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(Washington Post)   Private equity firms are aware there is a housing crisis, but there is money to be made   (washingtonpost.com) divider line
    More: Murica, Real estate, United States housing bubble, Private equity, Foreclosure, Mortgage, Subprime mortgage crisis, Landlord, Eviction  
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216 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 07 Aug 2020 at 11:35 AM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



25 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2020-08-07 9:25:56 AM  
That's what really matters in the long run: money in the bank.
 
2020-08-07 9:51:56 AM  
This has been my one worry about any upcoming foreclosure crisis. I'd like to move back to Phoenix area but house prices are silly and hardly any are on the market. Having crisis houses snarfed up by equity firms will keep me out of the market.

Who do they think they will sell to?

I don't think this crisis will play out like 2008. I think it will more more like the 1980s savings and loan crisis where houses took a decade to come back. Unlike then, we're talking permanent job losses these days.
 
2020-08-07 10:45:53 AM  

edmo: This has been my one worry about any upcoming foreclosure crisis. I'd like to move back to Phoenix area but house prices are silly and hardly any are on the market. Having crisis houses snarfed up by equity firms will keep me out of the market.

Who do they think they will sell to?

I don't think this crisis will play out like 2008. I think it will more more like the 1980s savings and loan crisis where houses took a decade to come back. Unlike then, we're talking permanent job losses these days.


I'm honestly thinking more great depression style. We were hit that hard. Now that the government is turning off the unemployment cash, everyone* is getting down to their last dollar, businesses aren't going to be able to spring back. If the sales slow, the job numbers go down a second time as businesses fully close down, causing a repeating domino effect.

If there isn't a certain amount of money circulating the bottom teirs of society, than are crushed by the weight of capitalism. The rich have already bleed out all the excess money and a bit more to boot. So now that the pandemic came along the bottom is completely crushed. The only way to get us back is to inject more money. This could be in the form of another, albiet larger stimulus check, socialized guranteed government jobs, or massive free education programs with guranteed low interest business loans on completions. Or companies could put their workers and the economy before their own profit margins, but I'm not holding my breath on that.

I think if they expanded SNAP/TANF to keep people fed, clothed and housed for the duration of the pandemic, allow businesses to write off pandemic realted losses/expenses, and then give everyone earning less than $100k a $5k stimulus check we could jump start society again. We'll still be worst off with the massive medical debts and all the businesses that already closed for good, but at least it would get moving again.

/*as in regular middle to lower class people, everyone.
 
2020-08-07 11:03:23 AM  
Private equity firms are aware there is a housing crisis, but there is money to be made

Shouldn't this have the Fark "Vintage" tag?
 
2020-08-07 11:28:15 AM  
So we are coming up on the 'redistribution of wealth' timeline in our nation's history. Neat!
 
2020-08-07 11:46:10 AM  
You want long term solutions to the housing crisis?

Get the government out of the picture.  And by that, I mean government policies that limit density (restrictive zoning laws) or otherwise increase or limit the amount of new housing that can be built.  NIMBYers are the problem, not all the crap Warren is bleating about.  If you increase supply and demand is stable, prices drop.

Now, the solution for the short term crisis is not eviction protection, but temporary welfare payments (IE, the government pays the rent).  If landlords can't evict people, basically everybody will stop paying rents, which will certainly reduce the number of new housing units being built, as there is no longer a financial incentive to do so (it also will reduce maintenance on existing rental stock for the same reason).
 
2020-08-07 12:15:17 PM  
Geotpf
You want long term solutions to the housing crisis?

Get the government out of the picture. And by that, I mean government policies that limit density (restrictive zoning laws) or otherwise increase or limit the amount of new housing that can be built. NIMBYers are the problem, not all the crap Warren is bleating about. If you increase supply and demand is stable, prices drop.


Have you ever built a home?
Building a home now compared to what it was just 10 years ago is a world of difference.

Cost of materials (lumber) have doubled if not tripled and that is before you even figure in labor costs.

They can put up new houses all day long but if people cannot afford them, you aren't going to get buyers.
 
2020-08-07 12:19:18 PM  

Geotpf: You want long term solutions to the housing crisis?

