Large financial institutions and landlords (lessees) often take advantage of those who live on property (lessors).
From indentured servants to those living in closets in San Francisco, the lessees have the ultimate power and push lessors to pay up to and often beyond their purchasing power.
In America, the design of our cities and homes artificially increase the supply and demand for space. Cities (urban centers) have jobs, education, and entertainment, thus increasing its value. Furthermore, they are inefficient, which increases their costs (think about the challenge of getting food from far away farms into a grocery store).
This combination increases the need for larger loans, bigger personal incomes, and greater debt.
In developing countries, property rights are weakly protected by slow-moving governments. The barrier to entry is inflated with the need for bribes through the process. Moreover, former royalty and those with close ties to the government own a majority of the property.
Without land ownership, poor and middle class have a hard time moving up, further dividing the income disparity between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’
New technologies are redefining how we consider private space and hospitality. Lyft opens up the personal space of a car to a stranger. Airbnb opens the door of any home to many.
With these changes in service design of the digital world, we must consider the necessary changes we need to make to the physical design of our built environment. To address these social changes, we’ve seen experiments like Airbnb’s Samara (now called Backyard), Harvard Millennial Housing Lab (no longer Harvard’s website 🙁) / Group, Outsite, Common Space, Embassy Network, Bungalow.
Making it out of the city and to the suburbs doesn’t inspire the new generation. They are looking to cut material consumption back (tiny homes, walking & biking, minimalist aesthetic)and to turn their eyes from an inward and closed design to one that is community-focused (open farmer’s markets, social media, parks).
These same technologies (smartphones and high-speed Internet) are changing how we work and learn. Because of the ease of telecommuting, workers don’t need to live in a high-cost city to have an intelligent, high-paying job.
Because of the access to open information like Wikipedia, you don’t need to go to an Ivy League College in America to get a great education. Currently, there are no rural, small-city systems to support those living ‘remote’, so for now, we call them digital nomads rather than digital domestics.
The last trend is the decrease in cost of building with pre-fabrication. With design / programming software (such as Grasshopper) integrated with custom manufacturing systems (such as 3D printing), we allow owners to define their needs, and using the constraints of materials and design, we construct a modular home.
Real Estate – Finances, Legal
Traditional lending happens between one owner and one bank, but that is beginning to change.
On the banking side, we’ve seen a spread of risk on assets with Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) such as Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS). This is like bank-to-bank crowdsourcing (a loan in itself is already crowdsourced because a bank’s assets are composed of many personal deposits and savings). A big reason for these failings in 2008 is because the institutions are shrouded in mystery of buying and selling on second-hand markets completely devoid of connection to the owners of the property. But what if a small group of known investors can help a small group of known property buyers?
Outside of real estate, consumer crowdsourcing is happening on financial sites such as Kickstarter and KIVA, which allows teams to spread the risk of a new endeavor across many people.
There is an opportunity for grouping payments together to spread the risk amongst consumers as well such as co-owning a house.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are getting around a 20% yearly growth. The return on investment on Treasury is .65% and a good bank is 1%. As the finite resources of land continue to get eaten up, real estate will continue to be a sound investment. In recent news, SEC Filing of Avalon Bay, an Apartment REIT talking with Airbnb.
Lastly, there are models of good-will house lending such as Habitat for Humanity or even government affordable housing.
I deserve to have a place that I am proud of, that I can afford, and that I can truly call home.
I am choosing this lifestyle because all components combine to create the best situation for me. The design, social, financial, and legal structure of the dwelling are all built to support me in this stage of my life.