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What is Middle class in Manhattan
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thanks god for RS! our place is very decent, we are very happy with the fact that it's up to us to renew it instead of up to the landlord. it's the only way that as a renter, we can have stability.

what really helped us to get the place back in 2005, in a brand new building, was the fact that everybody who could fog a mirror was buying to avoid "throwing $ away in rent". thanks god for that too! as there are not enough RS decent places to be had. hopefully the city will keep on supplying more of these new RS apartments so that young households who prefer to save than to be leveraged on already expensive real estate can get protection from high home prices.

funny is that i moved to the city a couple of years before getting the RS place, but i had NEVER heard about that great system before. maybe we should talk more about a long term rental systems to help young households than about pushing them into flipping properties each decade. just my 2 cents.

NWT, those are great articles! And they're by Nicholas Pileggi, who originally wrote "Wiseguy", the Henry Hill story that later became "Goodfellas". I had no idea he also wrote about real estate!

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C'mon jason!
You know that "Harlem" and other parts north of "Prime Manhattan" to say nothing of the outer boroughs, are ''off the radar'' to many folks referenced in these articles.
Quiet as its kept, though, its precisely the [supposed] ''non-Prime-ness'' of many of these 'other' nabes that makes them, Middle-Class Affordable, less-frenetic, and just plain more LIVE-able than incredibly overpriced, glam, ''Prime" Manhattan!

. . . well . . . sort-of, anyway!

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> These articles always act like people can't live in the boroughs or nj

we check that out and it doesn't pencil for us at all. it's not only about the fact that there are not rent stab decent places so that we would have to buy at still inflated prices, but that property taxes will increase a lot to pay for public pensions, not only in NJ but in counties in NY. with a rent stab and time devoted to navigate the public school system young households could even make it in Manhattan on 1 income as it used to be.

> we check that out and it doesn't pencil for us at all

having to own a car and the time spent commuting wiped out the benefits of cheaper home prices.

not too mention things like taxes, lawn care, heat, electric, maintenance, etc. on a house vs. an apartment and the 'burbs get just as pricey.

also, owning "a" car is not realistic. I defy any family to get by with only 1 car in the suburbs....even if one of the cars is a clunker only used to commute to the train station you still need to register, insure and maintain it.

@Jason

"These articles always act like people can't live in the boroughs or nj"

Some people really can't. The boroughs, not so much, but in NJ things are designed around automobiles, and with the presupposition that everyone has an automobile, almost all the time. If you can't drive a car, you need to live in the city; it's that simple.

"also, owning "a" car is not realistic. I defy any family to get by with only 1 car in the suburbs" (Gutter86)

If it's hard to get by with one car, it's *impossible* to get by with no car at all. It's not just driving to work; *everything*, down to the strength of the plastic bags given out at the supermarket (which are designed to last long enough to get your food from the store to the parking lot, then from your garage to your kitchen, and will strain and break if you try walking 30 minutes to carry stuff home), is designed with the car in mind.

If you can't drive one, but are still paying for the vast amounts of car-oriented infrastructure, you're being taken advantage of by the car-owning majority. You'd be much happier and less resentful living in even a small apartment in a big city.

"would have to buy at still inflated prices"

Do you really think prices are going down??

Let's not forget that people think it's "Middle Class" to eat out 4 and 5 times a week and participate in some kind of arts or entertainment several times a week, like theater, clubs, etc.

What does that add up to on a yearly basis?

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That NYT article says "The average tenured university professor at New York University or Columbia makes more than $180,000 a year, according to a 2012 survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education."

But that's only true if you include (as that survey does) the tenured profs at the law, business, and med schools. The tenured professors I know at Columbia teaching in the humanities -- in other words, the professors who actaully have PhDs -- make under $80K.

That's why they all live in faculty housing.

"Yes. RE priced in NYC will still come down". lol!!!!!!!!

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Since 2007 this board is peppered with people insisting prices are coming down. They did a while and that time came and went. Now, at least for AAA locations, prices are ticking back up and inventory is low as ever. Those waiting are still waiting and life moves on. 6 years have passed and interest rates have been great and have seemingly bottomed out. Market timing is a lousy way to live. If you dont have a long time horizon and vast wealth, then renting is the better-route anyway. Anyone sitting and waiting for a better time to buy in places like Greenwich Village is going to be waiting and waiting and waiting. And if by chance another 5 or 10 percent dip is what makes that much of a difference, then buying is a lousy choice for you anyhow.

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"The tenured professors I know at Columbia teaching in the humanities -- in other words, the professors who actaully have PhDs -- make under $80K."

And that's if you have tenure. Professors just starting out are often adjuncts, who get paid a pittance and have to cobble together a living by teaching at multiple institutions and sometimes doing work in their field on the side.

I myself am about to finish a PhD, but are very wary about going into teaching. I suspect that online courses and increased public acceptance of them will drastically reduce the demand for professors in the next two decades.

FYI...yes, the numbers are skewed by sacred cows and superstars...and humanities and social sciences lag significantly behind business, engineering, sciences and med school faculty.

http://chronicle.com/article/faculty-salaries-data-2012/131431#id=190150

Associate and Full Professors are generally tenured. Columbia profs have done quite well. Around 5-6 percent annual increases annually. At CUNY, which has 24 campuses and probably 10 times as many faculty (and NYC residents), the average salaries are about 30-40 percent lower and have averaged about 3 percent increases in recent years.

