Rent in 1968 and Estimated Cost Today

The address on the check frequently is for the previous location. All of these locations still exist and many do not appear to have changed at all.

Ames - Apartment

212 Lincoln Way, Ames Iowa $60/month, Estimate today $720

This was a 2-bedroom dive. It was over a restaurant and the floor sloped toward the street. At parties, the drunkest were easily identified by their location relative to the street.

Today, down the street is an apartment complex with 2 bedroom/2 bath with a washer and dryer in the unit (maybe in the complex). It also has parking. Bottom line, a much nicer unit in Ames has changed, in price, at almost the “Constant Mustang” rate i.e. 11 times over fifty year.

Torrance - Apartment

24035 Ocean Ave, Torrance Ca $100/month Estimate today $1,700

This was just off of the corner of Pacific Coast Highway. It was one bedroom with a carport. The Palos Verdes Peninsula was right behind this location.

Palo Alto - Apartment

449 Forest Ave, Palo Alto Ca $110/month Estimate today $2,595

This was two blocks from University Ave in downtown Palo Alto. It was a long walk to Stanford and hence I rarely walked it. The apartment was one bedroom with a French style, artist window facing South and lots of light. Parking was in the basement. In addition, there was a 1957 Jaguar XK 140 up on blocks. The owner’s son had gone away years earlier and left the car. I tried to buy it buy but the landlord was hopeful that he would return. I later learned that a Jaguar on blocks is not a bad place for it.

Mt. View - Home

1717 Pilgrim Ave Mt View Ca $185/month (for 2) Estimate today???

This house was torn down and is now listed at $4,042,000.

This was in a traditional neighborhood and just before I went to Europe, we were evicted. Apparently, the neighbors reported to the landlord that girls were staying overnight. That and we only mowed the lawn once (Tom did). I had to finish finals at Stanford, find an apartment, find a roommate and move in before leaving for Europe in August. (Stanford starts school very late, September, and that helped.)

Mt View - Apartment

660 Mariposa Ave Mt View Ca $97.50/month/person Estimate today $3,000

This was especially nice because it had a balcony, air conditioning and a bathroom for each bedroom. It had only one assigned parking spot but I lucked out, my roommate was blind (and albino). There was no second car problem.

What’s it all about, Alfie?

At the end of the book I Spied, there is a description of an inflation index called “Constant Mustangs”. It purports to show an inflation rate over the last 50 years to be roughly 20% higher than the CPI. It also suggests that housing inflation in California to be significantly higher.

So, in Iowa, the student housing rate for an off-campus rental has changed at the same rate as Constant Mustang inflation. In California, the rate has gone up by 1.7 times the rate of inflation in the LA South Bay and it has gone up by 2.5 to 3.0 times the rate of inflation in the bay area.

It is why that going to Berkeley, even paying in-state tuition, was more expensive than going to an out of state University and paying out of state tuition.