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When Assets (Such as Real Estate) Become Liabilities

When Assets (Such as Real Estate) Become Liabilities

December 27, 2016

It will be the middle class that accepted the notion that “real estate is the foundation of family wealth” that will be stripmined by higher taxes on immobile assets such as real estate.

Correspondent Joel M. submitted an article that struck me as a harbinger of the future: In Greece, Property Is Debt:

“At law courts throughout Greece, people are lining up to file papers renouncing their inheritance. Not necessarily because some feckless uncle left them with a pile of debt at the end of his revels; they are turning their backs on what used to be a pillar of Greece’s economy and society: real estate. 

Growing personal debt, declining incomes and ever higher taxes as Greece’s depression grinds on have turned property and the dream of easy money into dread of a catastrophic burden.

After many years in which only very valuable properties were taxed, many Greeks went from paying almost no taxes on real estate to not having enough money to pay. 

In 2010, property taxes accounted for 0.26 percent of gross domestic product, while this year they are around 2 percent, according to state budget figures. ‘Suddenly, the state treated the Greeks as if they were rich, at the precise moment that they ceased to be rich.’

Among the many disruptions of the past few years, this one shows how traditional conceptions — and a sense of security — can be shattered. With a history full of wars, bankruptcies and rampant inflation, Greeks had always seen land as a haven.

But it is private debt — at 222 billion euros last year — that may prove an even greater danger. This shows in government revenues. With the unified tax, ownership of every kind of property is now subject to taxation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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