City Journal Winter 2014

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Brandon Fuller
A More Affordable New York « Back to Story

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NYC has *not* always been expensive. Plenty of those Brooklyn brownstones now selling for $2 million to $4 million were purchased for less than $50,000 in the 1960s.
I was reading along, thinking this is quite sensible stuff. Then I checked back and found to my amazement that Nicole G. is NOT the author.

Wow !! Now there's another sensible, knowledgeable people doing work for MI. Son of a gun!
NYC has always been expensive : when I moved there in 1971 , I paid $325 for a glorified studio in Murray Hill . NYC is still expensive : my son pays $1650 to live in downtown Bklyn . NYC will always be expensive . Get over it .
There surely is room for plenty of new housing in NYC, even in Manhattan. But you can't build it unless you can get tenants out of older, smaller buildings. And to do that you'd just have to change rent control laws, as these apply to the older buildings.

To get more housing built in NYC you'd also want to relax building codes- keeping ones needed for safety while removing those that protect the unions. And good luck with that!

Oh, and then there are the unions, which drive up costs ...

And if you somehow managed this political miracle and did build new housing, then eventually you'd have to build more infrastructure. New subway lines, for example. And given the huge cost and lengthy schedule of the 2nd Ave line, this likely would be a problem.

For the days when it's possible to actually build things seem to be over. After all, the original IRT subway system was built in just four years, from scratch- everything from the tunnels to the power generators to power cables under the streets. Even with far better technology, there's just no way something so large could be built in four years today.

SO, perhaps we should just turn Manhattan into an open-air museum- let those who live in it have a life estate, but don't let anyone move in. For surely someday Americans will wonder what sort of people could ever have built such a thing.
New York City is in a flood zone--remember Superstorm Sandy?--and is already vastly overpopulated, with new housing built with no regard to the city's antiquated and overburdoned waste disposal system. Rent regulation is a problem, but the real issue is what to do with the vast swaths of public housing and economic stagnation and crime that sustains their miserable existence. The wealthy avoid these areas and want it to stay that way. If any new housing is built, it should be in the outer boroughs and immune from housing voucher clients and rent regulation laws.
Or ... you could eliminate rent control.

Just sayin'....
The primary value of living in an area of high population density is obviously other people. Therefore, increasing the supply of housing in such an area will make it more desirable, thereby raising, not lowering, rents and sale prices for real estate.
t is not just NYC. Zoning in the suburbs around the city must be relaxed too.