Another “Hidden” Problem In Plain View

Back when interest rates and house prices were higher, the rule was that the monthly PI (Principal and Interest) payment to the bank was about four times higher than the TI (Taxes and Insurance).

I noticed a few years ago, doing the typical closing, that in most cases PI and TI were now about equal.

The surface reason is that real estate taxes never went down and in fact usually increased, whereas interest rates declined precipitously, significantly lowering the monthly payment to the bank.

Since this problem became so visible many people noticed it and moved away from higher taxed states to lower taxed ones.

Now some people are wondering whether the relentless onslaught of higher real estate taxes will get the middle class off its ass and into the fight:

How long will property owners keep swallowing significantly higher property taxes even as the value of their real estate continues declining? It’s an open question. I suspect the answer won’t be known until some invisible breaking point is reached, and voters simply rebel against higher taxes while their own net worth and incomes stagnate.

Just because there is little visible resistance to sharply higher property taxes (and other taxes and junk fees as well, of course) doesn’t mean resistance isn’t building below the surface, unreported by a financial media obsessed with the S&P 500 as the only metric of wealth and prosperity and unnoticed by state and local governments obsessed with stripmining more tax revenues by any means at hand.

Don’t hold your breath.  They’re still far more worried about Britni Spears.


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