Submitted Testimony of The Real Estate Board of New York to the City Planning Commission in Support of Application No. C 190265 ZSM – 503 Broadway (Zara)

Paimaan Lodhi

Senior Vice President Policy & Planning

December 17, 2019

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REBNY thanks the Committee for the opportunity to testify on Mayor Eric Adams’ recently released plan entitled Housing Our Neighbors: A Blueprint for Housing and Homelessness.

New York is facing a housing crisis. A key driver of this crisis is the lack of housing production and inadequate supply to meet the needs of our growing and diverse city. According to the most recent U.S. Census, from 2010 to 2020, the number of New York City residents grew by roughly 630,000 people, while the number of housing units grew by only 206,000. Since 2018, New York City’s pace of housing production has decreased by nearly 8,500 units. Additionally, New York City Metro area housing production continues to fall behind most other major U.S. cities including Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. These statistics were confirmed in a recent report from the research firm AKRF, which identified that New York City needs 560,000 new units by 2030 to address both the deficit in production over the last decade and the units necessary to address future job and population growth.

In particular, with rental units comprising nearly 63% of all residential stock, rental housing is the most important housing type for the city. Even so, New York City is plagued by a shortage of rental housing units, particularly rental units for lower income households. With persistently high rates of homelessness and overcrowding, there are simply too few available affordable options for New Yorkers’ housing needs.

This crisis requires a multipronged approach to preserve in good quality the units we have today, to facilitate new production, and to allow for the conversion of underutilized, underdeveloped, or unregulated space in order meet our needs. Such solutions require close collaboration between state and local governments and the private sector. With government resources – land and financial – limited and unable to meet our needs, the private sector must be a partner.

REBNY commends Mayor Adams for proposing several smart policy changes in this plan that, if implemented, would help close inequities in our housing system, promote housing quality and improve access to housing. REBNY applauds the inclusion of NYCHA in the housing plan and goals for improvement and tenant inclusion as important components for a thriving New York City.

REBNY looks forward to continuing to collaborate with this Committee and the entire City Council to further these important efforts. More specific comments on the housing plan can be found below.

Topics Covered

  • Housing