Baby boomers and empty nesters have found themselves stuck in the suburbs, describes New York Times Staffer Joseph Berger. Many are now ready to reap the cultural benefits of the city, and no longer need the nice schools or big yards that drew them to the suburbs to begin with. But with prices skyrocketing in urban centers and hitting prices that seem unbelievable for this cohort, empty nesters are finding it difficult to leave their now-empty suburban homes.
A couple living on pensions, Social Security and interest from investments might decide to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn and use the profit from the sale of their suburban home to help finance their expenses. But they would find that on, say, the Upper East or Upper West Side, a two-bedroom apartment in a building with a doorman and an elevator would sell for more than $1.3 million (don’t forget the monthly maintenance charge) or rent for $5,000 or $6,000 a month. And if they chose not to give up the car they depended on so much in the suburbs, they might pay another $500 to $900 a month for a parking space.
Unfortunately with that kind of rent premium, many prospective tenants wouldn't be left with enough discretionary income to spend on the cultural amenities of the city that they moved for in the first place.