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  #101  
Old 01-06-2018, 03:21 AM
Max the Immortal Max the Immortal is offline
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Originally Posted by Jacquernagy View Post
I think aristocratization is actually far more harmful in the long term than gentrification.
If we're linking Onion articles, this one has been on my mind for the whole thread.
  #102  
Old 01-06-2018, 03:29 AM
anomalous1 anomalous1 is offline
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Typical scenarios

Gentrification doesn't happen - > people ask for money because the city neglects them because of some widespread conspiracy of racism

Gentrification does happen - > people ask for money to stay in their homes because the city is neglecting their community due to racism

Mixed Housing Happens - > people say its destroying their community and it is racism trying to squeeze them out slowly or not helping enough

Mixed Housing doesn't happen - > people say that their city is not giving them a chance and won't help them, also due to racism

Everybody should be able to keep their homes and communities, but if they value them so much, then stop letting them become total shitboxes and take care of it, participate in neighborhood action, use city services, better yourself, cut your lawn, fix your windows, wash the outside of your homes, report gang activity anonymously. Simple steps. All free or nearly free to do these things! If everyone works together, if everyone kept their houses nice and clean and picked up after themselves and CARED about their community by reporting crimes, gentrification would not take place there. It is not a problem with gentrification, it is a problem within that community that needs to be solved and the best solutions can also be found there. Charity begins at home.

I speak of this as someone who has been through a cycle of gentrification. I've seen it happen when I was a little kid and to this day. Gentrification makes usually neighborhoods safer and friendly, there is absolutely no way to argue otherwise.
  #103  
Old 01-06-2018, 07:59 AM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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Gentrification is bad because it brings the stress and trauma of a forced relocation onto people for whom such stress and trauma can have the most egregious negative effects.

I think the best solution has to involve having the public bear some proportion of the cost of such relocations.
That is a terrible idea. The public would bear the responsibility of paying the negative effects from the rich profiting from gentrification. It's the most "lemon-socialist" idea I can imagine, where the profits are privatized and the risks are socialized.

The only thing you would accomplish with this type of policy is to raise property prices even further by essentially incentivizing gentrification.
  #104  
Old 01-06-2018, 08:09 AM
Mithras Mithras is offline
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The amount of rent a section 8 voucher will pay is dependent on the county it is used in. As rent rises in a neighborhood but stays relatively unchanged in the rest of the county, people in the neighborhood on section 8 tend to get pushed out as their voucher will not cover the more expensive rent.

In an effort to combat this, HUD (under Obama) changed the policy so that the voucher value would be determined by the zip code it is used in. By shrinking the area, rent increases would be more likely to affect how much a voucher is worth and make it easier for people on section 8 to stay in neighborhoods that gentrify/revitalize.

The policy was to go into effect this year. Trump has suspended it.
  #105  
Old 01-06-2018, 08:38 AM
Frylock Frylock is offline
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That is a terrible idea. The public would bear the responsibility of paying the negative effects from the rich profiting from gentrification. It's the most "lemon-socialist" idea I can imagine, where the profits are privatized and the risks are socialized.

The only thing you would accomplish with this type of policy is to raise property prices even further by essentially incentivizing gentrification.
That's fine, I'm sympathetic with what you're saying, but what's your proposal? (My proposal is, indeed, one of those kind of hopeless sad economic ideas premised on the idea that rich people are going to do what they do and we have to kind of just pool together to ameliorate the effects.)
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Last edited by Frylock; 01-06-2018 at 08:39 AM.
  #106  
Old 01-06-2018, 08:50 AM
Mithras Mithras is offline
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The amount of rent a section 8 voucher will pay is dependent on the county it is used in. As rent rises in a neighborhood but stays relatively unchanged in the rest of the county, people in the neighborhood on section 8 tend to get pushed out as their voucher will not cover the more expensive rent.

In an effort to combat this, HUD (under Obama) changed the policy so that the voucher value would be determined by the zip code it is used in. By shrinking the area, rent increases would be more likely to affect how much a voucher is worth and make it easier for people on section 8 to stay in neighborhoods that gentrify/revitalize.

The policy was to go into effect this year. Trump has suspended it.
I missed that HUD lost a suit a few weeks ago and so have to actually implement the new rules:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...to-this-judge/
  #107  
Old 01-06-2018, 09:17 AM
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....
I think the best solution has to involve having the public bear some proportion of the cost of such relocations.
Hmmm, I wonder if there would be negative press if city governments helped pay to move, say, poor black families out of a neighborhood so, say, rich white families could move in. I'm sure it would all go according to plan.
  #108  
Old 01-06-2018, 09:23 AM
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I'm pretty sure there's a middle being excluded between "a neighborhood staying in decay" and "WASPs move in and run out all the poor people." I'm not sure if it's a middle that can be forcibly implemented in regions where landlords smell potential profit, but I'm pretty sure such a middle theoretically exists.
That middle happens when communities gentrify. It's not like rich, white people move into the shittiest neighborhoods. You have a shitty neighborhood and starving artists start moving in there because they can't afford anywhere else (also, I think gay people used to start the gentrification process, but I'm not sure if that's still true or ever was). With the artist community, you start to see some interesting coffee shops, bars, and other fun places. Higher placed artists and other creative types start to move in, making it more interesting still. Only then do you start to see gentrification start in earnest.

