As we saw in 2008 curtailing or reversing growth in real-estate can have major impacts on society, but in the future this won't be just a correction it will be a new phase of global economics. There will be fewer humans each year making the total pressure on land values negative. Even before that an aging workforce will cause the total working population to contract (as it already has in Japan). Everything the Japanese do with more land and fewer workers is a canary in the coal mine for the global economy.
One of the great predicates of modern economics (perpetual expansion) will need to be re-thought. In some ways it's great news (more space for everyone after the great pinch of the 21st century) but in others it will necessarily wipe out the speculative aspect of many current growth markets. Contraction economics means deflation becomes a norm not an exception.
* Urbanization means cities will lag behind this reversal.
Every day we read articles about how AI is going to drive massive improvements in productivity, killing millions of jobs in the process. If we really believe this is true, then a shrinking population is what we want, to "soak up" those destroyed jobs. A bonus of massive productivity increases is that real property transactions as a percentage of the economy will shrink too, softening the blow of contraction there.
Real estate is not the first industry to be threatened by changes in the economy! Creative destruction is part of our economic story and there is no inherent reason real estate should be immune from that, or that we should feel special concern about that industry among all others.
In short, I see no reason to believe that a shrinking population necessarily creates a shrinking economy. "Contraction economics" sounds cool but it's just a new name for what happened to the buggy whip industry, the telegraph industry, the canal industry, etc. And yes, maybe the real estate industry too.
EDIT to add: In my opinion a more significant future for economics is accounting for externalities that have typically stayed off the books, like clean water, clean air, a stable climate, etc. Economics has typically modeled economies as open systems, that is, there are "inputs" like raw materials and energy sources, that create economic outputs. But we've conquered the Earth now... with the exception of insolation, the global economy is a closed system. Every ounce of raw material and every joule of energy creates a complementary cost somewhere else in the system. Unless we can account for that, we will fool ourselves about the actual net value we are creating.
In any functioning economy there is obviously a correlation.
Bodies have jobs, generate income, and they buy stuff meaning GDP.
Government spends on social services per body, meaning GDP.
Not only are 'warm bodies' a part of economic growth ... 'warm bodies' are the very basis of economic growth in most of the West! If you take out population growth from US economic data, it looks a little more like Europe. If you normalize for lower rates of children ... that explains a huge amount about lagging economic growth in the West.
Populations that require homes, cars, services, food, mortgages - that's what drives the economy.
So to your point - in a dysfunctional scenario, more bodies means problems, but overall no.
How do you think America became the most powerful entity in the Western world and in some ways in the world? And not Sweden?
The story of American economic growth from 1777 onwards includes a lot of things, but if you measure up against Europe, what mostly stands out is body count.
Also - remember that growth is measured in GDP, not 'efficiency' - so as AI does 'more for less' it's technically 'bad' paradoxically, for the economy, as you point out. But as long as we figure out a way (any way!) for the surpluses to be distributed, they will be spent, hence 'growing economy'.
Canada's economic strategy is fully based on body count. The nations banks drive our strategy, and they can't grow any more through competition or innovation - they can only grow through more mortgages, which come from more bodies. So they push for large scale immigration, which is in their self interest.
'AI' is not how the economy will grow.
A sea of new homes, out to the horizon, with a Starbucks on every corner, an IKEA in every neighbourhood, a Toyota in every driveway, and a dozen prescriptions per home ... this is how our current economy 'grows'.
The number of jobs is highway correlated with the number of people (most jobs exist to serve the population). So, population decline won’t help keep (relative) unemployment numbers down.
2008 pop: 304m people. 2018 pop: ~327m people. A 7.5% increase in population across a decade.
2008 GDP: $14.72t ($17.64t inflation adjusted). 2018 GDP: $20.5t. Approximately a 17% real increase in GDP.
The US added an economy close to the size of Germany in just ten years while only adding 23m people (Germany's population is 83m). That's courtesy of increasing output per capita far more than it is population growth.
If every two people in a group have exactly one transaction, then adding 20 people to a group of 100 will create more new transactions than you'll find in a group with just 20 people.
To be fair, when I google for research on correlations between economic growth and population growth, I get a jumble of papers on opposite sides - some pro-natalist and some anti-natalist and some agnostic. (Maybe one camp is considered far more authoritative than the others?)
Maybe it's a nontrivial relationship if it exists, though I'm not convinced anyone knows definitively how the relationship plays out.
2008-2018: total US debt (government, corporate, household, non-profit orgs) increased almost 9% from ca $68.1T to $74.1T, if you trust the numbers (https://www.nwcapitalsolutions.com/project/us-deleveraging-a...)
* If you graduated university and have a 'skilled' job in Japan, you are likely to get a visa. There is no cap on the number of these. There is no language requirement.
* If you live in Japan for over 5 years continuously you can apply for citizenship, though you must renounce any other citizenships.
* If you live in Japan for over 10 years you are eligible for permanent residency.
* If you are married to a Japanese national you can do any kind of work and get permanent residency in 3 years.
* If you have enough points on the highly skilled professional visa you can get permanent residency in 1 year. This is retroactive as long as you lived in Japan during that time, you don't even need to have had the highly skilled professional visa.
