man and his wife bought — well, put a little money down and borrowed the rest — a three-bedroom house in a nice (but not fancy) Mount Pleasant neighborhood for $99,000.
According to a Monday result from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI Inflation Calculator, $99,000 in 1991 equals $174,620.88 in 2016.
OK, so according to the government website, that number “represents changes in prices of all goods and services purchased for consumption by urban households.”
What that alleged cost of living curiously does not represent is the cost of where you’re living.
OK, so Charleston was officially certified last week as the “World’s Best City” by Travel + Leisure magazine. Thus, it’s inevitable that supply-and-demand forces boost housing costs in and around the Holy City.
Still, affordable housing — make that unaffordable housing — is an intensifying problem throughout most of the nation, despite the 2008 mortgage meltdown triggered by too many people buying too many houses they couldn’t really afford.
Meanwhile, in the aforementioned nice (but not fancy) Mount Pleasant neighborhood where that married couple purchased that three-bedroom house for less than 100 grand a quarter century ago, similar joints have been going for at least $360,000 lately.
That’s more than twice the aforementioned, inflation-calculated $174,620.88.
Economic-stats-savvy Post and Courier colleague David Slade reported on Sunday’s front page that Mount Pleasant’s “older, smaller houses are increasingly being purchased for the land they sit upon, then torn down and replaced with grander dwellings.”
And: “With median prices north of $400,000, the middle class workforce is increasingly being priced out.”
At least the net worth of those who own local property has climbed.
Then again, so have their tax and insurance bills.
Another ever-elevating expense not factored into the Consumer Price Index:
The escalating tab of attending sporting events, including the so-called amateur variety played by many American colleges.
From the June 23 Post and Courier: “A master plan for Citadel athletics facilities approved by the Board of Visitors calls for more than $33 million in improvements and new buildings.”
From the Spring edition of Clemson World: “The new 140,000 square foot, $55 million (football complex) project, located next to the indoor practice facility and existing practice fields, will be financed completely by the athletic department and IPTAY, including $19.5 million of athletic revenue bonds, along with private support.”
From GamecockCentral.com on June 11: The University of South Carolina athletic department “borrowed $47 million in bonds to construct the new football operations building adjacent to the indoor practice facility located in the southwest parcel of Gamecock Park. USC estimates debt service payments for (Fiscal Year) 2016-17 will be $11.80 million. When construction of the football operations building begins in 2017, athletic department debt rises to $194.60 million.”
And the cost of parking at many college games rose long ago far above what used to be the cost of admission.
But hey, this newspaper’s still a bargain — particularly with those money-saving coupons in the Sunday edition.
1) Name who offered this defense when a reporter, implying skewed priorities, pointed out that he was being paid more than our nation’s president: “I know, but I had a better year than Hoover.”
2) Name who says: “A-B-C. A — Always, B — Be, C — Closing. Always be closing, always be closing. “
3) Name who said: “I don’t believe I knew anything about any of these real estate parcels and projects.”
4) Name who said: “It’s tangible, it’s solid, it’s beautiful. It’s artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate.”
1) Babe Ruth said that in 1930 after his salary rose to $80,000, eclipsing President Herbert Hoover’s $75,000.
2) Blake (played by Alec Baldwin), a badgering braggart called in to motivate phone-pitch real estate salesmen, says that in the 1992 movie “Glengarry Glen Ross,” based on the David Mamet play.
3) Hillary Clinton said that in May 1995 when questioned by Resolution Trust Corporation attorneys about the Whitewater land deal.
4) Donald Trump said that in 2002 on PBS’ “Wall Street Week with Fortune.”
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.