So, you go through your excluded middle on the way from decaying neighborhood to WASP takeover.
  #109  
Old 01-06-2018, 09:25 AM
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Gentrification isn't simply bad, or simply good, it's a complicated process that can have major negative and positive impacts, depending on area, size, surrounding neighbourhoods, employment possibilities...

The negatives do tend to disproportionately affect the people least able to deal, especially those in unstable housing, whereas the positives work for those who were already doing well.

Anecdote time: a suburb of the city I used to live in. It's in the UK, so development rules are different. 10 years ago this suburb was filled with derelict shops, smashed in windows used as squats by junkies. The only things doing well were the 'massage parlours' and booze shops. Then artists and creatives started moving in, because the housing was pretty cheap (some in what's basically the 'grey housing market', squatting in office buildings with permission of the owner). The place started to get cleaned up, the largest empty building got rented by a community group, and turned into a music venue, with cheap dance and art studios. A few buildings got converted to flats, a bit higher priced than the old ones, but not drastically so. The odd resident complained about the loss of character, but almost everyone was happy about the reduced crime, and considered the changes to be overwhelmingly positive. Even most of the street guys were OK with it, the squats got mostly cleared, but the begging opportunities improved, and with more attention drawn to the area, the homeless facilities did too.

Problem is, it was too successful. In recent years, the area starting attracting investor attention; prices have sky rocketed and buildings have been largely bought up by developers, hoping for permission to turn them into more flats when the housing market gets even more strained. Shops are closing again, because the rent's too high to be viable. The flagship venue/community project, who only rented the building, are fighting closure, because the property is now in a prime location and the owner wants to sell. The house prices are so high that it appears to make sense for investors to buy shops and offices (which are drastically lower priced), kick out the tenants (so they can argue the property is unused), then try to get permits to change the building use to residential.

The early gentrification effects were great, turning a dodgy area into an interesting vibrant and involved community, but now? Prices are crazy, everything that made the area desirable is starting to go, and the empty buildings are on the increase again. I don't think anyone's benefiting. Maybe some investors, but most of them seem to be just holding out for the payout right now.

If it was simply 'more well off people moving in', there wouldn't be so much of a problem, but it can get way more complicated than that.
  #110  
Old 01-06-2018, 09:38 AM
doreen doreen is offline
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How can you stop gentrification? As far as I can tell, it mostly happens when some group realizes that houses/rent in Neighborhood A are less expensive than those in more desirable Neighborhood B. So they buy/rent in Neighborhood A even though they aren't part of the same demographic group that is living there already ( maybe there's a racial difference, or they are wealthier, or more educated or more artsy - all sorts of differences are possible.) Once there's a critical mass of the new group, businesses start catering to them, and you end up with stores selling $4 lattes rather than a $1 coffee in a cup that says "We are happy to serve you" in some sort of fake Greek font.

I can totally understand why the existing community doesn't want to be priced out of the neighborhood- but what right does my neighbor have to demand that I sell my house for tens (or hundreds) of thousands less than I could get to keep the neighborhood affordable? Or that I should accept hundreds of dollars less in rent than I could get when the non-stabilized second apartment in my two-family house is vacant? Especially when I've seen the very same people who cry "The neighborhood is getting too expensive , my kids can't afford to stay here" sell their houses for the same high prices when they retire and decide to move. And that's usually where it starts - not with developers putting up huge buildings with luxury apartments/condos , but with rents in non-regulated apartments in small buildings going up and then the prices for 1-4 family buildings go up. The developers and their luxury apartments come later.
  #111  
Old 01-06-2018, 09:45 AM
Frylock Frylock is offline
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Hmmm, I wonder if there would be negative press if city governments helped pay to move, say, poor black families out of a neighborhood so, say, rich white families could move in. I'm sure it would all go according to plan.
Depends on the framing--if it's a program available to all renters who are evicted due to sale of the home they're in, such criticisms will not hit as hard.

Aside from framing, if the money for the program is paid for by an increase on taxes in home sales, that might also help with perceptions.
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Last edited by Frylock; 01-06-2018 at 09:46 AM.
  #112  
Old 01-06-2018, 09:58 AM
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Depends on the framing--if it's a program available to all renters who are evicted due to sale of the home they're in, such criticisms will not hit as hard.

Aside from framing, if the money for the program is paid for by an increase on taxes in home sales, that might also help with perceptions.
I think it wouldn't take much for people to figure out that you're paying black families to move out so white families can move in (or, poor families...rich families, etc.).

Anyway, I want to say that I actually really like this thread. Gentrification is a tricky problem, but there's really not much that can be done to prevent it. Economically, it makes total sense, but there are cultural side effects that can be troubling. And I'm gratified that all the lefties and righties on this board generally agree -- it's so unusual for that to happen (other than anti-vax and CT threads). So, thank you, OP, for bringing this board together!
  #113  
Old 01-06-2018, 10:30 AM
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I think it wouldn't take much for people to figure out that you're paying black families to move out so white families can move in (or, poor families...rich families, etc.).
I agree, and I don't think that the people who complain about the evils of 'white flight' and 'gentrification' would hesitate to criticize 'black eviction', so this doesn't seem like it actually solves the problem.
  #114  
Old 01-06-2018, 11:49 AM
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It makes areas more safe, more stable, and it provides a stronger tax base for schools.

All good things.

Think of the children.
  #115  
Old 01-06-2018, 02:58 PM
Saintly Loser Saintly Loser is offline
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It makes areas more safe, more stable, and it provides a stronger tax base for schools.

All good things.

