London's new high-rises: speculators' luxury flats designed never to be occupied

London is the epicentre of the British affordable housing crisis, and while there are over 500 high-rises under construction in the capital, consuming nearly every available lot, virtually every one of these towers is designed to serve the high-end luxury market (despite plummeting prices in this category), whose anonymous offshore buyers often never occupy or rent out the flats they buy, merely holding them to flip them later. Read the rest

California tenants receive rent-hike threats that will only be rescinded if rent-control initiative fails

Tenants in California have received threatening letters from their landlords promising massive rent hikes if Proposition 10 (previously), which restores rent control, passes. Read the rest

California ballot measure to reintroduce rent control met with millions in opposition from Wall Street landlords

California is one of the hot-zones in the world's urban housing crisis, driven by a combination of opposition to highrise/high-density living and the mass purchase of foreclosed properties following the 2008 crisis by giant Wall Street landlords who have steadily ratcheted up rents and evictions in a big to safeguard the flow of payments to bondholders who get a share of the rents extracted from struggling tenants living in dangerous, substanding housing. Read the rest

Aw, shit: New York's McNally Jackson Books is closing its Nolita store

New York City's amazing McNally Jackson Books is closing its flagship bookstore on Prince Street in Nolita; the store is a neighborhood fixture and a hub of literary events (I've appeared there); they also sport a cafe and a book-printing machine. Read the rest

20% of New York retail space is sitting vacant

A study conducted by Douglas Elliman Real Estate found that one in five New York retail spaces is sitting vacant; these spaces are boarded up and attract vandalism, drug-dealing, and other unsavory activities. The rate has more than tripled since 2016. Read the rest

California home-buyers are increasingly reliant on parental gifts to afford their down-payments

California's housing bubble has pushed prices so high (the median Californian home sells for double the national average) that, in some cities, 48% of first-time buyers could only afford to purchase their homes because their parents gave them the downpayment. Read the rest

Wall Street landlords are slumlords

Blackstone is the largest private equity fund in the world; when the 2008 crash hit and banks used the trillions in taxpayer bailouts to fund mass evictions of working people who'd been tricked into taking out predatory mortgages, Blackstone started bulk-buying them, creating rent-backed bonds (called Single-Family Rental Securities or SERS) that are the even-shittier successors to the mortgage-backed securities that detonated the world economy in 2008. Read the rest

Greedy landlords create a mass-extinction event in Burbank's indie paradise

Burbank's Magnolia Park district was a big reason my family and I moved to town three years ago: a walkable, shady, tree-lined street whose merchants are a quirky (and legendary) mix of indie bookstores, prop outlets, vintage clothing stores, collectibles stores, year-round Halloween stores, hobby shops, quirky indie designers, gaming stores, wine bars, community credit unions -- like a goth/alternative Main Street, USA. Read the rest

Restaurant servers can't afford San Francisco rents so restaurants are going self-serve

San Francisco is one of the most expensive places in the world to live -- six figure incomes are considered "low" and even the tiniest homes are farcically expensive. Read the rest

Stagnant wages + soaring cost of living + massive cuts to services = collapsing US birth-rate

The US birth-rate continued to plummet last year, with births falling in nearly all groups, and a one-year dropoff in overall fertility not seen since 2010; the US fertility rate is at its lowest level in recorded history. Read the rest