Leftists praise sky-high home prices and the new renter nation

How's this for taking a leftist lemon and trying to make lemonade from it?

Leftist columnists closely aligned with Democrats and their policies are now praising unaffordable home prices and the coming U.S. future as a renter nation.

They think that all of us deplorables out there would actually prefer to pay landlords overpaying for homeownership.

No, not for the nakedly obvious reason that renters tend to vote Democrat.

The new arguments out there, sure to be picked up by leftist pols, are more like this...

In a column titled "America Should Become a Nation of Renters" Bloomberg's Karl W. Smith writes:

Rising real-estate prices are stoking fears that homeownership, long considered a core component of the American dream, is slipping out of reach for low- and moderate-income Americans. That may be so — but a nation of renters is not something to fear. In fact, it's the opposite.

He argues that homes are easier to sell now that huge investment companies are buying them up:

This process is painful, but it's not all bad. Slowly but surely, most Americans' single biggest asset — their home — is becoming more liquid. Call it the liquefaction of the U.S. housing market.

That, he notes, means that the old wisdom that it's cheaper to buy than rent is going out the window.  Houses are no longer "safe" investments that naturally grow in value for the little guy.  Big investors will make more on rents as more renters come on the market even if rent prices drop, certainly a good deal for them.  He concludes it's actually more American, though:

To see the U.S. as a nation of renters requires a revision of the American dream of homeownership. This country was always more about new frontiers than comfortable settlements, anyway. 

Blech.  This certainly explains the enthusiasm that Democrats have for rent, rabbit-warren living, plus rent control in the age of COVID.  They also are really fond of forcing the public into public transport run by unions, and are hell-bent on destroying the suburbs through the importation of inner city-subsidized housing in the name of "equity."

But there's even more, and now-left-leaning columnist Froma Harrop, in a piece titled "The American dream can be rented," tells us:

As lockdowns sent city dwellers "fleeing" to the suburbs for more space, the prices of homes offering that space took off. To play in the bidding wars, homebuyers had to cough up big money and chain themselves to giant mortgages. This painful scenario led many to choose renting over buying, and that's not a bad thing.

Why can't the American dream of a detached house with a family room be rented instead, like an apartment? Actually, it can. Houses have been available for rent forever, but now real estate investors are building entire subdivisions for the purpose of renting, not selling, the homes.

For generations, the real estate industry has promoted a cult of homeownership, portraying it as a rite of passage for the upwardly mobile. Realtors pushed it. Lenders pushed it. Developers pushed it. And so did the government, with easy mortgages.

Those darned deplorable culties.

She points to the "glamorization of urban hipster living" as one reason people choose to rent now, we deplorables being easily led by the nose by "image," it seems.  She was a bit behind the times — that idea was big in 2008 when President Obama was elected.  Today, in the Joe Biden nightmare era, it's all about the homeless setting up tent camps and defecating in one's big-city doorway, buying and selling drugs without being busted by cops, pharmacies shutting down in big numbers due to shoplifting rings, and soaring crime rates with random pushes in front of subways along with anti-Asian slurs.  Sound hipsterly?  Sound worth growing a beard for and forgetting about homeownership?  Well...

She concludes her argument by saying Americans would prefer the nomad lifestyle, living among strangers, moving around every few months to the dreadful prospect of being glued to a community.  I'm gonna guess that's not the majority.

Now let's briefly get to why these arguments are bad, yet Democrats are embracing them.

Number one: Renter-nation under Democrat-favored rent control certainly has some side-effects, as I reported at Forbes in 2001.  There's also Fort Apache, in the Bronx, the logical culmination of a rent-control nation, combined with high crime in tight spaces all to look forward to.

Number two: Buying a home is the American Dream for a reason.  Owning property does something to the soul and spirit, so many homeowners say.  I certainly heard that at a recent party in May in Lake Elsinore, California for a friend who was moving to South Carolina.  Virtually everyone there was black, Mexican, or Asian, with many immigrants, and as property-owners, they said they had achieved their dream.  Democrats can't stand people like this, the idea of people of all colors owning their own homes with garages full of expensive sporting equipment.  It makes them sick, this idea of peons moving about the country and "escaping all proper control," as the Duke of Wellington put it, as noted by Eric Hoffer.  The idea that Americans prefer to take orders and rent hikes, even little ones, from landlords, with no discounts for consistent payments, is not a happy thing.  It's similar to being ordered around by union bosses in involuntary membership unions or nickel-and-dimed by homeowner associations, mostly at condos, two other Democrat enthusiasms.

Homeownership creates commitment to community, which is the foundation for the building of civil society.  It's the creation of trust, the fostering of community commitment.  A life among strangers, moving around from rental unit to rental unit, is a recipe for high social distrust...and racial tensions.  If it's all about rents and remittances, it makes a place run down.  Just tour San Fernando, or Van Nuys, California, for a whiff of that.  The homeownership, with the pristine but empty homes, is back in Zacatecas.  There's a reason city-dwellers never smile at strangers.  It's owing to just this low social capital.

Homeownership is also about the importance of building capital and wealth — by the little guy.  Smith praises renter-nation because he considers the high home prices that have driven people to renting the "liquefaction of housing markets," in that they can be bought and sold more easily, but only by big-shot investors.  Instead of the little guy building a nest egg with wealth with his homeownership, it's now the big guy who gets to build wealth.  Wealth-building and the freedom to create capital out of one's own earnings are central to why America is America and no pinched, immobile Europe, or worse yet, the Third World.  Hernando de Soto, the great Peruvian economist, wrote about this Mystery of Capital and the importance of being able to have property rights as critical to eliminating the third-world shantytown life.  Without property rights, which includes access to having property at all, life can get pretty rotten. 

Democrats are all in for this kind of rotten.  It transfers human wealth and autonomy into money and power for themselves.  And come 2022, Republicans must make an issue of this absence of access to homeownership through sky-high housing prices, all the work of Democrat policies, overspending, and inflation, on the double.

Image: Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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