Think of the children.
In NYC? The tax base for all schools is the whole city, so it doesn't make any difference. And even if it did, the poorer families are getting pushed out, so they don't benefit.

Safer? Certainly. A more affluent constituency will always get better services from the city.

More stable? Not if you're the poor schmuck who's rent just became unaffordable.

Stability, safety and better schools are indeed good things. But they are not equally distributed.

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  #116  
Old 01-06-2018, 03:10 PM
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This isnít an argument against gentrification; itís a case for developing mixed income housing such that low income residents have options beyond being pushed into a slum. Mixed income and mixed use housing which encourages local economic development and use of public transit is basically the planform for most urban revitalization efforts, but there has to be enough improvement to justify the investment over some moderate term.
And places where that has long been the standard also get gentrified, both by updating existing buildings and by tearing them down to build a new one in its place (usually, taller than the old one). See: any Spanish town over 10K inhabitants.
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  #117  
Old 01-06-2018, 11:35 PM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is offline
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Hmmm, I wonder if there would be negative press if city governments helped pay to move, say, poor black families out of a neighborhood so, say, rich white families could move in. I'm sure it would all go according to plan.
You could give each family a voucher that are torn off the bottom of a letterhead and given to the moving company, right there on the curb. They show up, you tear it off, all expenses are paid. Families would take that offer so fast, the road out of the neighborhood would be filled with the sound or ripping paper, like one big trail of tears.

Last edited by Chessic Sense; 01-06-2018 at 11:36 PM.
  #118  
Old 01-07-2018, 01:04 AM
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I think it wouldn't take much for people to figure out that you're paying black families to move out so white families can move in (or, poor families...rich families, etc.).
I mean of course many people will reframe it as you have. And others will not. Thus is political discourse...

Certain framings would have the virtue, as opposed to yours, of actually being true. For example framing it as "requiring landowners to pay the cost of finding new housing when they evict tenants."

(Yours isn't true because the black families aren't being paid to move out, they're being paid after having already been forced to move out.)
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  #119  
Old 01-07-2018, 08:13 AM
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You could give each family a voucher that are torn off the bottom of a letterhead and given to the moving company, right there on the curb. They show up, you tear it off, all expenses are paid. Families would take that offer so fast, the road out of the neighborhood would be filled with the sound or ripping paper, like one big trail of tears.
Ha! Nicely done.
  #120  
Old 01-07-2018, 10:12 AM
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Their are viable alternatives to gentrification. We could consider revitalization, which could restore a run down neighborhood to more desirable condition, but the neighborhood would remain affordable and the long time residents would stay.
There's a missing step here, between "more desirable condition" and "remains affordable", where you explain how, in economic terms, something becomes substantially more desirable while supply and price remain exactly the same. If people will pay 85 freakin' bucks for crappy plastic figurines that retail for $15 just because supply doesn't meet demand, I fail to see why this wouldn't apply in the far more crucial realm of housing.

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If I had to pick Iíd much rather live in the latter.
Then move to Detroit or Flint. (Jeez, Michigan, get your shit together.) This statement is just straight-up nonsensical - have you thought about this at all?

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And I should also point out that gentrification is a form of class warfare. You realize that gentrifiers are prejudice against the working class and even minorities as well.
That... or they want to make money. When in doubt, let's go with the explanation that explains their actions perfectly and doesn't imply that they're villains for a saturday morning cartoon.

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If you lived in a Rust Belt city back before 9/11 you could work a factory job and make a good living that way without any formal education. That was when the American dream was alive and proud.
Things change. There aren't too many people making buggy whips any more, and the people who are (for the sake of novelty) are generally doing so in parts of the world where paying your workers a dollar a day counts as a step up for them. You can't blame this on gentrification.

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Now the American dream is halfway in itís coffin, and donít expect Trump to bring it back. Gentrification has only benefited those burnt out Millennial hipsters working some high end professional occupation. And those people right there have no American dream.
...Wut....

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If Ross Perot were president
Whaaaaaaat?

Well okay then, I guess that's where we're at with this, huh?
  #121  
Old 01-07-2018, 11:36 AM
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I think all my points are covered so far in this thread, except insurance ... what the OP sees as an important housing resource for low-income folks is seen as a death-trap to your typical insurance agent ... because the existing heating system isn't quite up to the task, tenant can and do use speaker wire to run their 2500W portable electric heaters ... and it'll be the insurance company who writes the check for the wrongful death lawsuits that result ...

The OP also seems to presume that tearing down an old house and building an upscale one will be bought by some homeless person ... far more likely the buyer is currently living in a house which will become empty ... so there's no net loss of housing availability ... rents go up but that only hurts tenants, and who cares about tenants? ...

Do we redevelop the mudflats or clear cut the forests? ... or just simply tell the poor they don't belong in Palo Alto, CA ... plenty of cheap housing in rural South Dakota ...
  #122  
Old 01-07-2018, 11:58 AM
Euphrosyne Euphrosyne is offline
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The problem of a just solution to the relocation of vulnerable, long-time, low-to-moderate-income residents isn't going to be solved by the free market.

If there are plenty of high-paying jobs in the area, then wealthy people are going to want or need to live close-in to those jobs. In that case, local governments can and should *take ownership of* the question of assisting poorer residents to stay in their homes, or at least very nearby. And local gov't. should *not* build blocs of "Section 8" housing. Sadly, a significant number of the poor have mental health problems, drug or addiction problems, or have become mixed up in gangs and other criminal activities. Although 90% of the poor are decent, stable, hard-working people who just want a good life, that small percentage of trouble-makers, if concentrated among a concentration of poor folks can make life hell-on-earth for everybody.

