I am not sure if you know this about me, but now I am a professional philosopher
Happily, I still have a day job since we philosophers aren’t that well paid. 
Here is some philosophy that could be relevant to your real estate investment decisions...
Some months ago, I started The Bruce Philosophical Project – and yes, you should subscribe
My first article was about Charles Darwin’s insightful quote:
“It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
You might think about that a bit before reading on, as this applies to pretty much all facets of our lives, but it made me think about New York City – and no, I don’t know what brain synapse connected the dots. 
It is interesting is it not that almost no matter what happens, New York City thrives.  It gets smacked around – and even crashes – due to Wall Street panics, rat infestations, COVID, political insanity, work-from-home, recessions, booms and busts, Global Financial Crises, etc. – but no matter what happens, New York City bounces back. 
Not many other cities can pull that off.
Why is that?
I think Darwin has the answer: New York City is the most responsive to change, i.e., it is incredibly flexible. 
Consider that over time, I can say the following about New York City, with not much exaggeration:

  • It is the financial capital
  • It is the education capital
  • It is (almost) the tech capital
  • It is the food capital
  • It is the legal/law capital
  • It is the medical capital
  • It is the cultural capital
  • And probably a lot more.

My wife and I took a road trip last summer and visited several well-regarded cities. I won’t name the names, but after a day and a half in each city, we had seen what there was to see, and we just drove on.
Contra NYC – no matter how long you have been here, there is always more to see and do.  It is excitement through and through.
Even its problems are somehow advantages. It is the ultimate melting pot for all cultures, the political battleground, and often ground zero of changes to U.S. culture.  All of this means it is fun to be here.
As my daughter outlined to me, it is the solution to the two-body problem, which (in academia) is essentially the difficulty of two working career-oriented spouses being able to obtain a job in the same geographical location. New York City has a mega-advantage over just about any other location due to its diversity of employment prospects.  And, of course, this advantage applies even more outside academia where one spouse is, say, a financial gal and the other is, say, an academic guy. 
So where is this couple going to live?  It seems pretty obvious that NYC is an optimal choice. And are they leaving when things get bad in NYC – I doubt it very much, probably for the same reasons. 
Things probably go wrong in NYC just as much as anywhere else, but in the end, NYC just reinvents itself, and the heart of what makes New York City so New York City (so to speak) – its people – just don’t leave.
Consider now that office vacancy is decimating some downtowns – e.g. St. Louis – but in NYC, NYC is morphing to become more of an entertainment and living destination and maybe a little bit less of a work destination.  Maybe people don’t want to come to the office as much but they aren’t leaving everything else.
Okay, enough about NYC – what about real estate investing?
Quite simply, I would add to my due diligence investing list the “flexibility” of a location as a plus or minus. 
Consider San Francisco.  It is challenged now, and I guess it will come back, but it is known as a tech haven and not as much for other things.  I would say that makes San Francisco a riskier place to invest than a city with a more flexible talent base. 
Detroit—with its focus on autos—Houston, with its focus on oil—and other one-industry cities—are also much less flexible when their industries inevitably hit a major downturn. 
To conclude, if the goal is long-term outperformance, then the location's flexibility —including its resistance (or not) to change—should be on the due diligence checklist.


Bruce Stachenfeld aka The Real Estate Philosopher®