New York: The New American Teardown Capital

Surpassing metropolitan Chicago, metro New York now hosts the highest amount of teardowns in the country.

"Have you ever lived near a teardown in progress? Has it ever been your daily fate to deal with noise, smells, dirt and construction crews right next door - only to behold, after endless months, a space-hogging "mansionization" in place of the petite Cape Cod you used to find so sweet?

If not, your turn may come sooner than you think. Despite the overall problems troubling the nation's real estate market, the New York metropolitan region has now surpassed Chicago, the former record holder, to become the teardown capital of the United States, according to a recent report by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has been tracking the phenomenon since 2002.

Financially speaking, there are far worse fates for a homeowner than to be the neighbor of a "bash and build." Love them or hate them, teardowns generally bolster the resale prices of their neighbors. Although a lot of people do object initially, Mary Ann Laurita, a Realtor at William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty in Westport, Conn., said that that's only until they decide to put their own homes on the market.

'They come to like teardowns when their own house is up for sale,' she said, 'because rebuilds bring the price of their home up.'"

Full Story: The Heart of Teardown Country



Misplaced priorities

“Our Planning Board grappled with this, to put a limit on the new construction so it doesn’t appear out of scale for the neighborhood,” he explained. But, he added, “people look at their home as more of an investment than they used to, and they don’t want their development rights curtailed.”

This is somewhat out of character for me as leaning towards a free market and property rights but placing a lot of capital into ever larger homes for smaller households is wasteful. Tear down the abandoned homes and real eyesores but tearing down homes which aren't that old and were perfectly functional is foolish in the big picture. Wouldn't it be better if people with money invested in businesses that provide better goods or services? How are we, as a nation, expected to compete internationally when Americans tie up a substantial portion of capital to building ever grander castles? When we don't have the available credit in the future to finance growth in the private sector, who will make enough money to buy these huge homes? We've already seen what happens when homes are built for people who can't pay the mortgage- foreclosure.

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