Why isnt land free? I often think life would be better if we can choose any spot on earth and start building a house from the trees of the land. But no, we must pay for it. For me to buy a house I need 5% down payment and on a decent house would be something like $15,000 cash. How can one save this money? Who ever owned the land in the first place to be able to sell it.
To fully explain this would require essentially that I explain the history of mankind from caveman to modern man.
Suffice it to say that early tribes desired to have exclusive access to all of the resources within a given territory so that their survival would not be impaired by others coming along and appropriating the resources they needed to live. Every tribe had some sort of chieftain or leader, and his word was law, and so he had the last say over what was to be done with the land that the tribe had staked out as "theirs." Often, territory was defended by battles between people who had it, and people who wanted it. Whoever won the battles had perfected their "title" to the land.
Eventually, this evolved into the idea of nations with boundaries and sovereign rulers. To the degree a ruler could marshal the necessary forces, he had absolute say over what was to be done with the land inside the borders of a country. Control of that land and the ability to demand payment for the privilege of doing things on it were an expression of the power and wealth of the ruler. Farmers could carve out parcels to farm and if it was OK with the ruler, their family could work that land (any pay taxes for the privilege) for generations, build a home on it, etc. If the ruler changed his mind, the land could go back to the crown, or to another landholder.
Over time, various rulers came to rely on various close supporters of theirs, who were given titles and powers to protect or enforce the will of the ruler, and these were generals, nobles, etc. There was also familial inheritance of status whereby the children of rulers became rulers and their siblings became nobles, etc. A mark of a noble was that they had certain levels of authority, and one of the prime ways rulers rewarded loyal nobles, generals, etc., was to give them control over land. Eventually, the nature of this control evolved into actual enforceable contracts of title, etc. Thus private ownership of land was born. Power and wealth were still largely measured by control/ownership of land. From the beginning, however, the final decider of who owns what has always been the "sovereign," or the "state," from whom all title to land flows. Every country is the primary/original owner of all land within its borders, and has final say over who "owns" what part of it.
Again, time passes and the nobility and "landed gentry" need money for one thing or another, and one way they get it is to sell off land. This is how legal title to land first comes into the hands of other than royalty and nobility. Commoners are able to buy and hold land, merely by producing money to pay for it. In the colonial era of the United States, various settlers/colonists laid claim to land for which no prior title existed, and worked it. However, they seldom ever gave any of it up without money in exchange. They often fought over where the boundaries were. Courts usually decided these fights. During the "homestead" era of the United States, the government granted land to people merely in exchange for their promise to work the land and make it productive. This is one of the ways settlement spread from the east coast toward the west. Again, these people had official recognized title to their land, and could not be forced to give it up without getting payment for it.
So now almost all of the usable land around the globe is owned by someone, be it a government or a private owner, it has value or potential value to them, and they won't give it up without payment. The end.