Dreaming of what? Of real estate.
I picked up one of those "Homes and Land of the San Fernando Valley" freebies from the supermarket. Glossy pictures of page after page of home listings. Most of the actual buildings look surprisingly modest from the outside, although their insides might boast six bedrooms and a private theater.
I've also noticed that, at least in their photos, the realtors themselves are all dolled up, very slick and glitzy. As a group, they look as though they keep the plastic surgeons of the region mighty busy. The realtors of New England are more the banker types, trying to convey the idea that they're sober and trustworthy. But the realtors of southern California resemble movie stars--or maybe TV stars, or telemarketing stars. "Stick with me and you'll be a star, too."
But the prices are a giggle, an absurdity. Over the years, I've watched them move up and up and up, but this is beyond belief. No home appears to be priced lower than about $550,000. Most of them are well above one million, and many are above two. Here's one of my absolute favorites:
GREAT STARTER HOME IN HIDDEN HILLS
Wonderful starter home on prime street in Hidden Hills. Beautiful wooded lot...Potential to build your dream estate here, great upside for developers. $1,175,000.
I know that Hidden Hills is one of those exclusive gated communities, so I suppose this represents the low end of the Hidden Hills market. But surely the phrase "starter home" is a bit of a misnomer?