Hallelujah, my blogging evangelism is working! New Yorkers are not the country's biggest spenders anymore!
New Yorkers Slip in Survey on Spending:
New Yorkers earn and spend much more than most other Americans do, but they no longer spend more than the residents of Chicago and Los Angeles, according to federal data released yesterday.Ok, I don't really think my desire to inspire New Yorkers to live within their means has actually influenced the spending habits of more than, oh, maybe one person, and I mean me! But it's still a fascinating article about the latest statistics on household spending from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, published in today's New York Times. As it turns out,
It is not that New Yorkers have been cutting back, just that people in the country’s next two largest cities have been on a relative spending spree. The bureau’s figures show that the typical household in each of those cities spent more than 80 percent of its pretax income — slightly more than the national average of 79.4 percent — while the average household in New York spent only about 72 percent.
Of course, New Yorkers took in more money. The average household income in the metropolitan area was $74,851, about one-third higher than the national average, $56,593. In Chicago, household income averaged $67,726, and in Los Angeles, $65,810.
Higher taxes in New York could account for some of the difference between income and spending, but there are other factors, most notably the cost of owning and fueling cars.
The typical household in the Los Angeles area spent almost $11,000 annually on transportation, with only a small fraction going to mass transit. Transportation costs amounted to almost one-fifth of total household expenses there. For New Yorkers, annual transportation costs were $7,581, less than one-seventh of all spending. The typical Chicago household spent $8,875, one-sixth of its total expenditures, on transportation.
Housing costs varied less. New Yorkers spent the most on housing at $20,065 annually, but that was only $154 a year, about $13 a month, more than the typical Los Angeles household spent and $1,103 more than the typical Chicago household spent.
I also loved the fact that Los Angeles households spend 40 percent more than the national average on personal care products and services!
Another article of interest:
Housing Plan Puts Idea of East New York’s Revival to the Test
This one may be illuminating to people outside the city, in terms of its illustration of New York's unique and rather warped housing market! In the Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York, in an area near the projects featuring a "bulletproofed Chinese restaurant, 99-cent store.... [and] a 4 ½-acre parking lot ... that is currently home to a dozen stripped and smashed cars... and a cluster of men on folding chairs, drinking beer," the city wants to find a developer to build a complex of "middle-income", "affordable" housing. 165 units would be available for familes of 4 making up to $92,170, and 15 additional units would be set aside for families making under $56,700.
Here's what the beer-drinking guys had to say:
“Anyone with common sense wouldn’t live out here,” said a goateed gentleman about 50 who identified himself only as Keeping It Real. “What makes you think people are going to want to wake up to Dodge City to the left and Vietnam to the right and the O.K. Corral in front?”
Santhony Mason, a U.P.S. employee spending a vacation day hanging out with childhood buddies, scoffed at the idea of a town house surrounded by projects.
“This is a bad place for kids to grow up in,” said Mr. Mason, 34, who did just that. “A couple of weeks ago a kid got shot in the head right in back of that building.”
Two-family townhouses are expected to be offered for about $300,000. Here's a local real estate broker's comment:
“There’s going to be a very strong demand,” Mr. Longo said. “Someone making $92,000 can certainly afford that.” Indeed, Mr. Longo said that a family of four earning $92,000 could afford to pay up to $450,000 for a house. He then reeled off some recent sale prices for two-family homes in East New York: $570,000; $533,000; $540,000.
This is our idea of affordable housing.