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Open Access Publications from the University of California

What Explains Manhattan's Declining Share of Residential Construction?


Dense, expensive, litigious, and highly regulated, Manhattan is the quintessential coastal US housing market. Residential construction in Manhattan has fallen relative to total US residential construction over the last 45 years. This time trend has been attributed to tightening local regulation, but is entirely explained away by a combination of the decline of public housing construction and the decreasing national share of construction that is multifamily. Reliance on multifamily housing also helps explain slow construction growth in California and New York State, but not in other Northeast states.

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