City v Suburbs

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
What Happens When the 1% Go Remote
It doesn’t take very many ultra-wealthy Americans changing their address to wreak havoc on cities’ finances.

The 1% are on the move. Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen bought a $17 million teardown on Miami Beach’s ultra-exclusive Indian Creek island. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who are said to have plunked down $30 million for a lot, may be their neighbors. Recently it emerged that hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. is moving its Manhattan headquarters to South Florida, and that private equity giant Blackstone Group Inc. will open an office there. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is reportedly considering relocating part of its asset management operations to the region, too. It’s not just happening on the East Coast. In the last few months, the venture capitalists David Blumberg and Keith Rabois decamped from the San Francisco Bay Area to Miami. All of this prompted Silicon Valley venture capitalist and startup guru Paul Graham to tweet:

Austin is having something of a moment as well. Elon Musk is trading Los Angeles for the Texas tech hub, where his new $1 billion Cybertruck factory is under construction. Larry Ellison announced that Oracle would move its headquarters there from Silicon Valley. DropBox Inc. CEO Drew Houston and Splunk Inc. CEO Douglas Merritt reportedly took steps to relocate from the Bay Area to Austin, too.

Some residents of pricey cities like New York, L.A. and San Francisco might say good riddance to the uber-rich whom they blame for growing unaffordability and inequality in their cities. But their cities will pay a literal price for their departures. It doesn’t take very many one-percenters changing their address to wreak havoc on cities’ finance
When the billionaire hedge funder David Tepper left New Jersey for Miami Beach in 2015, he left a crater in New Jersey’s budget that experts estimate was upwards of $100 million annually. (Interestingly enough, Tepper recently moved back home to the Garden State.) A whopping 80% of New York City’s income tax revenue, according to one estimate, comes from the 17% of its residents who earn more than $100,000 per year. If just 5% of those folks decided to move away, it would cost the city almost one billion ($933 million) in lost tax revenue.
The large differentials in our current system of state and local taxation enable the mega-rich to save millions, and in some cases tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars a year, simply by moving from higher-tax states, most of them blue, to lower-tax states, which are typically red. Homesteading provisions like those in place in Florida do not even require them to spend a minimum number of days in the state. They just have to be careful not to spend too many days in the high-tax states like New York and California where their businesses are. New York’s threshold, for example, is 184 days.

Of course, at least in the short term, there are some cities that are benefiting from these migrations. And you can’t really blame the cities and states that are luring these people away. In a place like Miami Beach, where property taxes amount to 1.5-2% of the assessed valuation of a home, someone who buys a $30 million home will pay half a million dollars or more in annual property taxes. But it leaves the losers with large holes in their budgets.
Very little actual work or production is being relocated. What’s really changing are the addresses of those who own and control the capital.
None of this spells the end of superstar cities like New York and San Francisco. In fact, many, if not most, of the New York hedge funders and Bay Area venture capitalists are moving just themselves, not their core businesses. Many of the companies they invested in — and their employees — will likely stay right where they are. Very little actual work or production is being relocated. What’s really changing are the addresses of those who own and control the capital.
In the long run, cities’ ability to attract new generations of innovative and creative talent will ensure their financial survival. But if policies don’t change, their budgets will suffer in the meantime, and their least-advantaged people and neighborhoods will bear the brunt of it as budget cuts and austerity measures eliminate key services. If things get bad enough — as they did in New York in the 1970s — it could take them quite a while to restore their budgets.

While the pandemic has helped to accelerate remote work and potentially the geographic flexibility it allows, such migrations were more likely set in motion by Trump’s changes to the tax code: The so-called SALT deduction capped the amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted from federal taxes.
Until recently, high-tax cities had a fighting chance against their lower-tax rivals. That is why so many blue-state politicians have called for getting rid of the Trump-era caps and restoring the ability to deduct state and local taxes. Some progressive economists have rightly countered that enabling the wealthiest Americans to write off their state and local tax payments is highly regressive, amounting to a tax break of $100 billion or more a year that flows mainly to the very rich. But eliminating those write-offs has created a race to the bottom that is already devastating the budgets of expensive coastal cities. Others recommend replacing the SALT deduction with a 15% credit for state and local taxes. Given the pressure from Democrats in impacted cities, this is something that the Biden-Harris administration may have to revisit.
There are many reasons to oppose handing over tax subsidies to the ultra-wealthy, but the effect of new remote technology on state and local taxes requires some serious scrutiny by all levels of government. As more Americans, especially the 1%, have flexibility about where they work, city and state governments will need to develop new revenue models that account for the locations of both the people and their businesses. When an advantaged class can live thousands of miles away from where they work and own assets, it deprives cities of a vital source of revenue.
When it comes to choosing where we live, it is often said we vote with our feet. What some members of the 1% are doing to cities is more like a kick in the teeth.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Superstar Cities Are in Trouble​

The past year has offered a glimpse of the nowhere-everywhere future of work, and it isn’t optimistic for big cities.

Some evenings, when pandemic cabin fever reaches critical levels, I relieve my claustrophobia by escaping into the dreamworld of Zillow, the real-estate website. From the familiar confines of my Washington, D.C., apartment, I teleport to a ranch on the outskirts of Boise, Idaho; to a patio nestled in the hillsides of Phoenix, Arizona; or to a regal living room in one of the baroque palaces of Plano, Texas.

Apparently, many of you are doing the same thing. Zillow searches have soared during the health crisis, according to Jeff Tucker, the company’s chief economist. “We’ve seen online searches for Boise, Phoenix, and Atlanta rising fastest among people who live in coastal cities, like Los Angeles and New York,” Tucker told me. Higher search volumes on Zillow have coincided with a booming housing market in the South and the West, as rents fall in expensive coastal cities.

Zillow tourism and a few affluent workers decamping for Atlanta might strike you as a fad—kind of like this whole remote-work moment. Indeed, if you’re lugging your computer to the living room every day to sit on the couch for eight hours, you might not be thinking to yourself, I’m practically starting the next industrial revolution.

But maybe you are. As a general rule of human civilization, we’ve lived where we work. More than 90 percent of Americans drive to work, and their average commute is about 27 minutes. This tether between home and office is the basis of urban economics. But remote work weakens it; in many cases, it severs the link entirely, replacing spatial proximity with cloud-based connectivity. What knock-on changes will this new industrial revolution bring?

