Housing in the Promised Land: New Rental Indexes for the Bronx and Brooklyn

Jason Barr, Rutgers University - Newark

This paper will look an under-research aspect of New York City's historical housing market: rents and affordability in the outer boroughs. Specifically, this paper aims to construct a rental index for housing units in the Bronx and Brooklyn from 1880 to 1940. The aim first is to better understand the dynamics of housing costs in the New York City "suburbs" and how rents were impacted several key investments in governance and infrastructure, including the opening of the the elevated railways, the Brooklyn Bridge, the subways, and the annexation of Brooklyn and the Bronx by the City of New York. In addition to seeing how rents changed in these areas, the paper will explore the degree to which rents in the Lower East Side were co-integrated with rents in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Did opening up new areas for housing development in the suburbs reduce housing costs in the historical tenement districts in Manhattan? Data will also be compared to wages to ascertain relative affordability in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 28. From Empire to Empire State: Housing New York City over the Long Run