Saturday, July 28, 2007

Are we better off today?

Are we better off today than we were 37 years ago, when I started “working”, or right after WWII, at the beginning of the 50s boom? I just think it’s nice to note some historical prices.

A house in north Arlington, VA in 1949 -- $25000 (maybe $700000 today).

A mono phonograph record in 1962 -- $4.98 (often about $3.69 when discounted), stereo a dollar more; by the mid 1970s the price was around $9; today, a CD is typically $12-20 and online downloading of music is controversial

A hotel room at the New Yorker in Manhattan in 1964 -- $9

A one bedroom apartment near Hightstown, NJ in 1970 -- $165
A one bedroom apartment in Arlington VA in 1971 -- $160 (but undercover segregation was rampant)

A water pump in a car in 1969 – about $45
A gallon of gasoline in 1970 -- $0.369 was typical for regular; the gasoline prices started to rise in 1973 after the Yom Kippur war and Arab oil embargo
A front-end alignment on a car in 1972 -- $12.50

A hotel room in the Sheraton on the 494 “strip” in Minneapolis in 1974 -- $20.50 dinner included popovers

A one bedroom apartment in Caldwell NJ in 1972 $215
An efficiency in the Cast Iron Building in New York City in 1974 $270; by 1978 a similar apt as $312.71

A one bedroom apartment in Dallas in 1979 – as low as $215

A conversion condo in Dallas in 1980 $44900 with 5% down
A new condo in Pleasant Grove in Dallas in 1984 $39990 nothing down VA but much higher interest rates; prices would plummet in the late 1980s through the 1990s and then rise again

A typical condo in Arlington VA in 2007 -- maybe $400000

A TRS-80 computer in 1981 -- $3700 -- look what has happened since

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