Trust This. February 16, 2024.

1 big thing: People moving for more affordable homes

Current housing affordability conditions are starting to affect migration patterns. According to a study by United Van Lines, households are starting to move across state lines, seeking lower housing prices and a more manageable cost of living.

Why it matters: These moves are having a marked impact on city demographics.

  • The cities priced-out buyers are fleeing are seeing declines in their working-age populations and in the appreciation of their home values, setting things up for an eventual rebound-effect.

  • Conversely, cities with increasing numbers of inbound moves are seeing rising populations and home values.

Why it’s happening: Buyers are getting tired of putting down an increasing percentage of their savings and salary for a new home. They’re also tired of the increased competition from other home buyers in fast-selling metros. So they’re on the move to more affordable areas.

  • By late 2023, the portion of a median household income needed for rent was nearly 30%. For a typical home mortgage, households need to set aside nearly 39%. This is making it much harder for people to qualify for mortgages.

Buyers who move are saving a lot of money:

  • In 2023, buyers saved about $7,500 on their home purchases by moving to a cheaper market.

  • This is actually less than a couple of years ago: At the height of the pandemic housing market, buyers who moved to cheaper markets saved almost $9,000.

  • But it’s better than the pre-pandemic savings rate, which topped out at around $2,800 in 2019.

Where buyers are going: The less competitive markets for buyers seeking greener, cheaper pastures are in the South, Midwest, and Northeast.

  • Top destinations include Charlotte, Providence, Indianapolis, Orlando, and Raleigh.

  • Cities experiencing more outbound moves than inbound moves include Chicago, San Diego, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Boston.

The bottom line: Affordability has always been a factor for most home buyers, but today it’s a top priority — so much so that it’s driving people to leave friends and family and relocate to different states.

  • In the long run, expect the now-affordable destinations to become more expensive, and the now-unaffordable markets to come back down to earth.

2. Not tracking foreign ownership well

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds potential flaws in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) method of collecting, tracking, and reporting on foreign investments in United States agricultural land.

What’s happening: According to the GAO report, the USDA hasn’t kept critical United States entities in the loop regarding key foreign investments.

  • The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in particular is left in the dark when it really, really shouldn’t have be.

Why this matters: To start, the lack of reliable information may affect over 40 million acres of United States agricultural land owned by foreign entities. But there’s more:

  • The oversight could represent a national security concern. The United States needs to know if a foreign entity owns land near a sensitive military installation, for example.

It’s time to get with the program: The USDA still relies primarily on paper forms to document foreign land ownership, and it doesn’t quite have a real-time data system. In the 21st century, this isn’t just anachronistic. It’s resulting in inaccurate information.

  • The USDA could implement an online submission platform. It could also launch a public database. These options would both make it much easier for involved parties to see (and rely on) foreign investment data.

  • Unfortunately, implementing these advancements will require significant funding. Funding that the USDA does not currently have.

For now, the GAO has issued several recommendations to the USDA. These include enhancing data verification and data monitoring, as well as exploring what it would take to implement online submission systems and public databases.

The bottom line: Until the USDA gets up to speed, if you’re in the agricultural sector, you need to stay informed — and advocate for better data collection and sharing systems. Understanding who owns United States agricultural land is important for national security, of course, but it also informs market conditions and policymaking in the real estate sector overall.

Alex Quezada is a real estate entrepreneur social media star. His background in timeshare sales taught him how to take “no” for an answer but never give up. He’s now one of the most successful players in the personal storage real estate game, and he shares how he’s learned that focusing on who, rather than how, has helped him relinquish control, focus on the big picture, and scale his business as he shoots for $100 million in assets. 

Watch our conversation on YouTube or listen with your favorite podcasting platform now.

3. Catch up fast

  1. Jeff Bezos made over $4 billion in 4 days this week by selling around 24 million shares of Amazon stock. He did it after changing his residency to Florida which — unlike Washington — doesn’t have a state capital gains tax. That is at least $288 million that neither Florida nor Washington will see in their tax revenue coffers. Axios

  2. Mortgage rates rose last week to a two-month high point. Newsweek

  3. Sen. Tammy Baldwin introduces bill to tax real estate investors who own more than 15 homes. The tax would be used to fund affordable housing initiatives. While the bill may never get traction, it will start conversations. Press Release from Senator’s Office

  4. One in 4,236 U.S. homes had a foreclosure filing in January 2024, up 10% from December 2023. HousingWire

  5. A bank’s CEO “pig-butchered” the bank, its customers, and the Fed as he allegedly siphoned off over $47 million for himself. Now the Feds are coming for him after the bank failed. Mortgage Professional America

  6. Investors are turning from short-term to mid-term rentals. Bigger Pockets

4. Closing Thought

Well look at that, there's a set of steps there. We finally cleaned up the backyard in Asheville and discovered steps we didn't know existed. Sure makes climbing the hill much easier. Photo: Joe Seagle

Many entrepreneurs and leaders live inside a “box” of self-deception that they build around themselves with self-deception and rationalization.

Why it matters: It holds them back as those around them recognize the self-deception and hypocrisy that it breeds.

Years ago, in one of my coaching groups, we had to read a book about this. At the time, I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

  • We’re in a “box”?

  • We have to step outside the “box” to see ourselves truthfully as others do?

  • How? Why?

I learned how to get out of my box by observing when others are inside one of their own.

  • Watching that CEO who thinks everyone loves him and that he’s so charming that he can talk his way out of or into anything, but knowing that everyone thinks he’s just a cocky know-it-all.

  • A COO who thinks she’s extremely effective, having multiple meetings all day long and working seven days a week, only to hear her direct reports talk about how nothing ever gets done because she wants everyone to be her friend.

  • The lawyer who thought he was a great manager because his employees loved him, only to find out that they were just taking advantage of his aversion to conflict.

So how do you get out of your box?

  • Build a foundation of trust among everyone in the organization that they can speak truth to power without fear of retribution.

  • Don’t take constructive criticism personally, but instead absorb it and use it as an “ah ha!” moment of self-discovery.

  • Encourage an environment of radical candor where everyone can be open with each other without getting their feelings hurt.

The bottom line: As I’ve written countless times before, to get out of your box and improve as a leader and entrepreneur, you have to listen more than you speak. Then put ego aside so you absorb the truth about yourself and grow. Only then will you come around and out of the box.

We hope you found this helpful — any feedback is appreciated and can be shared by hitting reply or using the feedback feature below.

Be on the lookout for our next issue! 👋

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