You Can’t Have Gentrification Without A Gentry

Pointing out the obvious yet neglected component of gentrification (boldface mine):

But why Brooklyn, and why now? There’s no one answer. Rather, several interlocking factors have helped bring about the New Brooklyn:

Inequality. To have $4,000-a-month rents, you need renters who can afford to pay them. We’re in the midst of a massive concentration of wealth: Thanks in part to falling tax rates on the rich, the top one-tenth of 1% of Americans now control nearly a quarter of all wealth, more than twice their share in the 1970s. This not only creates an overflow of well-off New Yorkers looking for housing — Brooklyn households earning more than $200,000 a year nearly doubled between 2005 to 2012 — but a flood of families looking to buy investment properties for their children.

As I’ve mentioned before, once a neighborhood has been gentrified, we do need to BUILD MOAR. But the run-up in prices often happens in the absence of a housing shortage–in D.C.’s Shaw, housing stock has increased 54 percent. We need to realize that the first stage of gentrification isn’t due to a shortage of units but other factors that increase prices, including the critical existence and expansion of a gentry.

Oddly enough, pundits who belong to the upper-middle and gentry classes don’t want to do something about that.

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