The WSJ Mansion Section May Be of the People, But It’s Not For the People

It is one of the more well-known lines from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address:

government of the people, by the people, for the people, …”

Those words, well at least some of them. came rushing back to me as I looked through this week’s Real Estate section of the Wall Street Journal. fittingly known as The Mansion.

And the words did not come back to me in the way Lincoln intended.

Here are some of the titles for this week’s articles:

  • Following Bidding War, Montana Ranch to Sell for Around Its $136.25 Million Asking Price
  • For Sale in Santa Barbara: 3,200 Acres of Land for $75 Million
  • For $25 Million, the Gilded Manhattan Townhomes of a Wall Street Heavyweight
  • Once Asking $58 Million, a Private Equity Scion’s West Hollywood Penthouse Hits the Auction Block

While these stories may have been written by the people, and the houses built by the people, they are certainly NOT for the people.

My guess is that 99% of the readers of the WSJ cannot afford to buy these houses; so why would such houses be so promintently featured?

I’m sure part of it can be explained by the popularity of shows such as “Lifestyles of the the Rich and Famous”. And part of it could be motivational; there may be many readers of the WSJ who someday want to live in such houses.

It’s hard not to look at the photos that sometimes accompany these articles and daydream what it would be like to live in such a house.

But it would be helpful if every once in a while the editors of The Mansion threw the commonfolk a bone, and listed a house that was just five or six figures in price.

Imagine how good it would make you feel to read about a house you might actually be able to afford…

83 thoughts on “The WSJ Mansion Section May Be of the People, But It’s Not For the People

  1. Maybe these estates are so expensive because they have to pay for all that exposure on the WSJ. Anyway, I know someone who wouldn’t mind if you were to buy a beach house for her.

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      1. Sooo I think Tippy made a good point about the someone he knows. Beach houses are much more affordable than these mansions! I think it would be a great investment for you to do for this kind person! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. I suppose people like to fantasize, but when it’s so far out of the norm, can anyone except the 1% take it seriously? I suppose it takes all kinds. I know there is a show called Naked and Afraid. 🀣

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  3. We either like to drool or perhaps we enjoy feeling righteous that we are living in a humble abode – an antidote to the guilt we feel at having a home at all! One of our programmes is called ‘Escape to the Country’ – obviously everyone can’t escape to the countryside or it wouldn’t be the countryside any more. The smug people in the programmes not only ‘need’ to escape, they need far more room and rooms than ordinary folk. They stand in front of a country mansion and turn their nose up because the converted stables are not large enough for their ‘studio’ in which they will be creating anything from ice sculptures to wrought iron gates for other people with too much money!

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  4. Those ads torment the vast majority, and I’d be surprised if the tiny percentage who could afford such expensive homes or their real estate agents even bothered to look at WSJ in doing a home search. Maybe the ridiculously expensive homes are there just to attract attention to the more reasonably priced ones.

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  5. it seems to me that the ‘mansions’ are generally a way to show off one’s wealth or success. how many rooms, acres, extras, and fine materials, does one actually need or use? like a wealthy king showing off his castle. that being said, i think that the paper knows it’s a readership draw, to look and dream over these, and people of that level of wealth generally don’t buy things after seeing them in the paper, they have their own connections. great post –

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  6. We get the same here. The Sunday Times has a magazine section called β€˜Homes.’ It sounds like the UK equivalent of the WSJ. Should be called β€˜Flaunt.’ Ridiculous excess, by the people who buy our governments.

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  7. There’s a song by Camper Van Beethoven called ‘When I Win the Lottery’ about a N’er do well hill-billy type who spends his time thinking about what he’ll buy when he wins the lottery. It’s a funny song, but a sad song too. I’m a lot like him. I play powerball and then I fantasize over all the things I’ll do with my winnings. But I’ll tell you, a big house is never on the list. I supposed I’d move but not to a big house, just a better location, a prettier area of the country. Montana?

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    1. just listened to that song; and you’re right, it’s got some humor and some truth as well as sadness in it. I do the same thing when I buy a lottery ticket, and like you, it would all be about location. I’d go somewhere warm near water…


  8. Seems like a lot of aspirational nonsense to make your average person feel inferior! Theres a lot of that about to give insight into the rich and famous!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I look at those big houses with a holy-crap-I-would-probably-be-the-one-who’d-have-to-clean-it mind set. So I don’t want to look. Actually I think I would feel awfully guilty if I could afford to spent money on and actually purchased one of those.

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  10. People have always been captivated by the lives of wealthy people. This kind of thing can create bad feeling and jealously too though. I personally, have no interest in such things and am very happy with my own life. Big money usually brings misery to people.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jim, your first bullet grabbed my attention (with its Montana address). The property is the Climbing Arrow Ranch near Bozeman (about 80,000 acres). Real estate in the Bozeman has remained red-hot despite the pandemic.

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