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Middle Class Has it Rough; Couple Settles in Prospect Heights

Welcome to It Happened One Weekend, our weekly roundup of The New York Times real estate section...

1) The Times caught a wild scoop with this one: it would appear that if you're not a multi-millionaire, living in New York can be difficult. More specifically, if you're part of that growing class of New Yorkers defined as "middle-income in terms of earnings but paying at least 30 percent of those earnings for housing," you're pretty much screwed. The piece profiles several members of the so-called "forgotten middle," including a young couple with a baby, three Florida transplants doing the whole Sex and the City-thing, and an older retiree-cum-actress. None of these people can really afford to live here, but most of them are trying anyway because they love this city and the idea of living anywhere else seems kind of silly. In other news, this $11 million apartment has a bed with wires coming out of it. ["Middle-Class Lament: Rent"]

2) Every "The Hunt" column begins with the Hunters describing the apartment they want, and ends with them rationalizing whatever they came away with. This is The Hunt: Dreams vs. Reality
The Hunters: a couple in Prospect Heights looking to buy
Dream: $700,000
Reality: $530,000+reno
Dream: Prospect Heights
Reality: Prospect Heights
Dream: 2BR, open kitchen, condo
Reality: 1BR, co-op
This week's Hunters are a couple in their early 30s. With a budget of $700,000, they set out looking for two-bedroom condos in their neighborhood, Prospect Heights. They found that pretty much everything they could afford required tons of renovations, so they adjusted their expectations and eventually found a one-bedroom co-op right off Grand Army Plaza. They paid $530,000 (a 25 percent down payment and four years' worth of maintenance). They also threw down $70,000 in renovations, because the apartment—like the everlasting appeal of Tina Turner—hadn't changed since the late 50s. [The Hunt/"This Time Around, Let There Be Light"; photo via tracy collins/Curbed Photo Pool]