Re: affordable housing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2020 07:17:59 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 2, 2020, at 1:52 AM, Brian Bartholomew via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l 
> [at]> wrote:
> Houses are not investments, any more than your daily driver automobile
> is. Buying a house does not build wealth, any more than buying your
> daily driver automobile does. A house is not even a good savings plan
> because it costs too high a percentage of savings for the maintenance,
> just like your daily driver automobile. Yes, the numeric value of
> your predicted resale price has increased more than 300% in the last
> 20 years -- but the currency you're measuring it in has been inflated.
> What actually happened is your house is worth less because it's older
> and more worn out, while the banking authorities printed more
> currency, making each currency unit worth less.

This argument is sometimes true. The NerdWallet calculator below will give one 
estimate of whether it would be less expensive for one person to rent or buy — 
on a monthly basis. I don’t think it takes into account that even rentals cost 
money on top of the rent. Appliances are not always included, for example. Or 
paint. The landlord’s standards may be lower than yours. And rents go up and up 
and up. Mortgage payments, even when they are almost all interest, are stable.

 But we are also back to the original discussion — cohousing has not yet 
accomplished building rental units.

My housing costs have been well below what I would have paid for renting. And I 
wouldn’t have as many options at this point in my life from increases in value. 
If I had been paying $2,000 a month for rent, I would not have been able to pay 
another $2,000 a month into a savings account or investment.

A house is totally unlike a car. The land doesn’t wear out and a 
well-maintained house will last 100 years? 200 years? 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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