Business: The Costly Earth

The man who faces inflation's crudest bite is the U.S. homebuilder who starts off in search of land for his dream house.

Since 1950 the price of U.S. land for homebuilding has soared anywhere from 100% to 3,760%—while building material prices have climbed a less spectacular 24% and building-trade wages 60%. In parts of Miami, land worth $500 an acre ten years ago sells for $7,500. On Long Island, builders pay $16,000 and up for acreage they could have bought for $3,500 in 1950. Near Albuquerque, land selling for $4 an acre in 1950 now costs $1,000. Result: the family that wants...

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