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> But that's only true if you include (as that survey does) the tenured profs at the law, business, and med schools. The tenured professors I know at Columbia teaching in the humanities -- in other words, the professors who actaully have PhDs -- make under $80K.

you are 100% right, there's a huge variation so the avg is meaningless

Kylewest, It seems that Greenwich village prices are currently higher than the 2007 peak looking at recent fifth ave, 130 west 12th and even 20 east 9th sales. What is your take?

why would anybody want to be an adjunct professor when you could make way more money as a gym teacher?

there are plenty of places in NYC where you need a car to get around. Eastern Queens, Staten Island, just to name a few. heck, there are plenty of places in Manhattan that require a bus ride to get to the subway.

"not too mention things like taxes, lawn care, heat, electric, maintenance, etc. on a house vs. an apartment and the 'burbs get just as pricey."

So people in NYC don't pay taxes and for electic? Are you sure about that?

One of the best parts of living in NYC is avoiding the hassle, danger and expense of owning a car!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/taras-grescoe/no-car_b_1453815.html

In some cases in GV prices are exceeding 2007 now. In some building prices are still off peak by about 5-10% at most. I should also be clearer about something I wrote above. Buying is imo best for people with long time horizons OR who have enough wealth that they can handle selling within 5 years and taking a hit in terms of transaction costs and/or dip in prices. I didn't mean you need vast wealth to buy. Only that greater wealth is needed for short time horizons since you will quite likely take a hit financially.

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"So people in NYC don't pay taxes and for electric? Are you sure about that?" - Socialist

Yes NYC living does incur tax liability and electric - obviously. But the out-of-pocket is typically less than that required on a single-family house in NJ, LI or Westchester. That is especially true for towns in NJ and Westchester that are considered desirable for things like schools and other quality of life amenities. Go take a look at taxes in Montclair, NJ for instance and then compare that to the maintenance on 3BR UES co-op (which includes your tax liability), and in most cases you will see that you would be better off in that apartment. Then once you compare what it would cost to pay for your utilities, which in a co-op amounts to electricity because things like heat and water are, like taxes, part of the maintenance and I think you will again see how much more that house in the burbs will cost you in relation to a NYC apartment.

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But a 3 bedroom apt. on the UES is going to cost DOUBLE what a 3 or even 4 bedroom house costs in Montclair. You can buy a 4 bedroom hosue in Montclair for under $600,000 (see: http://www.njmls.com/listings/index.cfm?action=dsp.results&city=MONTCLAIR&county=ESSEX&state=NJ&zipcode=07042&openhouse=True&keywords=&mls_number=&searchtype=openhouse&style=&proptype=1,3&location=MONTCLAIR, NJ&beds=&baths=&minprice=&maxprice= )

THe cheapest 3 bedroom on the UES is over $1 million: http://streeteasy.com/nyc/sale/792369-coop-230-east-79th-street-upper-east-side-new-york

>Why would anybody want to be an adjunct professor when you could make way more money as a gym teacher?

Because, dear Socialist, not everyone chooses a career based on its potential earning power!

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> In some cases in GV prices are exceeding 2007 now. In some building prices are still off peak by about 5-10% at most. I should also be clearer about something I wrote above. Buying is imo best for people with long time horizons OR who have enough wealth that they can handle selling within 5 years and taking a hit in terms of transaction costs and/or dip in prices. I didn't mean you need vast wealth to buy. Only that greater wealth is needed for short time horizons since you will quite likely take a hit financially.

well, the only recourse for most "middle class" buyers when it comes to dealing with selling an underwater property is through default. these households tend to lack a high enough savings rate to be able to afford to dispose of the underwater property in the usual way. the funny part is that the low savings rate is due in great part to the high home prices they've agreed to by buying.

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"Hey Wally where's the Beav?"

He goes by the name of Brooks2 these days and is waiting for the Manhattan market to crash so he can swoop-in for the big buy! LOL!!

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> Columbia profs have done quite well. Around 5-6 percent annual increases annually.

For a professor who spent six or seven or eight or nine years in graduate school and is still shouldering college debt, a 5% annual increase on an annual salary of $70K after six years of teaching full-time at Columbia, still waiting to come up for tenure, can hardly be called doing "quite well."

If they actually get tenure in another year or two they'll be very, very lucky to make $90K.

And yes, it's worse at CUNY and far, far worse for adjuncts.

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BT... I was referring to the ANNUAL increases at Columbia relative to other places (as well as their average salaries, which are significantly above average). Some of us only spent 5 years in grad school, didn't incur any debt, and make a lot more than 70K per year, even at CUNY (where I am). You are right about adjuncts...and the ugly secret at CUNY and other universities is that many programs would not be able to meet their obligations to students without an awful lot of contingent and p/t faculty making (at CUNY) between $3000 (Mastter's degree) and $4500 (PhD) per course.

If I had a full-time professor position waiting for me at a place like Columbia (20 minutes by bike from Washington Heights!) at $70k, even without tenure and without any scheduled increases, I'd be ecstatic. Adjuncts make *much* less than that, and have to commute between multiple institutions, etc.

$2000 per 3-credit course per semester is the going rate, and you're still subject to budget cuts, sudden changes, and things like that. Not knowing what courses you're going to teach; wasted time from preparing materials for classes you never get to offer... and on top of that you've got to keep your own research going so that you can get more publications! It sure is a precarious life.

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Manhattan median income has to be adjusted for three factors:

1. Public / rent controlled / employer subsidized housing (worth 20k post-tax per year at least, 30k pre-tax)
2. Very high percentage of say under 27 (a few years work after undergrad, 30k per year less pre-tax).
3. People above 96st on East Side and similar on West side (30k per year less pre-tax)

While I do not have any statistics to prove the above estimates, if you exclude people above, I bet the median household income will be in the $125-150K range instead of $67K. At $125-$150k, one can afford a middle class life even with 1 kid, which is probably the average for Manhattan.

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jason, I am not saying Manhattan is not expensive. I am only saying realistically people make more than $67k as a median adjusting for the factors I mentioned (very few burbs have these adjustments).

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