High Home Prices by NIMBYs

Fighting for Lower Prices and More Housing?

Those looking for homes for sale are shocked and perplexed at the list prices.  Some actually ask why home prices are so high. They’re smart, because few are explaining it transparently. Instead, the answer is confused with symptoms of high home prices.

Home prices are set for yet another big run upward this summer of 2021 and into the fall season. People talk about the financial pain for Americans, but is the cultural, lifestyle, and other human costs more important?

Homelessness (disease, crime, death, etc.), covered in another post, is just the last symptom of this process that keeps real estate prices too high.  High home prices encourage inflation and then higher interest rates which clobber the economy. High rising home prices are an insidious disease in the economy.

High home prices are part of dislocation of wealth and privilege and the ways it harms our society are too numerous for us to list.  As they’ve risen, the harms are magnified.  Does it all come back to globalism, tax evasion for the wealthy, and how they and multinationals can polarize income?  Yes.

How About a Plan to Lower Home Prices?

Lots of hopeful window shopping homebuyers are wondering if home prices will drop or fall or whether the housing market will crash. Some do hope for that actually. With so many people being passive and not taking a leadership position in solving the problems of the housing market, and it’s underlying causes, we’re not making headway.

The issue is that the core or root of this problem isn’t being discussed. Instead, it’s just about prices and blaming Realtors, mortgage agents, and builders, or about stimulus money being poured into the markets.  Strangely, any talk about lowering real estate prices is quickly criticizes and hushed.  Governments for instance like keeping wealthy home owners happy and they like the easy to collect taxes they get to float in.  No governors, presidents or mayors ever pursue lower real estate prices because they’re bosses would not be happy.

The protection of real estate values plus globalist company wages leads to immense stress for workers who can barely live with their wages. It puts to question their employment. As a result many Americans are quitting their jobs.

What if we Cut Right to the 4 Core Causes of high home prices?

They are:

  1. prohibitive local land and zoning bylaws (NIMBYs)
  2. no government support or funding for desperately needed home construction
  3. no tax breaks for those participating in home construction
  4. excessive urbanism enforced by multinational corporations which puts pressure on specific cities: San Francisco, Manhattan, Miami etc. where money congregates

We need leaders in local real estate to tackle the anti-housing development lobby and all governments who strategize to keep real estate prices high. Until someone does, prices will go higher, supply and local economies will stagnate, home construction will slow, and the social damage might be irreparable.

The introduction of lower home prices will help new family formation, generate more economic activity, along with more benefits for everyone in the real estate industry. Fighting the causes, will benefit new investors in real estate.

In 2020, there was a growing animosity toward wealthier, older people too, expressed during the black lives matter riots last summer. It’s one of the reasons many Americans wanted to get rid of Trump.  But the real issue is that younger people can’t get their lives off the ground and are facing a bleak future due to the housing problem.

The housing crisis is exacting a toll on everyone’s life.  We need action on this.

Many groups have had to give up dreams before, but Gen Z’s seem to be on the edge emotionally now, and low wages and high housing costs are their burning issue. This is a group that has inflicted pain on themselves rather than acting assertively to fix key issues such as housing problems.

Solving this problem could save a lot of lives and generate substantial economic activity.

NIMBYs are One Big Problem

The core issue of NIMBYism is the top battle issue. NIMBYs (Not in my backyard) stand in the way of housing development for many reasons, some legitimate, many not.  Their effect however is particularly cancerous to city neighborhoods and to the health of whole cities.

YIMBYs (Yes, in my backyard) on the other hand are fighting to allow housing development in cities. What we need are more YIMBYs fighting for the rights of people to have adequate affordable housing. Housing should be a right today.

Screenshot courtesy of Yimbyaction.org

The fight will not be an easy one, as the NIMBYs are often wealthy homeowners, connected, and established in communities, and spoiled by their power to control local governments and stop home building. With more people supporting their local YIMBY groups, it erodes the quiet obedience to NIMBY rulers. Change comes with visibility.

“Research by Boston University’s Katherine Levine Einstein and her colleagues has found that older, relatively wealthy white people tend to dominate zoning and planning meetings, giving outsize voice to NIMBY forces” — from the Atlantic.

Often, even the vaguest complaints they make against development are enough to stop it dead. That power was given to them many decades ago. But slowly we’re learning new ways to defeat them such as in Minneapolis.

Learning How to Beat the NIMBYs

The key to beating NIMBYs is to learn the tricks they use to crush development. A key tool NIMBYs have is the single family only zoning regulation. And since very limited land is available in major cities and towns, and development is costly, they can win these wars.  Sometimes they outright ban multifamily buildings as well, which makes poor workers have to go far out beyond the city to find a place to live. Then they suffer the painful commute to work.

Government’s solutions are to build more mass transit, in the billions of dollars. You can see how idiotic that solution is.  A better solution is to not cram more people into cities. The clear intent of people today is leave cities for more room and health in rural areas and other states. Spending billions or trillions on mass transport infrastructure really is a waste, even if it creates a few jobs.

This isn’t a political partisan party thing either. The major parties enact what their wealthy bosses tell them to. A fair amount of political reform might be necessary to create new housing, and to plot a different course that will result in better living conditions for everyone.  The suffering of high density population strategies generates all the wrong solutions.  It becomes a political tool for NIMBYs.

