Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reform the condominium

This op-ed by urban planning professor Matthew Lasner follows on the hells of a series the New York times published on a bizarre trend in the condo market:  very rich people, some with shady backgrounds, buying condos in NYC behind shell companies so nobody knows who they are.  Even the condo association doesn't know who the owners are. And the city has been subsidizing this trend because they want more rich people having their pied a terre in New York City. There's a lot more wrong with the condo model than this op-ed describes, but for a short piece it is excellent.
"FROM New York to Miami, from South Padre Island, Tex., to Park City, Utah, the American condominium has become the hot new investment for global capital. In Manhattan, the trend is so pronounced that a whole new category of real estate has emerged around the southern edges of Central Park: supertall, ultraluxury buildings, with more than half of the homes being sold to anonymous buyers (some perhaps looking to stash ill-gotten gains) who rarely, if ever, occupy them. The city, meanwhile, struggles to produce sufficient housing for those who do live here."

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