Sunday, September 2, 2007

City's middle class finds home in Queens

City of Aspiration

Since 2001, the price of housing in New York has grown at five times the rate of income, a far higher pace than in virtually any major area in the country other than California and Miami. Now, according to a survey by the National Association of Homebuilders, with the New York area’s median income at roughly $60,000, only 6 percent of families can afford a median-price house of roughly $510,000.

As a result, New York, like Los Angeles and other high-priced areas, has since 1970 seen its middle-income neighborhoods shrink while lower- and higher-income areas have expanded. Today, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institution, barely 16 percent of New York neighborhoods are described as middle class; that is, composed of families earning 80 to 120 percent of the median income — the lowest percentage in any region of the country.

...the lives lived in places like Whitestone — and in similar communities, especially in Queens and in the outer reaches of Brooklyn — say a great deal about what it is like to be a middle-class New Yorker at this moment in the city’s history.

"In Manhattan they have nannies. Here we have grandparents."

Photo from NY Times


Anonymous said...

Where is all the cash from the "cash businesses" coming from to buy these houses in Queens? And isn't there something called the Patriot Act to track very large cash transfers ($10k+)?

Lucio said...

Housing prices in neigborhoods such as Astoria, woodside, Whitestone, and Jamaica Estates have seen prices increase as much as 500% since 2001 because of the speculation and development. When a developer/speculator keeps raising his bid until the owners sell out, we are left with numbers such as 1.5 million for a 2000 square foot house. Since the real estate industry asesses values based on sales of comparable properties, the average value eventually skyrockets. Its a scam yet the city does nothing to regulate it.

Anonymous said...

This country has no borders, so of course infinite demand pushes up prices for a finite number of units.

And, Queens is no longer middle class. These numbers are skewed by the wealthier north eastern quadrant, and the increasingly shaky south eastern quadrant (blacks are leaving the city, civil service jobs are decreasing and the mortgage situation?), but for the rest of the borough (with the exception of Glendale or Forest Hills and the like) the tenor is undoubtedly lower middle to lower class.

Middle class people are active and demand quality of life services. They are outspoken around politicians - just go to a school board meeting on LI or NJ. Queens?
Passive, quality of life down hill, newspapers full of smirking politicians standing next to clueless leaders they pluck out of the flock.

Queens has more in common with the Bronx than any other borough. Walk down Main St, Jamaica Ave, Queens Blvd, Steinway St - what do you see? Middle class? You must live in Middle Earth.

A large portion of this borough is invisible on official numbers, but visible in the evenings - two women, five kids and a stroller or two - makes for a fine parade past all those 99 cent stores.

That, thanks to the clubhouse, is the brave new Queens for the 21st Century.

The Times? As usual, just pimping real estate.

Anonymous said...

True the remaining vestiges of the middle class
occupy mainly the northeast quadrant of Queens.

They are vanishing rapidly as the population of these areas age out.

With increasing tear downs and up zoning
only tiny enclaves, mostly ringing the water,
(Beechurst, Malba, Whitestone, Douglas Manor, etc.) will be left for the wealthy!

When Manhattan finally gets its congestion pricing.....the economic moat will finally be in place
thus isolating some of the richest folks
in the country from their poor outer borough country cousins.

Beware.....history has shown....
(particularly in times of economic collapses, invading armies (upcoming ??? terrorist events),
that a city composed of the opposite extremes
of economic classes (rich & poor)
with the absence of a strong middle class.....
soon perish.

It begins by real estate being devalued....
because, eventually, no one can afford it!

The second wave of the sub-prime debacle is about to hit.....and no one really knows about its fallout.....
or, they're keeping that info under wraps!