Downtown Brooklyn. Photo by Barbara Eldredge

      Forget about Powerball. Brooklyn could make your dreams come true.

      Between 2007 and 2015, Brooklyn had the highest rate of job growth in the U.S. of any large county. Employment in the borough increased 4.3 percent, according to economist Jed Kolko. By comparison, Manhattan had only 0.07 percent annualized job growth in the same period.

      Looks like all that Brooklyn office space in the works will be a good investment…


      The Brooklyn economy is doing great, thanks to increasing population and jobs, according to a sweeping economic report released last week by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

      Brooklyn added thousands of jobs last year, an increase of 5.8 percent, and in just one or two years may have more residents than Chicago, the third-largest city in the U.S.

      “We’re growing,” Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlo Scissura told Brownstoner. “In a year or two, we will have more population living here than in Chicago. The trends show a good future for our population.”


      Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen and Macon Street brownstones. Photo via Federal Reserve

      The Federal Reserve Board this afternoon announced it will hold off taking action to raise short-term interest rates — so for now, expect the Brooklyn real estate boom to continue.

      But when and if the Fed does raise the interest rate, it’s unlikely to put much of a damper on Brooklyn real estate, mortgage broker Adam Dahill told Brownstoner.

      “People buying now in Brooklyn are well qualified and not that sensitive to interest rates,” he said. “I’m very bullish on Brooklyn.” The one big change he does see coming is that formerly “fringe” areas will continue to increase in value, while price appreciation in “prime” areas will slow.


      Gabriel Koren’s story sounds all too familiar. The 68-year-old artist — lauded for making public sculptures of African American luminaries like Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X — has been priced out of her Dumbo workspace with nowhere else to go, according to an article in Sunday’s New York Times.

      But for Brownstoner, Koren’s story hits close to home. The studio she’s kept for the past 28 years is just one floor above our office at 68 Jay Street. When we visited her yesterday afternoon, Koren was overwhelmed by the response to the Times article.

      “So many people call. I am very thankful that so many people are calling,” she told Brownstoner. Koren is still listening to her many voicemail messages. She welcomed the possibility of help.


      Are high levels of ownership good or bad for cities? Should the government push for more home ownership? What role do rental units play in the growth and vitality of cities?

      Journalist and web developer, Ken Schwencke, who also works for The New York Times, has added to the discussion of some of those questions by creating a nation-wide interactive map that shows renters and owners across the country. To build the map, he spent some serious time with the US Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey data, zeroing in on home ownership.

      The red dots on his map represent renters, the blue dots, owners. Each dot represents 25 housing units, and they are placed randomly within a census tract — an area of about four to eight blocks in Brooklyn.

      Despite the frenzied housing market in Brooklyn over the last decade, the rate of home ownership has changed little. New York is a city of renters and Brooklyn is a borough of renters, as is made clear by the vast swaths of red in the map above.

      According to the New York Housing and Vacancy Survey of 2014 (PDF), Brooklyn’s home ownership rate is 29 percent, higher than Manhattan and the Bronx but lower than the city average and far below the national average of 63.4 percent. City-wide, the total number of owner-occupied units is up slightly from the previous year.

      Today the national home ownership rate is at its lowest point since 1967. But for cities a low home ownership rate may not be a bad thing.

      Cities in general have low levels of home ownership. And some of those that have seen the most economic growth recently have very low levels of home ownership.


      As we all know, Brooklyn’s become a boomtown for creative dreamers and makers. Now, a study from the Center for an Urban Future has confirmed and quantified the artsy influx.

      CUF is a think tank and master of urban stats (we’ve written about their work before) so you can look forward to hearing these figures merrily repeated by pro-art policy makers in the months to come. The report was already cited at least twice at last week’s Make It In Brooklyn Summit, though not by Bruce Ratner.

      Ready to face the facts?


      The economists have spoken. If you don’t allow your 125-year-old brownstone to be torn down to make room for high-rise apartments, then you hate America.

      Or that’s what you might think if you’d read recent stories by New York Magazine, WNYC, and The Real Deal. According to them, a new study by economists Chang-Tai Hsieh of University of Chicago and Enrico Moretti of University of California, Berkeley can be boiled down to one sentence: “Brownstones cost the economy billions.”

      The argument is that the entire U.S. economy would be 9.5 percent bigger if just three cities — New York, San Francisco, and San Jose — increased their housing stocks by knocking down their Brooklyn brownstones and historic San Francisco Victorians, and putting up high-rise condos in their places.

      Only that’s not at all what the study said.


      Image source: DNAinfo

      DNAinfo reports on some positive news in the silver lining realm – increased business at Queens Plaza, not to mention this area in LIC was one of the main transit hubs that could get people straight into Manhattan. Dunkin Donuts said they served twice the usual number of customers (so, around 1,600 people). LIC Bicycles also sold a lot of bikes, especially those in the $300-$500 range; rental bikes did well, too. The Queens Rozina Mini Mart also has a lot of customers.