The best argument against the remote-work experiment having a durable impact on our lives beyond the pandemic is an appeal to human inertia: For decades, the internet was a thing and remote work wasn’t, and after the pandemic, it’ll just feel like 2019 again.
But the impediment to widespread remote work in 2019 and before wasn’t technological. It was social. According to the economist David Autor, remote work suffered from a “telephone problem.” Seven decades after the first telephone was patented in the 1860s, fewer than half of Americans owned one. Behavior dragged behind technology, because most families had no use for a telecom machine as long as none of their friends also owned one. In network theory, this is known as Metcalfe’s Law: The value of a communications network rises exponentially with the number of its users.

The same has been true of remote work. In 2018, it was weird and rude to ask a boss to move a meeting to Skype, or to tell a business partner to fire up a Zoom link because you can’t make lunch. The teleconference tech existed, but it was considered an ersatz substitute for the normal course of business.
“The most important outcome of the pandemic wasn’t that it taught you how to use Zoom, but rather that it forced everybody else to use Zoom,” Autor told me. "We all leapfrogged over the coordination problem at the exact same time.” Meetings, business lunches, work trips—all these things will still happen in the after world. But nobody will forget the lesson we were all just forced to learn: Telecommunications doesn’t have to be the perfect substitute for in-person meetings, as long as it’s mostly good enough. For the most part, remote work just works.

Last year, I wrote about how even a modest remote-work revolution—no more than 10 percent of Americans working remotely full time after the pandemic is over—could affect the U.S. labor force (e.g.: fewer hotel workers) and party politics (e.g.: more southern Democrats). But the more I researched remote work and spoke with experts, the more I realized I had only scratched the surface of its implications for the future of the economy, the geography of opportunity, and the fate of innovation. Here are four more predictions.


Remote work sometimes severs the connection between work and home, and sometimes just elongates it. According to Chris Salviati, an economist at the online rental marketplace Apartment List, prices are falling sharply in the downtown areas of the biggest metros, but they’re rising overall in the suburbs and in nearby cities. Some of the hottest rental markets in the country include Central California cities within a few hours’ drive of San Francisco.
Referring to the internet as an “information superhighway” is retro in the most cringeworthy way. But here, the metaphor seems apt. Decades after the construction of the U.S. highway system allowed high-income families to move from downtowns to the distant suburbs, Zoom might do the same. Remote work could do to America’s residential geography in the 2020s what the highway did in the 1950s and ’60s: spread it out.
Today, the term supercommuting is often used to describe the punishment inflicted on lower-income workers who have to live far from their job because of the scarcity of affordable housing. But the remote-work revolution could spawn the rise of something a little different: the affluent supercommuter who chooses to move to a big exurban house with the expectation that she’ll make fewer, longer commutes to the office.

“Historically, people who work from home don’t commute less overall, because they just drive longer distances,” Autor told me, referring to a Federal Reserve study from 2019. One shouldn’t put too much stock in a survey of pre-pandemic behavior. But the logic of fewer-but-longer commutes should lead to small towns and suburbs experiencing the fastest price growth. And, lo and behold, that’s exactly the story the online rental data are already telling us.


Beyond anecdotal accounts of bankers fleeing Manhattan and tech workers saying sayonara to the Bay Area, we have loads of private data to back up the story that superstar cities are in trouble.
According to U-Haul’s annual review, California lost more people to out-migration than any other state in 2020, and the five largest states in the Northeast—New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland—joined California in the top 10 losers. Rents have fallen fastest in “pricey coastal cities,” including San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York City, according to Apartment List. Zillow data also show that home values in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., are growing below the national average.

These migration trends could spell long-term trouble for cities such as San Francisco and New York, where municipal services rely on property taxes, sales taxes, and urban-transit revenue.
Absent federal intervention, “the financial situation that nearly every transit agency in America is in will certainly lead to significant service cuts, which inevitably lead to terrible spirals,” Sarah Feinberg, the interim president of the New York City Transit Authority, told me. “Service reductions are bad for commuters, devastating for essential workers, and detrimental to the economy.” If people leave New York—and newcomers don’t immediately take their place—that will reduce the city’s subway and bus revenue, which will lead to service cuts; that will make New York a harder place to live, so more people will leave the city; transit revenue will be reduced further, and on we go.
More optimistically, the federal government could bail out cities, speeding up what I’ve called the urban forest-fire effect. In that scenario, the pandemic pushes thousands of people out of expensive coastal cities, reducing the cities’ rent and housing costs, but those lower costs attract a new generation of immigrants and middle-class families to move back into the city, which leads to regrowth. Note, however, that both the optimistic and pessimistic cases involve a difficult period of transition.


Superstar pain could be America’s gain—not only because lower housing costs in expensive cities will make room for middle-class movers, but also because the coastal diaspora will fertilize growth in other places.
As home values decline in the superstar cities, they’re rising in major Sun Belt metros such as Phoenix, Nashville, and Austin. They’re rising in midwestern cities, such as Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Indianapolis. And they’re going gangbusters in the Southeast, which accounts for 13 of the top 25 cities with the fastest growth in U-Haul migration in 2020. The top three cities for inbound moves were all in one state: Florida.
Why might this be a positive trend? By failing to build sufficient housing, certain superstar cities have become mere playgrounds for the wealthy—especially the childless wealthy. “The walls we’ve put up around our most productive cities have made it hard to accommodate more people,” the economist Enrico Moretti told me.
Anti-growth housing policies in rich cities reduce national productivity, income growth, and intergenerational mobility. Thanks to zoning and land-use restrictions, the American dream has fractured: The rich cities with the greatest upward mobility are the least affordable, while the most affordable places to live have a poor record of mobility. As a result, America has grown more divided in the past few decades, not only by politics and by class, but also by geography.

“Remote work is the first change in a while that can help lean against this trend,” Adam Ozimek, the chief economist at Upwork, told me. White-collar workers moving away from NIMBY areas could help solve this problem in two important ways: by reducing housing prices in superstar cities, and sprinkling high-income workers throughout the country.
Coastal cities’ depopulation will not be a perfect substitute for more housing construction in those cities, but it might be better than the before world. Remote work is not a perfect substitute for higher welfare spending, either, but thousands of high-income workers moving to lower-income metros in the Midwest and the South could stimulate local job creation and raise local incomes. And remote work is not a perfect solution to regional inequality, but it will almost certainly expand the roster of hyperproductive cities in ways that could help wages grow nationwide, according to Moretti’s analysis.


It sometimes takes only one little decision to create a new industrial hub. “If you look at Seattle in the 1970s, there was not much high tech, and Boeing was shedding jobs by the thousands,” Moretti said. “But then this random guy named Bill Gates, who started this small company called Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico, decided to move his headquarters to Seattle to be closer to his family and the family of his co-founder, Paul Allen.” As Microsoft grew to become the largest company on the planet, it made the Seattle region one of the world’s leaders in information technology.

