Something’s Rotten in the American Real Estate Market

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We all know something’s rotten in real estate.  Even people paying no attention to markets notice how dramatically rent and property values have risen.  In my area, property values have quintupled in the last ten years. What bought a house on acreage ten years ago now wouldn’t get you a small house on a tiny lot in a terrifying neighborhood.

It’s not that tons of people are moving to my state.  Nearly as many are leaving.  It’s also not that there is a building shortage.  Enormous housing subdivisions are going up, but they’re full of $500,000 homes in an area where the median income is $80,000.  It just doesn’t make sense.

Investment firms are snapping up homes.

That is, unless you’re looking at homes not as a place for real people to inhabit but as investment opportunities.  Sellers are usually happy to sell to investment firms because they can pay so much more than average individual buyers, but that’s because investment firms have access to much lower interest rates.

While investors dramatically slowed down their purchases of single-family homes in 2023 due to the mortgage rate increases, they still purchased about 18% of homes sold because individuals have slowed down their purchases of homes, too.

Everyone knows that the luxury home bubble is going to burst at some point, and investment firms are backing off accordingly.  This year they have shifted their focus to low-income homes, buying up an increasingly large share of starter homes around the country.  Investment firms see these as safer bets financially, but this concentration of cheaper homes into the hands of investment firms makes it harder than ever for lower earners to buy their own homes.

Rural land is being artificially inflated by investors too.

Some young people have been thinking, well, maybe I’ll just move to the country, buy some cheap acreage, and do the homesteading thing.  But farmland prices have been artificially inflated, too.

Now, I know for a fact that many investors simply look at aerial photography, pick out pieces they think look interesting, and then start making offers.  I know because I live on an interesting-looking piece of property, and I have been contacted by investors who know absolutely nothing about the zoning laws or long-term plans in my area.

They do similar things with farmland, except that misreading aerial photography with farmland can have much bigger consequences in terms of price.  Looking at the 2023 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report, you can see that, for the Southwest portion of the state, center-pivot irrigated cropland is worth $5495 per acre, whereas dryland cropland with irrigation potential goes for $2080 per acre, less than half the price.  And I’m using Southwest Nebraska as an example, but land all over the drier parts of the High Plains shows a large price disparity between irrigated and non-irrigated cropland.

If investors see the hardware in aerial photography, they sometimes assume it’s irrigated and pay irrigated prices.  Of course, anyone that actually wanted to farm would confirm that before making any kind of commitment, but many investors don’t because they really don’t care.  It’s not about farming the land at all.  It’s about simply having assets, and if they artificially drive up prices, so much the better for their balance sheets.

But so much worse for neighbors that now have artificially inflated land prices because those mean higher taxes.  And so much the worse for any young people with limited capital that may have actually wanted to farm.

And a lot of the investors are foreign.

And it just keeps getting weirder when foreign investors get involved.  While it’s well known that Bill Gates is the largest individual landowner in the U.S.,  he’s hardly the only non-farmer buying farmland.

There has been a great deal of talk about the Chinese buying up farmland.  While they only own about 1% of American farmland, it’s still a matter of concern in that they seem to be most interested in farmland near military bases.

Last summer, a Chinese group bought 300 acres of farmland in North Dakota, about twenty minutes from an Air Force base. More recently, an entity called the Flannery Group spent $800 million buying farmland adjacent to Travis Air Force Base in California, then sued the farmers, which the farmers and local politicians are considering an intimidation tactic.

A lawyer for Flannery Group claims that it represents American, British, and Irish interests, though not one actual person in the firm has been identified, even after an 8-month investigation conducted by the Air Force’s Foreign Investment Risk Review Office.  Due to the similarity of the land purchase in North Dakota, people are speculating that this may be related to Chinese espionage, as well.


The sad fact of the matter is, Americans are competing for homes not only with each other, but also with the investor class both here and abroad.  I don’t know if this is intentional or not, but I do know that, historically, large populations being forced off their land is associated with all kinds of ugly things.  There are many factors at play here, but one fact stands out: it is really difficult to get your foot in the homeownership door.

What do we do?

So, what are we supposed to do?  Throw up our hands in the air and say, well, I guess we’ll never have grandchildren because the kids can’t afford the lifestyle we raised them to expect.

No.  Just because times are tough doesn’t mean we give up. It just means we have to think outside the box.  I have watched some friends make some interesting choices to enable their young adult children to afford pleasant living spaces, and I’d like to share these ideas in case they help anyone else.

