Manhattan: a city of empty luxury condos and overflowing homeless shelters

Originally published at:


Some cities have fines for retail space that remains empty for more than 6 months. Has any place tried that with housing? I.e. if there’s no one residing in the home for more than 1/2 the year, an additional 5% property tax is assessed. Onus on the owner to prove residency is met, just as for other tax purposes.


Vancouver did something like this, increased tax rates for empty housing. It ended up with a lot of students getting pretty luxe housing in those ghastly mcmansions, as placeholders for absentee investor type landlords. Not entirely a bad thing!


Real estate prices are sticky - but eventually that glue will fail.


These oligarch urban speculative wonderlands, now failing bubbles, were brought to you by people who openly proclaim that they are the smartest people in any room. The problem with these narcissists is that their psychopathology has enabled them to acquire, legally, illegally, and extra-legally enough of the digitally printed currency to smother political systems with their distorted worldviews.

We all get to suffer per their whim.


It’s a hell of a town.

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i smell a setup for a judd apatow movie


I have read more than a little speculation that many of the luxury high rise apartments are simply money laundering.


And, of course, there has been the major worldwide crackdown on money laundering and offshore “havens”. :rofl: :stuck_out_tongue: :money_mouth_face: :shushing_face:

  1. ) 300 a day… 109000 a year… From a population of over 8 million. How many come in?
  2. ) There is a trope going around in northern California that there are over 300000 vacant units in San Francisco. When that was investigated, what was found was there were 300000 in the area between south San Jose and north of Sacramento. The misstatement is so gross it’s difficult to call it an error.
  3. ) Given point 2 above, how does anyone verifiablely KNOW the number of vacant units not to mention quote it?
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Wow! 100,000 people gone per year means that if the rate holds there will be a million people gone by the start of next decade, and the city completely deserted in only 80 years!
Sounds serious enough to me…

It’s not serious and that’s the entire point.

What does the word “overpriced” mean in the context of macro economic theory? Because I’m having trouble wrapping my head around when a market is “overpriced” or not.

Honolulu HI should be added to this analysis.


The 300 a day is a net figure for the MSA, but only for migration not including births. And yes any net loss matters. A lot of urban finances require growth comparable to the interest on the loans. Once you dip below that figure you have some period of time where everything appears okay, followed by a rapid spiral as you have to cut services to meet finances and that has a nasty tendency to accelerate the problem. The Cleveland metro lost less than 1% per year at its worst and it resulted in incredible devastation. Detroit’s loss was proportionately smaller and is a synonym for urban devastation. I think the numbers aren’t yet critical, but they signal issues that need to be addressed in a timely manner before stepping onto a treadmill that is hard to get off.


Frankfurt has something like that to prevent that (it still happens, our real estate market, while not as bad as London, New York or SF, is going to shit). You can report apartments that are empty to the city. There have been stories of landlords why try to make the apartments they keep empty for speculative reasons lived in with curtains on the windows and timeswitches that turn the lights on and off. Its ridiculous.


CD’s last paragraph nailed it so well. Reminded me of Nathan Robinson on the Hear the Bern podcast; at the very end he describes seeing homeless people beside the piles of trash outside empty luxury flats, and society treating these human beings like garbage. If it doesn’t make you outraged and angry, then there is something wrong with you. Like Robinson says, if you want to know why I’m a socialist, it starts with that anger and dissatisfaction.


Once Trump tower goes into foreclosure, they can make that a homeless shelter. I’m sure the homeless won’t mind all the tackiness.


Seems like an opportunity for squatters to me.