Even in death, you can’t escape the property bubble.
From New York to London, growing populations are competing with the deceased for land, driving up real-estate costs well into the afterlife. In Asian megacities, where cremation is the norm, even space for urns is in short supply.
“At the end of the day, it’s like any other piece of real estate,” says Amy Cunningham, a New York state licensed funeral director. “Prices have conspired to put burials out of the range of most people’s budgets.”
BLOG: When the Cemetery Fills Up, Sell Tickets
Every week, about 1,000 New Yorkers die. Manhattan is running out of room for them. Further out in Brooklyn, prices of plots for the deceased and apartments for the living are at records.
A 756 square-foot mausoleum site in Green-Wood Cemetery, nestled on the edge of Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, costs $320,000. An 1,800-square-foot single family home across the street sold for $245,000 in 2009. Today it’s worth $1 million, according to real-estate website Zillow Inc.
Former Mayor Ed Koch may be among the last New Yorkers to be buried in Manhattan. He paid uptown Trinity Church Cemetery $20,000 in 2008, five years before he passed away at 88.