People outside New York all used to live in giant mansions with Jacuzzis and closets the size of Luxembourg. Now they have to give these things up. The greatest tragedy? Buyers "are in danger of being underwhelmed."

Turn away if you're easily moved. The Wall Street Journal reports that builders are leaving butlers' pantries, fireplaces, guest suites, granite counter-tops and built-in wine coolers out of new homes. Will someone think of the children? Imagine the deprivation of growing up with a fibreglass shower instead of a tiled one. I feel sick.

So much tacky crap has been cut out that the footprint of some luxury houses has shrunk to 2500 square feet. Which is approximately ten times the size of my apartment.