Testimony

The Real Estate Board of New York to The Joint Legislative Public Hearing on Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Executive Budget Proposal Topic: Housing

Basha Gerhards

Senior Vice President of Planning

January 31, 2022

New York City is a city of renters, with rental units comprising nearly 63% of all residential stock, and 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.

A key driver of New York’s housing crisis is the lack of housing production. 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 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 NYC 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.

This crisis is dire, complex and requires a multipronged approach of preservation, new production, and conversion of underutilized existing space to 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.

The Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Executive Budget housing proposals, in general, include a number of smart potential policy changes that together represent a significant effort to create more rental housing in New York City and the surrounding region. These include tools to boost production within New York City and the metro region including a new affordable housing tax tool, amending the 12 Floor Area Ratio cap, programs for residential conversions, accessory dwelling units, and transit-oriented development, and the tools to improve housing access.