If Moretti is right, the coastal diaspora is akin to a national seed-planting experiment that has the potential to grow new industrial clusters. Today, the innovation economy is unevenly distributed. Three states—New York, Massachusetts, and California—account for three-quarters of all venture-capital investment in the United States. But one of the companies on the move could take off after relocating to Miami or Austin, and trigger the complex domino effect that creates a new hub: a Quantum Valley in Austin, or Wall Street South in Miami.
The other, weirder possibility is that the remote-work revolution will eliminate the concept of a metro hub entirely, as companies embrace the reality of a permanently distributed workforce. What if the next Silicon Valley is nowhere—or, just as precisely, everywhere?
After the pandemic, it might be better to think of Silicon Valley as an idea dispersed across many places rather than a specific piece of geography, writes Kim-Mai Cutler, a partner at the venture fund Initialized. According to the company’s recent survey, 42 percent of its firms said that starting a remote company was better than being headquartered anywhere, including California. (Last year, that figure was just 6 percent.)

What exactly would that look like? Say a tech-company founder based in Nashville hires a designer in Missoula, engineers in San Jose and Miami, and a product lead in Albuquerque. They Slack every morning, and Zoom in the afternoon. Although building a distributed-work culture takes lots of work, they might discover that the internet re-creates many of the benefits of a city. Cities attract similarly productive and talented people to the same area, where they can redouble one another’s talent; so might the internet. Cities pool large groups of workers into the same area to increase the odds that every worker finds the job with the best fit for her skills; so might the internet.
As an urban resident of Washington, D.C., writing from my dining-room table, my claim is not that I believe the internet could or should replace the riotous physical-world collision of urban work, culture, art, and life. My humbler assertion is that 2020 has punctured my confidence that the internet cannot encroach on the benefits of urban density and proximity. Going forward, many fledgling companies may agree, as they find that the city in the cloud essentially acts as a more accessible version of the city on the Earth, eerily reproducing its forces of agglomeration, specialization, and convenience. The past 12 months have offered a glimpse of the nowhere-everywhere future of work. We’re only beginning to understand just how strange that future might be.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

NY Weighs A "Wall Street Tax." Wall Street Is Threatening To Flee​

On Wednesday, a trade group representing some the most powerful economic markets in the world wrote a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, outlining their opposition to the creation of any new taxes on stock trading in New York.
"While some see this as a tax on the securities industry itself, it is actually a tax on working families saving for retirement and college, pension funds that secure retirement for millions, as well as many individual investors, foundations and endowments," the group wrote. Imposing any form of a stock market tax, they noted, "could lead financial firms to move their back-office operations and related jobs outside of New York."
As Congress continues to debate the size and scope of a federal pandemic relief package, the state faces a $15 billion budget shortfall and many difficult choices. One of Cuomo's budget proposals includes higher income taxes on wealthy New Yorkers, an idea he had long dismissed. New York City has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs during the pandemic, and the economy may be years away from a full recovery. In response, state legislators have prepared a menu of new tax bills targeting the rich, including a billionaire's tax, and a tax on stock transfers.

New York has taxed stock trades since 1905, charging a percentage of the stock's value to whichever party initiates the trade, for trades that occur in the state, with a $350 daily maximum. But in 1981, the state effectively stopped collecting the tax, and has returned any money that it accrues—last year, that amounted to more than $4 billion.
"The hard truth is, New York needs the securities industry more than the securities industry needs New York. The city can't afford a tax that pushes it out of town," the NY Times editorial board wrote in 1983, when efforts to revive the tax were discussed.
One recent proposal in the State Senate, would lower the 100% rebate on the current stock transfer tax to 60%. Another Assembly proposal would completely eliminate the rebate, and increases the scope of the tax to include any party that works or lives in New York state.
Earlier this week, Brooklyn State Senator Julia Salazar widened the net further, and introduced a "Wall Street Tax." The tax would capture 0.5% of the value of stock trades, 0.1% of bond trades, and .005% of derivative trades. The proposal is similar to a federal tax pitched by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Salazar's legislation states it would raise between $12 and $29 billion annually. According to the State Comptroller, the financial industry netted more than $26 billion in pre-tax profits for the first six months of 2020, more than all of 2019. The average salary for its 182,000 workers was more than $400,000, and they represented 18% and 6% of all state and city tax collections.
Senator Salazar told Gothamist that the devastation caused by the pandemic has created a sense of urgency among her fellow lawmakers to propose and support legislation that some may not have previously considered.
"There’s more solidarity, honestly, and then maybe there’s a development of class consciousness," Salazar said. "And then there’s been the reporting and the acknowledgement that there are corporations and individuals, billionaires in the state, whose profits have increased over the course of the last ten months. And I think people recognize the fundamental unfairness and injustice in that."

Steven Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Institute at the Urban Institute & Brookings Institution, said that a state stock transfer tax would not soak everyday investors and retirees, despite the arguments made by the financial industry.
"They tell you that the stockholders are pension funds, workers, and the little man. And that’s wrong. It’s like, rich guys, overwhelmingly," Rosenthal said. He pointed to federal data showing that the wealthiest 10 percent of households owned an average $1.7 million in stock, while households in the bottom 50 percent owned an average of $11,000.
Rosenthal said that one of the main arguments in favor of a state stock transfer tax—that it would indeed raise billions of dollars—could also work against it. The Wall Street Tax legislation would create a "residency test" to see whether the exchange, or the broker, or the party itself resided in New York. Most of the trading on the New York Stock Exchange currently happens on computer servers in New Jersey, and the stockbrokers themselves may find it more competitive to leave the state if they have to pass fees on to their customers. (When New Jersey threatened to tax the NYSE's servers in September, the market responded by transferring trades to Chicago.)
"The question is, when you raise a lot of money, what are the distortions? And one distortion is simply moving trade, and that definitely has to be addressed. And I’m skeptical that can be addressed by a state-level tax," Rosenthal said.
This is the Citizens Budget Commission's basis for opposing a revival of the stock transfer tax. "If the tax goes back into effect as written, many trades would simply move to other states to avoid the tax," the group wrote in the fall, adding that widening the tax the way the Wall Street Tax proposal states "would put New York securities firms at a competitive disadvantage."
"Faced with a STT in New York State, firms are likely to relocate trading activity outside of the State to offer a better price for their clients, taking jobs and related economic activity with them," the securities trade group wrote to Cuomo. The two largest markets in the world, the NYSE and NASDAQ, both signed the letter.
Monica Klein, a spokesperson for Invest In Our New York, the group that is advocating for higher taxes on wealthy New Yorkers, insisted that avoiding the Wall Street Tax would be "no small task."
"Businesses and traders would have to entirely move to another state, or at least significantly relocate their trading operations. These businesses depend on our highly developed labor markets, infrastructure, and government regulation, and they would lose far more than they would gain if they moved out of the state," Klein wrote in an email.
Governor Cuomo's office has pledged to review any new legislation. The governor has not signaled support for any new taxes except higher income taxes on the wealthy, and only in the event of a shortage of federal aid, while the leaders of the state legislature have said they are interested in doing more.
In 1966, New York City Mayor John Lindsay asked the state legislature to increase the stock transfer tax to fund libraries, parks, hospitals, community colleges, and programs to fight poverty. "The budget is large, but the needs of the city are great," Lindsay said, as recounted in Kim Phillips-Fein's Fear City.
In response, "The New York Stock Exchange threatened to leave the city altogether if the stock transfer tax went through, relocating to Connecticut or perhaps even California," Phillips-Fein wrote. The president of the NYSE "barraged local newspapers with letters" and pleaded with the publisher of the New York Times, A.O. Sulzberger. The tax increase ultimately passed, and the NYSE remained in New York.
"I think that if opponents of the proposal, namely, ultra-wealthy people and lobbyists for the financial industry, thought that this tax could simply be avoided, then they wouldn’t be so actively opposing it," Salazar said. "Because they don’t want to pay more taxes."


