Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Power and the Real Estate

New York City is supposedly five boroughs but let's be real: for most of its history, it's really been one main borough (Manhattan) with four satellite provincial boroughs surrounding it (Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island). 

The economic, cultural and political power was firmly rooted in Manhattan with the other boroughs simply being where most New Yorkers actually lived. But this has been changing with Brooklyn stealing its crown: the mayor is now from Brooklyn, the Barclays Center and new studio space is making it an economic engine, and shows like "Girls" are making it the hip center of the city.

But, when it comes to real estate, Manhattan still rules. In 2013, the average sales prices rose 5.3% to an astonishing $1.538 million. That means that more than half the apartments in Manhattan cost more than $1.5 million which is mind-boggling. 

And mere millionaires no longer interest some real estate brokers. These today many of them only want to represent people who are worth $100 million-plus, mainly billionaires. They are the ones buying penthouses and townhouses, called "urban castles" these days. 

We really are living in a New Gilded Age.

And it shows that, as much as the city is changing, wealthy people still very much want to live in Manhattan and are willing to pay top dollar for the privilege. Colorful, hipster neighborhoods like Park Slope and Astoria and St. George may be in hot demand for the young, the cool, and artsy but Manhattan still appeals to the all-powerful one-percent. 

Plus ca change ...

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