Until right now, we have thought of gentrification as a local phenomenon.
Los Angeles is one of the least expensive major cities in the world.
Foreign investors are dumping more money into L.A. than ever before.
The people of Los Angeles as a whole, are now the ones being gentrified.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, the word “gentrification” has become synonymous with certain markets in L.A.
Today we are going to talk about gentrification on a global scale.
But let's back up real quick:
According to Webster's Dictionary, gentrification is "the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents".
Most commonly, we talk about specific neighborhoods being gentrified. It's usually someone from the West Side moving East because the prices are lower. Places like Silver Lake, Highland Park, El Sereno, and now Boyle Heights. (And now South of the 10 Freeway in Inglewood, West Adams, Jefferson Park, Leimert Park, and further south.)
For Example: A person buying a home in West Hollywood for $1.7 million can find the same house in Eagle Rock for $700,000 cheaper (same size, layout, architecture, curb appeal, etc.). It would be silly not to at least consider it, right? Now, this is beginning to happen on a much larger scale... globally.
As long as you're at the top of the food chain, things are great. But what happens when YOU are the one being gentrified? Remember the definition of gentrification? The affluent rebuilding deteriorating areas... Look at Downtown Los Angeles, pretty deteriorated, right?
Now look at The Wilshire Grand and The Metropolis, both billion dollar projects. Hello! Korean & Chinese money!
If you didn't know, Los Angeles is one of (if not THEE) the largest major cities in the world with the cheapest price tag for real estate. Don’t believe me? Compare home values in L.A. to San Francisco and New York... then to London, Paris, Dubai, Beijing, etc. They're all way more expensive than here. In the finance world, we call the act of investors parking their money in the U.S. a "flight to quality".
Even if the prices only rise or drop by a few points every year, it's a much safer investment than something like the Chinese Stock Market which has seen a very rocky past few years. Compared to that, even with occasional recession, the U.S. is a great place to park some money during uncertain times.
As of Juy 2017, there are 719 billionaires in Asia, 631 in North America, and 559 in Europe. Then imagine the number of people who AREN'T quite billionaires, but are still stinking rich. Think they own a few properties?
The term "gentrification" was coined in 1964 in England by a sociologist, Ruth Glass, noticing how inner-city London was changing: middle class moving in, working class moving out. According to Glass, gentrification happens for three reasons:
More service-oriented jobs than traditional manual labor.
New homeowners want to live closer to work rather than commute from the suburbs.
The increasing value of the homes/land.
As Los Angeles gradually moves towards a more densely built city, improved infrastructure, not to mention the OLYMPICS??? L.A. will be on more affluent foreigners’ radar for their next home purchase.
We went from being a big fish in a little pond to swimming in the ocean alongside giant fish with a billion dollars in the bank.
For starters, you better own your property.
Quick Analogy: We all know that the universe is expanding... but we recently discovered that it's actually expanding faster every day, not gradually slowing down to a smooth stop after the Big Bang like we used to think.
Well, that's exactly what's happening with real estate prices if you don't own a home. Every day, homes get more and more expensive to buy and they grow at an exponential rate.
Fun Fact: In most L.A. neighborhoods, they have been growing at 7% each year on average for the past 60 years (my guess is, probably since the Industrial Revolution, but the MLS wasn't around back then!).
If you DO own property, you get to ride this wave of appreciation... but if you DON'T own, you will get crushed.
The worst thing to possibly happen would be to KNOW it's happening (because it is), and do nothing.
What To Expect In The Future
Like I said, the last big change happened during the Industrial Revolution. We call something like that a "paradigm shift". And before that, property values really didn't increase or decrease like they do today.
The next big change has already begun, it's either going to be called the Information Age, Connection Economy, switching from a service-based economy to "experience-based", something like that. Time will tell.
Disclaimer: As long as the next paradigm shift is caused by changes in technology and not interrupted by a nuclear war between Kim Jung Un III and President Macaulay Culkin, I don't see values going down any time soon.
In fact, the rate of home appreciation will probably increase with more of the globe entering the L.A. market.
According to Thomas Friedman, the world is "flat". Thanks to technology, some Indian tech billionaire can browse homes for sale in the Bird Streets on his phone from across the globe, wire money, and buy a home without stepping foot inside it.
Over the next 10-20 years, get ready to see some fireworks for home values here in L.A.
My question to you is, When you're about to retire 20-30 years from now, don't you want to brag to your new Martian neighbors who are paying $20 million for a bungalow in Silver Lake how little you paid back in 2017?