Housing Starts: Regional Housing Solutions | Dancing with Rent Control | Housing Crisis Benefits

March 10th 2015

Image Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters

  1. Experts Urge de Blasio to Expand his Housing Horizons “And so he’s calling for the creation of 80,000 affordable units and 160,000 market-rate ones, or 24,000 units a year over ten years. He also hopes to preserve another 120,000 units of affordable housing. Those construction numbers are bold. Using certificates of occupancy as a measure, the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy determined that at no point in the past 15 years did the city produce more than 21,493 new residential units per year. Between 2000 and 2014, the average number of new certificates of occupancy was 15,729.” [Capital New York – 03/09/15]
  2. New, but Far From Perfect: Construction Defects Follow a Brooklyn Building Boom “It took just three years for balconies to crack and concrete to flake from the facade of one Brooklyn condominium. Another building was prone to flooding, because the storm drainage system was never connected to the sewage system. With buildings rising at a pace not seen in years, some fear that shoddy construction could be making a comeback, too. As developers feverishly break ground on projects to cash in on soaring property values, lawyers, architects and engineers say they are fielding more calls from residents complaining of structural defects in newly built homes. There is growing concern that some developers are repeating the mistakes of the last housing boom and delivering substandard product.” [New York Times – 03/06/15]
  3. How 3 Cities Are Dancing With Rent Control “While tax subsidies like the low-income housing tax credit have become the first thing people think about when they hear the words “affordable housing,” municipal rent control laws are still a major source of economic reprieve for people living in the country’s largest cities. Although criticized for creating artificial impacts on housing markets, arguments for and against curiously suffer from a lack of concrete data. In three cities, that might be changing soon.” [Next City – 03/06/15]
  4. Crown Heights Real Estate Continues to Boom “In January, real estate group Adam America paid $32.5 million for a 24,000-square-foot gas station site at Bedford Avenue and Eastern Parkway, where it plans to build an eight-story building with 172 units, 32 of which will be affordable housing, and 25,000 square feet of retail space. Among the amenities: underground parking, a gym, a roof deck and a basketball court. Also in January, a 5,400-square-foot Crown Heights townhouse sold for $3.45 million, surpassing the previous record for the neighborhood of $2.9 million set in December.” [AM New York – 03/08/15]
  5. U.S. Urban Park Makeovers - Boon and Bane for Residents “Urban park consultants HR&A Advisors say property values near so-called signature parks can soar as much as 40 percent. The $187 million High Line, a 1.45-mile linear park built on derelict elevated train tracks on New York City’s West Side, opened in 2009. It drew 6 million visitors in 2014 alone and has transformed an area once characterized by car repair shops and meat warehouses. Funded by a mix of public and private money, the High Line added $2 billion in real estate value to the area within two years of its opening, according to its non-profit private partner, Friends of the High Line. The neighborhood is home to media mogul Barry Diller and his wife, designer Diane von Furstenberg, the park’s biggest donors.” [Reuters – 03/06/15]
  6. How Renters Benefitted From the Housing Crisis “In the wake of the financial crisis, renters have gobbled up a lot of single-family homes. The number of renters hanging their hats in homes built for or once occupied by owners soared over the course of the Great Recession. It’s a trend that Taz George, research associate at the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, describes as one of the ‘unexpected legacies of the mortgage crisis.’ Why was it so unexpected? Maybe we should have seen this wave coming.” [City Lab – 03/06/15]
  7. De Blasio and Developer Are Close, but Not on Lower-Cost Housing “Unlike many of his more wary real estate brethren, Rob Speyer moved quickly to build a strong relationship with New York’s liberal mayor, Bill de Blasio, after his election in 2013. The relationship flowered, and Mr. Speyer, whose company owns Rockefeller Center and operates on four continents, was a host at Mayor de Blasio’s birthday party at Gracie Mansion last May. At a real estate gathering five months later, Mr. de Blasio singled out Mr. Speyer, telling the 6,200 attendees that the developer was ‘tremendously civically oriented.’” [New York Times – 03/05/15]
  8. Dushinsky’s Rabsky Group Plans Nearly 800 Units on Former Pfizer Site “The developer working to transform Bushwick’s Rheingold Brewery site into a mammoth rental project is now looking to build a pair of large apartment buildings on the former Pfizer site at the edge of Bedford–Stuyvesant. Simon Dushinsky’s Rabsky Group has filed an application to rezone a pair of blocks at the Flushing Avenue G-train stop, which would pave the way for a pair of mixed-use buildings, according to papers the developer filed with the Department of City Planning.” [The Real Deal – 03/06/15]
  9. Parking Reform Gains New Future Enemies: Affordable Housing Advocates “A few weeks ago, the Department of City Planning announced its intention to tweak the city’s zoning rules to encourage the production of affordable housing. The most important change is a reduction in the city’s parking requirements, which up until now have required off-street parking throughout virtually all of the outer boroughs and Upper Manhattan – generally around one space for every two units, with exemptions for small buildings. The requirement for developers in dense, transit-oriented neighborhoods to provide expensive parking spaces will, however, only be waived for those building subsidized housing units.” [New York YIMBY – 03/06/15]
  10. Prices Have Gone Up So much in Bed-Stuy that Investors are Calling it a Day “Prices in Bedford-Stuyvesant have gone up so much that investors are bailing out, a trend that could finally allow people who actually want to live in the neighborhood to buy there. With rents starting to stabilize, investors who bid up Bed-Stuy prices for the last few years no longer see enough potential upside to buying there — a shift that temporarily halts one of the speediest processes of gentrification the city has seen in recent years.” [New York Daily News – 03/05/15]
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