LandlordsNY Briefing for July 11th

The proposal to rezone Inwood was heard by the City Council yesterday. While the city’s Economic Development Corporation hopes to advance a plan that would allow residential development in the neighborhood’s industrial area and allow for the construction of new developments on major thoroughfares, many residents of the largely middle-class area are opposed to the plan as it stands. They contend that the plan will drastically alter the character of the neighborhood and accelerate the displacement of tenants by making the area more expensive (thereby driving up rents).

So far both Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Community Board 12 have opposed the city’s plans, but the final decision on the proposal will be made by the City Council, probably in the late summer. While they keep in mind the opinions of both borough presidents and community boards, the City Council tends to side with the councilmember whose neighborhood will be impacted by such a proposal. Ydanis Rodriguez, the councilmember who represents Inwood, appears to be ambivalent about the current rezoning plan and has not stated publicly if he will approve or reject it.

AM New York has more.

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After attending the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Las Vegas, the real estate editor for the Washington Post, Ilyce Glink, reported back that the main issue affecting the real estate industry in the U.S. is housing scarcity. This is having a cascading effect.

Because there are fewer sellers, home prices are skyrocketing. Because home prices are skyrocketing, people are staying in rentals instead of moving into “starter homes.” Because more people are staying in rentals for longer periods of time (the average age of first-time buyers has gone from 26 to 34 in the last 25 years), rental prices are also rising at an unsustainable level and causing large swaths of the population to spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent. The median monthly rent last year was $1,550 nationwide while the median annual income for a renter was under $40,000. This means the average renter doesn’t earn 40 times the cost of the average apartment.

There are two additional factors pushing up average home prices. The first is due to a roll back of regulations on mortgage lenders, which increases the number of people who can qualify for a loan (and introduces more potential buyers into an already tight market). The second factor concerns the types of homes being built. Because there has been an increase in the number of homes built for the luxury market, the price of an average home has been pushed upward.

The Washington Post has more.

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

Nigeria’s younger start-up community is blossoming, the Scottish independence movement is becoming more radical, and several Russian diplomats have been expelled from Greece. President Donald Trump is in Brussels for a NATO summit meeting that was initially described as “confrontational,” then described as less tense despite the president's calls that other nations increase their military spending from 2% to GDP to 4%; the Trump administration said yesterday that it wants to impose additional tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products, and would be willing to impose yet another $200 billion on top of that, which would significantly add to the 10,000 products already impacted by the trade war and force China to find less conventional ways to retaliate; and Trump officials have announced that they are cutting grants to nonprofits (by 80 percent from 2016 levels) that help people sign up for health insurance. The Miss America community is sharply divided over changes to the organization, more new fathers are taking paternal leave, the producer-price index rose by 0.3% in June, commodity prices fell because of the trade war, gas prices are rising and could hinder the economy, Ford sales have fallen in China and are expected to decline further as new tariffs take effect, U.S. companies have bought back a record number of shares ($437 billion in Q2, which is almost double the old record, set in Q1, of $242 billion) rather than reinvesting profits or allowing those profits to trickle down to lower level employees, and a 120-acre plot of undeveloped land in Beverly Hills is now on sale for $150 million. Reminder: Puerto Rico is part of the United States. In local news, Mayor Bill de Blasio may have accidentally crossed the border into Mexico illegally last month, the mayor proudly said that he was going to “eradicate” NYCHA’s lead paint problem (in compliance with Local Law 1 of 2004) yesterday after almost a term and a half of completely ignoring it, rapes and murders are up in New York City even if overall crime is near historic lows, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in New York’s 15th Congressional District as a write-in (she’s running in the 14th), residents oppose a 122-unit development in Bushwick, and a lot of new retailers are moving into Brooklyn.

The Thai soccer team rescued from a cave yesterday are doing well, soccer players who rinse and spit a carbohydrate solution may get a performance boost because this bit of mind mischief makes the brain think more energy is about to be absorbed by the body, middle children are becoming rarer, people evidently ask Google “What is Love?” a lot, and some scientists are warming to the idea of time travel. The oldest written record of Homer’s Odyssey was found on a clay tabled dating back to approximately 2,000 years ago, Ancient Romans hunted whales, rangers in Australia have captured a 1,300 pound crocodile that’s been on the lam for eight years, there’s a python on the loose in Warsaw, and an American tourist tried to board a plane out of Vienna with an unexploded shell dating back to World War II.

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