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By Stuart Soffer

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About this blog: Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I lived in high-density housing and experienced transit-oriented services first hand. During high school and college summers I worked in Manhattan drafting tenant floor plans for high-rise office buildi...  (More)

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Think housing is expensive here? NYC struggles with affordable housing.

Uploaded: Jun 8, 2014
This morning's New York Times has a good article ("Affordable Housing That's Very Costly") on efforts in NYC to increase affordable housing (whatever that means). A market rate 2-bedroom apartment is going for almost $8700/ month.

[ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/08/upshot/affordable-housing-thats-very-costly.html?emc=eta1


None of what is explained is new to New York. Indeed, the long existing "rent-control" programs began after WW2 to reward returning servicemen/women and help get them onto better economic footing after having been separated from their families for some years. Indeed, I grew up in rent-controlled housing (as most everyone that I knew at the time). Rent-controlled housing is basically middle class housing.

I'll point out that there is another housing model in NYC, the coop. A coop building is owned by a corporation. Instead of buying a condo, people buy shares in a coop for a unit. It's an interesting creature: one must apply, interview and be approved by the coop board – your neighbors - to get your apartment.

The article makes the point that I recognized in Menlo Park – that mandating low incoming housing increases the costs for everyone else, exacerbating the entry cost for others. It seems they have the erroneous assumption that getting what we call a 'below market rate' fee of developers, and then accumulating that for the city to spend on housing, never gets the amount of housing that could be consumed.

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