Serial Renters in NYC | Trouble in Hoboken with Affordable Housing | Housing Overhaul in Harlem

April 1st 2014

(credit: Bryan Thomas, New York Times)

  1. Serial renters in New York City. According to data compiled by the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy of New York University, frequent movers pay higher rents than fence-sitters. The median monthly rent for someone who has moved within the past five years is $1,428; for non-movers, it’s $1,191. The disparity is greatest in Manhattan: Frequent renters spent $1,937, homebodies $1,431. [The New York Times – 03/28/14]
  2. Low-income housing proposal proves controversial for Hoboken mayor. The Hoboken Housing Authority has proposed building 44 units of low-income housing to supplement some of the city’s antiquated towers. The proposal won approval from the federal housing authority in March 2013, according to the authority. Last year the agency applied for a share of $180 million in Sandy funding for constructing affordable apartments. In early May, the project received preliminary approval for $3.4 million in federal Sandy funding administered by the state. The development needed local approval to go forward, but Ms. Zimmer didn’t support it and the City Council declined to sign off on it. [The Wall Street Journal – 03/31/14]
  3. Harlem housing relic from the 1800s is set for a long-promised overhaul. Told almost a decade ago that a rebuilding was planned by the New York City Housing Authority, some tenants relocated to public housing projects elsewhere in the city while other residents were told to sit tight in their apartments and wait for the first rebuilt units. Then years passed. ‘We were like stuck,’ one of the neighbors who stayed, Elizabeth Williams, 57, said of the wait. ‘We felt like nothing was working out for us.‘But a rebirth is now on the way, officials said. [The New York Times – 03/30/14]
  4. Bill de Blasio turning to big push on affordable housing. Now that state lawmakers have closed a budget deal to fund prekindergarten in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is ready to turn to the next items on his sweeping liberal agenda: massively expanding affordable housing, increasing wages for the working class and overhauling the city’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy. De Blasio’s road ahead, confirmed by the mayor and his senior aides, is an attempt to tighten the focus around his campaign theme of combating income inequality and to steady an administration that has seen its poll numbers shrink in the first 100 days, thanks to a series of unforced errors and grueling battles with Albany. [The Huffington Post – 03/30/14]
  5. AirBnB says it would pay $21 million in taxes, if allowed. AirBnB, the apartment sharing website that is fighting for its legal right to remain in New York City, has been trying to court Mayor Bill de Blasio directly since before he even took office. Apparently its video of users obsequiously congratulating him on his election didn’t do the trick, so now the site has moved on to a different tactic: offering money. AirBnB said in a letter to the mayor that, if legalized, its host would pay more than $21 million a year in state and city taxes. [Curbed NY – 03/28/14]
  6. Zillow plans NYC mobile push with StreetEasy. Zillow Inc. is focusing on expanding on-the-go usage for, the New York City property-listings website it acquired in August, with plans to introduce a mobile application for more devices this year. Zillow will relaunch StreetEasy for the iPhone and add apps for Android and iPads, Chief Executive Officer Spencer Rascoff said. About one-third of StreetEasy traffic is from mobile devices, less than the two-thirds share for the Seattle-based parent company, he said. Zillow, which bought StreetEasy for $50 million and made the service free earlier this year, is seeking to boost the site’s mobile usage as a growing number of New York apartment hunters search for property information on their phones and other devices. The plan is in line with a broader strategy within the company to bring in mobile users, Mr. Rascoff said. [Crain’s New York Business – 03/27/14]
  7. Crown Heights church-replacing apartment building revealed. Plans to replace a Crown Heights church with a five-story, 165-unit apartment building were revealed last November, and a stroll past the site yesterday revealed that work has now started. Signage on the construction fencing showed the above rendering, and the church and its community hall at 267 Rogers Avenue are being demolished. The site stretches the length of the block, from Carroll to Crown Street, and the new building will take advantage of the entire piece of real estate; zoning allows for a 112,155-square-footstructure, and that’s what is being built. The church and hall were set back from the street, allowing for an open grass lawn on all sides of the property. The new building permits were approved last week, and Think Architecture and Design is the architect of record. [Curbed NY – 03/31/14]
  8. Homes prices in 20 U.S. cities rose 13.2% in year to January. Residential real-estate prices climbed at a slower pace in the year through January than a month earlier, indicating momentum in the housing market may be cooling. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 13.2 percent from January 2013, the smallest gain since August, after rising 13.4 percent in the 12 months through December, the group said today in New York. [Bloomberg News – 03/25/14]
  9. De Blasio announces push for hurricane recovery. At a news conference in Rockaway Park, Queens, the mayor said the city would reallocate $100 million in funds to assist residents in rebuilding their destroyed homes. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, called the announcement ‘a turning point for the homeowners wiped out by Hurricane Sandy. [The New York Times – 03/29/14]
  10. VA restores aid to homeless veterans. The VA has reversed course in the face of complaints from community groups and a USA TODAY query and restored aid to potentially several thousand homeless veterans who otherwise could have been left on the streets. The assistance, for a category of homeless veterans who have less than honorable discharges, had quietly been pulled in recent months after a legal review of eligibility laws. The support programs - called highly effective by community support groups nationwide - funnel money from the Department of Veterans Affairs through local organizations to provide immediate financial support or transitional housing for homeless veterans. [USA Today – 03/29/14]
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