Comment of the Day: Are You All Short-Timers Here?

COMMENT OF THE DAY: ARE YOU ALL SHORT-TIMERS HERE? “I have often wondered… Why is there such a collective push towards “improving property value”? I think it’s a terrible thing! My preference is for the value of my property to stabilize. I don’t want it to fall, because it would make the neighborhood as a whole lose value and therefore invite blight; but I don’t want it to rise either, because I will simply have to pay more taxes on it. The only reason for anyone to hope for their property value to rise is because they would prefer to sell it. In my opinion, that’s not a sustainable model, because the only ones that benefit from it are the ones that do not want to keep the house long-term. That’s how you end up with sub-par quality ‘houses’ built by seedy developers. Am I off base?” [Alex, commenting on Where Houston’s Lot-Size Restrictions Went, Year by Year]

18 Comment

  • I doubt we’ll have to worry about rising property values in our lifetimes.

  • You are totally on base! A house is a place to live, not an investment.

  • YES, I’m a short timer. After living here for most of my life , I’m ready to move away and if I can make a little money off my house, good, I earned it.

    PS; I was born here and am now 60.

  • Corollary to the Comment of the Day:

    Are the subdivided lot developments sustainable in the sense of their improvement value when they become old and in need of the bulldozer?

    Will future land owners have to buy out all subdivided lots if they share firewalls?

    How does that effect land values that are bundled as in the case of the subdivided lots with limited ROW access?

    2 story townhomes in some areas very well could be the slums of the 2030’s

  • @eric
    I’ll gladly buy your house while the prices are low so you won’t have to worry about rising property values in the future.

  • Waaaay off-base! Higher-valued neighborhoods very strongly correlate with owner-occupancy. And owner-occupants stick around longer and maintain the neighborhood better than absentee landlords.

    We can debate the sociological and financial issues underlying this fact, but it is what it is.

  • What TheNiche said.

    Ever heard of inflation? If the cost of living, GDP, etc. increase but your house value stays the same the neighborhood around you will fester.

  • I completely agree. A house is somewhere to live. People are far too preoccupied with the mighty dollar in this as in so many other walks of life. The prestige of a profession is hard-wired to its average salary, not its contribution to society, that of a college education to its expense, not how much it educates, and so on. When people obsess less over the accumulation of wealth and more on leaving the world a better place than when they found it, we might be better off….

  • Higher-valued neighborhoods very strongly correlate with owner-occupancy. And owner-occupants stick around longer and maintain the neighborhood better than absentee landlords.


    Probably true, but I can put up with a wonky gutter or (gasp!) window AC units if I actually see that neighbor every once in a while, as opposed to buyers of newbuilds who typically hermetically seal themselves inside their McMansions, requiring sophisticated time-lapse photography to confirm their existence. Neighourhoods are built on people interacting, not obsessing over the (monetary) value of their homes.

  • My Aunt bought a house on two lots in Bunker Hill in 1959. She sold it a couple of years ago. She’s in her mid 80s and living a very comfortable life now because of the increase in the value of her house.

    Property taxes are a minor concern compared to the value of my home. I’m disappointed if they don’t go up every year.

  • @jgriff, would your property taxes be a minor concern if you were on a fixed income and your property taxes were increasing 10% every year? I believe most homeowners would like to see the market value of their home increase each year, but not the appraised value from the taxing authority.

  • “The only reason for anyone to hope for their property value to rise is because they would prefer to sell it.”

    Actually, a rising home value allows the owner to access some of that additional equity via a cash-out re-fi or HELOC without selling the house.

  • Well said, Alex!

  • home/property values in the future will be be significantly impacted by the price of energy and wealth distribution in the younger generations. as energy is set to climb, distributed wealth is in great decline and mobility is becoming ever more important. there will be a few winners and many many losers.

    population growth doesn’t matter if they’re all poor folks.

  • miss_msry, sidegate, Right on!

    Anonymous9.0, is that Midtown of which you speak?

  • I bought and sold (and lived in) 5 different homes since 1993. No, I’m not a flipper.
    After fees, commissions and other expenses, I’ve calculated a net profit of about $700,000 by doing so (not adjusted).
    I realize many can’t pull off this migratory lifestyle (schools, commutes, etc.), but it has worked out very well for me. I concentrated on neighborhood potential more than anything else, so I lived in some sketchy areas (though not outright bad). I was not an “urban pioneer” – I followed them a few years later. I never lived more than .5 mi. from the Loop, and all but one cost less than 400k.
    That was then. My last sale was a break-even proposition (tiny % profit) and my 3-5 year migration pattern is, I think, over for 7-10 years, at least.

    Nevertheless, my “wandering” was fun, interesting, and quite profitable. As I grow older, perhaps this “home is where the heart is” stuff will resonate – MAYBE.

  • You should move to Utopia. Hear its great there this time of year.

  • I think long-termers can also definitely benefit from increasing property values. My in-laws and my parents each bought houses over 30 years ago, both for under $200k. My in-laws, who bought in Sugar Land, have a house that worth about $250k now. My parents, who bought near Rice University, have a house worth $900k now.

    Like Udunno, we bought and sold three houses in the last ten years (all Inner Loop), and all for good profits before settling in to our home today.

    I understand Alex’s point but location and housing stock is an important variable. Tools like MLS attract people who want to stay.