I'd like to see local gov'ts VET applicants who appy for Section 8 or affordable housing that's made available thru local gov't, and weed out the bad apples (yes, background checks, etc.) Let the really bad apples figure out someplace else to go. And let the decent, working poor and retirees take advantage of newer, nicer places to live *intermixed* in *small batches* among the gentrified areas, and *paid for* by local govt taxes.

For economically depressed areas with a very insubstantial tax base, I suppose the poor will have to relocate, just as middle class folk have to. They did this during the Great Depression, which was awful, and I suppose people will have to relocate during the 21st century, too, just as they did back then.
  #123  
Old 01-07-2018, 12:29 PM
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Well, I would certainly be in favor of THAT! Do you have some examples of when that has taken place?
That is the path being tried in Detroit.

it's a long speech and I'm not going to expect people to watch the whole thing, the article gives a pretty good summary. Part of it is stipulations to well-heeled developers like Dan Gilbert and Ilitch Holdings that residential developments must have X% "affordable" units available. Another one is the Joe Louis Greenway which is meant to help un-do a lot of the de facto segregation from city and federal policies up through the 1960s. Right now the ("revitalizing") downtown is largely cut off from the neighborhoods thanks to the deliberate decisions made when laying out the freeways and interstates- not least of which was razing thriving black neighborhoods to build a borderline pointless 1 mile of freeway.
  #124  
Old 01-07-2018, 02:52 PM
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The Trader Joeís grocery store chain recently announced that it no longer plans to open a store in a predominately African-American neighborhood in Portland after activists claimed the storeís prices werenít affordable for Black families.

Local community leaders and activists said on Feb. 3 that opening a Trader Joeís in the historically Black neighborhood would "increase the desirability of the neighborhood for non-oppressed populations" and risk gentrifying the neighborhood.
Wow. This makes the original meaning of the word "blockbuster" incredibly ironic.
  #125  
Old 01-07-2018, 03:10 PM
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Their are viable alternatives to gentrification. We could consider revitalization, which could restore a run down neighborhood to more desirable condition, but the neighborhood would remain affordable and the long time residents would stay.
More desirable means more people want to live there, which by the inexorable laws of supply and demand prices go up.

Basic Econ 101.
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  #126  
Old 01-07-2018, 03:11 PM
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1. Here's the thing though. I am quite sure that your "somewhere in the middle" would be crisis-level high in some cases, especially San Francisco. If you bring down the market rate by a certain percentage but now a much increased number of tenants has to pay it, you haven't solved the problem you've just changed it to a somewhat different problem.

2. There is also the fact that construction of new buildings is also tightly controlled, so simply doing away with rent control/stabilization isn't going to allow a free market of rental units with normalized/elastic supply and demand.
1. Yes that's true if you suddenly removed a system of control and did nothing else. However again, virtually every other city in the country (I live in a smaller one that happens to have rent control too, but nationally it's quite rare besides NY and SF) doesn't have it and it doesn't cause that much more of a 'crisis' everywhere else. And of course there is a big problem in NY of affordability if you're not lucky enough to have a rent stabilized/controlled place, as newcomers almost never do. That's one of other economic penalties of making it harder for employees to get the new people they need, but the prevailing mentality in NY is it's 'the capital of the world' and employers just have to suck up the disadvantages. But it's one reason for the hollowing out of the City's economy beside Wall Street, but again prevailing political complacency that that will never come back to bite. And some people even, hilariously, complain about 'income inequality' in NY with conscious municipal policies that make it the home of rich and poor and fewer and fewer in between.

2. That I agree with. Other regulation often greatly exacerbates the issue.

Also in general to point about the costs of price controls like rent controls, there always are but some people pretend they don't exist, isn't to imply it's realistic that for example NY would vote to scrap rent stabilization in one swoop. Of course that's not going to happen.

Last edited by Corry El; 01-07-2018 at 03:12 PM.
  #127  
Old 01-07-2018, 03:17 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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You fail to realize that gentrification is a classist and racist activity. You have to understand that gentrification is not done by people of the community. Itís done by outsiders.

We fail to realize this because it is not true.

Define "outsiders". I mean if you move from one area to another in the same city that hard makes you an "outsider".
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  #128  
Old 01-07-2018, 03:20 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Speaking as someone from there, I can definitively say that Oakland is neither a failed city nor is it cheap. It's cheaper than neighboring SF, but it's still pretty pricey.
It's failed in that it's government is a failure, but yes, by no means is it cheap. Expensive for a shithole. (some areas arent bad)
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  #129  
Old 01-07-2018, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
You seem to be using only one criterion, population growth, to determine thriving and booming. The are many other factors that should be considered.
I lived in Bakersfield for a short time. It's kinda nice, and it's not very gentrified as they can keep spreading out. But the air quality and climate is horrible. It doesnt really have a downtown or urban area, it's one great spread of suburbs. The small downtown area near oildale is kinda slumish.
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  #130  
Old 01-07-2018, 03:32 PM
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That's fine, I'm sympathetic with what you're saying, but what's your proposal? (My proposal is, indeed, one of those kind of hopeless sad economic ideas premised on the idea that rich people are going to do what they do and we have to kind of just pool together to ameliorate the effects.)
You have to first establish that gentrification is a negative before I accept the premise that we ought to do something about it.
  #131  
Old 01-07-2018, 04:08 PM
Corry El Corry El is online now
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That sounds about right, but it doesn't really convey the state of rent stabilization in the city. It's like taking one frame out of a reel of movie film.