Get the government out of the picture.  And by that, I mean government policies that limit density (restrictive zoning laws) or otherwise increase or limit the amount of new housing that can be built.  NIMBYers are the problem, not all the crap Warren is bleating about.  If you increase supply and demand is stable, prices drop.

Now, the solution for the short term crisis is not eviction protection, but temporary welfare payments (IE, the government pays the rent).  If landlords can't evict people, basically everybody will stop paying rents, which will certainly reduce the number of new housing units being built, as there is no longer a financial incentive to do so (it also will reduce maintenance on existing rental stock for the same reason).



We also need to reset a bunch of tax things related to houses.  Because right now, they incentivize building at the top of the range - marble counters, high-end appliances, etc.  Nobody builds solid, ordinary Levittown-type houses (ie, entry-level houses) any more, because taxes and zoning incentivize McMansions.
 
2020-08-07 12:46:43 PM  

Random Anonymous Blackmail: Geotpf
You want long term solutions to the housing crisis?

Get the government out of the picture. And by that, I mean government policies that limit density (restrictive zoning laws) or otherwise increase or limit the amount of new housing that can be built. NIMBYers are the problem, not all the crap Warren is bleating about. If you increase supply and demand is stable, prices drop.

Have you ever built a home?
Building a home now compared to what it was just 10 years ago is a world of difference.

Cost of materials (lumber) have doubled if not tripled and that is before you even figure in labor costs.

They can put up new houses all day long but if people cannot afford them, you aren't going to get buyers.


Material cost isn't the main problem.

The problem is in prime areas (NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco/San Jose) they are simply out of land, yet way too much land is zoned for single family homes (and things like auto centers and malls) and not enough is zoned for apartments/condos.  There also is a general density issue overall.

A middle class person isn't going to be able to afford a single family house in a prime area; again, there's only so much land.  They may be able to afford a nice apartment/condo however if more were legally allowed to be built.  But now they can't afford either, so they are forced to commute 25 or 50 miles each way from a home in the suburbs, increasing traffic and pollution, as well as moving demand on to virgin, unbuilt land in the boonies.

If more tall apartment buildings were able to be built in the city center, there would be less traffic, less pollution, public transit would work better (works best in high density areas), more land would remain untouched on the city edges for animals and plants to do animal and plant stuff, and housing prices would drop dramatically.
 
2020-08-07 1:00:23 PM  

FrancoFile: Geotpf: You want long term solutions to the housing crisis?

Get the government out of the picture.  And by that, I mean government policies that limit density (restrictive zoning laws) or otherwise increase or limit the amount of new housing that can be built.  NIMBYers are the problem, not all the crap Warren is bleating about.  If you increase supply and demand is stable, prices drop.

Now, the solution for the short term crisis is not eviction protection, but temporary welfare payments (IE, the government pays the rent).  If landlords can't evict people, basically everybody will stop paying rents, which will certainly reduce the number of new housing units being built, as there is no longer a financial incentive to do so (it also will reduce maintenance on existing rental stock for the same reason).


We also need to reset a bunch of tax things related to houses.  Because right now, they incentivize building at the top of the range - marble counters, high-end appliances, etc.  Nobody builds solid, ordinary Levittown-type houses (ie, entry-level houses) any more, because taxes and zoning incentivize McMansions.


Unless you ban large houses (which makes the problem worse), you can't fix this.  Houses are mostly priced by the square foot.  The cost to build a 3,000 square foot house is much less than double the cost to build two 1,500 square foot houses, but it will sell for close to double.  Plus, it uses half the land.

So, the math probably looks like this (made up numbers):

Land cost per house: $50k

Cost to build a 1,500 square foot house: $100k
Cost to build a 3,000 square foot house: $150k

Selling price of a 1,500 square foot house: $300k
Selling price of a 3,000 square foot house: $550k

Profit per 1,500 square foot house: $150k
Profit per 3,000 square foot house: $350k

Why on earth would you build the smaller houses?

If you want less square footage, your only choice (for new builds) is a townhouse or condo, where the land use per unit is less and construction cost is also less.

The only way this would change is if the demand for the larger houses drops and/or demand for the smaller ones increases (moving the prices of the two closer together).
 
2020-08-07 1:12:26 PM  

Geotpf: Random Anonymous Blackmail: Geotpf
You want long term solutions to the housing crisis?

