An annoying new trend in apartment building listings


Apologies for the slow posting – have a lot going on right now.

Wanted to highlight a ridiculous trend I’ve noticed recently in listings for apartment buildings. (Don’t want to offend anyone, so not going to name anyone in particular.)

The trend is that brokers try to convince me to buy a property by noting that other people are building a lot of units nearby.

This is irksome for a few reasons. First, if I’m going to be a supplier of housing in a neighborhood, then I should not want more supply in that neighborhood… I should want less!

Look, I support any changes to the Los Angeles zoning code which would result in more housing construction, because I believe increasing supply is critical to the long-term health of the city and the people who live here. But I do so knowing that more supply runs directly counter to my selfish interests as an existing supplier.

Given that it’s pretty obvious that a generic existing supplier should rationally OPPOSE new housing construction in her / his neighborhood for economic reasons, why are these brokers trying to use additional supply as a selling point?

It’s all about social proof. Implicitly, what they’re saying is that I should choose to be a supplier in that neighborhood because others are doing so. It makes sense, right? Humans are social creatures, and seeing others do something provides us with validation that that is a worthwhile thing to do.

Except I’m not like other people. Without meaning to sound obnoxious, in evaluating a potential choice, I give little or no weight to whether others are making the same choice. In fact, as an in-my-bones contrarian, my default setting when I see lots of other people doing anything is to want to do it less, not more.

So, this trend is like a double whammy: 1. Wrong on the merits; and 2. An implicit indictment of my decision-making process.