pricetags: Astonishing how this story finds its parallels in Vancouver, San Francisco and other cities attracting world capital.

Guardian

The air of unreality about these hip house floggers is entirely fitting. House prices are unreal. Ridiculous. Every day there are stories about the insanity of our current housing crisis, but it goes on and on. We laugh at images of what are basically cupboards for sale or rent. We cry or sigh with identification at the tales of young folk who can never really leave home.

Except that some are not so young. Fortysomethings are having to move back in with their parents after marital bust-ups or because they no longer manage their own housing costs, the so-called “doomerang generation”. …

What does it now mean to be an adult if the old markers of adulthood become out of reach? Levels of home ownership are in decline. We now have a fully fledged caste system delineated by property.

This is happening in the US, too. Wages for under-30s are going down. International surveys indicate that what millennials crave is job security. Lack of security also means delaying that other marker of maturity – having a baby – often indefinitely. All over the world, women are choosing not to procreate. This is entirely understandable. Why would women have children when their jobs are not secure? Many younger women feel their choices have been absolutely narrowed.

A global downturn has meant that many of the foundation stones that we used to mark adulthood have been dug up, so that everything feels a bit shaky.

 

Full column here.