Get the government out of the picture. And by that, I mean government policies that limit density (restrictive zoning laws) or otherwise increase or limit the amount of new housing that can be built. NIMBYers are the problem, not all the crap Warren is bleating about. If you increase supply and demand is stable, prices drop.

Have you ever built a home?
Building a home now compared to what it was just 10 years ago is a world of difference.

Cost of materials (lumber) have doubled if not tripled and that is before you even figure in labor costs.

They can put up new houses all day long but if people cannot afford them, you aren't going to get buyers.

Material cost isn't the main problem.

The problem is in prime areas (NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco/San Jose) they are simply out of land, yet way too much land is zoned for single family homes (and things like auto centers and malls) and not enough is zoned for apartments/condos.  There also is a general density issue overall.

A middle class person isn't going to be able to afford a single family house in a prime area; again, there's only so much land.  They may be able to afford a nice apartment/condo however if more were legally allowed to be built.  But now they can't afford either, so they are forced to commute 25 or 50 miles each way from a home in the suburbs, increasing traffic and pollution, as well as moving demand on to virgin, unbuilt land in the boonies.

If more tall apartment buildings were able to be built in the city center, there would be less traffic, less pollution, public transit would work better (works best in high density areas), more land would remain untouched on the city edges for animals and plants to do animal and plant stuff, and housing prices would drop dramatically.


True availability of land has always been an issue in the Bay, NYC and LA has its own issues.  You have a discussion on a few fronts as the areas you speak of have different challenges compared to say a good majority of America.
San Fran and Jose, quite simply are too damn expensive and always will be because of money in the area.  There are also pretty different zoning laws about multi story building and also removing older buildings because earthquakes and all sorts of other reasons.  My brother lives in SF and tried to explain the zoning laws and how the housing market works.  Mind numbing.  I agree that maybe a little less government might help in this situation but I am not convinced it would drop the prices.
NYC.. well there isn't any land left really to build on as it is pretty densely populated to the point of a shoe-box is $5000 a month.
LA is well... LA.  I think you would need generations of convincing people that owning an apartment with shared walls is better than a stand alone home and that image isn't everything.
 
2020-08-07 1:18:28 PM  

Geotpf: FrancoFile: Geotpf: You want long term solutions to the housing crisis?

Get the government out of the picture.  And by that, I mean government policies that limit density (restrictive zoning laws) or otherwise increase or limit the amount of new housing that can be built.  NIMBYers are the problem, not all the crap Warren is bleating about.  If you increase supply and demand is stable, prices drop.

Now, the solution for the short term crisis is not eviction protection, but temporary welfare payments (IE, the government pays the rent).  If landlords can't evict people, basically everybody will stop paying rents, which will certainly reduce the number of new housing units being built, as there is no longer a financial incentive to do so (it also will reduce maintenance on existing rental stock for the same reason).


We also need to reset a bunch of tax things related to houses.  Because right now, they incentivize building at the top of the range - marble counters, high-end appliances, etc.  Nobody builds solid, ordinary Levittown-type houses (ie, entry-level houses) any more, because taxes and zoning incentivize McMansions.

Unless you ban large houses (which makes the problem worse), you can't fix this.  Houses are mostly priced by the square foot.  The cost to build a 3,000 square foot house is much less than double the cost to build two 1,500 square foot houses, but it will sell for close to double.  Plus, it uses half the land.

So, the math probably looks like this (made up numbers):

Land cost per house: $50k

Cost to build a 1,500 square foot house: $100k
Cost to build a 3,000 square foot house: $150k

Selling price of a 1,500 square foot house: $300k
Selling price of a 3,000 square foot house: $550k

Profit per 1,500 square foot house: $150k
Profit per 3,000 square foot house: $350k

Why on earth would you build the smaller houses?

If you want less square footage, your only choice (for new builds) is a townhouse or condo, where the land use per unit is le ...


Well hold on there, you skipped over something pretty important.

Why does the 1500 square foot house occupy the same size lot as the 3000 square foot house?  Minimum lot sizes (part of zoning & NIMBYism) need to go.
 
2020-08-07 1:22:23 PM  
It's soon to be a fire sale opportunity for the private equities. I can see them swoop in and buy out half of Chinatown or the Tenderloin in San Francisco.
 