One set of friends, a married couple, purchased a home in their neighborhood as they approached the end of the mortgage on their primary residence.  Because they were buying from an elderly neighbor with whom they’d already had a long-established relationship, they avoided realtor fees and got a good price.  They now keep the second house as a rental property for their young adult children.  Everyone has some needed privacy; the kids have more stability than they would have otherwise; the parents have a modest income stream that pays for the second mortgage.

Another friend, an older divorcee, sold her home and bought a house with a large, detached garage.  She converted the garage into a studio apartment for herself and rents the house to exceptionally well-behaved college students.  Her adult son, who lives in town, helps with maintenance.  She has an income stream that allows her to work part-time and the college kids feel like they struck a gold mine.

Other friends, who bought acreage more than a decade ago, rent space to campers.  If you’re in an unincorporated area, camper parking is often pretty unregulated.  This can be a good option for young adults that need their own space and their own responsibilities but are priced out of the conventional housing market.

I am against handouts. Young people need to grow up, and learning how to take care of their own living space is part of that.  I was a young mom. Even though my marriage didn’t work out, I loved being a young parent.  I see no reason why married 25-year-olds shouldn’t have kids.  But married people need privacy, which you don’t have if you’re crashing in your dad’s basement.

If you want grandchildren, if you have an extended family you’re concerned about, it’s time to rethink expectations of when people will be able to buy their own homes.  If the young people in your life are working hard and have an income, just not an income high enough for the conventional housing market, maybe it’s time to take another look at property already owned by the family, and see how it can be rearranged or subdivided so that part of it can be rented by the younger members.

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Housing prices are beginning to level off in many parts of the country, but it is by no means uniform.  With rising interest rates, mortgage payments are actually still increasing in most places.   If your family is tied to an expensive part of the country like mine is, waiting for prices to crash may take longer than you want.

Despite claims from the White House, I don’t think we’re in for a “soft landing.” I suspect things will get worse before they get better.  But those who do best in turbulent times will be the ones used to working hard, who have friends and family they’re willing to work hard with, who are willing to pool resources, and who can think outside the box when it comes to their usable assets.

What are your thoughts on investors driving up housing prices to unreachable levels? Do you think it’s all about money or do you believe there’s something else at play here? Do you have any ideas for people who would like to buy property but just can’t afford it at today’s prices?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

About Marie Hawthorne

A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.

Marie Hawthorne

Marie Hawthorne

A lover of novels and cultivator of superb apple pie recipes, Marie spends her free time writing about the world around her.

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  • WEF, Klaus Schwab: “You will own nothing and be happy.”
    Many think some shenanigans are going on to ensure that the super-rich steal everything and we are totally mind-controlled. We will see.

  • Commercial market is going down fast, majority is just a big shift in investments. But as Barry’s friend would say, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

  • Something nefarious is at work with the purchasing of land especially near military bases.

    We’ve often said we would sell an acre or 2 to build on our property for one of the kids if they want to move back here. But we will not give them land nor homes, we are not down with that, we have too many kids for that.

    One son wants to buy a house instead of renting in the expensive surrounding Charleston area. Rent nearly goes to $2500/month!! Insanity. We strongly suggested to wait until the bubble bursts soon. And it will, much like 2008.

  • “What goes around comes around” When all of us are out of work and can’t pay the mortgage or high rents, these investors will get what’s coming to them. Nada!!!

    • GOODY, goody for them Karma is a bitch. Was it not GREED that drove them there to begin with? Ahhhhh… Greed is everywhere it seems. The more the investors and landlords have the more they want…. Hoping that bubble will pop soon.

    • i dont think it will matter. they wont be paying anyone anything once it all crashes. the overlords will let them keep it.

  • They are artificially inflating prices to increase asset value for bank holdings, or else the banks would of already have collapsed.

  • I bought a 700 sq ft house a few years back for a pittance that needed a whole lot (a WHOLE LOT)of work. My son in his 20’s was going to school, working part time and had a lot of free time. I gave him room and board for free in exchange for working on the house. I bought the materials. It was almost finished and I was getting ready to sell it when he announced he was getting married. Fresh out of school with a fair job, but not enough to buy a house, I let the new couple live there and just pay the utilities until they get on their feet and can afford to move to a bigger place for a family. He more than earned it with the work he put into it. Not tooting my own horn. Just saying there are even more ways to help out the younguns.