So, is it really an issue of policy? I think the causes may lie elsewhere.
Contrast that to countries like most of the West, where at least a solid proportion of people consider it socially unacceptable to discriminate socially based on someone's looks or origins...
Those things are also socially unacceptable in Japan. My experience is that the often discussed "micro-agressions" against foreigners happen about as often in Japan as they do in my own country (US, grew up in Texas).
Of course, the only complaints that foreigners in Japan can make is about trivia. The US is so fucked up that we cannot seem to stop shooting unarmed black men, we're separating mothers from babies, and as of last week now tear gassing families at the border. So not sure if you are American, but many of the foreigners in Japan that complain of discrimination are, and I just want to say that I think it takes a lot of balls for an American in Japan to be like "hey, you guys can do a lot better with the discrimination thing."
As horrifying as someone being impressed with your ability to use chopsticks is, it's not quite so horrifying as being literally shot for walking on the street.
Many people in the US freeze up if a black person so much as walks by them on the street. And on the other side of the pacific? Ask a random stranger for directions; 9 times out of 10 they will stop whatever they are doing and walk with you to wherever you are going.
Twice as many white men are shot by police but I can't remember the last time I saw a national news story about one of them. Name one in recent years you heard covered in the national news.  I edited out "unarmed". That ratio slightly favors white males.
>we're separating mothers from babies, and as of last week now tear gassing families at the border.
Everyday, across this beautiful land, we seperate children from their parents for commiting crimes. We have a legal immigration system.
What does Japan do to people who enter illegally? How many refugees did they take in 2017? 20. Out of 20,000 applications. They could do a little more, right? 
I visited your link and could not see a matching statistic.
Filtering by "unarmed" and hovering over "Race" I got a count of 19 White, 15 Black, 4 Hispanic.
I then also had a quick look at the article for "Brett Luengo",  (White) which states i.e. "Luengo attacked a woman first..." etc. etc.; I mean it goes on for quite a while. So seems like there's a big variation in the definition of "unarmed man" shooting that doesn't preclude other kinds of violent or aggressive activity/indications.
Looks to me like the statistics are not really telling the whole story there so maybe that's why you don't hear them "covered in the national news".
I was wrong. Police kill twice as many whites but I shouldn't have included the unarmed qualifier.
> I then also had a quick look at the article for "Brett Luengo"
He did attack but I think it still qualifies. I personally didn't hear of this one but a google search shows it was covered, even if not very extensively. It was picked up on national news.
Even still, the comment that law enforcement is wholesale killing young unarmed black males is just false.
I was trying to say that a) you were massively off about the relative quantities of unarmed shootings and that b) in any case; I would imagine people are more upset - i.e. it's in the national news - about e.g.  than; e.g. Brett Luengo, because there's a huge difference in the circumstances surrounding their deaths, something which cannot be interpreted from the statistics you cited.
Further, my admittedly limited & poor knowledge of the situation caused me to infer that the op was talking about this qualitative difference, although you are correct in saying that if you take the statement "we cannot seem to stop shooting unarmed black men" absolutely, strictly, literally; without applying any context whatsoever, then talking about quantities is completely valid.
So - my apologies.
Black people are still more likely to be shot than white people.
I don't think that anyone reasonable ever claimed that the police were 'wholesale killing young unarmed black males,' just that it happens too often.
It is possible to have a legal immigration system and to be humane when dealing with people who for some reason wouldn't/couldn't go through it. Especially if it involves kids - as I'm pretty sure they are not to blame on any of this.
And let’s not forget tear gas being used for crowds of people throwing stones at border patrol. No lets focus on tear gas issue and less of the people doing their job being assulted.
Completely citation & evidence free assertions - smells like slander to me.
I Guess cos cnn didn’t talk about it, it must be slander and lies tho.
"On Thursday, officials revealed that in seven of 102 cases involving children under 5 separated from their guardians, the adult was determined not to actually be the parent."
So ok, you're only slandering ~95% of those 102. If you don't like the term "slander" how about "generalisation" or "prejudice".
Forgive me if these words have negative connotations, or "trigger feelings" - but what term would you use, to describe declaring 100% of a group to have attributes that only apply to - by your very own research - 5% of that group?
That sounds serious. How many?
> The use of tear gas at the border by CBP began in 2010.
> Since fiscal year 2012, CBP has employed tear gas a total of 126 times, but its use hit a 7-year high under Trump in fiscal year 2018.
No one above thread claimed any individual was responsible. The apologetics of inserting that statement is unnecessary. I do respect that you added citations.
Admittedly, I've never lived in any of the out-of-the way places where most of these properties are located.
Well, maybe because you're not Japanese?
A different question is: "Would you feel welcome"
I would consider it weirdly arrogant to go to Japan and then have them ever accept me as 'Japanese'. I would hope that thy are respectful to me, and treat me well, and maybe even 'as a Japanese' but not actually 'Japanese', because - I'm not!
There's a big difference I think between 'rights' and 'cultural attribution', we mix them up a lot in the West.
This video pokes some fun at it, taken to an extreme for comedic purpose of course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLt5qSm9U80
You're assuming that those White/Black people were Japanese because they were born and raised Japanese.
From a certain perspective, that would not be correct.
