The Discreet Charm of Being Above Water


This is what you don’t see in San Carlos, California. The stock shot of the continuing US real estate crisis is a line of these sale signs picketing the streetfront.

Maureen and I drove the streets of San Carlos yesterday.

Not a single sign.

It is quite clear that this well-established middle-class neighbourhood has experienced the crisis in its own quiet way, avoiding the excitements of foreclosure and jingle mail.




San Carlos is an older, whiter municipality than the norm in California. Many of these folks clearly own their houses outright. And, judging from the number and range of cars crammed into driveways and lining the streets, many adult children continue to bed down in the parental abode.

Even the town mutterer rides a Diamondback and looks like Willy Nelson apart from his use of a range of hair-care products that put the cast of “Little House on the Prairie” to shame.


A mutterer in need of hair-care products.

On the upside, that median price is a high one. Clearly many outsiders continue to aspire to move into San Carlos despite the fact that you can buy a McMansion relatively nearby for less than half the price. But then again, who wants to live in a weed-strewn ghost town?

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