“Social scientists broadly agree that bans on multifamily housing are bad for housing affordability, bad for racial equality, and bad for the environment. Yet there has been a political consensus that changing these long-entrenched policies is out of the question. In neighborhood debates about planning and zoning policy, the loudest voices usually belong to people who are satisfied with the status quo.” — from a post in the Atlantic —  How Minneapolis Defeated Nimbyism.

With businesses being forced into major cities, it compounds the problem that (e.g., San Francisco and New York) there are too many people and not enough tiny apartments to hold them. As the pandemic passes, workers are returning to cities and apartment vacancies are falling. This problem is returning in the last half of 2021 and into 2022.

With inflation eating away at consumer budgets this year, an increasing number of people can’t buy a home or even rent one. Further complicating the rental picture as you know, is the requirement for high credit ratings, something few lower income renters have.

The end result is painful, society-killing homelessness and despair. The dream of homeownership isn’t the only dream dying. Related dreams of an adequate income, family development, and self-reliance have also perished for so many people.

The key reason why home prices and rent prices have risen to ridiculous, unsustainable levels is a lack of affordable land and low housing supply in established major cities. Zoning and development restrictions applied by local governments has stopped home building. The lack of new construction at a time of high immigration and natural population growth translates to bidded-up home prices.

NIMYB’s Oppose Any Development, House or Apartments

Millions of locally involved participants in local governments are active in preventing housing development in every community. Housing restrictions are further supported at the state level. The two governments can gang up to ensure all loopholes for building are closed. And they can claim ecological reasons too.

NIMBYs or not in my backyard activists are aggressive and active. They don’t care about anyone but themselves and they will fight hard and obsessively to stop all building in their towns and neighborhoods. In some municipalities, the tax on new lot development can be $50,000 or more — an additional way to stop building altogether.

Given wages for most people is falling, $50,000 is an exorbitant fee when you haven’t even built yet. Add on high lumber and labor fees due to regulation, and who would continue the pursuit of home building? The housing market now caters to high income buyers.

Changes in the economy this year with high immigration levels is doing to jump up home prices and send homeless numbers through the roof. People complain about institutionalized unfairness, but this institutionalized denial of the right to a roof over one’s head is far more destructive.

There are complaints that real estate agents cause high home prices, but in fact all of us are responsible. We don’t fight the NIMBY regulations. We need politicians to fight for changes.

How to Support a Return to Health

The number one activism effort you can make to help bring health back to the housing market, is to attend local housing regulation meetings. Local government officials have been hiding their activities for a long time, so don’t expect open discussions about new developments and how to quash them. You can force topics to be reopened, and to out vote the NIMBYs in these meetings and discuss results daily on your social media accounts.

The second is to lobby your state representative and governor to push for changing harmful housing development rules. Control over real estate has to be taken by state governments, and they must open development in new locations where it’s lower cost. They can offer builder incentives, lower taxes, eliminate fees, and offer money to create housing developments.

Because of the number of new immigrants, solutions must scale up to provide tens of thousands of new homes in each state, and in Canada, Australia and the UK too.

Another key is to push infrastructure funds into opportunity zones and new cities where land is plentiful. This goes against multinational corporations goal of locating in big cities. The fact is, big cities can’t sustain human populations well and a redistribution of people and businesses to rural areas is good for everyone.

As the digitally remote workers rises and takes advantage of their lower cost, we’ll see more funds move out to smaller housing markets where they can buy roomy, single family homes with a backyard. And this is the future for millennials who can’t raise a family in a tiny shoebox urban apartment.

How to Defeat the NIMBY’s

  • attend meetings and persuade officials to vote against NIMBY rules
  • charge NIMBYs large fees to file an objection or obstruction
  • pressure state governments to take back control of local zoning
  • support multifamily developers plans to build in your communities
  • spread the word on social media channels with messages that show the benefits of housing development
  • create letters to the editor, blogs, social media, opinion articles, do talk shows, etc. to spread the word and create a visible presence that everyone can see
  • report the damage of NIMBY actions to the media
  • report and challenge NIMBY opposition and their public statements
  • reach social media influencers and ask them to support the cause of adequate housing
  • hold meetings with local YIMBYs and discuss strategy and activities
  • prepare arguments that focus on shared community goals, needs, priorities and positive outcomes
  • be prepared to discuss objections about global warming, noise, pollution, taxes, congestion, crime, traffic etc., because these are key NIMBY points
  • speak with housing developers about how to support them better in the quest for zoning approval
  • reach community leaders and business spokespeople for their support and participation (you’ll at least find out who your enemies are)
  • do door to door campaigning for housing developments to explain the economic and social benefits
  • be prepared to negotiate rather than argue and provide concessions to win your big objectives
  • show the damage homelessness creates and quantify the economic damage of NIMBYism

If you look at the best housing markets, those with the lowest prices, you’ll see specific towns and cities rising as preferred destinations. This migration should be encouraged as it removes price pressure in the suburbs and urban zones.

The solution is multi-pronged and it’s dependent on your energy and you pursuing your rights to a decent life. NIMBYs have “got theirs” so don’t expect sympathy for your quest for affordable home prices and a home you can enjoy living in.

Build a new vision for the housing market and push for laws that will encourage home construction and multifamily construction. Your leadership is valuable and needed. Find out what you need to at your local level and outvote the NIMBYs.

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