Housing Starts: Half Price Condos Shape Harlem | Sinister Conventional Zoning | New Dorm on 10th Ave

August 15th 2014

Some renovated brownstones in Harlem have sold for more than $2 million (Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg)

  1. Report: $31.5B in Construction Spending in 2014 “Spending on construction in New York City will jump 10 percent to $31.5 billion in 2014, a level which would mark the first time construction spending has topped $30 billion since 2010, according to estimates released this morning by the New York Building Congress. If realized, the midyear estimates would constitute a non-adjusted record for construction investment and a notable increase over the $28.5 billion spent on construction in 2013, said Richard T. Anderson, the president of the influential construction industry organization composed of more than 400 constituent organizations in contracting, architecture, engineering, labor and real estate.” [Commercial Observer – 08/13/14]
  2. Manhattan Condos at Half Price Reshape New York’s Harlem “The latest real estate surge follows a transformation over the past two decades that already has enriched succeeding waves of homeowners. Central Harlem condo values have almost doubled since 2003 and more than tripled over the past 20 years, according to the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University. In that time, developments have replaced many of the vacant lots and burned-out buildings that blighted the community during the 1970s and 1980s, while a commercial revival has brought retail and restaurants, museums and concert venues.” [Bloomberg News – 08/14/14]
  3. Investors Profit From Foreclosure Risk on Home Mortgages “Rises in housing prices have been profitable to private equity firms and institutional investors that bought foreclosed homes to flip them or to rent them out. Now the recovery in housing is fueling a niche market for newly minted bonds that are backed by the most troubled mortgages of them all: those on homes on the verge of foreclosure. And it is not just vulture hedge funds swooping in to try to profit from the last remnants of the housing crisis. The investors making money off these obscure bonds — none are rated by a major credit rating agency — include American mutual funds. And one of the biggest sellers of severely delinquent mortgages to investors is a United States government housing agency.” [New York Times – 08/13/14]
  4. Braving the New World of Performance-Based Zoning “Conventional zoning is downright sinister in the ways that it forms a barrier against good urbanism. It prohibits live-work arrangements, residential over retail, and all other manner of the mixed-use environments that are proven formulas for vitality, walkability, and convenience. Outdated and NIMBY-driven codes ban accessory dwelling units and the occupation of carriage houses and in-law apartments, as well as infill cottages—building smaller dwellings on empty portions of already-developed residential land—which would instantly increase the supply of affordable housing.” [CityLab – 08/12/14]
  5. Public Housing in New York Reaches a Fiscal Crisis “Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of New York City public housing. Advocates for homeless people are demanding more apartments for families living in shelters. School officials want space in public housing for new prekindergarten classes. Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to use open land in the projects for new affordable housing. […] But the demands on Nycha, as the housing authority is known, clash with a grave financial reality. After years of shrinking government investment in public housing, the agency has a $77 million budget deficit this year and unfunded capital needs totaling $18 billion, its officials say.” [New York Times – 08/11/14]
  6. Brooklyn and Queens See Tons of New Renters, So Prices Rise “Even though July’s rental data saw some slight setbacks compared to June’s, overall, things are moving onward and up. According to Douglas Elliman, average rents in July were the highest they’ve been in six consecutive Julys, coming in at $4,022 in Manhattan, $3,111 in Brooklyn, and $2,709 in Queens. Year-over-year rents in Brooklyn continued to rise for the 14th consecutive month. With the influx of new jobs (read: more employees) in the city as well as a high number of renters trying to buy who are being denied mortgages, rental apartment demand remains strained, creating what real estate appraiser and Elliman report compiler Jonathan Miller calls a “logjam” of sorts.” [Curbed NY – 08/14/14]
  7. Income Inequality Seems to be Rising in More Than 2 in 3 Metro Areas “Income inequality appears to have grown in more than 2 in 3 metropolitan areas from 2005 to 2012, according to one rough measure, a new study finds. The study, released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, explores how the Great Recession affected wages and income in hundreds of metropolitan statistical areas — population and economic hubs typically encompassing a large city or cities. Among the key findings is that the jobs gained in the recovery paid an average of 23 percent less than those lost. And in most metro areas, income inequality appears to have worsened.” [Washington Post – 08/11/14]
  8. NY’s Restaurants May Fall Victim to the City’s Success “The closing of New York City eateries is inundating news as of late—from the coming shuttering of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Café to the serving of the last Cuban sandwich at Casa Havana in Chelsea and the final burger at Soup Burg on the Upper East Side. Exorbitant rents have been blamed for the growing trend. […] But is this truly an issue with attributable blame, or an unavoidable facet of the city’s progression? As Mitchell Moss, professor of urban policy and planning at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, said, ‘One of the great ironies of New York is that we don’t live in the past.’” [CNBC – 08/12/14]
  9. Extell Plans Rentals, Dorm for West Midtown “Gary Barnett‘s Extell Development has nearly completed the foundation at 555 10th Avenue and for the first time in the company’s history, has plans that include a dormitory, Commercial Observer has learned.The 52-story, 710,907-square-foot building, which is close to 41st Street, will have 600 rental units, 120 of which will be affordable. In addition, there will be more than 300 dorm beds on floors two through seven. Mr. Barnett said he is in talks with different universities, but declined to elaborate.” [Commercial Observer – 08/13/14]
  10. Gentrifiers, When Do You Call 311? “A call in for gentrifiers on when you call 311 vs. when you adapt to the conditions of your new neighborhood. On this show earlier this week, NYPD Commissioner Bratton argued that the vast majority of the work his police department does is in response to community concerns, including so-call “quality of life” calls to 311 and 911. In response, a caller from Harlem brought up gentrification as a key element, saying that many complaints are about new residents not understanding or accommodating existing cultural norms, such as loud block parties or music. So, how much do “gentrifiers” have a responsibility to accommodate when they move to a new neighborhood? Or, is a noise complaint a noise complaint, regardless of who is being noisy, and who is making the call?” [WNYC – 08/14/14]
« Previous | The Stoop | Next »