New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: City’s housing shortage a ‘good sign’ economy is booming

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New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Friday in his weekly radio appearance that the city’s affordable-housing shortage is a “good sign” that the city’s economy is booming.

“As fast as we build, more people want to live here,” thus why housing is so scarce, he said.

“Somebody said that there’s not enough housing. That’s a good sign. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem, but there are no vacancies,” Mr. Bloomberg said, according to the New York Daily News. “That will bring in investment, for people to build for all income levels, different kinds of housing. In cities, if you want to have lots of vacancies where everybody could easily find a place, you don’t have a good economy.”

Craig Gurian of the Anti-Discrimination Center in New York City, which lobbies for affordable housing, said median monthly gross rents in the city rose 8.5 percent from 2007 to 2011 while median household income fell 6.8 percent, the Daily News reported.

“The affordable housing crisis has gotten worse on [Mr. Bloomberg‘s] watch. He’s literally out of touch. He doesn’t experience what most people in the city are experiencing, which is a much greater sense of insecurity than they felt 12 years ago,” Mr. Gurian said. “New Yorkers are spending more of their income on housing than ever. The mayor’s idea of how to measure progress on this issue is wrong.”

City Councilman Brad Lander said, “This is part of what … has made people hungry for change. … People want to see empathy from their mayor.”

A Bloomberg spokesman defended the administration’s housing record.

“Our problem here is what he said: people want to live here — so the demand is intense,” said spokesman Marc LaVorgna. “Cities like Detroit or Camden, New Jersey, have plenty of low-cost housing available — not because of some commitment to affordability, but because there is no comparable demand to live in those places. You prefer to have our problem over theirs.”

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