LandlordsNY Briefing for June 8th

A housing crisis is happening throughout the country. New apartment and housing construction is just a smidgen over half of its 2006 peak, despite growing demand for more homes. Consequently, prices are skyrocketing and leaving many people who want to be homeowners unable to afford a place to call their own. Similarly, the cost of constructing a multifamily building is so high that owners are forced to post asking rents that even middle-income families can't afford.

The reason behind the slowdown is due to the rising cost of construction, which has grown by 5 percent annually for each of the past three years. There are multiple causes. First, there is a worker shortage, which is pushing up the cost of labor. The number of residential construction workers is down 23 percent from 2006, while the number of tradesmen (plumbers, carpenters, electricians, etc.) is down 17 percent from the same time. Second, is the tariff on Canadian lumber. Three other factors include: land shortage, increased regulatory costs, and (for single-family construction) limited access to credit.

One potential solution is to switch to modular building methods that rely on simplified construction and a lot of prefabrication to bring down costs. The one issue, however, is that this type of work pays significantly less than a construction job, but is more consistent. If enough workers are willing to make the change, it may end up solving at least one of the problems associated with the crisis.

The New York Times has more.

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Like many other fashion designers in the city, Nanette Lepore is moving from the Garment District in Manhattan to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Once a home for manufacturing, the Navy Yard is rapidly becoming a major destination for tech and design while remaining true to its industrial roots. Similarly, Industry City in Sunset Park has so far attracted more than 100 garment manufacturers, making it second to only Garment District for garment manufacturing. Both areas are expected to see significant growth in coming years.

The Bridge has more.

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In a Landlords New York Minute – A (Very) Brief Look Around the World

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced that seven mosques will be closed and 40 imams may face expulsion from the country; Japan has tried to legalize and regulate Airbnb with what could graciously be described as limited success; and Doug Ford, the brother of the former Toronto Mayor and noted crack aficionado Rob Ford, will become the premier of Ontario. Before leaving for the G7 conference in Canada this morning, President Donald Trump lashed out at Canada for its tariffs on United States dairy products, suggested that Russia should be brought back into the alliance to make it the G8 again, and announced that he will leave the conference early to go meet with the North Korean dictator. A former aide for the Senate Intelligence Committee, James Wolfe, was arrested for leaking classified information to journalists; the Environmental Protection Agency will no longer bother regulating chemicals based on their toxic effects unless said effects result from direct contact; the Justice Department has announced that it won’t defend the Affordable Care Act any longer; and Joseph Otting, a former banker who is now the Comptroller of the Currency, is encouraging banks to once again make increasingly risky bets and high-interest, small-dollar loans. Meanwhile, the TransCanada natural gas pipeline explosion that occurred yesterday in West Virginia could be seen from 20 miles away, the U.S. had its warmest May in history, U.S. children are singing nursery rhymes about mass shootings, U.S. suicide rates are up, and celebrity chef and host of the award-winning show “Parts Unknown” Anthony Bourdain was the victim of an apparent suicide. In local news, the New Jersey State Legislature has voted to legalize sports betting, Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson have agreed on a tentative plan to offer reduced-fare MetroCards to low-income straphangers, and the Verrazano Bridge will become the Verrazzano Bridge.

The cardboard box was evidently invented in New York City by accident, a lost album by John Coltrane from 1963 will be released on June 29, the Washington Capitals finally won the Stanley Cup last night, bees can count and understand absence (or zero), and it will soon be relatively inexpensive to capture carbon dioxide from the air and use it as a form of fuel. Finally, organic molecules have been found on Mars, which means that there is a high likelihood that there was or is life on the red planet.

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