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Real cost of real estate is shrinking

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Food, clothing, shelter. It seems like those simple necessities of life now cost more than they ever did before. But is that perception true? W. Michael Cox, vice president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank and coauthor of "Myths of Rich and Poor: Why We're Better Off Than We Think," has a paradoxical perspective on the price issue. "Stuff is just getting cheaper," he said. While the cost of a new home climbed from about $5,000 in 1920 to $195,000 in 2003, Cox said homes and many other items consumers purchase are still a big bargain. He has found that Americans typically spend less time now to earn money for expenditures than they have spent historically. The key to this equation is productivity. Increased efficiencies in production have continually kept down the cost of items to consumers. "There's always a better way," Cox suggested. Most people look at costs in terms of money, while the reality is that "the currency in life is time," he said. "We don't work for money, but we work...