That number is shrinking rapidly. There are a number of ways that an apartment can come off stabilization. When the rent, through increases permitted by the rent stabilization rules, hits a certain number, the apartment goes free-market. The landlord is allowed to pass the cost of improvements on to the tenant in the form of increased rent. This is obviously open to abuse, by means of inflating the cost of improvements.

Bizarrely, the tenant's income can cause the apartment to become deregulated. I think the magic number is $200,000 for two consecutive years, at which point the apartment becomes deregulated, which is obviously a windfall for the landlord.

Most deregulation is a windfall for the landlord. Obviously (again), the purchase price of a rental building is based on the rent roll. Nobody is buying a building where the rent roll will not permit them to make a profit. Rent-regulated buildings are profitable even with stabilization. Once they're deregulated, the profits, relative to the purchase price of the building, go through the roof.

In short, the number of rent-stabilized apartments in New York is shrinking rapidly.
If the number of RS units in NY was shrinking at a significant clip in % terms but not disappearing all at once (which would cause big dislocations obviously see above), I'm not sure that would be bad given the distortions and costs this policy imposes. Anyway that would be a matter of opinion. However it's not actually true that the number is shrinking rapidly, much at all lately.

https://www.politico.com/states/new-...in-2014-000000
http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/rentguide.../changes17.pdf

1+ million units, first link has graph from 2003-2014, was decreasing around 6,000 units per year on average from 2003-2010, 0.6%, per year, but actually increased slightly in some years after that. In 2016 the net decrease was 677 units see second link.

And I can't imagine why anyone would consider it 'bizarre' that rent stabilized units should be reserved for people making less than $200k. A decent RS place might be $800, market in the neighborhood for only moderately renovated places might be three times that. People who happen to have lucked into RS and worked/lucked their way to $199k/y (God or whoever bless them) should keep that apartment but people coming to the City to start new decent jobs at $80k should have to pay $2400? That's bizarre IMO. If the system were closer to rational the means testing would be much tighter.

On ability to raise rents by making improvements, again would the ideal be a system of no improvements and no increases? Back to the beginning of the thread, the real big picture issue is how collectivized society should be. Private capital will not be invested in improvements which yield no return, in housing or anything else. To have a system of big upgrades with no rent increases you have to socialize housing, not just put price controls on rent.

Besides which practically there are two categories of improvement to NY apartment buildings. A 'Major Capital Improvement' has to apply to common areas of the building. The rent can be increased, permanently, enough to give landlord back their money after 7 years (in small buildings, longer for big ones) with no profit, obviously profit after that because the increase is permanent but that's not terribly attractive in itself. The landlord doesn't need tenants' permission (though they can protest). The more significant 'Individual Apartment Improvement' for renovating within a unit allows a permanent increase that gets the landlord back their money with no profit after 3-1/3 yrs, those numbers are more likely to be attractive. But in that case the tenant has to agree, which low rent RS tenants basically just don't. So really upgrading RS apts basically relies on getting people to move by paying them buy outs, or if they happen to move anyway. And whether you believe it or not, even immigrant tenants with poor command of English have resources to help them negotiate buy out prices where it's only a reasonably attractive business proposition for landlord; profits (sadly, see below) do not 'go through the roof'.

I hope these explanations at least help make it clearer why in fact the stock of RS apts in NY is not declining rapidly. Similarly for 'but landlords illegally harass masses of people to leave RS'...the numbers say not. Mainly people hang on for dear life when allowed to pay 1/3 of market. So would anybody, it's not a personal blame thing. It's just a price control system with large (not even so) hidden costs, as is typical. And it's not rapidly declining, whether or not it should be.

For further full disclosure I'm a NY landlord. The system isn't going away no matter what I think. I'm just pointing out certain facts, and opinions of mine on which others may differ, but all should start with the actual facts.

Last edited by Corry El; 01-07-2018 at 04:10 PM.
  #132  
Old 01-07-2018, 06:20 PM
gatorslap gatorslap is offline
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1. Yes that's true if you suddenly removed a system of control and did nothing else. However again, virtually every other city in the country (I live in a smaller one that happens to have rent control too, but nationally it's quite rare besides NY and SF) doesn't have it and it doesn't cause that much more of a 'crisis' everywhere else.
12 cities in California have rent control, including Los Angeles, San Jose, and Oakland. But my point about SF is that it's absurdly expensive. Rent control is a relatively small contributor to SF's high rents. There's no crisis everywhere else because everywhere else isn't as expensive as San Francisco. SF isn't going to turn into Columbus anytime soon. Rent control, for all its flaws, at least keeps some portion of the population in lower cost units. Get rid of rent control and you'll bring down the median rent, but not enough for those many thousands of people to be able to continue living in San Francisco. It would be a mess.