Many people (most of the world) view race as fundamentally intertwined with ethnicity, ergo, the white folks in the video may never really be considered 'fully Japanese', although surely they are mostly accommodated as such.
'American' really isn't an ethnicity so 'new world' people often have difficulty grasping how others might view ethnicity.
As longs as people are treated reasonably, frankly, I don't care.
That goes for a lot of countries, especially if your skin color is different as well as your accent, language and whatnot. Heck, even when you are born in a country where you are not the same skin color as the majority you can feel not welcome. So, it's kind of a generalization to say that only about Japan.
You can apply, but actually getting both permanent residency and citizenship isn’t nearly that trivial.
“Working in japan” and “becoming Japanese” are different things, and the latter is very much more difficult.
Japan is very happy to have foreign workers who will politely leave once they lose their jobs / get old, but the immigration figures, in absolute terms, are tiny.
My anecdote: without fitting into any of the qualifying categories, I was able to get a PR in Japan after residing in the country for 10 years. The rules have changed and with the right qualifications it's possible to apply for PR with only two years residency (work visa).
Further anecdote: My wife recently got her Japanese citizenship. This was difficult, it took over a year and an intrusive investigation. Like getting top secret clearance. The investigation brought up why I wasn't pursuing Japanese citizenship until they discovered my low level of Japanese skills, and it was no longer an issue.
My entire family here in the greater Tokyo area is doesn't quite fit in with the Japanese. We're a bit loud. We're consumerists. We get quizzical looks when filling in applications. We've broken software that expected only Japanese to use. It has it's negatives but the positives of being different in this mostly homogeneous society has it's advantages.
Yes, my situation is a small minority but with the policy changes, it's one less hurdle for people who want to live in Japan. We are what makes the "society".
Even with the work visas themselves, I know someone at a small R&D company in a small city desperate for people, earning kinda low. He got a 1 year visa, then after a decent raise, a 3 year visa. I make more money in a big city, and got 5 years right off the bat, with poor Japanese. PR eligibility once it expires. I still hear about English teachers bouncing between 1 year visas after 10+ years in the country and near fluency.
I think a lot of what you hear about Japan comes from the English teacher side of things. Those guys are a dime a dozen, and have to hustle a lot. But there is a sense that Japan is desperate for skilled workers, and is trying to attract more of them. I've mentioned working in software to old dudes in bars and been instantly treated like an anticipated special guest, and told how good my opportunities are, that I should find a local girl and stay etc. Even if they'd rather not have foreigners in general, they are kinda rolling out the red carpet for a selection of them. All over the place companies advertise in English, promote their foreign working styles, and offer overseas relocation. They'll never be seen as Japanese, but welcomed to stay as if the country depends on them, which it just might
All countries drool after certain professions nowadays and those people are doing pretty well pretty much anywhere. Head hunt for those people is a tiny dent in demographic trends.
People Americans treat (arguably) worse than foreignors:
- Those whose ancestors were in North America before it was colonized
- Those whose ancestors were forcibly brought to North America more than 150 years ago.
Yes, the US has done some horrible things in the past, yet:
1. we publicly admit them in the historical record
2. we teach these mistakes to our children in our schools as both reminders and ways to avoid them in the future.
You cannot say the same about Japan.
Other permanent resident status issuances take up to 15 years to achieve, meaning you won't see the effects of recent policy changes in that metric until the years to come.
A better metric is visa issuances, since those are the first step for many to becoming a legal permanent resident. Those have peaked in 2015 and have declined back to 2013 levels now: https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Statistics/Annual...
PM Abe is actively trying to change the immigration policies as of Nov. 2018.
I know this is difficult for some to understand but brown, black and asian people are made via sex and birth (Shocker of shocks, I know).
What you're arguing for is for the birth rate of the undeveloped world to continuously grow at a never-ending rate in order to compensate for the utter laziness of the developed world.
I hate to break it to you but that'll simply lead to a flip in which countries are classified as developed.
Interesting that has not been Europe's solution so far...
Japan's politics, with a strong aversion to open immigration and a desperate need for labor, have landed on some controversial compromises--for one, "internships" for temporary foreign workers with questionable protection for rights. May be an early signal for how the rest of the world will handle this.
Not all immigration is of equivalent "quality".
The worsening IQ test results in europe is often credited to the african immigration.
On the other end of the spectrum, asians are being actively restricted from entering the top schools in the US.
Europe (and pretty much every country in the world) is already competing for qualified immigration.
I don't think we will arrive at declining housing prices the way you suggest. Something will have to give way before that.
> There will be fewer humans each year making the total pressure on land values negative
Your premise about real-estate inherently contracting in value due to population contraction, is not correct. Nor is your premise about the driving force correct.
Double the US population and drop the total national income by 95%. See which is the greater driving force in real-estate values. You can see this in action right now just by looking at high population density countries that are poor. Bangladesh has extreme population density, their real-estate is not expensive compared to Canada (~1/400th the population density) or the US (~1/40th the population density).
You can increase the value of real-estate while contracting the population, by increasing the per capita income of each person enough to overcome the effect of the population decline. Germany's population has barely budged in 50 years, their real-estate has increased in value in that time as the economy has expanded in real terms with a climb in their per capita wealth and incomes.
