MOUNT PLEASANT — A large East Cooper home decor store plans to turn out the lights about 16 months after opening in a former farm-to-table food emporium.
Heavens Marketplace is set to close by Dec. 15, darkening a 10,000-square-foot shop at 2521 Highway 17 where the former Boone Hall Farms Market once operated, according to co-owner Sonya Pacera.
“It’s pretty devastating,” she said. “I guess we will regroup.”
Pacera noted sales were good last fall after the store opened in September, but they dropped off during the winter and never picked back with the arrival of warm weather this year.
She attributed the decision to close to people having less money because of inflation, the location that doesn’t allow left turns onto Highway 17 to exit the site and the size of the building.
“It’s just too large,” she said, pointing out she and her husband, Frank, tried to sublease part of the building to other parties in recent months but were unsuccessful.
The shop offers home decor, ladies fashions, accessories, faith-based products and some furniture that doubles as display tables. Items are marked down 25 percent to 80 percent throughout the store.
Heavens Marketplace opened last year after the Paceras decided to expand the business down the coast from their Myrtle Beach locations, then at Tanger Outlets but now at Barefoot Landing.
The couple began looking elsewhere and walked through the former Boone Hall retail store in March 2022.
At the time, Pacera thought the cavernous building with exposed wooden pillars was too large and expensive, but he said it had “a farm-homey-type feel to it” and his wife liked it.
The Paceras also ran into a snag when they decided to move to the Charleston area. Their business in Myrtle Beach was originally called Haven’s.
Another Haven’s home furnishings store already exists in Mount Pleasant, so they formally changed the name to Heavens, brought in some religious items and functions and played Christian music throughout the store.
The former building occupant, Boone Hall Farms Market, closed in January 2020 after 14 years of operating a short distance up Highway 17 from its expansive farming operation in the heart of Mount Pleasant. The farm recently opened Willie’s Roadside Market, an open-air, barn-like structure named for the late Boone Hall owner Willie McRae.
At a rooftop party on a steamy July night in Philadelphia, the margarita machine was churning, the seafood boil was hearty, and the conversation turned to the default of the upwardly mobile: real estate.
Almost anyone shopping for a home in the 2020s knows the script by now: Someone mentions their recent home purchase, a tale undoubtedly rich with drama, stress and suspense. Guests, well schooled in the volatility of the housing market, lean in for the follow-up: When did you buy?
The response to that key question “is normally followed by an ‘Oooh,’” said Evan Barker, 36, a lawyer who attended the party and has participated in enough of these exchanges to know that the “Oooh” means one of two things: You either got the interest rate of a lifetime, or you squarely did not.
the 30-year mortgage rate bottomed out at 2.65 percent, a few months before Mr. Barker and Ms. Gallagher refinanced, besting the national average with a rate of 2.375 percent.
smug, shocked or hopeless, depending on where you fall on the spectrum.
“There is almost a cross-generational envy,” said Övül Sezer, an assistant professor of management and organizations at Cornell University, who studies humble bragging.
Flaunting wealth and good fortune is nothing new. But Americans, for the most part, avoid sharing specifics about money. Sure, you’ll plaster news about your promotion on Facebook and on the platform formerly known as Twitter, but you’ll probably keep mum about the salary package that comes with it. When it comes to real estate, the attitude is no different. A gleeful homeowner may gloat about vanquishing the competition in a bidding war, but they won’t mention the sale price, or their monthly payments.
Federal Reserve’s continued efforts to wrestle inflation under control. So timing, not skill, dictates the rate — and timing is a byproduct of luck.
The pandemic exacerbated inequalities that existed before 2020. For many wealthier Americans, the pandemic was a financial boon. They kept their jobs, were able to work remotely, enjoyed bonuses and raises, and had cash on hand when interest rates plummeted to keep the economy afloat. They were the ones best positioned to pluck up homes, driving up prices. The people who spent 2020 and 2021 struggling through job losses, illnesses or other financial hardships likely missed out on the moment, and are now the ones enduring the hard consequences of rampant inflation.
The interest rate cut “was this free handout to people who didn’t really need it,” said Daryl Fairweather, the chief economist at Redfin. For everyone else, “that door closed as soon as people started to get back on their feet.”
Or as Sharon Reshef, who last month bought a $400,000 one-bedroom apartment in Washington D.C., put it: “It’s really hard to plan your life around macroeconomics.”
That hasn’t stopped some of her slightly older colleagues in Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office from teasing her about her 6.625 percent interest rate.
“It’s just a gentle ribbing,” said Ms. Reshef, 30, the research director for the senator from New York, who now spends half of her take-home pay on her mortgage. “But as long as we’re here, I will say that not a lot of people in my cohort own property, especially as a single person. Regardless of the interest rate, I have that one up on them. I can definitely brag.”
the experience miserable. But buyers today face similar, if not tougher, conditions. Inventory is anemic, partly because homeowners do not want to part with their low interest rates. So far, a scant 1 percent of American homes have traded hands this year, the lowest rate in a decade, according to a July report from Redfin.
Of course, things could be worse. In 1981, mortgage rates peaked at a jaw-dropping 18.53 percent. Still, the average home price in the second quarter of 1981 was $84,300 — even adjusted for inflation, that’s about $287,020, which is far less than the average price of $495,100 in the second quarter of 2023.
But people who remember the days of double-digit interest rates are often quick to remind younger generations that they, too, walked to school uphill both ways in the snow.
“The fate, the gods, determine when you enter that phase of your life and what is happening in the market,” said Allen J. Palmer, 85, who is retired from IBM and bought his house in what is now Silicon Valley, in California, in 1977 for $95,000 (or $480,686 in today’s dollars), with an 8.5 percent mortgage interest rate. The first year he and his wife spent in that house, they couldn’t afford to fly home to Milwaukee for the holidays.
Young buyers “don’t understand that this is the way it is,” he said. “They probably don’t remember that their parents struggled to pay” the mortgage, too.
recent TikTok video, Barbara Corcoran, the 74-year-old real estate mogul, arranged fresh flowers as she chided hesitant buyers for their reluctance to get back into the market — a common refrain among real estate agents, who insist that there is no time like the present to buy a house.
“Pick your poison: high interest rates now, which aren’t so high, or super-high prices once they come down,” Ms. Corcoran said, her hand grazing a fern frond. “Your choice.”
Mr. Decker, in Montclair, knows which choice he thinks buyers should make. Recently, he was standing at the bar of a local barbecue restaurant and overheard another patron who seemed overconfident about a recent lowball offer he had made on a house in town. Mr. Decker had lost enough bidding wars to know how this story would end, and considered schooling him on his grim prospects. Maybe he would lean across the bar, he thought, and say, “Don’t even bother, man, cool your heels somewhere else.” But he hesitated.
“It did make me feel a little good,” he said, “and certainly thankful that I have a place to live and I’m not dealing with that right now.”
Instead of offering unsolicited advice, he ordered a Pabst Blue Ribbon and a shot of Jameson, and walked back to the patio to sit down and enjoy the evening with his family in their new town.
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Ronda Kaysen is a real estate reporter, based in New York. She is the co-author of “The New York Times Right at Home: How to Buy, Decorate, Organize and Maintain Your Space.” More about Ronda Kaysen
A version of this article appears in print on , Section RE, Page 8 of the New York edition with the headline: Mortgage-Rate Envy? You’re Not Alone.. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe