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Conglomerates are snapping up land

Junk mail is found in every mailbox across the nation. For most, it will make one last journey from mailbox to trash can. However, recently there is one piece that has been a frequent repeat. So, this time I opened it to find it was an offer to purchase our home, as-is, with an all-cash offer.

This junk mail did not make it into the trash can, but rather on a desktop in front of a computer. A brief search turned up more than I cared to know, and a very disturbing feeling. Companies are purchasing single-family homes and communities across the nation.

The family home is an investment and aids in building wealth. It also provides future financial security as the value appreciates. Generations have passed down this investment, created estate trusts, and taken loans on that investment. The family home provides financial options as well.

As Mark Twain famously said: “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.”

North Florida has several companies owning single family homes and entire communities. Sustainability, green spaces, environmental and social governance score (ESG), and no mortgage worries are selling points to attract renters.

American Homes 4 Rent owns 14 communities in the area, and more than 130 single-family homes. Resihome owns more than 50 single-family homes. Tricon Residential owns more than 120 single-family homes. Invitation Homes owns more than 60 single-family homes. First Key Homes owns more than 240 single-family homes.

According to the National Rental Home Council in 2016, single-family home rentals comprised approximately 13 percent of occupied housing. Also, the 5 year outlook expected a 37 percent increase.

This trend, if it continues, will reduce the creation of generational wealth, and corporations will be the benefactor. Property ownership builds wealth. Future generations are depending on us to make wise decisions for the future today. To throw that “we want to buy your house” letter away or not, that is the question.

American investors are not the only one accumulating land in the U.S. News stories say interests from Red China have bought billions of dollars worth of farmland in America. Some of it is near military bases, which has aroused concern.

Foreign investors have bought more land in Florida than any other state. Gov. Ron DeSantis recently told Laura Ingraham of Fox News that he didn’t think business interest with alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party should be allowed to buy up American real estate assets.

Not only is single-family home ownership in jeopardy, but also the nation’s food production. That “farmland” also can be converted into development. But what kind?

James Carafano

James Jay Carafano is a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges. He is the Vice President of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. Carafano is an accomplished historian and teacher as well as a prolific writer and researcher.


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