Bad idea to read the Times Mag cover piece on Toll Brothers, the mega-homebuilder, before bed last night. Nightmares, bad nightmares. Still, a fascinating look at the land development process and our housing future (bring on the subdivisions and cul de sacs, baby!). A few takeaways:
· The way Toll Bros.' CEO Bob Toll sees it, the next generation of buyers will be paying twice as much (up to 50% of their incomes) for half the space.
· New Jersey, a state more densely populated than India, is almost full.
· And, finally, this from Columbia prof Chris Mayer on why Manhattan prices might go up for ever:
"When San Francisco gets so expensive that a rich person says: 'You know what? I don't want to pay that much, I'll go look at Chicago instead' - that's what has to stop it ultimately. But there's nothing in our model that says that ever has to happen. Every time we think that housing is ridiculously expensive in the U.S., we should go look at Europe and Asia. Even after 15 years of declines in Tokyo, it's still more expensive than living in Manhattan. There's no natural law that says U.S. housing prices have to stop here. None."· Chasing Grounds [NYT Mag]