2020-08-07 1:24:50 PM  

FrancoFile: Why does the 1500 square foot house occupy the same size lot as the 3000 square foot house?  Minimum lot sizes (part of zoning & NIMBYism) need to go.


Well, actually I did mention it:

If you want less square footage, your only choice (for new builds) is a townhouse or condo, where the land use per unit is less and construction cost is also less.

A townhouse is a house on a really farking tiny lot with no yard (just a patio) and which might share one or more walls with the neighbor.

FrancoFile wanted "ordinary Levittown-type houses", which means small house, large lot.  That's obsolete and won't happen unless zoning laws force it to happen (which is bad).
 
2020-08-07 1:38:20 PM  
Back when Trump was elected, I envisioned such a scenario where Trump (and his PE cronies, given that Trump himself is totally incompetent) will jigger the RE market, especially or during some major natural disaster (in my imagination, it was an earthquake or just some huge financial disaster similar to the 2008 depression). I didn't envision a pandemic, but that seems to do the trick as well.

PEs will come in buy out just one property for market price. Then, let it sit unoccupied, maybe leave the water running into a stopped tub. Let mold grow, the foundation weaken from water damage, have a burst pipe or something. Then suddenly, that property is unlivable because of mold damage and water damage. And, guess what? That water damage has spread to nearby properties! Oh no! Those other owners can perhaps pay to completely re-do their foundations. Or, they might have to sell for 60% of its former market-value. And it's better to sell at 60% than at 25% of the former market-value. And they do. To the PE that caused the problem in the first place. Rinse, repeat. Maybe throw a bag full of roaches in one unit. Maybe a truck load of rodents into another.

After the whole block is cleared out, the PEs will own the whole block and might decide to build a giant mansion. Or a series of condos. Here, I'm sort of split on this. The problem is that condos where SFHs used to be would be better for everyone (here in San Francisco), allowing for units for more people. And the whole problem was exacerbated by the very same people who refused to allow any construction due to their NIMBYism. Now, they're kicked out and they have to live in Tracy or Modesto because those the few areas they can afford with their 60% of market-value buy-out. They were greedy and selfish and had a greedier and more selfish entity (the PE) come in and take their properties away.

The bad part would be in places like Chinatown and Tenderloin where the higher-density properties currently housing low-income folks will be torn down and replaced with high-end condos. The density will drop because you're replacing 4 small 300sqft units with one 1,200sqft unit. And market-rate will price out everyone but the super wealthy. Sure, it'll clean up Tenderloin a bit. But the homeless will still be on the streets below. And for Chinatown? That will completely disappear. It'll be Disney-fied into some garish tourist trap facade.
 
2020-08-07 1:44:15 PM  

Geotpf: You want long term solutions to the housing crisis?

Get the government out of the picture.


Settle down Ayn.  Don't you have type of magic steel for the railroads to invent?
 
2020-08-07 1:44:20 PM  

Geotpf: FrancoFile: Why does the 1500 square foot house occupy the same size lot as the 3000 square foot house?  Minimum lot sizes (part of zoning & NIMBYism) need to go.

Well, actually I did mention it:

If you want less square footage, your only choice (for new builds) is a townhouse or condo, where the land use per unit is less and construction cost is also less.

A townhouse is a house on a really farking tiny lot with no yard (just a patio) and which might share one or more walls with the neighbor.

FrancoFile wanted "ordinary Levittown-type houses", which means small house, large lot.  That's obsolete and won't happen unless zoning laws force it to happen (which is bad).


For those expecting the usual fark-partisan blame, the "People's Republic of Maryland" sets aside something like half the state for "1 acre minimum" lots.  For anything remotely near DC or Baltimore this means million-dollar houses, and plenty of those areas are zoned that way (it might make a lot of sense west of Frederick or on the Eastern Shore).

Getting rid of this subsidy for the rich would at least make home prices less brutal in MD.  After that things still won't be all that easy.  And gods help the politician that tries to take a perk away from the rich, or does something that might make housing a tad cheaper (although the existing big lots would become much more valuable, so it might not be *impossible*).

Back when I left Howard County (late 90s), they realized that to break even on real estate taxes for the services they were providing, the average house had to cost >$300k (this was before housing prices exploded, and was pretty high).  Since they are one of the wealthiest counties in the country, I'm guessing they have kept the "zone for high cost" laws in place and shoved the poors into Glen Burnie and PG.
 