Today nearly everything you've ever heard about healthy (ie non-war, famine, etc) population decline being a horrible outcome, is false. It may have been true in the past, it is no longer.
The ideal outcome is for populations to decline while productivity and income soars per capita, improving the standard of living of each person remaining and lightening the burden on earth's resources. The focus of all nations should be on aggressively increasing per capita output, not on fighting healthy population decline.
Population might just stabilize at some point, and then there's not much of a driver to expand off of our planet (apart from some resource mining, and other activities.)
If you want to pay the mortgage, have a fulfilling job, have time to spend with your family, and give your child a good start in life, you can't have 8 kids in a middle class family.
Sometimes 1 is the right number if you want your child to be successful and have enough free time to enjoy life yourself.
That IS resource constraint, the resource just isn't food.
The replacement rate is a little above 2 children in the modern world. Three kids is a burden for a lot of people.
My paternal grandfather was a farmer. He had 20 children who survived to adulthood. By two wives, the second having been the nursemaid. As I understand it, all of the children worked. Basically as soon as they could walk. Girls focused on childcare and housework, and boys on farm work. If they'd been living in a city, the boys would have had factory jobs.
So anyway, that's how you raise many children. That or be wealthy, of course. But current expectations, social norms, and laws make that impossible. Except perhaps for farm families, where substantial child labor remains legal.
"Freedom of career" for women is more like freedom to have to work. It's hard to raise a family on a single salary. Previously, a woman would work at home and husband would work outside. Now both of them have to work outside of the house to pay for appliances that do stuff back at home.
IMO one of the top issues is housing cost. Increasing specialisation, both parents having to work and urbanisation means people are crammed into more and more condensed cities. Space comes at expense. Children need space. Cheaper space out of the city means more transport costs and/or less job opportunities and likely lower wage. All in all, children is damn expensive.
People want to buy more stuff? Hardly a requirement of years gone by.
People want more free time? Doubtful, otherwise people would work less and buy less stuff - which we don't see. People keep getting more productive, but they just funnel that into a more expensive lifestyle rather than cutting back on work.
I don't think the reasons are simple (or even the same between people) but I don't think it's dominated by resource constraints.
I know software engineers with no children and school teachers with four. Very different lifestyles, but all middle class. And I don't think resource constraints factored heavily into their decision making.
Since both parents now work, often with lengthy commutes, there isn't a whole lot of person-hours left to spend with the children. That means people have fewer of them.
When the kids get older and it's time to send them to university, well, that's something which has gone backwards in affordability. The cost of a university degree has shot through the roof. How could anyone afford to send 3 kids to university these days, let alone 8?
Why do you say especially the woman? Not trying to pick a fight, I'm genuinely curious.
Kids have turned from a resource like they were to farm families to an expense and an increasing one at that - and I don't mean in a "kids these days" sort of way - the world changed and not people. Which leaves children to be had by those who want to have them for the sake of having them - some sort of enjoyment or sense of obligation.
1. Backup in case things go wrong (meteor strike, end of the Earth, nuclear war, mass plague, AI/robot revolt)
2. Outright inability to live alongside other cultures and societies/groups. Just like throughout history, some beliefs will also be controversial at best/illegal at worst, and while in the past finding a unoccupied area on Earth was practical, that's not really the case now. So space it is.
3. Science/academic study. Robots are neat, but there are some things it's better to send humans for, and a fair few scientists would probably rather be out there exploring than sat behind a computer screen.
4. General boredom/tourism/whatever.
5. Environmental concerns. Not just resource mining, but let's face it... eventually a lot of environmentally unfriendly industrial processes will probably work better in a place with no atmosphere/biosphere to ruin.
Probably a bunch of other things too.
Infinite growth and finite material resources are perfectly compatible. Case in point: Fortnite.
Fortnite makes money by selling digital in-game goods. Their revenues could grow infinitely without their material footprint expanding one iota. What they demonstrate is not infinite growth, but the capacity for infinite growth in a finite universe.
Value, at the end of the day, is subjective. Growth is a measure on this subjective value. It is not a measure on material inputs.
The proposed metric, a product of population and incomes, is unbounded (in aggregate). Population isn’t. But nominal incomes, a function of the unbounded money supply, is. Real incomes are trickier, but they--too--are unbounded. It just requires some fraction of the basket be immaterial. As long as that component grows sufficiently, the real value of the basket–which, again, is subjective–grows.
This isn't some edge-case philosophy, but a well-recognized effect of the subjective nature of value. (The physicist in me points out that the observable universe has, based on known physics, a finite computational capacity, but that objection merely illustrates the absurdity of proposing a practical upper bound on growth.)
We're used to thinking of production as making cars and ships. Those activities represent a falling share of human activity (weighted by value). To illustrate, witness the falling material intensity and energy intensity of GDP growth.
Anyway, let me rephrase your argument to make sure I understand it correctly:
There exists resource sinks like Fortnite, media & alike. Thus regardless of how much growth we will have / more efficient we become, even more would be better so we can spend it on those sinks.
This seems technically correct, but I doubt this is how our civilization should spend the finite amount of resources available.