David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Why We Don’t Believe the Big City Obituary
America’s cities offer the greatest hope for the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, the people who live there agree.

Pointing to downtown office towers usurped by Zoom, shuttered restaurants and stores, and an upsurge in crime and taxes, some are predicting a mass retreat from urban life. “New York City is dead forever,” declared a viral LinkedIn post in August. Last year “ended the boom of cities that started in the 1990s,” announced a recent op-ed in The Hill. Much of the analysis has been fatalistic—gloomy predictions grounded in hunches and snippets of short-term data.

A new survey by The Harris Poll and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs offers evidence for a different narrative. Surveying 1,200 residents of the nation’s six largest metropolitan areas on their attitudes about urban and suburban life in late autumn, the answers provide a window into how metropolitan Americans feel about the places they live during the pandemic.

It presents an image not of cities teetering on the edge, but of urban strength in crisis. Rather than decamping for the suburbs, as has been widely (and anecdotally) reported, city residents remain committed to cities. But beyond the immediate challenges, they want longstanding problems of urban life addressed, and are willing to embrace changes in policy and personal behavior to do so.

Why does this matter? America’s cities are the country’s economic, technological and cultural dynamos, and its best hope to forestall the climate crisis. With new leadership in Washington, the fate of cities is now a front-burner concern for lawmakers and citizens alike.

Additionally, the internet survey results also offer no evidence of a long-term urban exodus. The bulk of residents across community type — big city, inner suburb and outer suburb — are happy with where they live, and say they want to live in the type of community in which they currently reside.

Cities Are Not Going Away​

"Has your experience with the pandemic made you more likely to move to a different type of area?"

Notably, big city residents are especially eager to stay in cities. Seven in 10 of the people we surveyed in metro New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix and Philadelphia say they prefer to live in a big city; only 8% say they would prefer to live in the suburbs. By contrast, fewer suburbanites (61%) prefer suburban living, and three in 10 would choose a city — big or small — instead.
When asked specifically how their pandemic experience has affected their preferences, half of city residents say it has not changed where they prefer to live. Another 25% say the pandemic actually makes them more likely to move to another urban area.

Surprisingly, the survey found similar responses across income, race, education level and family status. Even those from households with children — people especially affected by lockdown and remote learning — are evenly divided on whether their pandemic experience has made them prefer suburban (20%) or urban living (19%). And of those in Generation Z (ages 18-24), many more say they want to live in big cities (39%) than in suburbia (25%), the lowest result of any age cohort.

Staying Put With And Without Kids​

"Has your experience with the pandemic made you more likely to move to a different type of area?"

How do these results square with predictions of urban collapse? First, they suggest that despite the short-term challenges, the pandemic has not derailed the long cultural ascendancy of cities in America. The forces behind this “urban revival” were decades in the making, and have not been undone even by 2020’s monumental crises.
It also suggests that, in their doomsday predictions, pundits routinely dismiss cities’ advantages, even in a pandemic: their concentration of resources, amenities, institutions and social infrastructure.
Others agree with us. “Does this mean the end of cities?” economist Austan Goolsbee asked in a recent discussion hosted by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where he is an economics professor. Answering his own question, he said he foresees a comeback for central cities because we are “much more productive when we are in person together.” Last June, University of Toronto professor Richard Florida authored a series on why cities will survive the pandemic.

Income Makes Little Difference​

"Has your experience with the pandemic made you more likely to move to a different type of area?"

Nevertheless, urban residents have serious concerns about local problems — coronavirus, taxes and the economy chief among them. More urbanites rate the affordability of housing as “extremely important” (41%) than those inner or outer suburbanites (29% and 26%, respectively), and 70% of city dwellers say they are concerned about “social unrest” in their neighborhoods after looting in some big city downtowns.

On the other hand, they show remarkable willingness to embrace change. For example, although two-thirds of city dwellers now report driving solo to work, a majority says they are willing to try a more sustainable commute — whether riding a bike (54%, up from 1% currently) or public transit (63%, up from 13%). Nine out of 10 urbanites also say they support building more affordable housing in their neighborhoods.
As the vanguard in embracing truly radical change — lockdowns, masks, social distancing, remote schooling — city people seem to view biking to work and affordable housing a comparatively modest task. Overall, the data offers indications of an enlarged window of possibility in post-pandemic urban life.
But at a time when residents want new approaches to city life, the pandemic’s economic damage has left cash-strapped cities with fewer resources to effect change, or even fund essential operations. There’s hope here, too: The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue plan would provide $350 billion to city and state governments. On top of previous funding to schools and urban businesses, this aid would not just help cities return to normal, to the relief of pessimistic city leaders, but also lay a foundation for a more livable, sustainable and prosperous urban life.

If our cities recover, as we believe they will, it will be a credit to the commitment, sacrifice and imagination of their citizens — the millions already there and those who move to join them. Even today, cities remain the place to be.
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John Walkup

Talking Manhattan on
David you do find good stuff!

I think it's more the case of 'the city is dead, long live the city'. As great as it would be to rewind the pandemic to get back to normal, the NYC of tomorrow will necessarily be different than that of yesterday. And that's great. It will be tough sledding, but adaptation is a hallmark of any great city.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Cities come back: Home prices up 15% in 3 months

Low mortgage rates and, yes, remote work propel urban markets​

Across the country, cities are rebounding.
Young, white-collar workers are taking advantage of record-low mortgage rates and remote work to move to more desirable urban areas.

