Wealth Inequality is Driving El Paso’s Housing Bubble

El Paso house prices are rising, abetted, perhaps, by the Central Appraisal District’s increase in valuations. But is the tail wagging the dog?

In a free market economy, prices are determined by supply and demand. And both are rising in El Paso, as evidenced by the new houses being built and rising prices in some neighborhoods. But with El Paso’s stagnant population growth, where is the increased demand coming from?

Increasingly, there are two economies in the United States.

Anyone who’s been paying attention will have noticed that the rich are getting richer and the poor are just hanging on.


A lot of the people I know who own a house own two or three houses. They rent them out long term, or short term, via AirBnB. And a lot of that 20% who own stocks have new money that they don’t know what to do with. The stock market bubble is becoming more and more obvious to people who pay attention, so they’re looking for alternative investment vehicles.

Our rising real estate prices are fueled by rich people with extra money buying into the PR bullshit “El Paso’s getting ready to explode.”

But everyone wants to ride a bubble till the day before it bursts.

Ideally, the rich capitalists would invest in new businesses and feed demand for labor, but the rich capitalists are a little short of ideals. Starting a new business is risky, but no one is making any new real estate. In a stable economy, a house looks like a safe investment, till you can’t afford your rising property tax bill. Remember, those bonds the City is issuing today will last 40 years, long after our elected officials and civil servants have moved away, and the bloom has faded from the rose.

El Paso’s been getting ready to explode since at least the 1980’s, and, so far, all we’ve gotten is a slow sizzle, like starting a campfire with wet wood.


  1. I did not realize that housing values were changing all that much. Maybe that’s because we live in a very modest little house, in a very modest neighborhood. I really don’t know how much appreciation there has been in the six years since we bought, but in real numbers, I know we bought at a number that has appreciated by perhaps 5% in that time. Is that a lot? I don’t know. I do know that we’d like to sell and move to almost anywhere else, probably here in Texas, but since we still have a mortgage, I don’t see us realizing enough cash to make it possible to buy another place as nice as this one. Besides, we’re in our 70’s and I suspect the chances of getting another mortgage at our age are slim to none. So, I guess we’ll stay here, and I’ll continue to complain about our lousy local government, and the sorry condition of our streets.

    1. Have you considered giving your house to a church? Voila, no more property taxes. I reckon you could structure it like a reverse mortgage, so you can live in it till you leave this mortal coil.

      Shoot me an email and we’ll figure it out.

      1. genius idea. st. josephs needs some coin to pay off lawsuits and the 800k those former admins stole from the childrens fund

    1. I think that some of the demand is from people aging out of their parents’ house and getting a house of their own. So more demand for houses with no, or limited, population growth.

  2. the cad plays a game called let a few poor souls win their property tax protest and drop the value by 20k. but….cad demands you have a professional appraisal(385 bucks), estimates for whatever needs fixing or updating and pictures(recent). They use google earth photos so they will know if that roof is old or new. manhattan heights has had some doozies…..the 8500 sq ft mansion at 3100 federal was on market for nearly a million and was sold for less than 300k. cad says our bungalow is worth 214k but needs a complete restoration. i cannot fathom 5600 in taxes this year especially if Anello the Left cant get copia paved.

  3. Rich….unfortunately it is happening in alot of other places besides El Paso. San Antonio where I live, is now the fastest growing city in the USA, and the older neighborhoods are experiencing “gentrification.” The older Mexican American and African American neighborhoods are being turned into: condos, lofts, apts. and homes. The residents are being taxed out of their homes. Same as Austin, which, at one time, the East Side, was a haven and home for the same above-mentioned demographic, are undergoing the same changes. As you once said, no one ever said Life is Fair…..Misery loves company, so I’m sure you know what is happening in El Paso is going on in the Sunbelt states…..

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