How well do the candidates running to snag the Democratic nomination in the mayor’s race know New York City real estate? A “pop quiz” revealed a couple don’t have a good sense of how incredibly expensive it is to buy here—prompting Twitter users to ridicule their obliviousness.
Shaun Donovan, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Raymond McGuire, an investment banker and former executive at Citigroup, were way off when they estimated Brooklyn’s current median sales price at "around $100,000" during meetings with The New York Times editorial board. Eight Democratic candidates vying to be mayor were asked about a broad array of pressing topics during an interview that included a quick real estate test seemingly designed to see how familiar they were with prices and rents in the city.
As part of Donovan's endorsement interview, editorial board member Mara Gay asked, “What is the median sales price for a home or apartment in Brooklyn?”
“In Brooklyn, huh? I don’t for sure. I would guess it is around $100,000," he replies.
“It’s got to be somewhere in the $80,000 to $90,000 range, if not higher,” McGuire responds to the same question during his interview.
Readers of Brick Underground know the correct answer is much higher, in fact the median sales price for Brooklyn hit $900,000 in the first quarter. (Donovan later clarified that he was referring to “assessed value.”)
Two other candidates gave figures that were nearer to the mark, but still off by several hundred thousand dollars: Eric Adams says he believes Brooklyn's median sales price is "about $550,000"; Dianne Morales says “half a million.”
The eight candidates did far better in coming up with Manhattan’s median rent ($3,000)—most responses were close to the correct figure.
Still Twitter users were not impressed deriding McGuire and Donovan as “out of touch,”—and making pointed note of Donovan's high-level housing background, as well as McGuire's "financial acumen."
On one hand, there's no reason that the HUD Secretary should instantly know median home prices in Brooklyn, when he's in charge of the entire country.— Alden Utter (@nedlum) May 11, 2021
On the other hand, he shouldn't think that the price in Brooklyn is the same as the price in Akron.
One user marveled that they could not know what real estate costs, considering that most New Yorkers are obsessed with it.
So either they don't know housing prices (in a world where literally every grownup plays that game) or they don't know what median means and they can't interpret data -- either way it's disqualifying.— Dr. Anthrodiva (@anthrodiva) May 11, 2021
Gay weighed in as well with the broader picture: A generation of New Yorkers can not afford to buy in their own neighborhoods, she says.
All jokes aside: an entire generation of New Yorkers has been completely priced out of buying homes in their own communities. I think we help people most in need first (homeless, the working poor). But the inability of middle class to put down roots in nyc is a real problem.— Mara Gay (@MaraGay) May 11, 2021