Home prices in urban U.S. markets rose 15 percent in the three months through late January, according to Redfin. That’s a change from early in the pandemic, when price gains lagged those in the suburbs or even fell, Bloomberg reported.

“People are anticipating that now is a great time to buy,” Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin, told Bloomberg. “They’re not thinking about the short term. They’re looking forward to eating inside restaurants and going to concerts.”

In Louisville, Kentucky, values for properties in the more densely populated neighborhoods surged at twice the rate that they did in suburbs over the past three months. Detroit saw urban prices shoot up 43 percent. And in Baltimore, prices jumped 34 percent, compared with just 10 percent in outer areas.

Still, the most expensive areas, like Manhattan and San Francisco, are outliers. Cramped spaces and still sky-high prices, along with a lack of available amenities, have deterred buyers from rushing in.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Smaller cities look to cash in on shift to remote work​

As WFH becomes a permanent way of life, smaller cities see opportunities to attract remote workers​

Taylor Allen said her life after college was a “little bit nomadic,” as she moved from Virginia to China to Washington, D.C., to Florida.
But in March 2019, the now 26-year-old Atlanta native settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a city with a population of about 400,000. She’s one of more than 500 recruits who relocated to the city through Tulsa Remote, a program that aims to lure remote workers by offering $10,000 in cash, along with other perks.

“It’s not crowded or congested. It’s quiet, and it’s at a slower pace of living. And I think that’s really nice to have when everything else seems to be on fire in the world,” said Allen, who last year took a job with Tulsa Remote after a previous full-time remote gig was scrapped by her employer. “There’s this ecosystem that supports remote workers. You don’t feel alone, you don’t feel isolated.”

Nearly a year into the pandemic, many employees whose companies instituted work-from-home policies still haven’t returned to the office. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, more than half of those who can work from home would choose to do so after the pandemic ends.
And some of those workers are leaving behind the pricier urban cores — cities like San Francisco or New York — in favor of communities with more space at a lower price.

“For the first time, they’re free to live wherever they want,” said Evan Hock, co-founder of MakeMyMove, a digital platform that connects telecommuters with communities offering relocation incentives. “We’re finding folks moving because they want to be closer to family. They want to be closer to the water or the mountains. Some of them are just moving to get a more livable lifestyle. The reasons vary, but we think the trend will persist.”

Tulsa Remote launched in November 2018 with the goal of attracting full-time remote or self-employed workers to Oklahoma’s second-largest city. In its first year, it received more than 10,000 applications, and the number more than doubled in 2020. As of early February, 8,500 people have applied, making it possible that the 2021 total may reach 100,000, Allen said.

Other cities have launched similar initiatives that offer cash incentives for relocating remote workers.
For the past three decades, the Shoals Economic Development Authority in Alabama focused on recruiting companies to the region, which consists of four cities in the state’s northwestern corner.
But several years ago, officials realized that those firms didn’t necessarily have many employees working full-time in offices.

“We thought, ‘Well, what if we just target the people individually?’” said Mackenzie Cottles, who’s on the authority’s marketing team.
The authority launched Remote Shoals in 2019 and recruited 10 workers from cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Nashville. The initiative awards $10,000 to each selected recruit whose annual income is $52,000 and up. And while it originally targeted tech workers, it’s since opened up to all industries.

In its first year, the program had 200 applicants, but that number shot up after the pandemic: In December alone, it received 100 applications. The program will fill 25 slots for its second year.
Meanwhile, the Greater Topeka Partnership, a consortium of local economic development organizations based in and around Topeka, Kansas, launched Choose Topeka in September, offering up to $10,000 as an incentive for 15 people who move to the area. Five have already moved in, and the rest of the candidates are going through different stages of the process.

The program launched in January 2020 to assist local businesses with talent recruitment from outside of the region. But in response to the pandemic, it also opened up spots for remote workers, said Barbara Stapleton, who runs talent initiatives at the partnership.
The program awards the full $10,000 to candidates who earn $60,000 and up and buy homes in the community. The award is reduced to $5,000 if they rent. If their paychecks are smaller than $60,000, the award amount is reduced accordingly, Stapleton said.

That sort of homebuying incentive could help energize the local real estate market, said Amanda Lewis, who owns brokerage Coldwell Banker American Home.
“I think all of that is going to stimulate housing more than it already has,” she said. “And with the prices that we have in our market, it’s very affordable for people to move from the bigger urban areas.”

According to the Zillow Home Value Index, a typical single-family home in Topeka was valued at $141,153 as of December, compared to $512,941 in New York City and $1.18 million in San Francisco.
But these programs aren’t always popular with longtime residents of the communities. Last year, the Northwest Arkansas Council, a nonprofit backed by corporations like Walmart and Tyson Foods, began offering out-of-state remote workers $10,000 along with a gift certificate to buy a new bicycle or to pay for a membership for a local art and cultural organization. But the program has been criticized by locals who believe the money should be spent to improve the lives of existing residents.

And about a year ago, a Redditor said that Tulsa Remote “rubs me the wrong way” because it sends a signal that “we don’t like native Oklahomans; we only want coastal elites moving here.”
Allen said the program’s intention is to recruit people who are excited to contribute to and engage with the Tulsa community. “We have a diverse group with members who have relocated from almost all 50 states,” she said.

Putting down roots

Some programs tie their awards to remote workers’ economic contributions to their new homes.
In Harmony, Minnesota, a town of about 1,000 people in the southeastern corner of the state, up to $12,000 is given to those who relocate and build new homes. That money isn’t a reward but rather a “cash rebate” for property taxes to be paid in the next five years. It’s often used to finish the interior of the house or to buy furniture, directly benefiting the local economy, said Chris Giesen, coordinator of the Harmony Economic Development Authority.

The rebate amount is tiered based on the taxable value of the house. If the house is assessed at $255,000 or more, the owner will receive $12,000. If the house is assessed at $125,000, the owner will receive $5,000.
The agency launched the program about seven years ago to spur new home construction. It’s since resulted in 13 units of new housing, and Giesen said that interest has picked up since the pandemic began.

In Curtis, Nebraska, land is the incentive: For the past 17 years, the city and Consolidated Telephone Company, a telecommunications company in the central region of the state, have been giving away residential lots for people who build homes on them within a specified time period. Though the program doesn’t require its beneficiaries to be out-of-state residents, it has attracted urbanites who work remotely, according to city administrator Doug Schultz. Since the pandemic hit, more calls are coming from residents of cities like Detroit, Chicago, Denver and Portland, Oregon.


Selling a lifestyle

While cash and real estate may draw people to new cities, quality of life is what will keep them there for the long-term.

