The worsening housing crisis within the Five Boroughs has been apparent to most residents for quite some time. And now, the Department of City Planning is taking notice. Today, YIMBY has the latest from an event held earlier this week for an Association for a Better New York (ABNY), where its first director affirmed the need to produce more housing, as both New York and its suburbs are failing in this capacity.
“The city is experiencing rapid change right now. We’re experiencing massive population growth and economic growth,” the City’s first regional planning director, Carolyn Grossman Meagher, said of the roughly two percent annual job growth.
According to Grossman Meagher, not enough new housing has been built in the region to keep up with the growth, causing rents to soar.
“One thing we know is that affordability is a regional challenge. Rent costs are becoming increasingly unaffordable to our population. It’s consistent across all parts of the region,” said Grossman Meagher.
“Collectively, our housing market is just not producing enough housing to keep the prices affordable to all residents of our region and that collectively is a shared challenge in our regional housing market,” she added.
In turn, rents as a share of New Yorkers’ incomes have increased. From 2000 to 2016, for example, the share of renters spending over 30 percent of their income on rent rose from 43 to 54 percent, according to Grossman’s presentation.
Additionally, the amount of New Yorkers moving to New York area suburbs has declined. Instead of moving to Long Island and Westchester, Grossman Meagher said people from the city have elected to leave town for places like Los Angeles, Denver and Atlanta. This is partly because while northern New Jersey has built housing at a comparatively high rate, Westchester and Long Island have brought housing production to a near halt.
“The relief valve that the suburbs have historically played in complementing our housing supply, that relationship is actually slowing down. And what we’re seeing is that historically the number of people leaving our region for our city’s suburbs is decreasing,” she said. “Over time, the number of people leaving the city overall is declining and the number of people leaving the suburbs for somewhere else is also declining.”
Grossman Meagher said she wasn’t sure if the city’s surrounding suburbs would soon build housing at the rates they once had. “There’s a real question as to whether or not other parts of the suburbs will find their way back to performing at these levels when they’re underperforming by about half.”
And while the New York suburbs have significantly slowed their housing production, Grossman Meagher said the city has not built enough housing, either. From 2008 to 2016, the city has permitted 178,000 more jobs than units of housing.
Moving forward, the city predicts that by by 2050 there will be a demand of 1.6 million additional units of housing in the New York region.