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You Must Be This Rich to Live in NYC

The low and middle classes are being priced out of a life in New York City. Even as many residents spend fifty percent or more of their earnings on housing, the majority of the city’s “affordable homes” are still out of reach. House prices and rent have risen by more than forty percent since 2001, and landlords, betting on gentrification, are evicting existing tenants in favor of wealthier ones. The result is a skyrocketing homeless population and a threat of a mass exodus to other cities and states. The FT reports:

“What you will see is overcrowding or people being forced to move to places like Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey. The impression is that we’re talking about a small segment of the population. In reality it’s close to half of all New Yorkers that are affected. The city is sending away its growth engine.” [Barika Williams, policy director at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.]

In her annual State of the City address last month, Christine Quinn, council speaker and frontrunner to replace Michael Bloomberg as mayor, echoed this statement. “We need to make sure that the people who want to stay in our great city can afford to stay here,” she said. “We will not allow middle-class families to get priced out of the neighbourhoods they helped build.”

For all the fretting by city officials about this exodus, there doesn’t seem to be any acknowledgement that the city’s taxes and job-killing policies may also have something to do with it.

New York will always have a high concentration of wealthy people who can afford whatever the housing market throws at them. But as in California, New York’s blue policies have contributed to the creation of a city where increasingly only the very wealthy can afford to live.

[NYC image courtesy of]

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