It’s All Real-ative

On Saturday, Mindy, Rachel, Talos and I, had fun joining thousands of North Carolinians checking out the Greater Greensboro Builder Association’s 2007 Parade of Homes. We visited many impressive houses during the day, but the jewel of the parade was the 8600 sq. ft. property from R&K who’s listing price was $1.5 million. Houses in this range are always impressive, but this one stood out from all others in recent memory.

Obviously $1.5 mil. for a home is much more than 95% of us can afford. The house at Toscana Trace featured three full kitchens, a basement “playground” including a movie quality home theater, home gym, full bar, billiard room, wine cellar and a patio that was both huge and beautiful. Hundreds of people were filing in and out of the house admiring every aspect of it. We heard “ooohs” and “aaahhs” the entire time and left in a state of amazement. $1.5 million dollars evidently gets you a heckva lot of very cool house these days. That is unless you live someplace like, oh say, California.

I had been posting some picts of the house on Twitter Saturday night and friend Arlo Rose responded that the price tag of $1.5 mil. barely gets you a foot in the door in California. I knew prices there were high from Craig, who lives in Laguna Beach. But after a bit of research, I really wasn’t prepared to learn just how much the people of California pay just for the privilege of living on the west coast.

This 1040 sq. ft. home in sunny Palo Alto that Arlo sent me lists for almost the exact same price at the 8600 sq. ft. mansion in Summerfield. Yes, you read that right, this 2 bedroom home is only 1040 square feet. Its kitchen is about the same size as the Toscana home’s screened-in porch. If you’d like to see what passes for a “Patio” in California, just click here. Step out the back door, take 12 paces and you’re nose to nose with your neighbor’s fence. Not exactly the sprawling back yard one had hoped for. Click the image to the left to get a detailed view of the house’s “master bath” where the toilet is evidently 3 inches from the jetted tub.

People who live in California will tell you they wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I think all that sunshine is starting to go to their head. How else do you explain people wanting to live where wild fires and mud slides happen at the drop of a hat? Who cares about the high cost of living when you’ve got earthquakes to worry about? Sure NC gets the occasional hurricane every now and then, but the Triad itself is far enough from the coast not to have to lose any sleep. North Carolina may not be nearly as glamorous as sunny CA, but our beaches are just as pretty, we’ve got wonderful mountains and friendly people. I might just be a crazy “hick”, but if I actually had $1.5 mil. burning a hole in my pocket, I’d rather have a house like the one on Toscana Trace. Maybe that’s just me.


  1. In the interest of being complete, I should point out that Palo Alto is one of the more expensive areas up here. And that Southern California has a very different set of cost issues than Northern California. (I still don’t understand why we’re not two states).

    For example, I paid in the ball-park of that Palo Alto house last year for a house on the border of Mountain View and Los Altos… it’s a little over 2000 square feet, and I have a pretty nice back yard. The master bath alone is the size of my first apartment’s living room (which makes me laugh every time I think of it)… but it’s not anything like the house in Toscana Trace.

    Trying to find a house that was the equivalent of the Toscana Trace one, I ran into a few that came close, and all were in the 14 mil range, one of them that was similar, but had a pool and was an additional third as big, was 28 mil.

    That Palo Alto place really blew my mind though. Pure insanity. In a couple months I’m tempted to go knocking on the door and see what fool bought the place. I’d also be curious to see if the cost goes down before it sells.

  2. Arlo, I’m sure there are parts of California that are *much* cheaper, but on the whole, the cost of living there is so much higher than NC its just scary.

    Of course, along with higher costs go higher wages, so aptly, its all relative. I never can figure out however, where all the NC people who can afford $800K-$1.5mil houses work in the Triad. I mean we have the RTP to the east, but as far as I know, nothing on the order of Oracle or Apple… so where do these rich NC people come from? Are they commuting from Greensboro to Raleigh or Virginia or what? Hope someone knows.

  3. There’s SAS in Cary, but that’s a Triangle gig, by and large.

    I know that the beneficiaries of the Richardson-Vicks fortune still remain in some numbers, and I would imagine that the move of Lorillard’s HQ from New York probably bought some big (real-estate) spenders, though I haven’t actually looked into the question.

Comments are closed.