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“New York City has a housing supply problem, yet there’s plenty of space for more housing. Is there a solution to this?”

“New York City has a housing supply problem, yet there’s plenty of space for more housing. Is there a solution to this?”

Excerpts from three New York Times articles on the city’s housing crisis New York City’s Housing Crunch is the Worst It Has Been in Over 50 Years By Mihir Zaveri Feb. 8, 2024 The portion of rentals that were vacant and available dropped to a… Read More »“New York City has a housing supply problem, yet there’s plenty of space for more housing. Is there a solution to this?”

Privilege in the Wasted Land: How Wealthy Investors Hide Behind LLCs and Speculate on Vacant and Underutilized Land in New York City

Over the past few months, we have published a series of articles which explore the presence of vacant and underutilized land in New York City and the role of Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) in the city’s housing market. Today, we publish our ground-breaking report, Privilege in the Wasted Land, which examines the factors associated with these phenomena and clearly establishes that LLC investors are over-represented among owners of both vacant and underutilized land in NYC.

Citadels of Privilege: How LLCs Funnel Land Rents Into the Pockets of Wealthy Investors

As housing costs continue their inexorable climb upwards in cities across the US, concern is mounting about the role played by corporate investors. Referred to as the ‘financialization’ of housing, real estate is being hoovered-up by massive investment funds with names like BlackRock and Blackstone.

While attention is often paid to the institutional investors, one overlooked component of this shifting economic quicksand is the growing presence of limited liability companies (LLCs) in the real estate market. This legal structure is favored by investors looking to profit by grabbing land, avoiding the tax collector, and dodging the ire of the public eye.

In this article we’ll describe how the LLC legal structure became a favorite weapon for real estate speculators, explain how they widen inequality, present our own research into their presence in New York City (NYC), and suggest some policy tools to uproot this pernicious weed ensnaring our cities.