My Thoughts

The old guy is a homeowner and has been since the 1970s. The last time Insider rented he was a teen-ager living in Baltimore. The old guy and a buddy rented a rowhouse in the Hampden area after graduating from high school and before entering the Navy. It was on what is called “The Avenue” today and just a block away from where all those crazy people decorate their homes with gaudy Christmas lights, illuminating the sky for blocks. Back then, rent was around $120 per month. Insider hit the road when the landlord bumped it up to $200. After a few years as a sailor, he purchased his first apartment for $35,000 in this very beach town.

Rental prices have come a long way. A quick look at the classifieds today shows the following monthly prices: $500, $750, $850, $1,250, $1,500 and $2,250. Apparently there are seasonal (three months) places available in Ocean City for $3,500 and others for $6,000. It’s pretty remarkable, considering most of them have very little to offer. Insider has no idea how the young people who are renting these places can afford them. The only way is reliance upon their parents, who undoubtedly have their own mortgages to pay and most likely are facing huge payments.

Insider checked around with some of his neighbors the other day and was informed their mortgage payments range from $800 to $3,000 per month. It seems highly unlikely any of these folks could fork over another $1,000 per month to put up their kid in a rental elsewhere, but somehow they do it. Perhaps that’s why they are starting to get foreclosure notices in the mail.

Foreclosures have once again become household terms around here because of the real estate situation. It seems a few years back some property owners went with adjustable-rate mortgage and other short-term, quick-fix measures. They are now paying the piper for that approach and subsequently are in over their heads. The mortgage of $1,200 is now $2,500 and it’s put them in the red. A recent study showed that in Maryland the number of foreclosures in Maryland increased 326 percent in March compared to the same time period last year. That’s serious business and shows there’s nothing wrong with taking that solid, long-term, safe 15- or 30-year mortgage.

All this goes on while teenagers and college students make minimum wage plus tips waiting on tourists part-time and partying full-time and their parents are home dreading those huge payments due at the end of every month and looking at $35,000 per year to send a punk to college. Meanwhile, the old guy just got a big Social Security check in the mail. Something just does not seem right.