June 1, 2017
The Bridge quoted me in Why Dorms for Grownups Are a New Way of Life. It opens,
If you think applying to Stanford or MIT is a long shot, consider the odds of landing a spot in a Brooklyn co-living residence. Common, the company now operating six co-living facilities in the borough, recently received more than 15,000 applications for about 300 available rooms in three of the cities it serves: New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Why the demand? Co-living, essentially the residential version of the co-working trend, offers dorm-like, amenity-filled living that’s particularly attractive to millennials. The apartments come pre-stocked with furniture, appliances, fast WiFi, and lots of prospective friends.
John Bogil, 24, has shared a giant living room, kitchen, basement, and backyard with nine other people since moving into a Crown Heights facility called Common Albany a year ago. Although it sounds crowded, Bogil enjoys the company. “It’s awesome. I’ve made friends for life,” Bogil said. Common, launched in 2015, is Manhattan-based but has found fertile ground in Brooklyn. The growing portfolio in the borough includes the newly built Common Baltic in Boerum Hill, which offers co-living spaces as well as traditional apartments. The rent varies by neighborhood, with spaces in Crown Heights starting at $1,475 and Boerum Hill spots going for $2,143 and up.
Tenants have their own private bedrooms, many with private baths, but share the living room and kitchen as well as amenity spaces including lounges, fitness rooms, roof decks, dining rooms and work spaces. Convenience is a major selling point: the suites in a Common building come fully furnished with beds, dressers, couches, tables and chairs, a TV, towels and sheets, and a weekly cleaning service. Many of the issues that traditional roommates wind up fighting about have been taken off the table, like Real World with less drama.
Common was launched by Brad Hargreaves, who earlier had co-founded General Assembly, now a global educational company with campuses in 15 cities. Like many entrepreneurs, Hargreaves was looking to solve a problem. When the Yale grad first moved to New York City, he looked for an available room in an apartment on Craigslist and found the process cumbersome. “Common offers an alternative to this,” he said. “We make living with roommates better, more convenient, and more efficient.”
With young people increasingly crowding certain urban areas, the idea of a starter apartment is changing. While rents in Brooklyn have eased lately, thanks in part to new construction, the median rent is a daunting $2,785. With rents like those, some 76% of people 21 to 34 years old say they’ve made compromises to find a place to live, including living with roommates, according to the NHP Foundation, a group advocating affordable housing.
“Co-living has proven to be more than a passing trend,” said Hargreaves. “The response to opening our first home in Brooklyn was so strong that we were able to rapidly expand in the borough as well as into San Francisco and Washington, D.C. We now have nine homes on two coasts and are actively looking at new homes and new cities.” Common chooses its spots carefully, aiming to balance affordability and urban amenities. “We look to open in neighborhoods where there’s access to public transit and great local retail for our members to explore and enjoy,” said Hargreaves.
Common has the financial fuel to grow much more. The company has raised more than $23 million in two rounds of financing from 15 investors. The budding co-living industry now has multiple competitors as well, including WeLive, HubHaus, Node, and Krash. In Long Island City, a co-living company called Ollie plans to operate what it calls the largest co-living facility in North America, occupying 13 of the 42 floors in a new skyscraper.
While much of the allure of co-living is practical, many residents appreciate having the company, which in a cosmopolitan place like Brooklyn creates diverse collections of roommates. “I really appreciate the exposure to different peoples, ideas and cultures,” said Bogil. “I’ve learned so much about Australian politics and South African sports, for example, which might sound like useless info on the surface, but it helps me to learn about the world in a way that I never would normally. It makes the world feel smaller.” More than 70% of Common members are on 12-month leases but most stay longer than a year.
While typical co-living residents are in their 20s, the format could work for older adults as well, once the format goes mainstream. “There is growing interest in more communal types of living environments of the type offered by Common,” said David Reiss, an attorney and professor of real estate at Brooklyn Law School. “Co-living appeals to different people and our membership is diverse,” Hargreaves said. “We have young professionals, married couples, those moving to New York City for their first job, those moving from abroad, and ranging in their early 20s into their 30s and 40s.”