“A program that’s able to foster community and cultivates spaces where people feel seen, they feel heard, they feel supported, is what’s going to make a program really successful,” Allen, of Tulsa Remote, said. “At the end of the day, we all just want that human connection. We want to know that we’re not alone.”
According to the 2020 State of Remote Work report by social media management company Buffer and startup investing platform AngelList, about 20 percent of remote workers said they struggle with loneliness — a problem that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

That’s something that co-living company Common hopes to address. The firm — which now manages around 3,500 residential units across the country and raised $50 million in a Series D funding round in September — saw the shift toward working remotely becoming permanent, rather than a temporary response to the health crisis. It then invited proposals from midsize cities to create new remote work hubs, which would combine a modest level of density and perks with a more affordable cost of living.

“Obviously, remote workers aren’t a monolithic group. Different workers are looking for different things,” said Brad Hargreaves, Common’s CEO. “But we did believe that affordability was the key characteristic in the remote work hubs. One of the reasons why many workers might be leaving a place like San Francisco or New York is because of high housing costs in those cities.”

In addition to affordability, selection criteria included a city’s appeal to remote workers, as well its ability to absorb at least 150 residential units and the degree of support from local communities.
“We didn’t want the remote workers to be a spaceship dropped into some unsuspecting city,” Hargreaves said. “We wanted [the hub] to kind of grow from the fabric of that city itself.”

The company received 28 proposals and, in late January, selected finalists in New Orleans; Bentonville, Arkansas; Rocky Mount, North Carolina; Ogden, Utah; and Rochester, New York. Common will partner with these finalists to work on the design and the marketing of the development.
Outlier Realty Capital, a real estate investment firm based in Bethesda, Maryland, is behind the Utah proposal, which would build hubs with housing, office space and retail on two parcels in downtown Ogden.

Peter Stuart, Outlier’s managing partner, said the firm is hoping to attract a diverse group of residents to its hub. “Young families with kids to singles, young working professionals — we want to be as inclusive and diverse of a community as possible,” he said.
The development includes another parcel in the Powder Mountain ski resort in Eden, about a 30-minute drive from Ogden, in partnership with the resort’s owners. Details have yet to be finalized, but the idea is to allow remote workers based in the urban hub to spend a week or a weekend in the Powder Mountain hub to enjoy outdoor activities, Stuart said.
In North Carolina, meanwhile, the 150-acre Rocky Mount Mills development is poised to grow in partnership with Common. The former cotton mill has already been partially converted into a live-work-play community with about 110 residential units, traditional and flex offices, five restaurants, seven breweries, a coffee shop and outdoor space. The campus remains popular even amid the pandemic, with a waitlist for its residential units.
A new remote work hub would add to the lifestyle options that Rocky Mount can offer, according to Evan Covington Chavez, the complex’s development manager.
“This idea of having a quality of life component is becoming more and more important for companies big and small, and for regions in terms of recruitment,” she said.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

Wall Street A-Listers Fled to Florida. Many Now Eye a Return

The “Upper East Side” cocktail at Sant Ambroeus is just the same as in Manhattan, the carpaccio at Cipriani as meaty red as on Wall Street.
Here is the private-equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, on his way to La Goulue, the clubby French bistro popular with Park Avenue socialites. There is David Solomon, the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. chief, a team of financiers in tow.
The names and the money say New York, but the aquamarine pools, the swaying palms and the sultry Atlantic breezes say something else: Florida, the would-be Wall Street South.
For months now, A-listers and lesser-lights from the world of high finance have been traveling to the Sunshine State while riding out Covid-19. Hopeful locals see evidence that the area’s long-elusive dream of luring Big Finance for good might be coming true at last. Along Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, real estate agents count commissions from a pandemic-induced real estate boom. Private schools fantasize about attracting the Spence set.
The reality is more nuanced -- much more.
Only a small percentage of Manhattanites moved permanently to Florida last year. And as vaccinations stir fresh hope that the pandemic’s end is near, ebullient talk of South Florida drawing Wall Streeters en masse is already beginning to fizzle.
Dan Sundheim, founder of New York-based hedge fund D1 Capital Partners, will very likely leave Palm Beach and return to his Park Avenue home, according to a person familiar with his plans. David Tepper, who moved back to New Jersey from Miami last year, is staying in his home state for now, even though he and wife just bought a $73 million Palm Beach mansion.

“The main problem with moving to Florida is that you have to live in Florida,” said Jason Mudrick, who oversees $3 billion at Mudrick Capital Management and has resided in Manhattan for more than two decades.
“New York has the smartest, most driven people, the best culture, the best restaurants and the best theaters,” he said. “Anyone moving to Florida to save a little money loses out on all of that.”

By late last year, one might have been excused for thinking that Manhattan would soon be bereft of dealmakers, money managers and traders. Elliott Management Corp., Citadel and Point72 Asset Management had all announced plans to open offices in Florida, and Goldman was weighing whether to move some asset-management jobs there.
Doug Cifu, head of market-maker Virtu Financial Inc., said he couldn’t wait for the 6-minute commute in his Corvette when he moves to new offices in Palm Beach Gardens from New Jersey. Scott Shleifer, a top executive at Tiger Global Management, just bought a $132 million house in Palm Beach and plans to establish residency there.
Much of the narrative around these relocations centered on taxes and business-friendly climate. Florida has no state income tax, while New York City’s is among the nation’s highest.
Yet U.S. Postal Service data paints a different picture: Last year, 2,246 people filed a permanent address change from Manhattan to Miami-Dade County and 1,741 went to Palm Beach County. Together they account for 9% of the out-of-state moves from the borough, up from 6% in 2019.
Still, even a small number of departures by the ultra-wealthy can have an outsize impact. The top 1% of New Yorkers earned a combined $133.3 billion in 2018 and accounted for 42.5% of local income taxes collected, according to the city’s Independent Budget Office.

More Manhattanites relocated to Jersey City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Hoboken, New Jersey, than they did to either Miami or Palm Beach. Except for Philadelphia, the other destinations are in some of the highest-taxed states.

