Not moving on up!
One of the most interesting things I have noticed living where I do now, is the almost complete lack of a 'property ladder' mentality.This term was coined to describe the continual desire or action of moving upscale in property, hence ladder. In England there is a very popular TV show of this name, which has been copied here, and follows people as they work hard to move up the property ladder.England is obsessed with continually upgrading the property you own, either by renovation or moving up. But then the British property market has been the best possible investment you could make for as long as I can remember. In the 7 years I owned my property there, it more than doubled in value. Many people have long viewed their continual move up the property ladder, as their guaranteed pension in later years.Well with the economic crisis this is no longer the case and now many homeowners there are facing negative equity and repossession. I came from a wealthy area of England and over the years have seen many friends keep moving up, forever increasing their mortgage and now I worry for them.But it's very different here in northwest Okieland. I just don't see many people moving because it's 'the thing' to have a bigger or newer house. People move because it's necessary; their work moves, they need more space, they want to own rather than rent. Once people are in an ideally sized or suitable home, they just stay there for years. Rather than wanting to go bigger and have a larger mortgage, their aim is to pay off their mortgage and be debt free. I find this an interesting difference, especially having been a Realtor/Estate Agent and also managed repossessions for banks in the past.Part of the reason is the wages here don't really allow for moving on up for most. But also property values stay at a reasonable level and don't make huge increases. Some might see this as a disadvantage; having been on both sides of this fence, I totally disagree. It is far healthier I think to find your home, get it paid off and then if needed, invest your money making it better - at least it's yours and not the banks!In some ways the fall in property values may turn out to be a good thing longterm. Property values in many places had got totally out of synch with wages, meaning people had no choice but to take 90% or higher mortgages. First time buyers have found it almost impossible to buy a property and this needs to change.The Hubster and I live in our ideal home, it's the right size and more importantly it's ours, not the banks. Nothing could tempt us to move up and take on another mortgage, this is our home for life now. When we make improvements we do it for us, for our future, not to increase it's imminent resale value!It will be interesting to see, whether this economic recession causes people to go back to a more old-fashioned way of thinking on property. Our grandparents would live in the same house for decades and be satisfied. I am not sure this is a mindset the 'credit' generation can truly embrace.From what I see here, people are able to make better choices in life. Mothers are able to stay home, stress levels seem lower, and there is little peer pressure to move on up and have a huge mortgage.Back in England I'd have been paying a mortgage probably well into my fifties. Now I am mortgage free at 42 and in a much nicer home.Bigger is not always better, especially if you can't sleep easy at night!