- Wells Fargo has experienced another setback in their attempt to recover in the wake of their “fake account scandal.” On Wednesday, May 31, 2017, New York City’s mayor and comptroller announced an end to the city’s business relationship with Wells Fargo. New York City is one of many cities severing ties with the bank due to the company’s actions regarding the Community Reinvestment Act.
- The Community Investment Trust (CIT) pilot program originated to give low-income residents in Portland an opportunity to invest in real estate. The program allows individuals to purchase shares of “income-producing real estate.” Residents will build wealth by receiving dividends based on their number of shares; thereby, increasing their overall socioeconomic status.
- Mortgage Debt and the Social Function of Contract, Domurath
- The Consumer Spending Response to Mortgage Resets: Microdata on Monetary Policy, Bhagat, Farrell, and Narasiman
- Screening as a Unified Theory of Delinquency, Renegotiation, and Bankruptcy, Kovrijnykh and Livshits
- An Equilibium Model of Housing and Mortgage Markets with State-Contingent Lending Contracts, Piskorski and Tchistyi
- Consolidated Tomoka- A Real Estate Holding Company, Simko
May 30, 2017
The Washington Post along with its content partner National Association of Realtors quoted me in Eye on the Future. It reads, in part,
The suburbs as we know them are in flux. Many of the country’s bedroom communities have traditionally been known for their single-family homes and a lack of walkable public spaces. That’s changing as condos, sprawling townhome complexes and apartment buildings now dot areas where single-family homes would have been built. Developers are building walkable public spaces to accommodate young families leaving cities but still seeking urban-like amenities.
Another wave of change is expected in the next five to 10 years. That’s when members of Generation Z-those born on the heels of millennials-will become homeowners. Experts say they’ll transform areas that are sandwiched between major cities and suburbs into districts with an urban feel and amenities, without the hefty price tags major metros demand.
That transformation is already starting to happen. “Many of our ‘suburbs’ are actually neighborhoods in Los Angeles, particularly the San Fernando Valley,” said Kathryn Bishop, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty in Studio City, Calif. and member of the National Association of Realtors. “In the Valley, many neighborhoods have become mini ‘cores.’ Sherman Oaks, Encino and Woodland Hills have office towers, good restaurants and night-life business creating their own city areas.”
It’s no surprise that the younger generation needs to find an alternative to the sky-high costs of urban living. The Economic Policy Institute noted in 2016 that folks who live in San Francisco face a cost of living that’s 52.9 percent above the national average. For New Yorkers, living costs were 49.4 percent higher. The country’s least-affordable place to live was Washington D.C., where residents faced costs 63.5 percent higher than the national average.
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“Since the financial crisis there has been an increase in multigenerational households, driven in large part by financial limitations and insecurity as well as by marital status and educational attainment,” said David Reiss, professor of law and research director at he Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn Law School. “Young adults are more likely to live at their parent’s home in recent years than they have been for more than a century.”
- Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri, gave the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act another try by reintroducing the bill into Congress. Luetkemeyer believes the bill will balance and protect the financial industry from “organized bureaucratic intimidation.” The proposed bill specifically limits the authority of federal banking agencies termination rights. The bill goes further to clarify the definition of material reason when deciding if a customer poses a security threat.
- Some are calling Trump’s proposed 2018 budget “unacceptable and unconscionable.” The proposed budget decreases spending by 4.6 trillion over ten years. The bulk of the savings plans stem from cutting funding to many of the programs most low and middle class Americans rely on each day such as federal pensions and social security disability insurance. Members of Trumps budget team believe, “This is, I think the first time in a long time that an administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people who are actually paying the taxes.“
May 29, 2017
To commemorate Memorial Day, a poem about the death of a soldier:
by Thomas Hardy
Uncoffined — just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest
That breaks the veldt around:
And foreign constellations west
Each night above his mound.
The meaning of the broad Karoo,
The Bush, the dusty loam,
And why uprose to nightly view
Strange stars amid the gloam.
Will Hodge for ever be;
His homely Northern breast and brain
Grow up some Southern tree,
And strange-eyed constellations reign
His stars eternally.