Despite being in the epicentre of the finance bust, Manhattan has a few buffers against the kind of jaw-dropping price declines we’ve seen elsewhere in the country. For one thing, it’s not in the middle of nowhere. It also never had the kind of horrible lending standards seen elsewhere, and as prices do ease, would-be outter-bourrough homebuyers may decide to stay in Manhattan, helping to maintain demand at a decent level.
But here’s one thing that could slam NYC real estate prices, almost guaranteed: Cutbacks and overcrowding in schools. You know, anything that would cause Manhattan parents to question the educatoin their darlin’s are getting.
The folks on the StreetEasy message boards (a great place to check the pulse of city dwellers) are all over this NYMag short piece on school overcrowding (due to the baby boom) and a solution that would involve — gasp! — busing.
As the consequences of the Manhattan baby boom become more dire, the Department of Education thinks it has a last-ditch solution to the overcrowding problem: busing. According to a close reading of a DOE “blueprint” released on May 16, if conditions can’t be improved at popular schools like P.S. 234 in Tribeca and P.S. 89 in Battery Park City by maximizing existing space and limiting out-of-area students, the DOE may “relocate” kids to less crowded schools up to two miles away. Unsurprisingly, parents are unhappy. “Relocating students to other schools is not a good idea,” says Eric Greenleaf, who chairs P.S. 234’s overcrowding committee. “This disruption hurts children’s lives and their education.” In fact, parents are unhappy with the whole plan. But the other options could be worse: Another contentious suggestion is limiting gifted-and-talented programs in crowded schools to free up space. A DOE spokesperson says nothing’s set in stone: “Whether these solutions will be necessary depends on the schools’ September enrollment, and we have not yet decided to implement any of them.”