2020-08-07 2:01:42 PM  

optikeye: Geotpf: You want long term solutions to the housing crisis?

Get the government out of the picture.

Settle down Ayn.  Don't you have type of magic steel for the railroads to invent?


Nice argument.
 
2020-08-07 2:09:26 PM  

yet_another_wumpus: Geotpf: FrancoFile: Why does the 1500 square foot house occupy the same size lot as the 3000 square foot house?  Minimum lot sizes (part of zoning & NIMBYism) need to go.

Well, actually I did mention it:

If you want less square footage, your only choice (for new builds) is a townhouse or condo, where the land use per unit is less and construction cost is also less.

A townhouse is a house on a really farking tiny lot with no yard (just a patio) and which might share one or more walls with the neighbor.

FrancoFile wanted "ordinary Levittown-type houses", which means small house, large lot.  That's obsolete and won't happen unless zoning laws force it to happen (which is bad).

For those expecting the usual fark-partisan blame, the "People's Republic of Maryland" sets aside something like half the state for "1 acre minimum" lots.  For anything remotely near DC or Baltimore this means million-dollar houses, and plenty of those areas are zoned that way (it might make a lot of sense west of Frederick or on the Eastern Shore).

Getting rid of this subsidy for the rich would at least make home prices less brutal in MD.  After that things still won't be all that easy.  And gods help the politician that tries to take a perk away from the rich, or does something that might make housing a tad cheaper (although the existing big lots would become much more valuable, so it might not be *impossible*).

Back when I left Howard County (late 90s), they realized that to break even on real estate taxes for the services they were providing, the average house had to cost >$300k (this was before housing prices exploded, and was pretty high).  Since they are one of the wealthiest counties in the country, I'm guessing they have kept the "zone for high cost" laws in place and shoved the poors into Glen Burnie and PG.


That's an even lower density version of my complaint about restrictive zoning laws.
 
2020-08-07 2:43:15 PM  

Diogenes: Private equity firms are aware there is a housing crisis, but and there is money to be made

Shouldn't this have the Fark "Vintage" tag?


FTFsubby.
Although, come to think of it, even with the headline revised, your point still stands.
 
2020-08-07 4:02:56 PM  

Geotpf: FrancoFile: Why does the 1500 square foot house occupy the same size lot as the 3000 square foot house?  Minimum lot sizes (part of zoning & NIMBYism) need to go.

Well, actually I did mention it:

If you want less square footage, your only choice (for new builds) is a townhouse or condo, where the land use per unit is less and construction cost is also less.

A townhouse is a house on a really farking tiny lot with no yard (just a patio) and which might share one or more walls with the neighbor.

FrancoFile wanted "ordinary Levittown-type houses", which means small house, large lot.  That's obsolete and won't happen unless zoning laws force it to happen (which is bad).


There are public utility considerations here too. When you build more multi-unit housing in existing neighborhoods, the actual utility structure may not be able to bear it. I am paying close to $15K for street and utility reconstruction because a bunch of big apartment buildings went up down the street from me and the existing water and sewer connections couldn't handle the increased load, and despite that I still have shiat for water pressure now.
 
2020-08-07 4:29:28 PM  

mattgsx: Geotpf: FrancoFile: Why does the 1500 square foot house occupy the same size lot as the 3000 square foot house?  Minimum lot sizes (part of zoning & NIMBYism) need to go.

Well, actually I did mention it:

If you want less square footage, your only choice (for new builds) is a townhouse or condo, where the land use per unit is less and construction cost is also less.

A townhouse is a house on a really farking tiny lot with no yard (just a patio) and which might share one or more walls with the neighbor.

FrancoFile wanted "ordinary Levittown-type houses", which means small house, large lot.  That's obsolete and won't happen unless zoning laws force it to happen (which is bad).

There are public utility considerations here too. When you build more multi-unit housing in existing neighborhoods, the actual utility structure may not be able to bear it. I am paying close to $15K for street and utility reconstruction because a bunch of big apartment buildings went up down the street from me and the existing water and sewer connections couldn't handle the increased load, and despite that I still have shiat for water pressure now.