  • Young couples both working: even tho uninformed about agenda 2030, most probably won’t have kids, they need both incomes and besides kids are expensive incl daycare and private education. The main concern is under agenda 2030 control freaks in six years or so, maybe sooner, people (slaves) will have no real future, living in tiny apts in cities, which would a deterrant to raising a family. (there will be few cars, no air cond, or real food like dairy or meats, fake food pushed, no travel out of your zones, etc) Any thinking person would see this lifestyle as unfit for anyone. There will be more people renting or struggling to make house payments w/escrow added. We are retirees and chose to be child free during the cold war (married 56 yrs) which is STILL ongoing now w/China. Anyone running for office now (president) that is anti globalist will be “taken out” elite only want compliant puppets. Congress is on the take since early 20th century and worse than ever now. Voting is utterly useless (some vote only local stuff).

  • Investors and foreign entities are buying up all they can and as a result Americans won’t be able to afford buying let alone owning property.
    As Klaus Schwab says, “you will own nothing and be happy”.
    All that is happening now relates to greedy government and banksters.

  • I think that some foreign property buying in the US is coming from those that no longer enjoy profitable investments in US T-bills, stocks, etc. Buying our real estate is one remaining way to ride a rising trend.

  • Buying up properties , will allow the corporate entities ( eg Blackrock ) to later dictate terms for habitation and commercial development, conversely destroying property by fire or flood , achieves the same goal ( eg Australia’s gold coast . parts of California and most recently on Maui )…the groundwork is being laid for a Neo Feudal civilization ( eg 15 minute cities . smart grids ,etc etc )….but first , property ownership must cease to exist for most of us in the first world…

  • Blackrock is all over Florida ruining woods building connected apartments and cheap built rental houses.I’m wondering what they are going to pull on us “Rednecks here on the Gulf Coast of Florida,they have been wanting to get their grubby hands on our properties for years. They are trying to do a Maui on us Rednecks here in NW Florida and all the way to Texas also.Long drought conditions,over 100 degree temps every day,every thing dried up for months.Next,it will be a 4 or 5 Hurricane with a “wild fire”,or is it DEW fire,to start in the many pine groves near small towns.Watch and see if I’m right,I sure hope not.

    • We live near the gulf, went thru hurricane Michael in 2018, a cat. 5. I am expecting hurricanes with water temp. high now. Friends closer to the gulf waited over two years for settlements. Some companies went bankrupt settling claims.

    • Trying to find reasonable homeowners insurance near a hurricane zone is now almost impossible. Most insurers no longer offer coverage in my area. Currently live in southern part of Baldwin County, Alabama. What happens when insurance goes to high to afford, or you cannot get coverage at all? Guess the banks come in and foreclose. Yet another strong arm tactic by the banks (working with insurers) of obtaining selected properties (FL, Coastal AL/MS/LA/TX), such as previous poster had mentioned.

  • Rugged individualists righteously professing opposition to handouts remain in denial of our economic interdependency, and how what we’ve supposedly earned has been given us by way of others’ labor in exploitative relations which favor few at the expense of many. In a heartless society where so many live on the edge of eviction if not already on the streets, who has the hubris but the well-heeled to preach about pulling oneself up by one’s own bootstraps when people’s shoe soles are so worn from suffering systemic dispossession? Amerika is a soulless nation, robbed of compassion, and the cooperative convictions to oppose the thievery, by an unfree market where survival of the fattest, all the organized crime of corporate capital, makes liars of any who fall for the ideological falsehoods which keep people enslaved to treadmills of poverty so the rich can keep laughing all the way to the bank. Something’s rotten alright, and it’s not just unreal estate preying upon the propertyless.

    • America is a hollowed out soulless nation for sure, majority have no idea what is planned and it is hard to find anyone informed. I have no time for uninformed since the covid scam/ those that took the shots, and cut ties w/ some since. Best to be interacting w/ likeminded. I get mail after dark so as not to interact w/ anyone right around me. We are not involved in any group activities or 501c3 gov. controlled churches either.

  • It’s kind of funny that you lump all investors together as “bad” although some are, but your examples of what people can do…..puts them in the “investor category”. I know a lot of investors that are just your average Mom & Pop putting food on the table. Fixing 1-2 homes a year that no one on the open market was willing to buy since they have so much repair issues and can’t be financed. These people take on a lot of risk and pay hard money loans of 10-22% to help fix up their communities and get the homes back up to where the average person would want to live in them again. The majority of homes selling are on the open market and sold to owner occupied individuals/couples. Yes, investment firms buy a lot, but the percentage compared to all home sales are quite low.

  • No one not a citizen of the United States should be allowed to buy and/or own land in the United States.

