Also Americans just love to tell you how much they love having a yard and doing yard work. I learned a few years ago that lawns used to be something only aristocrats could afford because it showed your wealth that you could afford to not have land for the use of food production. Now you get fined if your neighbor rats you out to the local government for letting it get to high.
I honestly think the government needs to stop with the homeownership BS. It's a stupid farce that low income types should not have. They can't afford to maintain it timewise and are being preyed upon by lenders who lead them to believe that property equity has value. The purpose of equity is to decrease your liability. People here treat it as a forced savings account and refinance the MOMENT they are strapped for cash.
Just like with any other thing, middle class tends to emulate the aristocrats once it becomes cheap enough, and end up rationalizing their choice.
Nope! We all tend the largest private garden that is the urban landscape of Uncle Sam!
In some places, it's also much cheaper to rent that own after factoring all this in.
However, many jurisdiction give tax advantage to owner occupied property.
Eg you have to pay all kinds of taxes on the return from a million dollars in the stock market, compared to the housing services you consume from your own million dollar house.
(That's in most countries. In eg Singapore we don't have capital gains tax. So it's a bit more even.)
Joking aside, Midwest tends to be cheaper. Chicagoland area is far cheaper than SF or NYC and yet has a lot of good paying jobs.
Toronto is one, you could rent a condo worth 600-700k for 2k a month when the mortgage alone before local taxes etc would be over 3k.
Granted, (a) and (b) are true for many people, especially as they get older - but all factored, renting is often superior.
Sucking the air out of a community and then putting nothing back into it. It's really shameful.
They landlords paid for the house they rent out. So they either literally built it, adding a new house to a community, or they bought it from someone who built it (or from someone who bought from someone who built it etc.) - the transaction of buying/selling compensates someone for the effort of building the house in the first place. If there were no landlords, the houses would be bought only by people who intend to live in them (let's ignore speculators for a moment), which would make the market less liquid, discouraging people from buying new houses and hence adding to the community.
Not to mention the obvious fact that, without landlords, there would be no houses for rent, which would decrease worker mobility and hence make the community worse off economically.
That would be a good thing. Housing would be cheaper, because people wouldn't be priced out of the market by rent seekers with large capital.
Housing should not be an investment object, it should be for living in.
Most western countries have a large surplus of housing, but a lot of people can't afford to live there. The landlords and speculators would rather have houses stand empty than reduce their profits. All the while, there are homeless people on the streets. Letting perfectly good housing stand empty solely for the sake of profits is morally reprehensible.
(In Australia) removing negative gearing, mandatory parking minimums and foreign investment would go a long way too! Though I hear Prop 13 and strange taxation in San Fran is one of the issues.
The root problem is that landlordism is exploitative. We don't need landlords to increase the supply of housing, that can be done much better through housing cooperatives and publicly funded housing, where the element of greed is minimized. Landlords are rent seekers, extracting excessive profits from a basic human need.
And there really isn't a need for increasing the housing supply in any western country that I know of. The issue is not one of supply, the issue is that a lot of the people who work in the cities are priced out of being able to live in those cities. That is not a problem you can solve by simply increasing supply, because landlords obviously want the best return on their investments, so they build expensive housing, which attracts only those with enough wealth to buy in at that price level.
As a result, when left to their own devices, landlords will not build housing that is inexpensive to live in (small apartments without parking and so on), unless they are forced to do so though regulations.
And personally, "getting to own" is not something that makes sense to me. For me it would be "having to own". I would never want to pay an absurd amount of money (including huge commissions and one-time costs) so that I was tied down in one spot. Let alone wanting to become an unpaid amateur maintenance guy (and unpaid amateur general contractor when it gets harder). It makes as much sense to me as owning a farm so I can get food. I'd rather pay for housing as a service and leave it to experts to manage.
