Rents in New York City are out of control, especially in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Wherever I go in my district, families are struggling to make payments. Mom-and-pop businesses are closing down.
High real estate prices are driving people out and changing the unique character of our neighborhoods. What makes New York special is being destroyed.
I’m proud of our city and can’t keep watching this happen. New Yorkers are telling me, “I want my city back.”
Young people find it hard to build a life in this city. Millennials have to move out when they reach their thirties because they can’t afford to live here. As a result, companies have a problem retaining experienced people. This threatens New York’s economic future as well as our quality of life right now.
Wealthy individuals from abroad buying luxury condos are driving real estate prices higher than a Central Park South tower. It’s not even a rental investment for them. They are often neither living in nor renting out their property. They are leaving us with brand new buildings lying empty and not contributing to the energy and diversity that makes New York so desirable.
“Hot money” distorts the market in another way. Developers are catering to the ultra-high-end market rather than the people who make our city work.
Fugitive investors are displacing those who are living here, reducing the number of available places to live in the city and inflating the price of rent for everyone in New York, including small businesses.
I am deeply troubled that those we have elected to represent us have completely failed to protect our most basic interest — a place to live and work. I can’t help but think it’s because their campaigns are funded by the very people who benefit from high real estate prices.
We need a new approach, and the solution will not be found solely in local government. The problem is not confined to New York. Hard working people in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Miami, even Taos, New Mexico are being priced out of their homes. Working together we can tackle this challenge.
We must address the fact that heavy student loan debt is pushing many college graduates out of the housing market, whether as owners or renters. Furthermore, developers need incentives to build for the people who live and work here.
Foreign investors should pay for the privilege of using New York real estate as a safety deposit box to park their money. A tax surcharge, starting at say 15%, on residential properties by people living abroad can be reinvested in building affordable housing for New Yorkers. The tax would also help curb the market for high-end properties and discourage developers from tearing down New Yorkers’ apartments and replacing them with luxury condos for absentee owners.
We also need reciprocity and transparency in the real estate market. India won’t let Americans buy apartments in Mumbai. Why should we let their tax fugitives price New Yorkers out of our homes? We welcome foreign investment, but we must make certain it benefits those who live here.
With new thinking and new approaches I’m confident we can make New York affordable for the people who make New York work, and build a bright future together.