Growing Slums for Fun and Profit

Commenting over in TJICistan, Jered tells a delightful anecdote:

Here’s an interesting “gaming the system” that I heard about last week: A [friend of a friend] lives in Hawaii. Property there is, as you can imagine, at quite a premium. There’s a nice neighborhood of upper-middle-class homes with small yards and fences that a developer would really like to buy, bulldoze, and build on. How to go about it?

Apparently he first bought one house at market value when it was for sale. He then tore down all the fences and rented it at far below market rates to what might be called “white trash” in other parts of the country — to tenants who don’t have the lawn mowed, leave rusted, disabled cars in the yard, etc. This upsets the neighbors and lowers their property values until the point where some of them sell to the developer at a lower price, which he then rents the new properties at below market value...

It’s a clever concept and I can’t see anything illegal about it, but it sure is slimy.

When I'm rich, I'm going to do this in the most left-wing neighborhood of whatever city I happen to be living in at the time, just for the sheer joy of watching lefties twist their tongues in knots trying to find a PC way to say that their new, less-fortunate neighbors are a blight upon the community.

Of course, for extra cognitive dissonance, and because I'm an equal-opportunity slumlord, I will not rent exclusively to white trash.

If I can make some extra money on the deal through regentrifying after I've had my fun, so much the better. Coinvestors welcome.

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Isn't this pretty much what used to be called blockbusting?

It's a pretty funny idea, though: almost zenlike ju-jitsu that uses the tenets of white left-liberalism to attack white left-liberals.

Gut feeling is that cities do this

Long time ago I read an editorial in the Vancouver (BC) Sun that observed the primary power of local government is zoning. Many cities seems to have one or two families that have a major control of real estate. Restrictive zoning makes existing structures more valuable but land less valuable i.e. land zoned for multiple use is more valuable than land zoned for single family structures.

It the Seattle area it seems to me that a district is permitted to go down hill until the old people die off and the young white families leave. Prices are depressed and when they bottom out the land is rezoned for high rise condos and the rich people move in.

Brilliant. Diabolical. I

Brilliant. Diabolical. I like it.