CRF Blog

When the (Empty) Apartment Next Door Is Owned by an Oligarch

by Bill Hayes

Writing in When the (Empty) Apartment Next Door Is Owned by an Oligarch for The Upshot section of the New York Times, Emily Badger looks at the problem of questionable foreign money distorting housing markets.

In Miami and New York, new luxury apartments are rising rapidly, often sold to anonymous buyers, sight unseen. In Melbourne and London, housing shortages have worsened even as recently purchased homes appear to be sitting vacant.

In each of these cities there are at least some indications that what is troubling the housing market can be traced elsewhere — to Russian oligarchs, Brazilian bank accounts, Chinese businessmen. It’s possible that foreign money isn’t just driving up prices for penthouses; it may also be distorting the market, to the detriment of lifelong residents.

But the true extent of the phenomenon is maddeningly hard to measure. [more]