Politically speaking, rent control in California cities is somewhat intertwined with Prop 13. Prop 13 is essentially "rent control" for property taxes. When you buy a house -- or, you know, apartment complex -- your property tax is fixed based on the purchase price and can only go up by a small regulated amount each year. I'm not aware of other states having a similar property tax structure. Since rent for new tenants isn't regulated, vacant units can be rented out at market rate, but there is no corresponding fractional reassessment of property tax. Therefore, under the twins of Prop 13 and rent control, landlords still come out ahead. Unless they haven't had a single vacancy in decades.
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Last edited by gatorslap; 01-07-2018 at 06:21 PM.
  #133  
Old 01-08-2018, 08:15 AM
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You have to first establish that gentrification is a negative before I accept the premise that we ought to do something about it.
I argued briefly above that it's a negative because it lays the stress and trauma of forced relocation on people who are in the worst position to be able to handle forced relocation. What are your thoughts about that?
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  #134  
Old 01-08-2018, 08:51 AM
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Gentrification is bad because it brings the stress and trauma of a forced relocation onto people for whom such stress and trauma can have the most egregious negative effects.

I think the best solution has to involve having the public bear some proportion of the cost of such relocations.
And this really only affects renters right? Because if the people had been there for years that would sort of imply that they owned a house in the neighborhood and they would certainly be selling at a much higher price (and thus be eased into the move)
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  #135  
Old 01-08-2018, 09:18 AM
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I argued briefly above that it's a negative because it lays the stress and trauma of forced relocation on people who are in the worst position to be able to handle forced relocation. What are your thoughts about that?
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And this really only affects renters right? Because if the people had been there for years that would sort of imply that they owned a house in the neighborhood and they would certainly be selling at a much higher price (and thus be eased into the move)
You might be surprised how many tenants live a lifestyle of forced relocation ... it's part and parcel to being financially irresponsible ... that's some ...

Others of the tenantry who have lived a long time in the neighborhood would have seen the gentrification coming, assuming their rents have stayed the same then they have the finances to relocate ... so there's some more ...

Kearsen covers the home-owners well enough ... the forced relocation sucks but these people would have a big pile o' cash to do so ...

So really we're down to folks who don't understand the system, they rent a place thinking they can live there the rest of their lives ... no rent increase, no re-development, landlord never retires, etc etc etc ... and the forced relocation is bad for them, but they're used to it, it's happened a few times before and they'll get over it, move into a different rental and once again not understand the system ...
  #136  
Old 01-08-2018, 06:26 PM
Corry El Corry El is online now
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12 cities in California have rent control, including Los Angeles, San Jose, and Oakland. But my point about SF is that it's absurdly expensive. Rent control is a relatively small contributor to SF's high rents. There's no crisis everywhere else because everywhere else isn't as expensive as San Francisco. SF isn't going to turn into Columbus anytime soon. Rent control, for all its flaws, at least keeps some portion of the population in lower cost units. Get rid of rent control and you'll bring down the median rent, but not enough for those many thousands of people to be able to continue living in San Francisco. It would be a mess.

Politically speaking, rent control in California cities is somewhat intertwined with Prop 13. Prop 13 is essentially "rent control" for property taxes. When you buy a house -- or, you know, apartment complex -- your property tax is fixed based on the purchase price and can only go up by a small regulated amount each year. I'm not aware of other states having a similar property tax structure. Since rent for new tenants isn't regulated, vacant units can be rented out at market rate, but there is no corresponding fractional reassessment of property tax. Therefore, under the twins of Prop 13 and rent control, landlords still come out ahead. Unless they haven't had a single vacancy in decades.
Thanks, I guess I'm east coast oriented. However, LA's control as I read it resets to market every time a tenant moves out. NY's doesn't (unless enough money is put into a renovation under the formula I belabored already above). That's a big difference. Lots of difference in detail. Which is not a criticism of LA for 'not real rent control compared to NY'. I can see possible benefit for transitional policies of this kind. But long term higher restrictive price controls cause distortions in markets which are contrary to the public good, almost always, popular as they might be on a knee jerk basis.

Also not to get into the weeds on CA's other unusual laws like Prop 13 but more in general I think your argument exhibits a common missing of the point which portrays rent controls, or price controls generally, on a narrow basis of the buyer and seller of the good and service in a particular transaction, not the people who have to pay more for market rents because of the controls. And there's no way that latter negative effect is 'minor' if it's an expensive area with a significant % of places held well below market. The 'market' places must then be well above what the real market would be without the controls, lots of opportunity cost there, not a zero sum question between rent controlled tenant and landlord's pockets.

And it also IMO implies a common fallacy that ad hoc govt regulation like that, as opposed to wholesale collectivizing of assets, is going to change the return on capital. 'If we have X regulation, the profits of capitalists will be reduced to what's more reasonable from the current unreasonably high level'. That's almost never true for a regulation below national level if even those. The amount of capital deployed yes, proportional return no. Return on capital is like water finding its own level with all kinds of things to invest in, in all kinds of regulatory domains.

IOW though I again think it's getting too far off point, your contention that Prop 13 over its long life has continuously lifted the return on capital deploying in rental housing in CA is highly doubtful. That's not to say Prop 13 is a wise policy. In general I think the CA idea of voting complicated bills as blunt instrument public referendums is a bad policy.

The relatively much less inefficient way to do this would be tax some people to give others who can't afford to live in NY, say, the money to pay their rent and avoid all the confused price signals and misallocations caused by rent stabilization. But obviously that can't be done nationally because it would expose the absurdity of why anyone who lived in Columbus should pay tax so somebody else can afford to live in NY, similarly upstate NY v the City. And it's not feasible politically to do just in the already very heavily (local, state, federal) taxed City. So it's politically naturally to do it with price controls, but very inefficient. What the cities with really restrictive rent control have in common is complacency about being able to afford large scale economic inefficiency in their housing sectors. Although up to a point that has a foundation in reality: NY isn't about to lose its place as a national/world, commercial/financial capital.