I'm absolutely certain that the abandoned houses are abandoned because they are literally not saleable. Even perfectly good houses that were built in the last 20 or 30 years sit on the housing market in my area for years before they even get a single offer. Houses that cost $300K end up selling for around half that price, even after waiting for years to sell it. That's how non-existent the used housing market is in Japan.
And this is not to say that housing is flat. Empty lots sell relatively quickly. Nobody wants a used house. That's the reality of the market.
I don't know exactly what this programme is, but I would venture to guess that they will give you the house/land as long as you knock down the existing house and build a new one. This will cost you the aforementioned $300K, at which point you can flip it for $150K. That's how they mitigate that possibility :-)
The largest obstacle will be Japanese regulation.
After the M9 quake, I mamaged to sell that house for basically the price I bought it for. Why? Because people were looking for houses located in areas which weren't dusted with the radioactive cloud from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant which went FOOM! at the time. My house just happened to be located in an area where the weather conditions had diverted most of said cloud, and it was a young family who bought the place.
I then skedaddled out of Japan back to my native Scotland, bringing my sona dn Japanese wife with me.
Point being, there will be certain factors involved in which used houses can be sold on and not suffer much depreciation. Admittedly, my house was only about 3 years old, and we had a professional cleaning team go right through the place before the new owners moved in.
A normal, custom-built house in the suburbs of Tokyo can be constructed for somewhere between $120,000 and $250,000 (source: I'm shopping for a house now) which, at the current Japanese mortgage rates for a 35-year loan, translates into a $400-$800 monthly payment for the home construction.
This is on top of what you have to pay for the value of the land itself, of course. But if you're already paying $300k-$500k for the lot, then why not just knock down the old building and put up your own, perfect-for-your-family, architect-designed, house?
But you are also right about the mortgages. Rates are super low and you can get 20 or 30 year terms. So for example even for a 25 year term, Shinsei bank is offering less than 2%: https://www.shinseibank.com/english/housing/loan_kinri.pdf
It's completely insane. I keep telling my wife we need buy a house just to lock into the nearly free money. On the other hand, if the bank thinks this is a good deal for them, they must be forseeing some pretty bad economy in the future...
That said, the entire housing industry in Japan has formed around the idea that homes are disposable. Unless they're very old (e.g. traditional/antique machiya and farmhouses) or apartments in large complexes, they're not built to last. Detached houses built since WWII, in particular, are more expensive to repair than to rebuild. This is probably the real reason that used homes are viewed negatively.
Another common practice is to inherit your parent's or grandparent's house, knock it down and build a new one. So the same family will live in the same location for many generations, but they will rebuild the house in order to adapt to changing needs. I think this reflects the rapid rise in wealth in Japanese society. Before WWII, Japan was quite a poor country. From WWII onwards, Japan went from absolute poverty (where everything was flattened by the war) to the second largest economy on the planet (now, edged out by China for that honour). So every 20-30 years represented a major upgrade in housing.
I'm finding that in my area in the last 10 years used houses are getting slightly more popular. Certainly for me, when I eventually stop jetting back and forth between the UK and Japan I will buy a used house. A 20 year old house is still rated for a level 7 earthquake and I think they are perfectly good. I would say that at least 30% of my neighbours are over 60, so housing is going to be extremely easy to acquire (though still not a good investment).
As much as people living in California would like to believe that, it's not true. I was born in Chile, a place that's actually as equally-prone to earthquakes than Japan, and I've been living in California for about 8 years now. In here, I almost forgot what is like to feel an earthquake. In Chile/Japan is common to feel at least a magnitude 5 earthquake a couple of times a year (they are actually called "tremors"). California is in an unstable zone, but nothing compared to Chile/Japan.
Anecdotally, right before moving to SF, we had the 2010 earthquake (8.8), I'm pretty sure with an earthquake like that in SF, there would be no city left behind.
also japan have snow and hot+humid summers. CA is mostly dry warm weather year around. timber will decay much, much faster in the former. if japan had low quality housing materials like used in CA, the houses would need to be redone every 10 years or less.
Also, I went to Sadogashima earlier this year. While there, we visited an entire town that was built in the 1600s. A couple of the homes had been turned into museums, but people were living in the rest of them, so there must be something to the way they build those old homes in Japan. I don't know if the same would be true of more modern houses though.
tl;dr it's a historical accident that has become a self-perpetuating cultural phenomenon
A lot of these properties literally have a negative value; it would cost more to renovate them and complete environmental mitigations on them than is profitable. When you see a property for $100, you almost certainly wouldn’t want it unless you were paid to take it.
Use common sense; there’s a reason these properties were completely abandoned by their previous owners.
For example a federal treasury auction will discharge IRS tax liens but not state, county, and city charges. I've seen $1mm beach-side homes auctioned for <$100k. But then have $500k+ in state liens on them.
A savvy buyer will get the titles and try to get the liens discharged by negotiating with the other agencies or pay them off. This is factored into the offer they will make on the property. If you think you've stumbled into a method to get rich quick you're sadly mistaken.
[I think you can talk this guy down to $10k].
It seems like illusory opportunity. There are areas of Detroit where some of the grand old homes are being resurrected and there have been opportunities, but this isn't one of them.
Maybe if you really, really wanted that land for some reason.
My favorite example of this process is booming South Florida, where more than half of adults are foreign born. Houston is another great one, with 23% foreign born.
