All Things Real Estate: Owning property not a universal right

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I’ve been thinking about this past Memorial Day weekend and how all of us are free to purchase whatever we want and to do so in a manner and environment that allows us to decide independently how, when, and where we can do it. I believe to some degree we take for granted and forget how easy life is to excel, prosper and do and be whatever we want to be without any interference.

Buying real estate is one thing that comes to mind since in some other countries one has no right to possess their own home or investment property. China, Laos and Vietnam are Communist countries that do not allow personal ownership of property. I am quite sure those in the inside of government and those who have connections might have a way to circumvent the strict policies. Foreigners, too, are restricted from ownership in Vietnam, Mexico, Greece, and Thailand, but again it’s not what you know but who you know that allows those that are connected to sidestep the normal rules and layers of restrictions.

Communist countries, unfortunately, control property and don’t allow their citizens ownership (except Cuba, which changed its constitution in 2019 to allow one to own their own home and investment property while also assuring the central government’s authority over the regulation of production and land). However, foreigners cannot own property directly but use third parties indirectly to obtain ownership.

In Communist countries, the competitive spirit is squashed and the government controls almost everything that is consumed. However, Russians can use their wages to purchase their home and goods as needed. But whether it is a foreigner or citizen, one cannot own the land beneath the property which is controlled by the government. The value is more or less controlled by the state. It is much more difficult and takes more time to save to be able to be in a position to purchase due to the value of the Ruble. The exchange rate of one dollar equals 73.32 Rubles as the currency is far less valuable.

Romania has the world’s highest homeownership of 96 percent, followed by Singapore with 90.8 percent and Slovakia with 90.3 percent.

We as Americans have truly no restrictions on purchasing our own homes or investment properties as long as we have the ways and means to accumulate the necessary funds to close the transactions. We take for granted how free we are to amass our own individual wealth by ownership when some other countries do not provide that right to their citizens. The concept of appreciation and getting rich is extremely limited to those who are connected to the insider group.

Can you imagine what your life would look like if you couldn’t own your own home or an investment property? How would you accumulate long-term wealth? It would most likely have to be in ways that would be illegal in countries that restrict ownership of property. The Black Market proliferates where severe policy restrictions occur.

What would the United States look like if we had those restrictive policies in place? I am quite sure many would move out of the country. Our economy would seriously falter over time and would not be the once “free to earn and invest” in an unrestrictive environment that it once was. I believe that is why so many have come here and still yearn for the “American Dream” in being able to immigrate to the United States, which has now been more restricted in gaining U.S. citizenship.

A few questions come to mind if and when tax laws are altered and changed in the U.S. Over the next few years what effect will it have on our real estate? Will the benefits and values that currently exist be radically changed? Will owning one’s home and/or investment property be worth the time and effort? Are we at the crossroads of change that will adversely affect our economy and country?

My professional opinion is that those in charge must be made very carefully as to what changes are being considered and whether or not we lose or win the battle of fairness and equity. The distribution of wealth to those who truly deserve it because of their entrepreneurial, physically earned “sweat equity” efforts and those who do not deserve sharing should be a major factor to be considered. The future could be quite beneficial for a greater number of people or quite bleak if decisions are made to benefit only a small minority.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has 39 years of experience in the Real Estate industry and has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S). For a “FREE” 15 minute consultation, a value analysis of your home, or to answer any of your questions or concerns he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com

2 COMMENTS

  1. I had to read this opinion a few times as I honestly could not believe what I was reading. Did a professional real estate person honestly just open this essay by saying how lucky we ALL are and that ‘we take for granted and forget how easy life is to excel, prosper and do and be whatever we want to be without any interference.’ Perhaps the author failed to note the recent investigation in NEWSDAY which revealed despicable practices by real estate professionals treating people quite differently based on their race. The author notes that the ability to purchase property allows persons to build wealth. Unfortunately he ignores that until about 50 years ago it was legal to discriminate based on race including in housing. Restrictive covenants based on race were perfectly acceptable! He also ignores that when the Fair Housing Act was passed to remedy this discrimination new ways to keep people of color from the ability to invest the American dream were crafted such as redlining. Of course all of these practices – which NEWSDAY shows continue to this day just in different form – have resulted in extreme disparities amongst demographic groups in their abilities to accumulate intergenerational wealth. But despite this, the author believes that possible changes to the tax code by the Biden administration will dictate if ‘we lose or win the battle of fairness and equity.’ I would argue that history has already made clear who the winners and losers are on this front and to argue otherwise is not only ignorant it’s abhorrent.

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