Back to the earlier post I responded to, IMO the real world optimum situation in NY would be if a) Rent Stabilized apartments were going market at say several % a year, (that poster contended they are 'rapidly' disappearing, not so) so in a generation or so it was basically market, not next week, and b) a thorough overall of policies which otherwise restrict the provision of new housing. It wouldn't be eliminating it tomorrow, which isn't going to happen anyway. And it wouldn't be to think it's an efficient or necessary policy, which it just isn't as plenty of other cities in the US (and all over the world) show it isn't.

Last edited by Corry El; 01-08-2018 at 06:31 PM.
  #137  
Old 01-08-2018, 06:56 PM
UltraVires UltraVires is offline
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As you get older, you realize that the saying "the only constant is change" remains true. It would be great (for some people, some of the time) to be able to freeze frame a moment in time and make sure that nothing ever changes, ever, it will never happen.

I feel bad for people who have to leave their homes because the neighborhood changes, but what is the alternative? No progress ever happens so that the buggy whip makers aren't out of jobs?
  #138  
Old 01-08-2018, 07:31 PM
Saintly Loser Saintly Loser is offline
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And I can't imagine why anyone would consider it 'bizarre' that rent stabilized units should be reserved for people making less than $200k. A decent RS place might be $800, market in the neighborhood for only moderately renovated places might be three times that. People who happen to have lucked into RS and worked/lucked their way to $199k/y (God or whoever bless them) should keep that apartment but people coming to the City to start new decent jobs at $80k should have to pay $2400? That's bizarre IMO. If the system were closer to rational the means testing would be much tighter.
I have no objection to means testing for rent-stabilized apartments. What strikes me as bizarre is that the apartment itself becomes deregulated if the tenant's income exceeds a certain level. That is, the apartment becomes free-market. The high-income tenant will pay a higher (free-market) rent, but when he or she moves out, the apartment does not return to the regulated rent.
  #139  
Old 01-08-2018, 07:37 PM
UltraVires UltraVires is offline
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I have no objection to means testing for rent-stabilized apartments. What strikes me as bizarre is that the apartment itself becomes deregulated if the tenant's income exceeds a certain level. That is, the apartment becomes free-market. The high-income tenant will pay a higher (free-market) rent, but when he or she moves out, the apartment does not return to the regulated rent.
What is to stop a landlord from gaming the system to get out of rent control? Say, "rent" the apartment in a straw transaction to someone above the income level, get the cap removed, and then "dissolve" the lease with the rich person and then put it on the market at free market, non-rent control rates?
  #140  
Old 01-08-2018, 09:04 PM
Saintly Loser Saintly Loser is offline
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What is to stop a landlord from gaming the system to get out of rent control? Say, "rent" the apartment in a straw transaction to someone above the income level, get the cap removed, and then "dissolve" the lease with the rich person and then put it on the market at free market, non-rent control rates?
There are plenty of ways a landlord can game the system. It is far from unknown that a landlord will intimidate tenants into leaving their apartment, and that gives the landlord an automatic increase in the regulated rent. The landlord will move undesirables into the building (drug dealers, for example), or refuse to deal with a rat problem, or to fix leaks, or to supply heat, or he/she will outright threaten tenants. There have been instances of landlords actually killing tenants (very few -- only two I can think of in my lifetime).

Or a landlord will simply not tell a prospective tenant that the apartment is rent-regulated, and give the tenant a lease that doesn't disclose this information, or contain the required clauses, like the right to renew the lease.

But getting a rich person to move in, then vacate, seems excessively complicated. And the rich don't have much motivation to participate in such a scheme.
  #141  
Old 01-08-2018, 09:45 PM
UltraVires UltraVires is offline
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There are plenty of ways a landlord can game the system. It is far from unknown that a landlord will intimidate tenants into leaving their apartment, and that gives the landlord an automatic increase in the regulated rent. The landlord will move undesirables into the building (drug dealers, for example), or refuse to deal with a rat problem, or to fix leaks, or to supply heat, or he/she will outright threaten tenants. There have been instances of landlords actually killing tenants (very few -- only two I can think of in my lifetime).

Or a landlord will simply not tell a prospective tenant that the apartment is rent-regulated, and give the tenant a lease that doesn't disclose this information, or contain the required clauses, like the right to renew the lease.

But getting a rich person to move in, then vacate, seems excessively complicated. And the rich don't have much motivation to participate in such a scheme.
I know I wasn't clear, but I meant legally get rid of rent control. A guy could make $200k/yr by having 20 landlords pay $10k each.
  #142  
Old 01-08-2018, 10:02 PM
Algher Algher is offline
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You fail to realize that gentrification is a classist and racist activity. You have to understand that gentrification is not done by people of the community. Itís done by outsiders. If a neighborhood is revitalized by people of the community, then that right there is where revitalization succeeds. And with that the neighborhood must remain affordable so we can keep the long term residents. If you want condos or luxury apartments, then build them in the suburbs where people can afford them. And in case you havenít noticed gentrification is done almost exclusively by affluent white people, and minorities tend to oppose gentrification.
So when Magic Johnson puts his money into urban area redevelopment, making money off of the gentrification around the Staples Center - does he lose his blackness? How about his prior ownership of over 100 symbols of oppression - Starbucks?

Econ tip - places are affordable because there is not demand. There is not demand because the location and the asset is not desirable. Making it MORE desirable will cause demand, and raise the price.