Of course, that does leave me at a bit of a financial advantage, because in the US we subsidize home purchases (with a larger subsidy for more expensive homes!). But then I'm also not vulnerable to things like the surprise $40k cost for foundation repairs some nearby friends of mine got hit with, so I can live with it.
Appartment coops might be the way forward, but "I, by myself, own the piece of land under my feet" will naturally generate the same problems as landlords do in big cities.
At the very least shared ownership should become more common
It's a neat idea, but I'm guessing there is a certain culture that makes apartment coops work, and that definitely doesn't exist near me.
The US government has fostered a culture of entitled NIMBY assholes and wont stop until it collapses.
I know the story of railroads in America. In Poland, once communism was officially over, they realized rail transport generates big monetary losses. So, over the course of several governments, they insidiously extinguished rail and bus transport. They did it in such a way that it appears citizens don't want it. For example they made the train arrive in a city at 08:10 am instead of 07:55 - a big deal for school kids. Or they broke stopovers - one train would arrive at 11:30 and another would leave at 11:40, so you could catch it. But they made it 11:30 and 11:35 or even 11:30, so you're likely to miss the other train.
To give you an idea, the number of passengers transported per year fell 4 times since 1989. There are books popping up describing the process and how most people in villages feel forced to own a car.
This is sadly true, but I believe we are starting to see it change. Slowly. It is a sign of immaturity: as a country matures, people notice that cars aren't all they are cracked up to be, and start switching to bikes, walking and public transportation.
I'd love to increase my prestige in a way by buying something better but fiscally I cannot do it. My degree is more valuable in the long term that I'm not jeopardizing it.
The "new" subway line was built by tearing the surface up and digging from the top. The way it was rebuilt is much nicer: you now have wide sidewalks, bike paths, and a few trees. It's still very ugly imo and incredibly car-centric + polluted, but it's not as bad as it used to be.
That said, Poland took a 180 turn after communism... There are ads everywhere for credit cards and unsecured credit, hundreds of banks operate there, people love to spend money and be showy about it, large chains opening left and right... While people are still working under poor conditions (health insurance, job stability, pay, pension)
I don't know if this is done to curb the spreading of ticks (and Lyme disease) in urban areas or to avoid "lowering your neighbour's properties value", but it's terrible for bio-diversity... Insects have it already pretty hard in cities and on top of that they've got nothing to eat in the tiny patch of grasses people call "gardens."
I'm with you on the dead ecosystem thing. Besides the vegetable patch, my garden is deliberately a happy self-regulated mess of grass and wild strawberries, trees and bushes, planted flowers and all sorts of plants and mushrooms. I only remove the thorns, and walk though with a scythe twice a year (one tough enough to cut the smaller saplings). It's quite rewarding to watch the birds, small mammals and amphibians that thrive there, and a delight for my young daughter. It is quite a surprise to hear that I'd have trouble doing that in the land of the free. Thank you for the insight !
9/10 you'll be fine, but knowing that, is it honestly worth doing?
Right now, modern buildings happen when a developer buys a piece of land, and tries to squeeze the maximum amount of apartments on that space. In 1980s, the government built a whole neighborhood of 30-80k people from scratch, and the priority was quality of life for people inside.
(Obviously, the times were rough back then, the old buildings are not as good in quality, but the thing most people agree with is that urban-planning was way better)
Of course the largest part the problem is that people are trained to think debt is such a good thing. I can't tell you many lawyers I know who make 500k/yr are way in the net negative, while my country/redneck friends are far in the net positive. Their homes and vehicles may not be brand new or as nice, but they own them and have a financial and other type of freedom the rich-but-a-debt-slave can only dream of. Of course they have the means to get themselves out of that position, but they don't think like that for the most part.
tldr - Ownership (on more than just homes) is still very important if you don't want bankers to own the world.
ps: Also, this is one of the reasons why the move more towards a remote-first workforce seems very promising to me. Buy a forever home as young as possible and never have to sell it unless you want to move, as opposed to always having to sell for every new job you take.