  • I appreciate your comprehensive review of the state of things housing -wise, and your selection of possible remedies being explored.
    In fact, I would like to use your article, with your permission, in my proposal to renew our communities by side-stepping the currently prevailing status quo into forming an Intentional Community in the form of a Limbic Arc Mastermind Group Enterprise as introduced on my website:

    This project’s mission is to Renew our community and
    to Restore the velocity of money in our local economy. How we see the multi-faceted ways in which we can do that is explained more thoroughly at these links:

    Project documentation is archived at:

    When we figure out that in our world NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL BUSINESS HAPPENS
    and we recognize the necessity to
    …when we figure that out and commit to acting from that understanding, we will be open to the proposals being offered here and we will begin our journey to Self-Reliance, leaving all the stuff that is currently in a state of collapse to carry on as they will.

  • Another option: if you have a property you’d like to sell to a family member (and can afford it) you can set them up with owner financing or a rent-to-own situation. It cuts the banks out of the equation and the seller pockets the interest.

  • It all goes back to economics. Good education leads to good jobs and higher salaries which means they can now raise the rent or cost of buying a home.
    You sent them to college to get a better life then you did but apparently, the economics never changes. They just raise prices. 😉

    • Oh? How am I going to buy one? My old car went from fine to disaster in about quarter mile; I had to replace it. Now I’ve got a car loan for a newer vehicle that can take me to my next job. Debt is a tool, use it sparingly.

    • You must have had a rich relative die and leave you everything! I’ll NEVER go into hock for a car again, God willing, but there is NO WAY 99% of the folks out there can pay CASH for a HOUSE!!!

  • Between property taxes and imminent domain even if your real estate is mortgage free you never really own it.

  • We’re considering homesteading in TX and for ~5 ac with a decent home you’re looking at average of $750K in very rocky TX Hill Country that has plenty of buyers pouring out of Commiefornia & other blue states since Covid hit. In this area you have to do above ground planter gardening.
    In the Black Prairie area which is NE Central TX there’s more ag land and soil is better so planting directly is easier. Prices are a little better but area is more isolated & services are more limited. We’re also considering TN & MO as prices are better yet with more acreage before we revisit TX. Meanwhile at the higher range, prices are softening with increasing rates plus we enter fall while economy and banking are shaky no matter what the Biden cabal is telling us. The pending activity in TX is ~$500K or less.

  • “Enormous housing subdivisions are going up, but they’re full of $500,000 homes in an area where the median income is $80,000. It just doesn’t make sense.”

    It makes PERFECT sense. The houses are so expensive that no one but rich “in-VES-tors” can afford them. Those people buy them up and hold them as RENTALS. This keeps the house prices artificially high, as after all, the houses are still selling at those astronomical prices. The people ho would normally be BUYING those houses are now forced to RENT them. “…You will own nothing and be happy…” ‘See how this all works? What isn’t said out loud is “SOMEONE will own EVERYTHING. It just WON’T be YOU.”

    The housing developments in my area have whole swaths of houses that are going as rentals from day one… All a part of the plan…

  • There is the question of the petro-dollar that no one has brought up. There is a perfectly good reason why ‘big money’ (smart) is buying up residential real estate, simply because it is going to appreciate. Not coming back to earth like 2011, no not this time.

    The U.S. dollar will start loosing value steadily after BRICS starts trading oil in their gold-backed currency. Almost 100 nations are waiting in line to join, they are just tired of the U.S. telling them how high to jump. Coming like a tidal wave that cannot be stopped. Try buying back that same house with the same U.S. dollars?

    May work out well for those already owning, since they can pay off their mortgages with hyperinflated paper. A couple in Bulgaria paid off their home for the equivalent of $200 U.S. dollars, after their currency debased. But, this also plays into the 2030 Agenda where the young will never enjoy home ownership.


    “Sovereignty’ you say. Allow me to submit an article involving sovereignty.


    The following provisions of Constitutional law are submitted to be repeatedly declared by the SCOTUS.

    The irony of 87,000 new IRS agents is that there is no law in the US that imposes an income
    tax on sovereign citizens. Taxation is a matter of sovereignty. That over which the
    taxing authority is not sovereign is not a suitable object for taxation. Our Constitution guarantees a Republican form of government with Citizens as Sovereign. Ref. Article IV, § 4.

    If a tax upon the labors of a Sovereign Citizen properly existed it would authorize the subordinate government to seize 100% of his earnings. ‘Reasonable’ is not a limitation for a tax. It is not a matter of concern to the court if the tax destroys the object being taxed. Such a law would authorize slavery. The power to tax is the power to destroy. The Constitution prohibits slavery.

