So I went to see a luxury apartment for sale today. The place was 65 sq m and the asking price was 350K. (Yes, that would be 5.4K a meter, you are not misreading this).
The visit depressed me for the rest of the afternoon.
It depressed me because what was on offer would cost 70K down plus 1100 a month in interest; and was about 4K per meter more (yes, 3.5 x more) than some of the used, non-luxury apartments just next door; yet there was nothing luxury about it at all. The flooring was man-made fiber carpet; and the cabinetry was flimsy, hollow-sounding faux wood -- there was neither teak nor marble anywhere in sight. And while the place was packed with useless gizmos -- central vacuum, central heating, electric operated shutters, built-in centrally operated sound system, frames for LCD displays everywhere; yet, the rooms were small, the ceilings low (and made even lower by hung ceiling installed to receive the must-have recessed lights that are all the rage), the terrace was too small to eat on, and the noise from the traffic outside made double pane windows necessary, which in turn necessitated climatization.
Climatization! In this city!
To make things worse, everything was in the square style: glass table tops and stainless steel furniture and harsh-lights -- whoever lives there will no doubt eat of square white (or black) plates using inconvenient but very sharp utensils. It was all cold, angular, sharp-edged and calculated for discomfort - knobs with which to stabs one's fingers, etc. The concept appears to be one of Emergency Room.
Yet, the building was nearly all sold out: I was looking at the last two units available. People are buying this stuff; and paying real, hard-earned money for it. And clearly believe that central vacuum is luxury. And then move in and start feeling funny; and can't figure out why: they seem to have everything yet something seems lacking in their lives.