> 5% of people within the city of Detroit are immigrants, making the percentage of immigrants in Detroit the lowest such percentage out of those of the 25 largest cities in the United States. The national average is about 13%
Only in America!
Here's the under 2 minute where he shows off the 5 unit apartment building he bought on Craigslist for $13K and yes there are other opportunities out there just like that one.
In Japan it will just be a regular house.
In Detroit the formal program run by the city that gave away houses mandated that they be rehabbed and inhabited by the person receiving them for a minimum of five years.
Then there's the Land Bank that buys the houses, then rehabs them and sells them at auction. Know some people who've gotten really good buys, some houses sell below the Land Bank's cost.
So you effectively get a plot of land, with service-hookups and low property taxes. but you can install beautiful, yet-tiny home on it.
http://windrivertinyhomes.com has amazing units.
Last I checked you can buy a vacant lot for $100 and they'd probably give you a discount if you bought an entire city block.
I think you either need to already be comfortable living somewhere like that in order to do so stress free.
Edit: This reminds me of every time crappy minimum wage jobs come up. I have first hand experience with and offer my opinion but then get told that I have no idea what I'm talking about. The filter bubble is real.
as a single male, I can reliable predict that I can mind my own business and probably be fine
as a parent, I can't reliably predict that my kids will mind their own business and probably be fine
Only in Menlo Park, CA did I hear automatic weapons fire on the weekends. That was before East Palo Alto closed down Whiskey Gulch, flattened the area, and put in a Four Seasons hotel and an office building full of lawyers.
 https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ma/fitchburg/crime (this one is the "nicer" of the two by a long ways, has come a long way since the recession. I would have no problem raising a family here)
 https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ma/new-bedford/crime (this one won the "award" of #1 crime rate in the state a few years back)
>the median income for a family was $57,245. Males had a median income of $47,350 versus $37,921 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,972. About 14.6% of families and 19.4% of the population were below the poverty line
Compare this with an area like Greenspoint in Houston, where middle class office workers are regularly warned of muggings outside their office buildings
>nearly half of Greenspoint residents have an income of under $25,000 per year, well below the Houston median of over $44,000 per year
Respectfully, while you may not have been in a pristine gated community, I think you underestimate what it means to live in a truely shitty area, and I think your advice, while reasonable on the surface, does less than you think to prevent being a target of violent crime.
Fitchburg is an entire city (albeit a small one). Like Houston it has bad and good areas (I don't think there's any gated communities though). The nice areas are quite nice. The not nice areas are rows of boarded up houses that have been stripped of all the copper. Every rust belt city is like this. The ratios just vary.
I prefer those things not happen to me
I know this is a topic that tends to bring out hysteria instead of rational assessment of probability but seriously, it's not as bad as people think. That said, the upper class crowd should feel free to not move in. The added pressure from gentrification would probably not make things better if SF is any indication.
My point here is that you can live cheaply in these neighborhoods and while there are trade-offs the trad-off is not the "living in a war zone" that many people would have you believe.
I have been to less worse areas in Detroit in 2015 and still decided not to be play early adopter and be "the guy with money" on the block. And I'm absolutely not upper class.
Even if you live there just for the amount of time it takes to renovate and flip the house, you will need to constantly guard your tools, materials etc. If the local community thinks you are not one of them, life gets hard. In the end I bought a fixer upper house in a solid working class neighborhood (in a different city) and life is great. But yes, a lot of people think you are only safe in the suburb, which is not true. There are safe pockets in most major cities, but you have to scout for a while until you know the area.
In the reality of the situation, odds are that it will eventually happen to you.
I was never talking about the taxes, just the sticker price for the house. Japan doesn't seem to be waiving property tax for these houses, either, so the comparison is still valid.
Am I missing something? Is this my ticket to cheap housing and a more stress free life? At what point am I going to be scammed and/or disappointed?
When you work from home, you wanna leave home often, where do you go if you're in the middle of nowhere?
I work from home in the middle of a dense city, pay a premium for it! You leave home and there are about 100 places (cafes, theatres, museums, parks etc.) I can go to that are walking distance. Is that possible in say rural Michigan, where housing is apparently practically free?
There are old or abandoned houses nearby that can be had for very little money.
I love being in the mountains. I get outdoors for cycling, hiking, running, or skiing almost every day.
The language barrier is a bit scary, but fortunately I knew enough to get by on day-to-day tasks. Google translate is also a godsend.
I have no idea why anything other than N2 and N1 exist. N3 is basically useless, I got it in under 6 months of studying and I’m a slow learner (my Korean and Chinese peers were going for N2 at that time). I still couldn’t function well with it. I was so disappointed by it I skipped 2 and went straight to N1.
The company I work for has offices in the U.S. and Japan. They were able to transfer me to Japan and let me work remote with my team in the U.S. They probably would have been able to get me a work visa, too, though it wasn't necessary in my case since the spousal visa was much simpler to obtain. Since my company has a presence in Japan, all of typical payroll, benefits, insurance stuff is handled through the Japan HR dept.
