As cities become wealthier, housing becomes a huge problem. What is the future of housing going to look like? And more importantly, what should it look like?

The high-end housing market is over-saturated in NYC. It is only time until that market starts to shift because banks will want their capital back on the loans and many places will just sit there because they are just priced too high.

It is truly no different than when department stores decided to trade up and go after a higher-end customer instead of sticking to the bread and butter of their business that is moderately priced. Even investors who invest in new businesses that don’t really have the size of the market they believe. The majority of the market is not high-end and in cities, we need a mixture of everything to create working communities.

Where do our teachers, police, grocers, child-care providers, and other important people of our everyday lives live?

I recently spoke with someone about this topic. Even now all the waterfront is being bought up in the Bronx by developers. Are they going to do the right thing and think about the future of communities? Are they going to build carbon-free buildings with spaces for middle income and lower-income families including teen spaces, a grocery that speaks to the community, restaurants, retail, art space (theaters for plays and movies) and social support systems? If not, they should. Think about a new Stuyvesant town.

I have been vocal about my thoughts on Hudson Yards, an ugly playground for the wealthy which I hope is the peak of this market. The government needs to be giving reasons for uncreative greedy developers to think out of the box and build something for the next generation of NYers that include people from every walk of life. That is what makes NY such a unique place but without housing, it is hard to keep our artists, child-care providers, police, teachers, and others close to their work and home.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Anne Libby

    This popped up on my Twitter feed a couple of tweets before your blog post. I watched this segment from the PBS News Hour, about trying to figure out housing in Minneapolis, and was scratching my head at some mentions of what happens when you build “market rate” housing.https://www.pbs.org/newshou…(Fwiw, I am an enormous fan of the PBS Newshour, it’s one of my news filters. Led by a seriously experienced woman, great diverse group of mid-career journalists on various beats. Someone told me the other day that their grandparents watch it. Lol. It’s not the McNeill-Lehrer news hour any more.)

    1. Mark Gavagan

      You’re right on all counts. I do wonder what the unintended consequences are, but I guess we’ll find out.

      1. Gotham Gal

        We sure will

  2. Bridget Goodbody

    One sees this everywhere in every major city – nowhere poignant than in Detroit where there are so many houses and so few places to live.

  3. pointsnfigures

    Talking to some big time developers. All development in Chicago was approved, financed, and will start under the wire from the Affordable Housing Act passed by city council. It’s because the developers don’t make money with the new act. So if people see cranes, they won’t see them once the building is up. At the same time, we have a “deconversion” thing happening that is also happening in NYC. Taking condos and turning them into rentals.To me, the answer is not going to be good with a blanket policy. SF needs better zoning. In places like NYC, real estate ain’t cheap.