Foreign purchases of real estate are driving up home prices in major American cities, therefore separating it from local wages. Urban white-collar workers are getting priced out to the suburbs, leaving a semi-ghost town: many of these properties are used for part-time living, if at all–many condoes are for investment only. The cultural implications of this expensive emptiness have not been good.
A possible remedy from the NYT’s Upshot: “a property surtax tilted toward high-end homes that would be deductible against the owner’s income tax. Local residents paying income taxes would effectively owe no surtax. Out-of-town investors, foreign or domestic, who don’t work in the local economy would be hardest hit (with some concessions for resident retirees). The elegance of that idea is that it doesn’t require local governments to figure out who is foreign and who is not, or which homes are vacant and which are occupied,” thus sidestepping allegations of xenophobia or racism.
What do you think?