While Elliott is moving its headquarters to Florida, founder Paul Singer is staying in the Northeast. New York will remain its biggest office and the firm’s new Greenwich, Connecticut, outpost will also be larger than the Florida hub, according to a person familiar with the plans.
The main drivers for people to stay in New York are access to top private schools and a bigger pool of young professionals to fill jobs, according to interviews with several hedge fund executives.
That’s similar to what AllianceBernstein Holding LP found when it decided to move its headquarters to Nashville from Manhattan in 2018. While more than 1,000 jobs at the $688 billion money manager are transferring out of the city, high-profile positions like private wealth and portfolio management stayed, a reflection of where the firm’s clients were.
Many executives resisted relocating themselves, according to one senior manager. Older employees who left Manhattan for Music City complained about uprooting their families, and finding high-quality talent proved much harder in Nashville, the person said.
A representative for the firm said AllianceBernstein is “pleased with our senior leadership located in Nashville” and lauded “the great local talent we have recruited.”
One hedge fund founder who spent the past six months in Miami is still deciding whether he’ll stay. The forces pulling him back are New York’s dynamism and his children’s school, which he likes better than the one they’re attending now. Either way, he’ll keep his New York office -- because many of his employees with kids don’t want to leave -- as well as his place in the Hamptons, because no one wants to be in South Florida in the summer.
Parents leaning toward staying in Florida are finding that many of the private schools are at or near capacity. Fanning Hearon, the head of Palm Beach Day Academy, said enrollment rose 22% to 480 students in the past 18 months, and some classes already have waiting lists. Other schools in the area report that they, too, have little room for more. Meanwhile, New York’s elite private schools said they’ve seen enrollment jump and few students leaving for Florida.

‘Roaring Twenties’​

Cristobal Young, a sociology professor at Cornell University and author of “The Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight: How Place Still Matters for the Rich,” predicts that relocation will remain minimal because wealthy people generally stay put.
“They live where they became successful, where they have industry connections, employees and customers, and where they sit on nonprofit boards,” he said. Young, who has studied the effects of tax increases in California and New Jersey, said they barely caused an uptick in interstate migration, which stands at about 2.4% a year among U.S.-based millionaires.
Then there is the lure of New York as everything starts to reopen.
“It will be like the Roaring Twenties -- you’ll see a resurgence here like never before,” said Mudrick, who predicts some of his friends who moved to Miami will soon be back. “You want to be buying New York and selling Florida -- that’s the contrarian in me.”

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
More urban areas lost population in 2020

New census data show steep drops in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago​

Americans made some major moves in 2020, draining the population of key cities.
Urban counties saw the greatest impact of pandemic-year migration, according to an analysis of census data by the New York Times. Urban populations had also fallen in 2019 after seeing growth slow since 2012, largely from a lack of housing, but last year accelerated that trend.
New York, Los Angeles and Chicago were among the 10 cities with the steepest losses.

Of the 110 metro areas with at least half a million people, 29 saw losses in 2020. In 2019, that number was 26.
And five lost people despite growing just a year prior: Worcester, Massachusetts; Poughkeepsie, New York; Baltimore; New Orleans; and Lansing, Michigan.

A lack of international migration contributed to the declines. Prior to Donald Trump’s presidency, incoming foreigners contributed substantially to urban growth, but their numbers have been dropping since 2017.

The data mirror U.S. Postal Service numbers, which indicate that nearly 16 million people moved between February and July 2020, an increase of 4 percent from the previous year. The data also spiked in March and April, suggesting that the pandemic led to some decisions to move.
However, other data indicates that trends may be reversing as the pandemic eases. Cellphone tracking firm Unacast found that New York City gained 1,900 people in the first two months of 2021, compared to a loss of 7,100 in 2019, Reuters reported.

Noah Rosenblatt

Talking Manhattan on
Staff member
not surprising. I expect a lot more of these types of headlines, but its rear view mirror stuff. Looking ahead is painting a different story. I also expect the insolvencies and all the bad #s to show the trough of pain we just went through as the year goes on, even as the realtime markets in streets today do their thing.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Recently Vornado Realty Trust CEO Steve Roth told The Real Deal:
"“The backbone of New York is not the 20 or 30 hedge fund billionaires who are going to Florida or wherever,” Roth said. “The backbone of New York is the three or five hundred thousand $1 million-earning management people in their prime, in their 40s, who are raising families, who are not the heads of their businesses, and whose jobs and futures depend on their being in New York where they can do three times better than they can do anywhere else.”

The problem is he's off by an order of magnitude. It appears just over 50,000 in all of New York State pull in that number:

But I think it provides some insight into some of the development decisions which are being made in NYC and how they may not be appropriate for the long term progress of this city.

Noah Rosenblatt

Talking Manhattan on
Staff member
Recently Vornado Realty Trust CEO Steve Roth told The Real Deal:
"“The backbone of New York is not the 20 or 30 hedge fund billionaires who are going to Florida or wherever,” Roth said. “The backbone of New York is the three or five hundred thousand $1 million-earning management people in their prime, in their 40s, who are raising families, who are not the heads of their businesses, and whose jobs and futures depend on their being in New York where they can do three times better than they can do anywhere else.”

The problem is he's off by an order of magnitude. It appears just over 50,000 in all of New York State pull in that number:

But I think it provides some insight into some of the development decisions which are being made in NYC and how they may not be appropriate for the long term progress of this city.
near term Im a bit worried about policy decisions here. John was talking about a schools related issue that could be a bad move if it plays out. Need him to explain more. In regards to being out of touch, just a bit lol. Did you see the mayoral candidates the other day when asked how much an avg BK home costs? Answer: about $100,000

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Afternoons Are the New Rush Hour in the Suburbs
While working from home, people hop out to run errands, pick up the kids and make roads busier than they were before Covid-19

When Marjorie Crosbie drove to pick up her daughter from an after-school program on a recent afternoon, the 10-mile round trip from her home in a suburb of Tampa, Fla., took 45 minutes—twice as long as it used to.

Such slogs have become a familiar headache at this stage of the pandemic, said Ms. Crosbie, 50 years old, a senior finance manager at PwC. Like many of her neighbors in Odessa, she still works from home full time, making it easy to pop out for errands.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to scramble driving patterns throughout the U.S. Morning traffic is below pre-pandemic levels in most places, as many people continue to work from home. Afternoon traffic, however, has come roaring back—and now is heavier in many places than it was before Covid-19, according to transportation analytics company Inrix.

Marjorie Crosbie, who has been working from home full time during the pandemic, battles traffic on her afternoon trip to pick up her daughter.
Marjorie Crosbie, who has been working from home full time during the pandemic, battles traffic on her afternoon trip to pick up her daughter.

In more than 40 of the 100 biggest U.S. metros, roads are more congested on weekday afternoons than they were pre-pandemic, likely due to an uptick in shopping and leisure-type trips, as well as deliveries. The company compared car counts from the first half of April with those in January and February 2020, and then adjusted for seasonal variations.

In the Tampa region, afternoon vehicle trips are 105% of pre-pandemic levels, the highest rate increase among metro areas with at least three million residents, according to Inrix. Areas dense with office buildings remain well below the pre-pandemic norm, while trip counts are higher in beach communities and across a suburban swath.

