Our current property tax isn't a levy on property so much as it's a tax on the structure that sits above that property. That means the value of each lot is arbitrarily assessed and assigned, deriving value from the land and structure. In this way, it's a government-sponsored derivative of sorts. As a consequence, property owners and landlords are rewarded for developing "the best, worst structures." Quantity over quality is rewarded. Build "too well" and face a higher tax burden, diminishing the incentive to improve the property. But the bigger problem is that it encourages land speculation by outside sources, enticing them to swoop in, accumulate unimproved land and "wait until the market improves." The wait for many dates back to 1968 and continues today.