The minority owners win, the poor renters lose. It is that simple.
  #143  
Old 01-08-2018, 10:33 PM
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Certainly there can be too much of a good thing with gentrification. My neighborhood used to be a bit of an industrial wasteland. Now most of the old decrepit warehouses have been replaced with luxury condos or renovated into beer gardens and indoor rock climbing centers, all connected by a vibrant waterfront. That's generally a good thing.

OTOH, the Hudson River NJ waterfront is becoming an unbroken string of Toll Brothers 20 story condos from Jersey City to Fort Lee. That creates a lot of pressure on narrow roads and 100 year old water mains. There is also the somewhat absurd phenomenon of as soon as a waterfront condo with a view of Manhattan is sold, construction starts on a new one a bit closer to the water, obstructing the old one's view.



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So people who aren't artists are "uncreatives," and get lumped in with puritans and racists?

Here in NYC, it's usually artists (or "artists") who start the gentrification, and the "uncreatives" who resist it.

And I can see why.
Having lived in and around and worked in NYC for the past 18 years, I think that the gentrification starts with artists renovating old warehouses and brownstones, and then the "uncreatives" build giant glass boxes with Starbucks and Trader Joe's on the ground floor.
  #144  
Old 01-08-2018, 10:45 PM
UltraVires UltraVires is offline
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Certainly there can be too much of a good thing with gentrification. My neighborhood used to be a bit of an industrial wasteland. Now most of the old decrepit warehouses have been replaced with luxury condos or renovated into beer gardens and indoor rock climbing centers, all connected by a vibrant waterfront. That's generally a good thing.

OTOH, the Hudson River NJ waterfront is becoming an unbroken string of Toll Brothers 20 story condos from Jersey City to Fort Lee. That creates a lot of pressure on narrow roads and 100 year old water mains. There is also the somewhat absurd phenomenon of as soon as a waterfront condo with a view of Manhattan is sold, construction starts on a new one a bit closer to the water, obstructing the old one's view.
I would guess that in the year 2035, having a waterfront view would be SOOOO 2015 and having a city view will be the new thing. Then these waterfront condos will be the next Section 8 housing and in the year 2050 will be torn down to build the latest fad.

This upheaval may be good or bad, but if we decided we wanted to stop it, how do we do so? And if we do, are we sure that 2018 is the sweet spot to keep it?
  #145  
Old 01-09-2018, 02:42 AM
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Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is offline
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OTOH, the Hudson River NJ waterfront is becoming an unbroken string of Toll Brothers 20 story condos from Jersey City to Fort Lee. That creates a lot of pressure on narrow roads and 100 year old water mains.
Unfortunately, the alternative probably involves pushing all of that pressure on the infrastructure out to a place that's even less capable of finding solutions. People are coming whether the NIMBYs like it or not, and they're going to have to live somewhere, and it's probably better in the long run that they live in condo towers along the Hudson than in tract houses in the Lehigh Valley.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 01-09-2018 at 02:45 AM.
  #146  
Old 01-09-2018, 01:45 PM
Algher Algher is offline
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Gary is in Indiana not Idaho. And Tucson and San Bernardino are actually doing well without a single shred of gentrification. The richest people there are middle class folks.
San Bernardino is certainly undergoing gentrification as more people move in seeking affordable housing but also wanting the amenities of a nice place. The middle and upper middle class will gentrify areas that used to be lower middle class and lower class. The lower classes will find their low rents hit by buyouts of housing stock by people able to afford a mortgage instead.

https://www.sbsun.com/2017/05/21/the...next-30-years/
  #147  
Old 01-09-2018, 02:12 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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San Bernardino is certainly undergoing gentrification as more people move in seeking affordable housing but also wanting the amenities of a nice place. The middle and upper middle class will gentrify areas that used to be lower middle class and lower class. The lower classes will find their low rents hit by buyouts of housing stock by people able to afford a mortgage instead.

https://www.sbsun.com/2017/05/21/the...next-30-years/
That article is referring to Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Ontario. Only the last is even in San Bernardino County and is at the far west side. The City of San Bernardino is as much of a shitshow as it has ever been, and nobody is gentrifying anything there. Itís basically a big warehouse district with a bunch of decaying neighborhoods and an irredeemably corrupt city government.

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  #148  
Old 01-09-2018, 07:08 PM
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12 cities in California have rent control, including Los Angeles, San Jose, and Oakland.s.
San Jose has a very lax rent control law, which I think is very good. First it only applies to buildings over 4 units and 30 years old. Also it only limits rent increases to 8% a year, which is quite reasonable. If you think you need to raise the rents more than that, you dont know what the hell you are doing anyway.

It only really prevents speculators from buying a building, doing some cosmetic upgrades, doubling the rents and selling again. That is bad for everyone.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:16 PM
The Plutonium Kid The Plutonium Kid is offline
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Why is "pricing out long time residents" bad?
Because the long time residents may not be able to find affordable housing elsewhere. Also, when you've really put down roots in a place, having to leave can be something of a trauma.
  #150  
Old 01-09-2018, 07:27 PM
The Plutonium Kid The Plutonium Kid is offline
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"Invest" implies some sort of return. How do you calculate the return an investor would receive by building newer and cleaner Section 8 housing?

And how do you ensure that newer and cleaner Section 8 housing remains new and clean looking?
A return on an investment isn't necessarily measured in money. Just not adding dozens or hundreds of new homeless families to the existing population of them could reasonably be considered a good return.
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