If Only There Were Some Way To Construct More Houses In Brooklyn

A blog about business and economics.
March 5 2012 4:10 PM

If Only There Were Some Way To Construct More Houses In Brooklyn

Excellent post from Felix Salmon on the fine whine of the rich New Yorker, but I did have to flag one thing:

Actually, Andrew, if a middle-class lifestyle is becoming increasingly expensive, that's a function of the growing middle class and upper-middle class in the United States. Or Brooklyn, anyway. Why does the brownstone next door cost $1.5 million? Because there's demand for housing at those prices from a large number of upper-middle-class families who want to live there. If you're having difficulty raising a family on $350,000 a year, and you're surrounded by people living the kind of lifestyle you can't afford, that's a sign that New York in general, and Cobble Hill in particular, is full of families making enormous sums of money.

What's interesting is that back in 1920 when 2 million people lived in Brooklyn there was evidently enormous demand for Brooklyn living as well. That's why by 1930 there were 2,560,000 people living in Brooklyn. Yes, the borough's population increased 27 percent in ten years! Presumably because at that time when demand for living in Brooklyn increased what happened is that the supply of housing increased commensurately. Today it's a different story. Someone could write a book about it.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.


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