Here’s a fascinating map put together by Scott Shaffer for a new post on the blog of streets.mn Board alum Nick Magrino. It shows the current home values of homes in the city minus their purchase price, or as Magrino states “a rough way of estimating how much equity people have on top of whatever they’ve paid down on their mortgages.”
Magrino argues that lots of people are making money off the status quo, even if they do nothing at all. He writes that:
There are winners and losers in a constrained housing market. There are ups and downs in the market, but the long-term trend is very clear. Areas with lots of amenities and good access to jobs and services are in demand, and market values have been driven up by low supply. Intentionally or not, there are people who are making hundreds of thousands of dollars by keeping new housing out of their neighborhoods.
The big takeaway for me is would be some variation of the truism “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.” The real estate market is always working behind the scenes, no matter what sorts of policies one adopts or how much one embraces or shuns change.
PS. The map also reminds me of the “racial wealth inequality” chart I put up in 2015, showing the increase in wealth over time for different racial groups.
A huge amount of American wealth came from owning a home in rising real estate markets, and home ownership was a privilege largely restricted to white people for critical generations during the twentieth century.