Why do so many homeowners care about protecting their property values? While recently reading about social class and Hollywood, I found this observation:
That passive income, which is the real American dream, is no longer something that the actual artists—not just actors but writers and directors and everyone else who ever made a dime off of residuals—involved in the entertainment business get to enjoy.
The context here involves the actors and others involved with long-popular television shows that could reap the financial benefits for decades.
Isn’t this passive income also what American homeowners in the early 21st century expect when they purchase a residence? Scholars have noted the shift to Americans viewing their homes as a positive investment. Instead of needing a home for shelter and enjoying that residence while there, homes and residences are now supposed to make money for their owners. In this arrangement, property owners are not expected to be completely passive; they should maintain their property or possibly even improve it. In return, their property values go up and they can cash out in the future. A loss is very undesirable and even staying roughly at the same value over time is not much help given expenses. A nice profit requires a decent uptick in value. Such a profit can help owners climb the economic ladder, have a comfortable retirement, and pass along wealth and advantages to children and family.
This can help explain why so many homeowners fight against perceived threats to their property values. People want to change the use of land or alter the neighborhood in ways that might limit the rise of property values. It is a threat to passive income. (Whether those changes to the neighborhood and/or community actually lower property values is another story.)