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CHANGE is the Constant in a Century of New York City Real Estate

Elliman Magazine
Jonathan Miller
October 13, 2011, 2 pages

While researching the last 100 years of New York City residential real estate, I came to appreciate the single constant in the tumultuous ebb and flow of housing: a market that continually adapts to significant economic, political, and social change.

Over the past century, the city has been held together by a diverse economy that links every economic capital across the globe, and as the result of this collaborative character that has come to define New York City, its housing market has proven to be a direct reflection of the conditions of the world at large. The housing stock has shifted from dependence on single-unit dwellings, to apartments, to co-operatives, to condominiums. It has ranged from overcrowded tenements to newly developed luxury high rises. The addition of new housing or re-purposing of existing structures has resulted in a wide array of residential property that forms the texture of the New York City real estate market.

The irony of this evolving housing legacy is that, when simply gazing upon the physical configurations of buildings, we take comfort in a sense of permanence, which, as it turns out, is more illusive than accurate. Leaf through “before and after” photo books of New York, and the revolving landscape is readily apparent. The founders of Douglas Elliman recognized the opportunity that change brings, and therefore were able to build a company that has remained a significant part of the history of the last 100 years of the New York housing market.

The timeline below illustrates the evolution of value of New York City real estate and the series of events that helped shape it…

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