Bloomberg’s Un-affordability | Negligent Landlord Jailed | Long Commutes for the Poor

July 12th 2013

In Broad Channel, Queens, tidal flooding occurs about twice a month.

  1. As Bloomberg built affordable housing, city became less affordable. “Near the beginning of his three terms in office, Mayor Bloomberg made two promises: He’d pump billions into affordable housing. What followed: a building boom that dramatically changed the city’s landscape - from waterfront parks to modern skyscrapers to big box shopping malls. And soaring housing prices for everyone from the mega-rich willing to drop $15 million for a pied a terre, to the working poor living in what were once considered marginal neighborhoods. “It does seem that people continue to want to live in New York and that may be a measure of success on the one hand,” said Ingrid Gould-Ellen, co-director of NYU’s the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. “But it’s a double-edged sword, because the more people that want to live here, the more expensive it becomes.” [WNYC – ]
  2. U.S. regulator sued for blocking payments to low-income housing fund. “Two non-profit housing advocacy groups on Tuesday sued the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for prohibiting the government-run companies to finance a federal affordable-housing trust fund established by Congress. The National Housing Trust Fund, set up in 2008, has never received contributions from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, as originally intended by Congress. The fund, which aims to provide subsidies to rehabilitate and fund low-income housing, hasn’t been capitalized because the regulator has kept Fannie and Freddie from contributing since the height of the financial crisis when the two companies crashed.” [Reuters – ]
  3. Manhattan rents get pricer yet again. “Rents are rising in Manhattan and Brooklyn, aided by a supply of units that is near historic lows, according to two rental report released Thursday. In Manhattan, the median monthly apartment rent hit a hefty $3,195 in June, up from 1.9% from a year earlier, according to a Douglas Elliman report. Big apartments, those offering three or more bedrooms, scored the biggest gains in the period, with median rents jumping 5.6% to $6,436. At the other end of the spectrum, in terms of cost and size, were studio units; there rents were flat at $2,350 per month.” [Crain’s New York – ]
  4. Judge wants to jail negligent landlord. “Though Joel Loutan has earned a nod in the New York Public Advocate Office’s Worst Landlords Watchlist, he has yet to grab a coveted spot on the site’s “50 Worst Landlords” list. After today, however, it’s likely he will. Bronx Housing Court recently issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Loutan, a landlord who allowed his building to slip into some of the most “deplorable” conditions seen in the city’s housing units. A collapsed roof, rotten wooden beams, leaking walls and defective boilers rank among the property’s most prominent features.” [New York Observer – ]
  5. GIS files are public data too. “In 2007, the Sierra Club requested a copy of what it thought was a public record from Orange County, California, covering information like the location and addresses of 640,000 land parcels in the county. In exchange for handing over a copy of the digital file, which can be used to map data, the county requested a $375,000 licensing fee. As you can imagine, the Sierra Club balked - both at the price tag and the suggestion that this taxpayer-funded database of public information wasn’t available under the state’s open records law. Six years later, the California Supreme Court this week agreed with the Sierra Club that digital mapping data is public data, too.” [The Atlantic Cities – ]
  6. In Bloomberg’s New York, the poor move further out, lengthening commutes. “Mayor Bloomberg has championed public transportation. From Select Bus Service to bike share, New Yorkers have more options for getting around than they did in 2002, when he took office. At the same time, the mayor has presided over a real estate boom that has pushed residents of lesser means further from Manhattan and left many with longer commutes. It will be the next mayor’s job to try and lower the number of New Yorkers who commute more than an hour each way to work - a problem Mayor Bloomberg, for all his success at adding transportation options to the city, couldn’t solve. ” [WNYC – ]
  7. Where the streets flood with the tide, a debate over city aid. “The city is budgeting $22 million to try and save the neighborhood of Broad Channel, Queens—built on a marsh that juts into Jamaica Bay. The Broad Channel project offers a preview of the infrastructure outlays that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is envisioning as part of a new $20 billion plan to protect the city’s 520 miles of coast over the next decade from rising sea levels. But the project also raises fundamental questions about whether, in an era of extreme weather, the government should come to the aid of neighborhoods that are trying to fend off inevitably rising waters.” [New York Times – ]
  8. Foreclosure starts reach lowest level since 2005. “For the first six months of 2013, RealtyTrac reported a total of 801,359 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions. This is down 19% from the previous six months and a 23% drop from the first half of 2012. “Halfway through 2013 it is becoming increasingly evident that while foreclosures are no longer a problem nationally they continue to be a thorn in the side of several state and local markets, particularly where a backlog of delayed distress has built up thanks to a lengthy foreclosure process,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.” [Housing Wire – ]
  9. N.J. court blocks Christie’s closing of housing panel. “New Jersey’s highest court blocked Gov. Chris Christie’s attempt to abolish an independent agency overseeing the construction of affordable-housing units in the state, a setback to the Republican governor’s efforts to reshape government through his executive powers.” [Wall Street Journal – ]
  10. All cash deals the rage in Brooklyn real estate. “Brooklyn home sales are hot, hot, hot, the latest numbers from brokerage Douglas Elliman show - but you need stacks of cash to beat out other bidders for increasingly scarce product.” [Brooklyn Daily Eagle – ]
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