    Article IV, Section 4, stipulates “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…” A Republican form of government is incompatible with an income tax. FRAUDULENT BALLOTS — IN A STATE — IN AN ELECTION — IS A DENIAL OF A REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT ! ! ! Fraudulent ballots in a state election of federal candidates is a federal Constitutional issue.

    LIBERTY, enshrined in the 5th and 14th Amendments, include the Citizen’s opportunity to Pursue a Livelihood as a fundamental Right. Such Rights, including your Right to a Trial by Jury, are not suitable objects for taxation or fee. If it were otherwise, all Rights could be taxed out of existence. Ref. 16A Am Jur 2nd Constit. Law §617 [2009]. [87,000 new IRS agents are getting hired to harass domestic ‘terrorists’]

    26 USC §1 [1954] authorizes an income tax on the “taxable income” of an individual. ‘Taxable income’ is not defined. If you wish to donate to the government, they will take your money—and demand more. This statute is never alleged to be violated in an indictment. [The 1939 statute taxed all income. Vivian Kellum challenged that provision to the Supreme Court .]

    26 USC §871 imposes an excise tax upon “non-resident aliens” for the privilege of being permitted into the USA.

    Violations of 26 USC §§7201-7215 are frequently alleged in indictments. The Supreme Court, relying upon the Congressional Record, has identified those penalty statutes as applying to all taxes in Title 26. Ref: Sansone v US, 1965. They cannot allege violation of a “known legal duty” required for a valid indictment.

    The IRS relies upon a citizen signing a tax form, under oath, over the caveat of “taxpayer’s name” to identify you as legally responsible for a tax. You have just sworn that you legally owe a tax. The court accepts your affidavit. The income tax is a scam.
    Lawyers who aggressively make this claim face lose of license and HAVE been sent to jail on bogus charges.

    State courts have repeatedly covered up similar challenges to state income taxes, earnings taxes, and occupational licenses, to avoid an exempt precedent from becoming established.
    IRS Exempt Tax form #4852 has been claimed by Pete Hendrickson as successfully recovering prior years’ income taxes erroneously paid to the IRS.

    Former IRS special agent Joe Banister, after repeated unsuccessful efforts to find a statutory income tax with the help of his supervisor, separated from the IRS.

    WARNING: The location of the “burden of proof” is critical. Due Process requires the Petitioner to prove the validity of any claimed authority. If the BOP can be shifted by the court to the citizen to prove the tax authority does not exist, they will require proof that there is no possible way the tax might be valid. Such a proof is impossible. This shift doomed the Springer case. Springer v US, 102 US 586, (1881).

    The Supreme Court declared Springer’s claim the income tax was an unapportioned Direct Tax and therefore unconstitutional was not valid. The court added that the only alternate Constitutional tax was an indirect tax of either an impost, a duty, or an excise tax. Since a duty or impost relates to merchandise crossing a territorial boundary, by deduction, an income tax must be an excise tax.

    An excise tax is based upon a privilege being received. This writer does not see any privilege being received by a Sovereign Citizen upon which the government of the United States can properly base an income tax.
    Tax denier Sherry Peel Jackson was convicted of tax charges in 2008. A government website declares several tax protester theories by Jackson were denied by the court. There is no claim the court declared the income tax did not improperly infringe on Constitutional Rights. The court’s shift of the BOP doomed her case.

    The 16th Amendment attempts to expand the definition of taxable income. Some federal courts have opined it removes all restrictions on federal taxation. In reality, either concept would convert a Sovereign Citizen immune from taxation [except for an excise tax on a privilege received] into a subject that can be forced to give 100% of their earnings to the ruler. That would stand the Constitution on its head and is a coup. It violates the guarantee of Article IV, section 4. The nicety of distinguishing whether it is a direct tax, an indirect tax, or an amorphous tax is, in reality, irrelevant. Such an act would violate the judge’s oath of office and negate the jurisdiction of the judge. The prohibitive cost of appeals, and denial of certiorari, along with a lucrative self-
    interest, has prevented any review by the SCOTUS.

  • We older folk need to help the young rural folk. I have a multifamily building in the country and rent apartments to young people who don’t have a lot of opportunities and don’t want to fall into debt like the college kids. I give them a break on rent to help them start some savings and avoid debt. I offered one long-term tenant unofficial ownership of her unit because she had paid enough rent to pay for her “condo.” I told her all she had to pay were condo fees, i.e. a prorated portion of the taxes and insurance, for as long as I owned the building. We who have assets can find innovative ways to help the next generation of hard-working self-reliant go-getters.

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