Part of the permitting cost for large apartment buildings is a fee to upgrade things like water and sewer and electrical and schools and the like.  IE, the developer should pay those costs.
 
2020-08-07 7:53:41 PM  

Geotpf: mattgsx: Geotpf: FrancoFile: Why does the 1500 square foot house occupy the same size lot as the 3000 square foot house?  Minimum lot sizes (part of zoning & NIMBYism) need to go.

Well, actually I did mention it:

If you want less square footage, your only choice (for new builds) is a townhouse or condo, where the land use per unit is less and construction cost is also less.

A townhouse is a house on a really farking tiny lot with no yard (just a patio) and which might share one or more walls with the neighbor.

FrancoFile wanted "ordinary Levittown-type houses", which means small house, large lot.  That's obsolete and won't happen unless zoning laws force it to happen (which is bad).

There are public utility considerations here too. When you build more multi-unit housing in existing neighborhoods, the actual utility structure may not be able to bear it. I am paying close to $15K for street and utility reconstruction because a bunch of big apartment buildings went up down the street from me and the existing water and sewer connections couldn't handle the increased load, and despite that I still have shiat for water pressure now.

Part of the permitting cost for large apartment buildings is a fee to upgrade things like water and sewer and electrical and schools and the like.  IE, the developer should pay those costs.


My city bills all street/sidewalk/public utility via special assessment and it is paid by all impacted by frontage. I live on a corner and had both streets torn up for this project (one of them was actually torn up twice, but that was due to the utility company so the second one wasn't assessed and gets passed to all subscribers).

The water main DID need to be replaced either way, so I was going to have some significant expenses either way, but the sewer infrastructure was newer than the water and should not have required replacing.
 
2020-08-07 8:19:46 PM  

mattgsx: Geotpf: mattgsx: Geotpf: FrancoFile: Why does the 1500 square foot house occupy the same size lot as the 3000 square foot house?  Minimum lot sizes (part of zoning & NIMBYism) need to go.

Well, actually I did mention it:

If you want less square footage, your only choice (for new builds) is a townhouse or condo, where the land use per unit is less and construction cost is also less.

A townhouse is a house on a really farking tiny lot with no yard (just a patio) and which might share one or more walls with the neighbor.

FrancoFile wanted "ordinary Levittown-type houses", which means small house, large lot.  That's obsolete and won't happen unless zoning laws force it to happen (which is bad).

There are public utility considerations here too. When you build more multi-unit housing in existing neighborhoods, the actual utility structure may not be able to bear it. I am paying close to $15K for street and utility reconstruction because a bunch of big apartment buildings went up down the street from me and the existing water and sewer connections couldn't handle the increased load, and despite that I still have shiat for water pressure now.

Part of the permitting cost for large apartment buildings is a fee to upgrade things like water and sewer and electrical and schools and the like.  IE, the developer should pay those costs.

My city bills all street/sidewalk/public utility via special assessment and it is paid by all impacted by frontage. I live on a corner and had both streets torn up for this project (one of them was actually torn up twice, but that was due to the utility company so the second one wasn't assessed and gets passed to all subscribers).

The water main DID need to be replaced either way, so I was going to have some significant expenses either way, but the sewer infrastructure was newer than the water and should not have required replacing.


Sorry, my lost implied the developers didn't pay anything. They would absolutely have to pay for their new connections and any new public side infrastructure on THEIR frontage, but there was about 2-3 miles of sanitary sewer that ended up getting replaced to give more capacity for that (and possibly future) multi-unit housing development.

I am guessing this isn't very common (I think we only have a few cities in our state that handle public works via direct special assessment), but pointing out that re-development in older cities has more challenges than just zoning and lot size.
 
2020-08-08 8:48:58 AM  

mattgsx: Sorry, my lost implied the developers didn't pay anything. They would absolutely have to pay for their new connections and any new public side infrastructure on THEIR frontage, but there was about 2-3 miles of sanitary sewer that ended up getting replaced to give more capacity for that (and possibly future) multi-unit housing development.

I am guessing this isn't very common (I think we only have a few cities in our state that handle public works via direct special assessment), but pointing out that re-development in older cities has more challenges than just zoning and lot size.


Well yeah, if your local government is especially inept or corrupt, then that would be a problem, and you should vote them out.

But most places would make the developers pay for everything.
 
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