For anyone looking to spend time living abroad, I think this approach of working for a large multinational and asking to be transferred is a viable option. Of course it requires that you have a tremendous level of trust with your manager, and you need to be senior enough that it is worth the hassle for them. Also - if there is no business justification for the transfer, don't expect them to help out with relocation costs, and if you are moving to an area with a lower cost of living they may give you a negative cost of living adjustment, too.
I should make it clear that this move wasn't easy to make by any means. It took years of planning and even a job change to find a team I was confident enough I could make it worth with. While getting the visa was simple enough in my case, actually moving to Japan and buying a house, opening up bank accounts, getting a drivers license, etc were all enormously time consuming and at times very frustrating.
So it can be done, and I feel it is worth it, but it does require a fairly large amount of effort.
It's not city life, but it's life. It's just a little bit "slower" sometimes. It can be relaxing in its own way.
I mean, I live in the core of SF, but how often do I go to the theater or museum anyway? No more than I did when I lived in the suburbs.
Just because you're remotely based in the sticks and use property there as a place to park equity and a place to keep your big stuff (I have a lot of tools and music equipment) doesn't mean you have to stay there if you're remote.
It was fairly isolated (in a comforting way), so having access to an automobile was a necessity. If I recall, about ~1 hour to Austin, with a lively music scene.
I learned how the Texas hill country can be quite charming - wildflowers, forests, rivers.. Fond memories. Good luck with finding a homestead there!
I can't imagine trying to live out here without a car or truck though.
I've been to a lot of the state parks (there are some good ones). The dinosaur tracks in government canyon are cool, lost maples is nice. I've spent a whole lot of time at Enchanted Rock.
None of the places is very big, but if there should be enough to keep someone busy for most weekends if they are motivated.
As you get farther, Mustang Island state park is nice, and I'm very much looking forward to build some lead rock climbing skills-- El Portrero Chico is only 6 hours south.
As other folks have mentioned, Big Bend, Terrlingua, MArfa, Alpine, etc. are all quite good. If you haven't been to Big Bend NP, I'd recommend a trip out that way.
If you can go 9hrs, Ruidoso NM will get you into the mountains.
Heh not unique to Texas. I've seen horses outside of strip malls just outside of Indy -> http://imgur.com/gallery/i1Rflum
It's (probably) not just you, but at the same time working from home for me, a full-time worker who has a boss that takes the "as long as you get your work done" approach to remote work, which results in me in the office one day, but the very next deciding "yeah I'm not dealing with the blue line's crap today"...rarely comes with the urge to get up and go anywhere and usually don't unless it's to walk the dog or take a smoke break on my porch.
And I live and work in the middle of Chicago, where there's no shortage of places favorable to remote workers or walkable spots for lunch very close by.
But at the same time I've also found myself in Hawaii getting paged for an all hands "oh shit" emergency and been just as productive despite the time difference, so I think it's very much a YMMV type of thing.
That situation is literally my dream. I live in a suburb now and literally go 3-4 days without needing to leave home. I most often leave to go get firewood or meat to BBQ out back.
In my dream I'd be on a full acre(instead of the little 0.2 acre lot we're on) with enough room for a normal family home, and a "mancave/study" so I "go to work".
Groceries are can be delivered. The only reason to drive to town is the odd meetup.
Could I ask you a bit more about Northland? My email is in my profile.
For me it is hiking and sometimes kayaking.
My wife dragged me kicking and screaming to a rural area that's a popular vacation area.
(I must admit that I wanted to end up in a different rural area that's also a popular vacation area.)
My neighborhood is excellent, and there's plenty to walk to. Rural areas still have dense spots with plenty of things to do. There's just a lot of open forests around the dense areas!
What's terrifying is that I still telecommute for the job I got when I lived in Silicon Valley. I have no idea what's going to happen when I need to change jobs.
(Edit) I still miss living right on University Ave in Palo Also, CA. But, that's not sustainable given how much it costs to live there, and our (me and wife's) overall lifestyle desires.
What would patio11 say?
Personally, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else, but I guess it does take a certain kind of person to pull it off.
Have you considered just moving somewhere much cheaper? I work from a beach in Mexico, pay almost nothing, and have a nice and slow life. And... it's a beach!
Obviously, there are plenty of places in the world to do this from if Mexico isn't your thing. I have a buddy in Triste, Italy, and another one down the coast in Croatia.
Anyways, I only write this because it seemed like something you want to do but are just looking for some "today's the day" chutzpah. I hope you end up where you want to be one day!
More serious crime is unlikely to target you. Stay out of the north. And you can always live where the wealthier mexicans live in a city if you're nervous.
Quiet towns like a lazy beach town are pretty safe.
I'm currently based in Pto Escondido, a beach town in Oaxaca.
A good way to get your feet wet is to book an airbnb at one of the beach cities you can fly into, take a taxi down a highway that runs parallel to the shore, and get off at any of the smaller beaches/towns for a day trip. You could do a different one every day and get some work done at a cafe/bar on the beach there.
That way, worst case scenario, you're still at the beach with your touristy creature comforts (e.g. easier to find good network if you need to `npm install` -- half-joking!). But if you end up feeling more adventurous, you can take a taxi and find yourself alone on a tiny beach, which as far as I'm concerned, is one of the remaining wonders of the world.
