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Source : Ben O'Bro Unsplash
December 22, 2022
Author : Alex Bustillos
Affordable housing remains a challenge in the Big Apple.
New York rents range from $3,150 for a studio to $6,995 for a 4-bedroom. All currently available listings have a median price of $4,000, or around $72 per square foot. For the apartment units and dwellings in December 2022, median rents have grown dramatically during the last year.
According to NYC council figures, the city only created 200,000 new housing units between 2010 and 2020, despite gaining 630,000 new residents and adding over one million jobs. This has led to increases in rental costs.
The plan is the council's answer to the city's worsening housing problem. It intends to increase affordability by substantially increasing housing supply in every part of the five boroughs — including in locations where the city has previously encountered opposition from locals.
The neighborhood-based housing production targets envisioned under the council's so-called "Fair Housing Framework" would be designed with key region variables in mind, like transportation access and displacement risks for low-income people.
In addition, NYC mayor Eric Adams unveiled a three-pronged effort to address New York City’s affordable housing crisis and underlying housing shortage by rapidly accelerating the pace of housing production, with a "moonshot" goal of meeting the need for 500,000 new homes over the next decade. This project has been called “Get Stuff Built” and will be done in collaboration with the New York State, the New York City Council, and New Yorkers in all five boroughs.
Mayor Adams said, "If New York is to remain the city we love, we must have places for the people we love. We need more housing, and we need it as fast as we can build it. The system has been broken for so long that we have come to view it as our reality. Our city declared a housing emergency five decades ago, yet, we have failed to address it with the same urgency we would any other crisis. That ends now.”
A citywide zoning text revision will be done to make it simpler to build houses.
Another proposed modification would boost the permissible floor area ratio of affordable housing, but it would have to go through several Council hoops before it could be implemented. The reasoning goes that by doing so, it will be easier to produce cheap housing outside of complex new developments, such as rehabilitating underutilized commercial spaces.
Another proposal aims to eliminate tight parking space restrictions for residential housing, which the mayor and Council agree are unnecessary.
The floor-area-ratio modification, however, is contingent on Governor Hochul and state legislators.
To gain higher density through extending the legally authorized floor area ratios, the state would have to overturn the so-called 12 FAR cap on residential developments, which is also a major component of a strategy given out by Hochul and Mayor Adams on Wednesday.
In high-density locations, the cap severely limits permitted floor ratios in respect to the size of a residential building's lot size. Its repeal would make it simpler to build housing in locations currently dominated by commercial space, such as Midtown Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.
However, the mayor and the Council are at odds on several other issues.
The Council requests that the mayor enhance staffing levels at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which is responsible for maintaining the city's affordable housing portfolio. The Council also demands that HPD be allocated $2.5 billion in capital housing spending each year, in addition to the New York City Housing Authority's $1.5 billion.
The Council's combined capital financing demands are $1.5 billion higher than what the mayor allocated for the two agencies this year, given the city's expected budget deficits over the next five years. He may be hard-pressed to increase those spending levels in future plans.
The Council plan also encourages HPD to raise production targets for "extremely low-income" and "very low-income" households, which are the city's most rent-burdened and housing-deficient populations.