Gig Economy

I adore Joel Kotkin and agree with most everything he writes. In fact, I have written for him, and wish I had time to do more.

By the way, don’t ever let anyone tell you that blogging is fast and easy. It’s not. All writing sucks up an inordinate amount of time. When I visited Joel in California, his wife told me he is always, always at the computer writing. Pretty much the same here now.

Like most of us, I have been struggling to make real estate sense of the crazy reality show our White House has become, balancing that with the extreme weirdness — and intensity — of the coming elections. There are many examples, but Texas governor! A former Dallas County Sheriff who didn’t pay her property taxes on time (“better to offer low rent than pay taxes on time, she says“) is running against a staunch conservative incumbent governor. The Ted Cruz vs. Beto O’Rourke race is just war, and in these two, as many races across the U.S., you could not find more polar opposite candidates.

Middle-of-the-road, centrist politics was buried with John McCain, it seems.

Where will this take our country and what will it do to the housing market, already whiplashed from the new tax law?

Will the new tax law, which limits the mortgage deduction to $750,000 worth of debt and limits your property tax deduction to $10,000 (about a $700,000 home in Dallas) force more to sell their homes and become renters? Dallas is only second to New York City in apartment starts, and 2017 brought in 30,000 units with more than 50,000 under construction. (Dallas rents are actually now beginning to recede.) I am seeing some stunning luxury apartments the likes of which we have never had, that I would move into in a New York minute (stay tuned). Then I see luxury listings lowering prices to sell, while the under $500,000 market remains on steroids. What gives? Where are we going with all this?

Oligarchal socialism, says Joel. It allows “for the current, ever-growing concentration of wealth and power in a few hands — notably tech and financial moguls — while seeking ways to ameliorate the reality of growing poverty, slowing social mobility and indebtedness. This will be achieved not by breaking up or targeting the oligarchs, which they would fight to the bitter end, but through the massive increase in state taxpayer support.”

Bingo.

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