Of course, the hardest part of travel is taking the first step at all. If it wasn't for finding a job in Guadalajara at a small incubator run by an American in /r/IWantOut, I would probably still be miserably working from a Starbucks table in Austin wondering when I'll have the balls to do something new.
The houses from what I saw looking through translated listings seem to have no insulation, ancient (ie nonexistent) plumbing, and "traditional" toilets (hole in the ground) with no heating/cooling. You're buying a badly insulated cabin in the woods more or less.
I think one of the main pain points in renovating the houses is going to be actually getting materials to the house. Some of these are rural to the point of not having real roads and being hours away from civilization. If you need to truck in a new water heater, you might be building your own gravel road first.
If you're looking to be really remote and more or less build a house, this might be an awesome opportunity - just realize this is more akin to buying a plot of land than "a house" per say.
Have fun in winter!
Of course, the catch is that standing up your own slice of civilization infrastructure will get either expensive and/or time-consuming, depending upon your non-negotiables. The more requirements you will not do without, the more inputs you will want to haul into or build upon the property.
This is so very very wrong. MSAs are purely based on population density. I grew up in one of these white counties on the map you linked. It's small towns, scattered among farmland and coal mines, and the local MSAs are nothing but a larger (but still quite small) town with an interstate.
We're mostly in a cognitive elite echo chamber here on HN due entirely to a historical anomaly that prices most of our labor high relative to more conventional labor pools (though IMHO not commensurate with yielded productivity benefits), and our sense of what is fiscally "reasonable" is highly distorted and privileged. The MSA boundary is not a hard and fast binary switch, where inside the boundary land is crazy expensive relative to prevailing local incomes, but outside the boundary it suddenly is crazy cheap. But it serves as a useful starting point to look for the pricing gradients in your local area for a median household.
A heck of a lot of Millenials got debt-trapped by the higher education scam, and I applaud those who are "once burned twice shy" about taking on another unsustainable debt load in real estate. For those in the US looking for a chunk of land to inexpensively park their possessions (and if you are the kind of Maker-type that enjoys HN, tools alone can take up a lot of space), without becoming an investor in the real estate business itself, then the choices for the past few decades of cheap credit that I've experienced have been get extraordinarily lucky finding a good deal, wait for a bust, or locate outside of where there is lots of land banking activity.
Land does get much cheaper on the outer rings of an MSA, but IMHO still not nearly cheap enough for median households. They're still stretching, and compromising their quality of life a hell of a lot at the same time. We're pushing tons of stress onto them as an unseen externality, and calling it all good and patting ourselves on our backs that we have so many "homeowners", when we should be holding a frank discussion on why our real estate land markets are so dysfunctional.
YMMV of course.
If you wanted to say "real estate is cheaper in the rural area, but you'd have to drive everywhere", then you'd be right. But that's not what you said. What you said was, "Anywhere that is outside an MSA, has very poor soil, no exploitable oil and/or mineral (and most mineral and oil rights are separate from the land anyways), not by a body of water, and has no electric/water/sewage service", and that is demonstrably false, and doesn't even pass even a cursory logical test, because for this to be true, then all the arable land and extractive natural resources would have be in cities, and if that was true, then where would the buildings be?
If you fail to understand what is going on in your basic assumptions, why should the rest of your argument even be considered?
I did notice, your phrase, "the higher education scam". That's interesting, since educational attainment has been shown time, and time, and time again, to be the biggest predictor of economic success. The long term viability and effects of shifting the cost of education in the past 25 years from state budgets to individuals, is certainly a concern and worthy of debate, but to refer to education as a "scam", makes me wonder about how well thought out your ideas on the educational debt crisis is as well.
I think you're bitter, and not nearly as smart as you think you are.
If you're serious about it, you really need to think about your non-negotiables, your strong preferences, and how high you're willing to go for "cheap" housing. For some people the answer might be a condo in a smaller city that isn't in demand. For others, it might be a house that's out in the sticks someplace. There's also a huge difference between cheap as in $100K and cheap as in $300K.
Contra another post, you probably don't want land that isn't already engineered. Of course, also consider Internet. I know tech people who manage with satellite but there are a lot of compromises.
The reason you don't is that cheap places in rich countries are usually cheap for a reason.
Looks like there are some cheaper areas here: https://www.koopwoningen.nl/nieuws/487:de-20-duurste-en-goed...
Now, compared to cheap places in the US, the house price is still somewhat high. But cheap areas in the US, you often have to live in a detached house, as apartments are often very uncommon, or even non-existent, whereas in the Netherlands multi-family housing is much more common(1). And in the US, cheap places you almost always need to own a car, which is inherently expensive, whereas in the Netherlands you can get by with just walking and biking. Plus, the safety net means that even if you're poor as shit, you're taken care of for things like healthcare, to a greater extent than the US.
1 - Looking at the example of Delfzijl, you can rent an okay-sized 1br apartment for ~600 EUR/month: https://www.iamexpat.nl/housing/rentals/delfzijl/apartment
Factoring in extremely low transportation costs, that makes for a pretty damn cheap lifestyle.
I imagine that you need to be a Japanese citizen to get a free house.
https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=free%20italy%20houses like the first few articles are about free or 1 Euro houses. Seems to be true!
If the empty houses described in the article are clumped up, it would be best if the economic status of the recipients is disregarded.