Have you seen any significant changes to the traffic in your neighborhood? Join the conversation below.

“People are working from home, so the suburbs have tremendous traffic,” said Tim Rivers, Florida market director for commercial real-estate firm JLL. “They’re going out for a morning coffee at Starbucks to take their Teams or Zoom call, or going for a workout midday.”

Afternoon traffic has bounced back faster in metros that reopened earlier and eased Covid-19 restrictions more quickly, the Inrix data show. The biggest trip count-jumps have been mostly in the Southeast, with seven of the top 10 in Florida, including Fort Myers and Sarasota. The bottom is dominated by metros such as San Francisco, New York and Detroit, where afternoon weekday trips are still below 80% of pre-pandemic levels.

“As other states did more of a lockdown and more long-term restrictions on restaurants and indoor events, people flocked to Florida,” said Whit Blanton, executive director of Forward Pinellas, a land-use and transportation planning agency in Pinellas County, which is part of metro Tampa.

Jeff Gabriel, 39, vice president of strategy at 23 Restaurant Services, said he is surprised by the gridlock in his Apollo Beach neighborhood south of Tampa on the days he works from home or is driving around for his job.

“I have been stuck in traffic within 2 or 3 miles of my house,” he said. On the other hand, highways remain less congested than before the pandemic. He says his commute to and from his downtown Tampa office usually takes 30 to 40 minutes, whereas an hour used to be common. In the morning, he reliably snags a first-level spot in the garage near his office.

Vehicle trips in the heart of downtown Tampa are three-quarters of their pre-pandemic level, according to Inrix. About a third of the 60,000 workers are back in city center offices, said Lynda Remund, president and chief executive officer of the advocacy group Tampa Downtown Partnership.

Jeff Gabriel, who works in downtown Tampa, said he has noticed highway traffic is less intense than it used to be during his morning and evening commute, but local traffic can be bad.

The Tampa region’s sharpest trip-count increases have come in beach communities such as Clearwater Beach, where they have more than doubled. Out-of-staters and Floridians alike have descended on beaches, some working remotely from beach-front rentals, according to transportation planners and chamber of commerce officials. The influx is pushing up hotel rates, filling restaurants—and clogging roads.

Driving across the bridge to Clearwater Beach from the mainland at times can take 90 minutes, said Amanda Payne, president and CEO of Amplify Clearwater, a chamber of commerce.

“It seems like it’s busier in the evening trying to get to the beach,” she said. “You kind of time your trip across that bridge in the not-so-busy times. It is very crowded. Parking is a challenge. There are vehicles everywhere.”

For locals, there is one surefire way to beat the congestion. “We have a boat,” she said. “If you’re on the water, trust me, the traffic is not that bad.”

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Real-estate developers and websites are offering short-term rentals with no strings attached, so renters can test-drive new homes and new cities.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
In Greenwich, luxury rentals might be hotter than sales
Market known for mansions sees strong demand for apartments

A few years back, Greenwich developer Steven Schacter ventured a bet that within one of the country’s most expensive real estate markets lay a dormant demand for luxury rentals.

Residents in the affluent Connecticut town skew older — nearly a quarter are seniors — and Schacter figured some empty nesters wanted more manageable digs. He and partner Eric Schwartz developed The Mill — two high-end apartment buildings equipped with concierge service at the town’s western edge.

Move-ins begin Aug. 15. But even before units were listed on Zillow, 600 prospective tenants had sent inquiries. As of June 1, The Mill had taken deposits for 60 percent of its 59 units, which range from $2,750 studios to an $11,000 three-bedroom.

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Long-distance movers found cheaper and larger homes in 2020
Biggest increase in relocations was from suburbs to rural areas, report finds

Long-distance movers got more bang for their buck in 2020.

The average out-of-town mover last year relocated to areas where homes cost less and had more space, on average, according to a Zillow report.

If the pattern continues, it would help smooth over the extremes in the U.S. housing market.

“Over the longer term, this trend could contribute to an evening out in home prices across the nation,” wrote Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow, in the report. “It may also spread out some of the spending and wealth accumulation which had been increasingly concentrated in ‘superstar cities’ over the last few years.”


David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
New Jersey’s office market hits wall in third quarter

Leasing volume 1.3 million square feet, less than half of Q2​

The Garden State’s office market has hit a snag.
New Jersey’s office leasing volume from July to September was 1.3 million square feet, less than half of the second quarter’s volume of 3 million square feet, according to Avison Young’s quarterly market report.

(The Real Deal had reported on July 6 that second-quarter leasing volume tracked by Avison Young was only 2.1 million square feet. The updated number is higher, probably because some leases signed during the quarter were recorded after the story’s publication.)
The drop in the third quarter may partly be attributed to the spread of the delta variant, which caused “companies to pause the assessment of their real estate requirements and extend remote work options for employees,” said Jeffrey Heller, principal and managing director of Avison Young’s New Jersey office.

A decline in the Garden State’s number of office-using jobs by 4.1 percent in the pandemic — which is more than the 2008 global financial crisis’ reduction of 3.3 percent — didn’t help either.
The state’s less-than-expected leasing activity is a stark contrast to Manhattan’s office leasing volume, which rose by nearly 60 percent from the second quarter.
New Jersey’s office availability rate in the third quarter reached 19.1 percent — its highest since 2015 — driven by 9.2 million square feet of sublease inventory. Net absorption for the quarter was negative 0.2 percent, according to the report.
The third quarter’s major leases included Cigna’s 197,000-square-foot deal at the former Honeywell headquarters in Morris Plains at 115 Tabor Road. The health care and insurance company is moving its 2,100 employees from its Franklin Lakes location. Fiserv also leased 430,000 square feet at 100 Connell Drive in Berkeley Heights, consolidating its Parsippany and Jersey City offices.

Despite record-low leasing activities, the decline in base rents has been limited to 3.1 percent since the pandemic took hold of the market in the second quarter of 2020. Instead of reducing base rents, landlords looking to be competitive resorted to beefing up concessions. Tenant improvement allowances increased by 10.5 percent year to date, according to the report.
Unlike the stagnated leasing market, office investment sales remained active in the third quarter.
Major deals included the Birch Group’s $380 million acquisition of a 1.2 million-square-foot waterfront office building at 101 Hudson Street in Jersey City from Mack-Cali Realty. Additionally, Healthpeak Properties snatched a medical complex at 435,465 and 475 South Street in Morris County from the Chicago-based Harrison Street Real Estate Capital for $147 million, according to public records. Harrison Street bought the office buildings mostly occupied by Atlantic Health System for about $138 million in 2018.